Join baseball writer Derrick Goold for his live Cardinals chat at 11 a.m. Monday

Join baseball writer Derrick Goold for his live Cardinals chat at 11 a.m. Monday

Bring your Cards questions and comments to Monday’s 11 a.m. live chat.

    This is a great question that should carry into the offseason. We're going to find out. They have done well trading and extending when it comes to stars. They have not really done as well when it comes to acquiring from outside for longer term deals, not from the corners of the free-agent market where they're competing with other major-league teams on recognizable talent. Miles Mikolas is a successful free-agent signing, and they were going against the Cubs among other teams for him. Steven Matz could yet be a strong free-agent signing. But they've had a notable amount of misses like Cecil, Leake, and ultimately, in the end Fowler. Some of those moves have only proved to stiffen their conservative approach. We'll see how that shifts -- and I think the answer to your question is ahead in their actions, not here in a chat.
    If expansion was to go to 48 teams with 48 mlb quality stadiums then you could set up a 32 team upper tier with a 16 team lower tier and relegation could be a factor in driving teams to remain competitive and not this be bad for 10 years and try and find a window to compete for 2-3 years.
    I have a hard time believing that the current 30 owners would buy into a system that would risk them losing millions, making less money, and tumbling out of the majors, even with the appeal and windfall of 18 expansion fees.
    Jeff Albert -- strategic philosophy on modern hitting. Seems to have iffy results in tactical and situational circumstances. Still up to players to produce but is Albert designing to their strengths?
    This is a well-stated and presented question, and it does get to the heart of the discussion that the Cardinals have had about hitting and hitting approach/philosophies, but also how it is conveyed to the hitters. The Cardinals felt like they had a good approach, a good philosophy and a modern one too complete with the improved infrastructure and tech brought in by Jeff Albert. They have over the recent years also looked at how to improve the messaging. This was part of the reckoning in the middle of the 2021 season that changed the look of the team offensively, especially in the second half. Another outcome of these conversations was the hiring of Turner Ward as assistant because the Cardinals thought they would better serve the hitters and the team's approach to hitting by having a former big-league hitter there, to connect with hitters, to offer another way to reach the hitters. Mozeliak said that he saw the group of hitting coaches has offering a variety of voices on the same message, so that they gave the same info, same scouting, same direction, same insight, same data, and same aid to the hitters, but could do so with different styles. And hitters this season did respond to that.
    So you've got it well-positioned here. The staff has shifted around Jeff Albert to play to his strengths and also enhance where the Cardinals felt they had holes they could address, whether that was in messaging, approach, or even how they relay data/info to the hitters. That has evolved (and improved) a lot in the past three, four years. And sometimes it from the suggestions of players, sometimes it's from the review of front office, sometimes it's at Albert's request or idea, and sometimes it's reckonings like what happened like in the middle of 2021. 
    (Sorry for the delay in responding to that question. Had a chance to catch up on something related to another topic and had to take advantage of the time. Thank you again for the patience.)
    Can the Cardinals and Arenado add/change anything to his contract without voiding whatever else the Rockies are going to pay? Thanks
    They can in certain unilateral areas -- like the option that the Cardinals added. That is right there. That's why I brought it up.
    Hi Derrick, maybe you're going to address this with Jeff Albert getting mentioned... but if Albert's hitting approach is being implemented throughout the organization, aren't young players like Donovan, Yepez, Gorman, Burleson, Walker, Winn, etc. at least some evidence that his philosophy is working? Maybe the solution to the recent offensive struggles isn't so much firing Jeff Albert as it is bringing on an additional voice at the major league level. (PS this is not Jeff Albert in your chat)
    This has long been a fixture in the chat. It's entirely fair to criticize the Cardinals recent performance in the postseason and criticize when the production isn't there or when it's so clearly one dimensional, as it was for the early parts of 2021. But if you're going to praise the players in August and blame the coach in September -- that seems off. Where was the praise for Albert in August when the Cardinals had four players as candidates for the Player of the Month Award and a resurgent Albert Pujols. Pujols offered credit to Jeff Albert and the hitting coaches for how he was able to surge into the second half. Fans were reluctant to do so. Players did not blame Albert this year for their slumps. Fans were eager to do so. And, yes, if you're to criticize some of the offensive issues the Cardinals have, that's fair, but do so with the context of pointing out that the first graduates of Albert's system-wide overhaul and modernization also reached the majors in Donovan, Nootbaar, Gorman, Burleson, and that the program in place had a breakout year for Winn, who came to the Cardinals as a power-armed athlete without much of an offensive approach, not anything close to the one that he used to take flight at Class A/Class AA. That has to be part of the discussion.
    That does not free the Cardinals or coaches from criticism, but it should be accounted for in any criticism.
    Great idea, instead of leaning on O'Neill, Carlson, and Walker, go get a third bat that can be a tentpole with Goldy and Arenado in the line-up, and let the young guys be young guys and thrive in a low pressure situation (see Bader, Yankees).
    When will see Walker playing the outfield in St. Louis? I think he will add some pop.
    Is March 2023 soon enough?
    What would it take to get Pablo Lopez from the Marlins?
    Good question. Sure seemed like two teams -- Dodgers and Yankees -- had deals nearly in place with the Marlins for Lopez at the trade deadline. According to a few folks I talked to that night, the Dodgers were closing in on a deal, and there is a perception that the Yankees traded Montgomery believing they would add Lopez, or could possibly as the deadline arrived. He would be a fit for the Cardinals. You're talking about offering up one of the lower-50 but top 100 prospects and then a high-end outfielder. Could see the deal also requiring a player who is on the brink of the majors, if not already debuted in the majors but with five, six years of control. That kind of package would appeal to the Marlins. They're going to want a return that does help them in the near future as they're window to get the division or snag a wild card is overlapping with Alcantara's contract at this point. So think about a deal that would include players to help them in that window, and then a high-upside in the future.
    What's the FO's perception of the team's development of starting pitching? It seems to me that over the past 10 years its gone from being the standard by which the league is judged to getting lapped by the Brewer, Dodgers, etc. Does the team intend to unify their approach to pitching the way that they have with hitting and Jeff Albert?
  • That is something definitely on their mind and of ongoing concern for them, yes. They feel like the lack of a pitching lab and some of the other things that they have been slower to embrace has them behind. They are making strides. Leveque has a strong reputation and track record. Some of the things that the major-league staff has been doing, Dusty Blake at the lead, should work its way down to the affiliates, too. That is where the pitching lab and tech use and investment would be valuable to the team. Yes, it's something they have wanted to address. Yes, it's something they're slower than they hoped to advance. And you bring up an interesting comparison with the hitting. The personnel is there to pull that together. And the need is, too.
    An off-the-wall rule proposal for your insight or eye-roll: a "designated baserunner." Essetially, you can pick one player in your lineup who gets to be pinch run for by the "DB" every time they make it to base. The player on the bench designated "DB" may later be inserted into the game at a field position, at which point you lose your "DB." My rationale - this creates a roll, with contract value, for players like Billy Hamilton - fast, good defender, terrible bat - while replacing the slowest player in every lineup with a really fast pinch runner. It would make for more active and athletic game. Thoughts?
    I get the novelty of it. Not crazy about it. All of sudden there would be the creep toward designated fielders and then you've got an offensive team and a defensive team, and it's football.
    Mike Trout and 56M to the Cardinals for Nolan Gorman, Alec Burleson, Gordon Graceffo and Tyler O'Neill
    Why? Have the Angels learned nothing about the value of pitching when it comes to building a contender?
    I would like to know where you think the Cardinals payroll should be at dollar wise? A lot of local writers like to put where the team payroll ranks from 1-30. In 2022 the Cardinals had the 12th highest payroll, and the Braves had the 8th highest. To me 12th vs 8th doesn’t sound like that much, but the 30 million dollar difference does. The Cardinals had a payroll that was just above league average, but do you believe most fans get that impression when you say the Cardinals were 12th? I understand saying the team ranks 12th in payroll is a factual statement, but in a world where several teams are bad on purpose I think it’s misleading.
    The Cardinals, for a long time, tracked as a top 10 revenue team and a top 10 payroll team. Like revenue, the gap between No. 10 and No. 5 was enormous -- a continental shelf, I once described it. You might have as many teams stacked in the rankings between No. 8 and No. 16 as the difference between No. 5 and 6, or No. 2 and No. 3 for that matter.
    The Cardinals compare well with Atlanta, and Atlanta's financials are publicly. It makes sense for the Cardinals to be competitive with Atlanta's spending -- but that's about to change. Atlanta has the larger metro reason, that means a higher rights fee (more subscribers, more cable bills paying for baseball without watching baseball), and now Atlanta is also getting the infusion of huge crowds and the Battery development. The Cardinals comparison was making up for what they lacked in TV rights fee with huge attendance. Well, Atlanta has that huge attendance now too, so revenue is going to mushroom. Watch their financials closely. It's going to be remarkable.
    As you'd imagine, a team that rests heavily on ticket sales and attendance took a hit during the 2020 and 2021 seasons. And the Cardinals did.
    That dropped their payroll spending, obviously. That dropped their revenue, too.
    This year, they're going to be back in the top third, if not just on the edge of it, and it's entirely fair to suggest that the payroll should reflect that.
    But I would not stop there.
    You brought up similar numbers that I did when writing about how, sure, the Phillies and Padres were low seeds into the playoffs, but they were also top five payrolls. Four of the six teams paying the luxury tax this season were in the NL playoffs. The Cardinals spent 25 percent less than the next closest team in the playoffs. That's a sizeable gap. And they were well behind the average of the other teams, between 40-50 percent. They were the only team in the NL playoffs with a payroll less than $200 million. And they weren't close to $200 million.
    The Cardinals do not ever expect to get close to the luxury tax threshold, and yet here they are with a lot of room to go before they do. 
    You can read the story with more details on the payrolls and the rising cost of contending here: 

    Goold: After summer fun, Cardinals' unceremonious fall highlights rising cost of contention

    STLtoday.comOusted quickly from playoffs, Cardinals face life after Molina without certain starters up the middle and payroll titans taking over the National League.
    Chance that Paul DeJong is our starting shortstop after the 2023 trade deadline?
    I have no idea. There are so many days between now and July 2023 for things to happen. Don't even know who will be healthy on that day. There's no way to know that.
    Thoughts on shortening the regular season to allow for longer postseason series? Division Series to 7 games, Wild Card round to 5 games, something like that? Regular season games can be really entertaining, and the Cardinals definitely had an entertaining season, but I don't think anyone would argue that postseason games aren't more entertaining as a baseball fan.
    It would be fine to shrink back to 154. That makes a lot of sense. But I'm Ok with giving 162 time to breath with the new schedule and see how that fits and what that allows to develop as everyone plays everyone.
    Re: your comment about shifting too much towards football......

    Without getting into any specific details, do you think Rob Manfred has maybe spent too much time trying to emulate the success of the NBA and NFL, rather than really celebrating the things that make baseball unique and historic in our culture? Every few years I look up and it seems more and more he's trying to out-compete those other leagues, rather than telling fans why MLB is a unique product that they should embrace *because* of its differences, not in spite of them.
    That seems like a good place to end the chat. Thanks for your patience as I had to spend some time focusing on things that were beyond baseball.
    Look for a rollout of more Cardinals/baseball coverage this week at The Post-Dispatch's coverage from the World Series begins next week. And then in the days that follow there will be immediate coverage from the GM Meetings in Las Vegas.
    The offseason will pick up momentum quickly and is likely to fill the winter.
    Please check for the latest on the school shooting in St. Louis.
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