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.

    Greetings. If it's Monday, it's chat day. I have one quick thing to complete before I can plunge headlong into your questions. Fresh off the winter meetings, the Cardinals have their catcher, have their middle order hitter, and have some payroll room to pursue ... well, they're looking at pitching depth and starting rotation moves. No "big splash" is how Mozeliak put it in during his interview with KMOX/1120 AM on Sunday. But there is a big need looming.
    You've got questions. I've got a keyboard. Bring it.
    (But just please gives me 5 min to complete something. And then 5 min to read some of the lengthy questions already in here. Hey, I'll be the wordy one here!)
    This may sound strange but I'm glad Mo said no 'big splash" now free agents and other teams might be surprised when he purses one of them, (pitching )
    Sure. I guess. That hasn't really been his style. He plays poker, sure, but he doesn't play misdirection. I recently asked him and others about this given how the Cardinals were playing parallel games trying to sign a catcher and trying to trade for a catcher. I wondered if he would make an offer to a catcher only to yank it back if he got the trade he wanted, and also if doing one could spur the preferred result from the other. The Cardinals and others said if an offer was tabled by them -- if they got to a point where they knew an offer would be accepted by the free agent, they would make it and move on, not pull it back if a trade came through in the midst of it. I thought that was interesting. It's as much diplomacy as it is negotiation. Don't make the proposal until you know the body is going to approve it.
    Hi Derrick, thanks for your coverage of the Winter Meetings. Great stuff. At the beginning of the offseason, the Cardinals said they wanted a catcher and a bat, and that those two were not a "two-for-one" acquisition. It seems like that's changed since Contreras? Or are they still looking for another bat as stated at the beginning of the offseason. Thanks Derrick. Hope you're having a great holiday season.
    It definitely changed. Or, they would say, it evolved. Part of that is because the trade talks did not go the direction the Cardinals expected, not with the asking price for the targeted catchers. The Cardinals had a scenario where they get the catcher they wanted and then pursued another bat (i.e., Dansby Swanson or another unidentified option). They also had the scenario that played out -- they got the free-agent catcher at the price they wanted, they could handle without giving up any prospects, and that catcher also was the top offensive player at his position available. It one possible thread for them to follow, and it's the one that happened and became more palatable, more intriguing, really, after that Nov. 30 meeting. 
    When they started the offseason they did not yet have that meeting, and so things change, their views evolve, their knowledge of the trade market grows, and the move arrives.
    The front office has to realize that currently they don’t have the starting pitching to compete with the upper echelon of teams in the National League, do they go after Rodon or another option like Bassitt or Eovaldi?
    They have explored trading for Eovaldi before. He has some of the traits they're interested in. As of right now, it's not certain they would assure him a spot in the rotation, and he'd look for that opportunity first, of course. The Cardinals could be including him in that swingman range, and they've run into free agents who would prefer to start. As for Bassitt. Yes. There's interest there. He walked from a high-dollar option and will want to guarantee much more than he walked away from and for several years. It's possible to see a fit there, and he's the type of pitcher the Cardinals do like to add, especially with the upcoming needs.
    I've not seen or been able to confirm anything substantive on interest in Rodon. His asking price his high, his length of contract is long, and the Cardinals have avoided such things when it comes to pitchers not named David Price.
    1. While Contreras might be a middle of the order bat, I think the Cards would greatly benefit from a LH hitter *3rd in the order*, between Goldy and Arenado. Is there any such bat available worth pursuing?

    2. In your opinion, and independent of whether Mo would actually allow such talk, Flaherty, Hudson, Burleson plus what non-Walker addition would keep the Angels on the line in a talk about Ohtani?
    1. Agreed. Not one that leaps to mind as a sure thing. There are some out there -- Gallo, Conforto -- and a move for one makes sense for the Cardinals pending the price. No sure things. But if they catch lightning or see something they can improve, that's a good and important get for the Cardinals. Otherwise, they need that left-handed presence to come from Nootbaar, Donovan, or Carlson.
    2. That's not even in the ballpark of what a deal would like for Ohtani. You're including a one-year starter who is coming off of injury and hasn't shown to be the equal of Ohtani on the mound in recent years. You're not replacing his bat at all. You're trading 16 years of control for one year of control -- but granted that year of control is for a two-facet player, which does change the economics. And you're not including a top prospect.
    Any top prospect.
    Not one. 
    You're talking Walker AND in those conversations not OTHER THAN.
    Good thought exercise. But start with what the Angels would want, not what you'd like the Cardinals to give. That's always a good spot. If you were the Angels, who would you want?
    On pins and needles to see who fills the Dickerson role...Michael Brantley? David Peralta? Joey Gallo?
    Burleson, Alec.
    Hope that alleviates the acupuncture. You're welcome.
    What's the plan for Dakota Hudson?
    Have him compete for a spot in the rotation.
    What was the National's ask in the Soto talks?
    A lot. I hope that by answering this months after the conversations we won't spend the entirety of 2023 also answering this same question. The Nationals wanted the Cardinals to build a package around their top prospect talent (Walker and Winn were the chief preferences and had sparked the Nats imagination), a power pitching prospect (I heard Graceffo mentioned and he's created a lot of buzz but there was also McGreevy mentioned as a possibility, Jake Walsh was there too), and then young talent from the major-league roster. Reports varied on who. The Post-Dispatch reported on Washington's interest in Dylan Carlson and the Cardinals reluctance to include him WITH the top prospects in any package. The combination of those players were too much for the Cardinals. The Belleville News-Democrat reported Nolan Gorman had come up in the trade talks. Whatever the case, it was the complete package of prospects that the Nats wanted that stalled the talks, because as reluctant as the Cardinals were to include Carlson, they had zero interest in a deal that would require them to trade Jordan Walker, who might be the top prospect in the minors when 2023 starts. So, they would have been trying to talk the Nats off a package of players that was unpalatable to one that include some of who they wanted, not all.
    Let's look at the trade that did happen.
    According to The Athletic's Keith Law, a longtime writer on prospects, the Nats got an "exorbitant" haul of prospects from the Padres. He wrote: The Nationals received "Mackenzie Gore, (a) top-of-the-rotation status until his elbow started barking a few weeks ago; shortstop C.J. Abrams, who would be the Padres’ top prospect if he weren’t currently on the big-league roster; the Padres’ top two prospects still in the minors, Robert Hassell III (No. 18) and James Wood (No. 44), ... and Jarlin Susana, a 6-foot-6 right-hander who made his pro debut in June and has been the biggest breakout prospect in the Arizona Rookie League this year."
    Where would you even begin to find the comparative prospects for the Cardinals in that regard? They didn't have a Gore to trade at that time. Gorman was their Abrams, but he didn't play shortstop. Carlson played center, so there's that edge. And then TWO TOP 50 PROSPECTS. So Winn and Wallker. Not at all what the Cardinals were trying to deal. Oh, and then an AFL breakout, which would be similar to Graceffo or maybe Hjerpe, if the Nats wished they would have drafted him.
    So, yeah, that's what Washington got. Maybe having that moment of them talking in the booth together got San Diego's attention and upped the offer.
    Maybe the Nats will send the Cardinals a nice Christmas card for all the gifts they did get.
    Maybe we can move on to another topic now? 
    Now that the team has signed a catcher who is also a significant bat, what's the plan for the rest of the winter? Does the FO see other needs to fill?
    Pitching. Get ready for a lot of talk about pitching. Pitching. Maybe a left-handed bat that finds himself on the outskirts of the market when the music stops. But also pitching.
    Hi Derrick, thanks for the chat. Given that Matz is the only starter signed through '24 and the rotation lacks a clear Division Series Game 1 Starter, why isn't the team in on Rodon?
    BenFred “The president of baseball operations, for example, wanted a direct answer on if the powerful-hitting Contreras was determined to be the kind of primary catcher the Cardinals wanted (120-140 starts behind the plate per season).”
    Seems like a strange thing to ask since he hasn’t caught more than 100 games in the last 4 years. Personally, I was looking for Knizner to get 80 games himself next year.
    Ben Frederickson's column was an excellent look into what the Cardinals wanted to hear from Contreras in that meeting, how it went, and why it was important. Thank you for giving me a reason to share that work by a colleague, because clearly it was important for the Cardinals to know that Contreras didn't want to settle for 100 games at catcher. Here is Frederickson's column: 

    BenFred: No-frills first meeting between Cardinals, Contreras set foundation for catcher's signing

    STLtoday.com"Make it happen," Contreras told his agent. "This is the right place for me."
    At this point, I feel the cards need an impact bat more than pitching? do you agree.?
    I'm not so sure. But granted I'm pretty annoying when it comes to asking about a lack of pitching depth or pitching certainty. Mozeliak will tell you. And then things like 2021 happen and 2022 happen, and I feel OK constantly beating the drum about innings.
    Does the addition of Contrerus (240 hitter, 22 hr,, 60 rbi's) bat replace Pujols? I say not! The cards need to find a legitimate 5th hitter in the lineup in order to compete with the other teams at the top. What say you?
    Let's a take a look at that statistics that will tell us more about the swap, and not those baseball card numbers, two of which are counting numbers. We'll get a clearly view, I hope.
    Albert Pujols, for the Cardinals in 2022, hit .270/.345/.550 for a .895 OPS. He had an 154 OPS+ when compared against his peers and accounted for the ballpark. He also had a 2.1 offensive WAR and a strong 151 wRC+, that is the runs he recreated weighted against the league average (100). Excellent stuff. A thunderous finish and well above average when it comes to DH production.
    Willson Contreras was a .243/.349/.466 hitter in 2022 for a .815 OPS. He did not have the average of Pujols, but he had a slightly higher OBP, which, to put it simply, he made fewer outs at the plate. That's good. Pujols outpaced him with OPS because of the damage he did in fewer at-bats, and that gets us to Contreras' 128 OPS+ and his wRC+ of 132. Both are smaller than Pujols because he had less damage. But Contreras was an efficient offensive player who did bring more attributes to the plate than damage, made fewer outs, and that explains his 3.7 offensive WAR, which is better than Pujols.
    In conclusion: Contreras, as you say, won't replace Pujols. It's closer than counting numbers or average suggest, but he's not a certain upgrade or fill-in for what Pujols provided.
    The gap must be covered by what ultimately will turn the Cardinals lineup from a good lineup to one of the best lineups and you're not going to like the answer. Brace yourself.
    Outfield production.
    Here they are again. Cue the Talking Heads. Same as it ever was.
    Have you heard if So Taguchi has ever been considered for a coaching position?
  • He is working his way toward being a manager in Japan. He's already a coach for the Orix team that has a working relationship with the Cardinals and recently won the championship. He is in line to be a manager there, and he's pursuing that.
    Isn’t the gaping hole now a veteran closer/late inning guy to add to Helsley?
    Giovanny Gallegos remains a Cardinal with a bright, new two-year contract.
    I’m not sure if this posted the first time so I’m sending it again. Who will pay the price when we are inevitably bounced from the playoffs in the first round? Just the fans again or will the front office finally be held accountable for trying to just win a horrible division?
    The media. Have you seen Twitter? Purchase stock in aspirin.
    Let me see if I can parse this question.
    Do you mean who will get fired? Is that what you're asking? Mozeliak is entering the final year of his contract. His brain trust recently got multi-year extensions from the Cardinals, and the ownership does not want them going anywhere unless it's for a promotion.
    The price the fans pay is definitely there on the ticket, and as consumers they can withhold paying that price if they do not like the product on the field. If you feel the Cardinals are in breech of the brand that they are selling you, then you as a consumer have the right to not support them, however you chose to do that. I get it. That's hard when it's a sports team and not a business or restaurant that has wronged you in some way. But that is your right. And I say this knowing that if there are fewer fans of the team there is likely fewer readers of the coverage. Hey, that's another example, if you don't like the coverage of your team you're unlikely to subscribe or you'll look for another outlet that has the coverage you prefer.
    It's up to me an my colleagues to earn your subscription or we'll "pay" for not doing so.
    It's up to the Cardinals to earn your spending on their product.
    And, yes, the division is not great. And we've said many time the Cardinals need to aim higher, especially now, with all the spending in the NL and the new playoff format.
    I am guessing the Cards go into trade mode now,, are the Marlins with their pitchers the most likely trade partner? and what trades do you think they could do?? thanks
    Pablo Lopez is the Marlins pitcher that the Cardinals could explore. They have shown interest in him in the past. He'd be a good fit for them. Miami has expressed the openness to talk about trading him. There's a match there. And only there.
    When Mozeilak sees the prices paid for guys like Brandon Nimmo, Cody Bellinger, Xander Bogaerts, Trae Turner, Verlander and Degrom, do you think he laughs or sweats? I'd argue that all of these players were overpaid, but when overpayment is ubiquitous that just becomes the new market value, right?
    I think he notes them down in a college-ruled composition notebook and prepares a presentation or memo to ownership about the rising cost of doing business and if they want to remain contenders, the payroll has to grow. That's just my bet.
    What are the odds of the Cardinals hanging onto the Rule 5 draft picks (major and minor leaguers) and what about the pitcher in low A they were exposing - Inohan P?
    So, let's start here: the minor league picks are Cardinals for good, as long as the team wants them. They won't be offered back. That phase is different than the major-league Rule 5 draft, and it means that the Cardinals have their rights, and if they make a move with them, it will be moving on from that player, not moving them back to their original team. That's all. Those players are Cardinals without strings attached.
    The right-hander the Cardinals picked up in the MLB portion of the Rule 5 Draft does come with a lot of strings attached. He must remain on the active roster or major-league injured list for the season for the Cardinals to wrest his rights from the Yankees. If at any point the Cardinals suggest he won't make the team out of spring training or they want to demote him during the season, they must first offer him back to the Yankees who are the only team that can then put him in the minors without losing him to another team. Got it? Until the Yankees give up his rights, they are the only team that can option him to the minors.
    Does Wilking Rodriguez have the stuff to make the Cardinals out of spring?
    It's possible. He throws 100. He throws strikes. He's got an above average cutter that he also can throw for a strike, and that unnerves hitters at the levels where he's dominated. How does it play at a higher level? The Cardinals want to see for themselves with the chance of keeping him. They thought they found a gem during the season and tried to acquire him but his team in Mexico resisted. The Yankees made a deal with the player directly and signed him the day after the season ended. But they left him unprotected. The Cardinals took their chance. Another team in the room lauded the pick, said Rodriguez had the best stuff, best advanced stuff available in the Rule 5 draft. He was on his way to contributing to the Yankees back in 2015 when he was suspended 80 games for a positive PED test. That derailed his advancement, he went to independent ball, and now has his best chance in a long time to be in the majors -- the roster rules give him a head start. Does he make the most of it with his performance? He may never have a better chance to be in the majors ... 
    Barring injuries or trades, I wonder if the Cardinals are going to have to DFA some pitchers - they have room for 13 on the ML roster, but more candidates. Who of the following have options remaining? Hudson, Naughton, Woodford, VerHagen, Romero, Cabrera?
    It's possible I'm missing a move somewhere, especially with Woodford as I just retraced his transaction log to be sure, but entering 2023 all but VerHagen have at least one option remaining, according to the notes I've kept. I don't see the DFA being a factor when it comes to the pitchers you mentioned, and with VerHagen if he's not going to be in the majors with the team giving his contract they could just release him and let him be a free agent and move on.
    Hi Derrick, Being a baseball fan & a movie enthusiast, which would be more fun to witness in San Diego. Winter meetings or Comic Con?
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