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 and welcome to the weekly Cardinals chat here at StlToday.com, the mobile and online home of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. If it's Monday, it's baseball around here. And if it's January, it's time to talk about the Hall of Fame and the Hall of Fame ballot. Each year, I make my Hall of Fame ballot public and take questions here at the chat. This year is no different -- just a bit later. If any player was elected by the writers to the Class of 2023, that announcement will come Tuesday evening. The following photo is of my ballot submitted before the deadline. I welcome any questions, complaints, or criticisms about it. I'll be as transparent as possible because that's important for the process ...
    My 2023 ballot for the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
    With the cardinals current business model, are the cardinals the new pirates?
    No. Not even close. Pittsburgh does have a lovely ballpark, though.
    Derrick,
    What is the financial status of the Cardinals? Sure, the “model” is a business model designed to turn a profit, but the Cardinals are operating as a middle of the pack team, piling up “dry powder” but only using it occasionally, making roundabout excuses to justify their relative frugality, and selling it as a virtue. So, is this team more financially stressed than they are letting on? Why can't they flex more? Something just seems off. After years of fiscal conservatism, if the Cardinals don’t have enough money to make difference-making talent improvements more often, they ought to be honest about it. Sports teams are public trusts. Transparency is healthy. Fans should have the right to know the truth about their team’s financials. Fully informed, they can then judge accordingly. Thank you for your enlightening reporting.
    The Cardinals ranked 12th in revenue this past year, per Bill DeWitt Jr. That checks with the information from Major League Baseball and a description by other sources coming out of the season. That's not profits, for sure. But it is reflective of that. The Cardinals have been in the Top 10 for revenue, and did have a good run there right in that 8-10 range, and in more recent years they've been in that 8-12 range, which they find themselves in again. Not included in that number -- though it would not change their ranking -- is the check the Cardinals (and every other team) received from Disney's purchase of the MLBAM tech. When asked, a Cardinals official said that infusion of cash was already included in their plan to increase payroll. The big boost to get the Cardinals back on the spending curve they once imagined was the ticket sales this past season, and a lot of that obviously had to do with the return and performance of Albert Pujols. That put the Cardinals in a good spot financially. There is no evidence they are struggling financially any more than all teams were coming out of seasons with reduced revenue due to ticket sales. There is concern about the broadcast situation, obviously. The Cardinals own part of the station. They need to modernize. They need to know if the parent company of Bally Sports Midwest is going to file for bankruptcy. They need a solution.
    There is evidence that the Cardinals wanted to spend more than they did. They saw a rise into the $180 million range for the opening day payroll. That positions them for their first $200-miillion payroll for the 40-man roster (total spending, by the end of the year). 
    A few other things. A vasty majority of teams want to make profits. That isn't special or unique to St. Louis anymore than pinstripes are unique to the Bronx. They are businesses. They want to grow their business. Owners want to make money. It is how they became owners, after all. The Cardinals chose not to spend like other teams in the NL. Some of their peers -- other teams -- believe they could grow their payroll and point to moves that did not happen (Stanton, Price) and moves that did happen (Arenado) as proof. The Cardinals will see a 13% hike in opening day payroll. When the calendar gets us closer to opening day, we'll see where that ranks. Of concern/criticism for fans should be the new money spent on the roster, not the total uptick in payroll.
    And, lastly, the Cardinals do expect Ballpark Village to become a fountain of revenue at some point that spills into spending on the team. That is something they recognize needs to happen to keep pace with other clubs. I asked DeWitt about this, and he said that is the plan -- but it will be the next chairman's determine.
    Hi Derrick, thx for the chat....again. I follow the Cards very close and I am still amazed at how many times Woodford gets left out of the conversation. He have a terrific year last year and the 2nd half of 2021 but still gets very little respect. Do you think he has a role this year on the 26 man, or will he repeat last years shuttle position.? Maybe he gets involved in a trade deal? This might be best for him as the Cards FO doesn't seem to like him much...?
    It absolutely might be the best for him, and this is the spring where it could happen. Jake Woodford has done a lot for the Cardinals -- and there's a strong case to be made that he should get a larger opportunity and more oxygen in the conversation than he does. He has also put in a lot of work this winter to continue to changes/adjustments/fine-tuning he did during this past season. And the Cardinals and Woodford are both encouraged by those improvements. All of it might be prelude for him getting his chance to start elsewhere. That is possible. Or, he could just do what he did last spring and force the issue for a role and a prominent one in the Cardinals' plans.
    Derrick, would it be accurate to think that the Cards tried to make additional moves this offseason, but for whatever reason--high asking prices from FA's or in trades--that now they feel better about letting the roster play out in terms of performance and injuries and let those things determine what they do at the trade deadline? Maybe look for that trade later in the season that could put them over the top in a playoff series (such as an "ace" type starter)? Thanks for the chat.
    It is accurate to say they tired to make additional moves. There was a time when they were trying to trade for a catcher and would have thought then about signing a shortstop. After signing a catcher, they made bids for left-handed batters and were turned down by at least one of them, and it wasn't because of the money, it was because of the role. The Cardinals made a compelling financial offer, but not playing time the outfielder/DH sought. The Cardinals engaged in talks with several pitchers -- Drew Rucinski was one -- and did not match the offer or opportunity that they found elsewhere. While there was a lot of chatter about them at the Marlins, there was, according to sources, not a lot of momentum there for them with Lopez, not compared to Minnesota's interest. Boston was also in the mix at some point. At one point recently, the Cardinals appeared to be gathering intel for future trades -- whether that's trade possibilities during spring or, more likely, the market closer to the trade deadline and the top end starters or starters with years of control who could be moved at that time.
    DG,

    With the international signing period recently opening up again — it got me thinking about an “international draft” and I thought I remembered that an “international draft” was discussed as part of last years CBA — but I can’t remember where things landed on the subject…

    Can you provide a status update as to where things currently stand on that subject?

    Thanks as always for your great work!
    An international draft was discussed. A deadline was set for both sides to agree upon a plan for an international draft. The union was motivated to do so because that would mean the elimination of the qualifying offer from free agents. (For example: If an international draft had happened the Cardinals would not be on the hook for losing a draft pick to sign Willson Contreras.) An agreement could not be completed. An international draft plan was not realized. And there is no international draft -- its creation essentially pushed into the next CBA negotiations unless there is a breakthrough in how to put one together. This is something that both sides want -- but it is harder for the union with its members to come to an agreeable plan to present.
    To all of us on line Cardinal fans, me included, that think's Mo's plain does not work.
    We are WRONG!!
    That is according to over 3 million Cardinal fans that go to Bush Stadium every year.
    Mr. Goold what is your take on this?
    Actions speak louder than tweets.
    Hi, Derrick - thanks for the chats, and for sharing your HOF ballot. 2 quick questions about that, if you don't mind me doubling up: first, I'd appreciate you explaining your thoughts on Bobby Abreu as a Hall of Famer (full disclosure, he seems more Hall of Very Good to me, but it's fairly close), and second, has there been any traction in moving toward the "binary ballot" you first mentioned several years ago? (I've seen it referenced in a variety of places, but haven't heard of it being strongly considered.) Thanks!
  • When it comes to the ballot, I try to build some consistency -- year to year, and player to player. When I started voting, I dug deep into the careers and numbers and performances of three pitchers who were on the ballot: Schilling, Smoltz, and Mussina. Smoltz zoomed into Cooperstown. Mussina got there eventually. Schilling remains outside. I voted for all three and would feel comfortable if they all were in Cooperstown. That is because as I dug into the research, I had a hard time separating them from each other -- Schilling had the strong October claim, Smoltz had the playoff start but also that time as a closer that stands out from others, and Mussina was this steady, strong, starting presence in one of the most difficult divisions in baseball and not always for a winning team. Each had a column or two where they stood out from each other, and each had a career that stood out from their peers. I bring them up because it was after voting for Gary Sheffield and establishing, ok, that is the career that to me is a Hall of Fame career that I kept coming up with how Abreu, too, had a similar career -- just got there a different way. A really different way. Abreu was too often overlooked for All-Star Games and MVP consideration, and since I cannot unwind that clock I can look at his career anew for what was missed. He was an elite, even five-tool player, who excelled at not getting out. That's the big one. During his career, he reached base more than 3,700 times, and the only contemporaries who reached base more were Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Chipper Jones. When comes to not making outs and getting on base, Abreu ranks just ahead of Gwynn and Rock Raines, for context. Of the players ahead of Abreu, all-time, almost 90% are Hall of Famers. If that's where the line is, I get it. That's where you keep Abreu out and put the others in. But I couldn't make the line there for me. Abreu didn't have the huge home run total (288) but he did hit a bunch of doubles (574) and steal 400 bases. Right field is a land of giants when it comes to the Hall of Fame, and it has long been my vote that Sheffield belongs in that group. His offensive way way way outperforming others and any (curious) drag might come statistically from his defense. And as I looked at Abreu's career I saw it lining up as similar and felt voting for one and not the other was inconsistent. 
    Hi Derrick, do you see the Cardinals signing an impact bat to protect Goldy and Arenado in the line up?
    They call Willson Contreras that bat. That is their opinion. Otherwise, there really isn't one out there anymore.
    Ah, the plight of a Cardinals fan. Do we stay away from something we so cherish - a game at Busch, to send a message to a stubborn owner who may be taking advantage of our goodwill as a fanbase/city? Or do we buy into the "just get in" philosophy that has seen the same outcome 3 years in a row and only one series win since 2015?
    Seems like a false dichotomy. But that's just me.
    DG: Heard the TV announcer job was down to two, any idea who they might be?
    Thanks
    My colleague Dan Caesar has been reporting on this search. There is expected to be movement on that this week, in the near future. The Cardinals have gotten more involved in the final stages of the decision and there are multiple candidates. As Caesar has reported -- Aaron Goldsmith, a broadcaster in Seattle and from the St. Louis area, is one of the leading candidates, and he has been so since Bally Sports Midwest (and the Cardinals) began their search. He was near the forefront of who the team wanted to approach and explore. And rightfully so. He's a talented broadcaster.
    I have not been told it's down to two or confirmed that the list is that short for what it's worth. Only that a decision is rapidly approaching. But I'll point you in the direction of the reporting by Caesar.
    I can add that Goldsmith is not the only established play-by-play announcer in the running or approached by the Cardinals. There are a few others that, as I type this answer, I'm making calls to confirm.
    I don’t know that the Cards wanted to spend money, I think they want to see what they have, give a chance to some of these guys to sink or swim?
    Rest assured, I can report -- they wanted to spend on at least one other contract.
    Which of the young prospects do you think will make the team out of spring training?
    Jordan Walker has a legitimate chance to be that player. Graceffo, too. He could do what Pallante did this past season.
    Who is our opening day starter ? Waino because of his history ? Or waino because he’s still the best of a mediocre group ?
    Adam Wainwright starts the opener at home in his final season. Who else? C'mon.
    Assuming the answer is not Dry, what is your favorite kind of Powder?
    Hot chocolate, I guess.
    Alec Burleson looks like a very good player. What are the chances he gets to start the season as a starting outfielder?
    He'd have to leapfrog the other players there in line for it. That's possible. It could happen. He could also hit his way into being the left-handed bat in the DH equation. That could happen, and the number of players ahead of his less. To be the starting outfielder he was outplay/outhit Nootbaar, Carlson, and O'Neill and the Cardinals' perception of their trends/future performance. Plus, he'd have to outhit Donovan and Gorman, either of whom could factor into the outfield discussion, because of Gorman wins playing time at 2B and Donovan is the OBP player he was this past year then he's playing int the OF at times ...
    I really enjoyed your article about third basemen having difficulty making the hall. Why do you think they are under-appreciated by the writers?
  • Thank you for reading the article. I tried to articulate that. They are neither the offensive powerhouses that 1B and RF have been, and they are not considered the defensive gems that shortstops get to be. They are, in truth, some of the most well-rounded players because they have to be, and well-rounded doesn't excite as much as a career that is lopsided in a category (home runs, hits, Gold Gloves ... whatever). Also, longevity. The success and long-term production at 3B is relatively new given for decades how many players started at third but did not end there, or started at shortstop and then gravitated to third before not being big leaguers at all. That is changing at third. And the Hall is about to reflect that.
    Here is the story in question: 

    Goold: Can Cardinals standout Scott Rolen help thaw the Hall of Fame for the Hot Corner?

    STLtoday.comIf elected to Cooperstown on Tuesday, Scott Rolen would be only the second third basemen inducted who debuted in the past 40 years.
    I have no problem with starting the season with Contreras Goldschmidt Gorman Edman and Arenado as the starting infield. If O'Neill is not hurt, he starts. After him the other two outfield places and the DH I think we need help. Why has Mo not acquired the other big outfield or DH bat we need?
    Two reasons stand out from your comment:
    1) The Cardinals (and other teams) think more of Lars Nootbaar than you do.
    2) At least one candidate for that jobbed turned the Cardinals down to sign elsewhere. It's possible that player was Joey Gallo, or at least a free agent with a profile like him.
    Assuming Wainwright throws a pitch over the final weekend of the regular season, he will surpass Jesse Orosco on the list of largest gap of days (6,179) between throwing the final pitch of a World Series and throwing his final MLB pitch. How about that?
    Baseball. What a gas.
    Derrick, what would it take to bring an MLB team, or at least Triple A baseball back to New Orleans?
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