Join baseball writer Derrick Goold for his live Cardinals chat from the Winter Meetings

Join baseball writer Derrick Goold for his live Cardinals chat from the Winter Meetings

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

    Greetings from San Diego.
    The Cardinals' front office arrived Sunday evening and are set to continue their pursuit of an everyday catcher. They have had ongoing talks with Oakland about Sean Murphy. They are set to meet with representatives for with at least two of the free-agent catchers. Ben Frederickson wrote today that the Cardinals' urgency should be created by their need, not the calendar -- and that they should focus on the catcher they want. Get their first choice. They have not revealed who that is, but talking with several people from other teams last night -- who are viewing the Cardinals like we are, from outside the suite -- see Murphy has the top fit. 
    You've got questions. I'll do my best to provide answers. There will be a few pauses every so often in the chat as I have to duck away from a conversation. And at some point I'll need to relocate -- and need 10 minutes to do so.
    Let's get to the questions.
    Who do you believe has the best chance "turn the corner" and become what the Cardinals need them to be - O'Neil, DeJong, Carlson or other?
    I wasn't aware that Dylan Carlson needed to turn the corner, honestly. Have a more consistent season, blossom as an offensive player -- sure, that makes sense. He's 24. He had a strong stretch of the season last year, played well in center field, and had the Cardinals thinking this was about to be the breakout stretch for their switch-hitter. Then he had an hand/wrist injury and struggled after that. If that's the corner -- health -- then he and Tyler O'Neill are at the same corner and can turn it.
    After talking with O'Neill, I think he has such a clarity of plan and prep this winter that it should be a benefit going into the spring. He realizes that the key to producing like he showed in 2021 is staying on the field -- that is "step one" as he said several times in our conversation. And he's got a plan to get there.
    For DeJong, the Cardinals have a plan to rebuild his swing. That is going to take more time for them to see and for fans to see, and for the reporters to discuss with him. They have the work in place, and DeJong is going to be in Jupiter this offseason at the hitting lab. There are specific times that Turner Ward will be there to work with him. 
    Do you grimace or sigh when you get the assignment to write the bounce back story every winter?
    No. I don't get assigned it.
    Can Nootbar play CF on a consistent basis? TON?
    The Cardinals are open to finding out that about either outfielder. O'Neill needs reps out there, experience to get reads, but he has the speed, clearly, and he has the closing sprint to track down balls. Nootbaar has played well out there, and that's something to watch in spring training, for sure.
    When will cardinals make first acquisition
    I guess that's how you define acquisition. They already have made two this winter for the 40-man roster. They traded for a minor-league infielder who will play at Class AAA Memphis because they were thin on position players who could play up the middle. And they re-signed Adam Wainwright.
    If you mean a headliner -- well, there's no time like the present. This week expects to spur the catching market, and it would be good for the Cardinals to stay ahead of it, right?
    Hey Derrick; What's your feeling on the "Crime Dog' being elected into the hall? I saw him play a lot and feel he's deserving. Anybody in that group didn't make it you feel should have or may in the future?
    Thanks
    I voted for Fred McGriff when I had the chance. So I'm an advocate for him to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, and I'm glad the committee Sunday made that happen.
    If the Cardinals make a trade for a catcher, what position do they pivot to in order to add to the payroll?
    They've said they'll go looking for a left-handed bat preferably, and if not that then they'll try to find a bat that changes the look of the lineup and provides "protection" -- their words -- for the two MVP finalists. They are also shopping for an additional pitcher. They are looking at the relievers/swingman with high strikeout rates, and they have been exploring both the free-agent market here but also some players who may be returning from one of the professional leagues in Asia. So they have other places they're already looking to spend, and that's baked-into the pursuit of a catcher.
    Are the Winter Meetings a paid vacation (airfare, hotel, meals, rental cars) for the Cardinals front office (Mozeliak & crew)? They don’t fulfill any team needs but rather watch other teams grab valuable free agents or make trades to improve their teams. It’s obvious DeWitt isn’t willing to spend. Too bad Ball Park Village and his downtown luxurious high rise apartment building can’t pitch, hit, or field a baseball. Time for a new President of baseball ops & crew don’t you think?
    In your opinion is Wilson Contreras a good enough hitter to protect Goldy and Nolan A. as a catcher and DH type? Also what type of contract will it take to sign him?
    Willson Contreras is a talented hitter, for sure, and he's a well above average hitter as a catcher. Seriously. One of the best hitters in the game for that position. That looks a lot differently when he's not a catcher, and his production at DH is only slightly better than average for that position. Now, for the Cardinals -- maybe that's enough. Maybe they want to be slightly above average at DH. But they should be cautious there because that would be a steep dip for them. 
    Thanks in large part to the second-half production from Albert Pujols and the cameo appearances from Arenado and Goldschmidt at DH, the Cardinals led the majors with a 150 wRC+ from the DH spot. They also had the highest OPS from that new NL position, at .895.
    The Cardinals DH group's slash line was .270/.345/.550.
    The average DH in MLB had a slash line of .245/.319/.413 for a .732 OPS.
    The Cardinals were getting damage far far far far behind the average from the DH spot. It sure would see like if they're going to go for Contreras at catcher that does increase one of the least productive lineup spots in baseball, but it does not cover all of the offense lost by the DH retiring.
    Justin Verlander is signing with the Mets, a reunion with former Detroit teammate Max Scherzer, so that's happening according to reports.
    It was reported last night that Oakland was “close” to trading Murphy then nothing else happened. Are the Cardinals in on this or not?
    That is a great question for the person who reported it. As I did not, I'm not sure how to comment or explain it. At last check, the Cardinals are "in on this." Or they thought they were.
    Derrick, what kind of “stove” do you imagine the literal “hot stove” to be? For some reason I imagine it to be a Witches Cauldron that all the GM’s AGM’s and PBO’s stand over and brew.

    Thanks for the time!
    I've always thought of it as a camp stove. Portable. Sometimes doesn't light. Sometimes burns too hot. Everybody has an opinion on what to cook over it, not everybody wants to eat what's cooked over it, and there are models that just cost too too much, but they all become the central point of camp and conversation and stories are told all around it.
    Do you think the cardinals could shock us and bring in a big name on a trade during these winter meetings? A trade we don't see coming much like the Jordan Montgomery trade?
    A Jordan Montgomery trade would be prompted by the Cardinals believing they can get a better starter at better value via trade or via free agency. One such move would be re-signing Jose Quintana -- on the premise that Quintana will take more guarantee but less AAV than Montgomery is about to get on his one-year deal -- then try to get a return via trade for Montgomery. I asked around about this a few weeks ago, and the response from a source was that the Cardinals think that Montgomery is going to be great value for his salary in his final year of arbitration. That could get to $10 million, $11 million -- and the Cardinals believe that is the kind of starter he'll be, if not better. That to me sets a bar for him. That's a stride that he'd have to make in his career. That is about what the Cardinals also pegged Steven Matz at for 2023. That tells me the Cardinals are high on Montgomery and explains why they have largely been absent from the starter market.
    How long before good prospect Ivan Herrera be ready to catch full time for the Cardinals?
    The Cardinals want that to happen in 2024. They want to see that stride for the young catcher in the coming months. That said, the math is about to change for the Cardinals and how they approach the catcher position. They're going to redefine what they mean by "full time." That's not going to be Molina with his leading the league in innings and the 110+ starts. They're going to go modern on that position and carve it up more, so that maybe there's a 100/60 split or 90/70 split, and that's how they look at catcher, especially in the coming years as they could make a trade or a signing and then ease Herrera in by being the time share, the split time, and then the leader as performance dictates.
    Good Morning Derrick, during the playoffs I saw a comparison of all the teams by acquisition of players;. Draft, Trade, FA and International signings. The Cardinals were the only team with ZERO international signings. Is this an area the Cardinals are seeking to improve? If so, How?
    Part of that had to do with the injuries, right? Genesis Cabrera and Alex Reyes would be two international signings if they were on the active roster. Their starting shortstop for some of the year was an international signing. But your larger point is a good one -- and that is something that the Cardinals, internally, are trying to improve and understand why some of their top signings from the past four, five years are not reaching the majors as the prospects expected or imagined. They have some strong international signings of note in the past two seasons, including a top prospect catcher who was one of the youngest players in his league this past year, has the attention of scouts with other teams, and internally the Cardinals think he could move the ranks swiftly because of his skills as a catcher and his makeup as a catcher: Leonard Bernal. He's 18. 
    The Cardinals do need better return on their international signings.
    It is well known the Cardinals are looking for a LH bat. I also hear Nootbaar's name as a potential trade candidate. He is their only dependable LH bat at this time and to me it seems unwise to trade him away.
  • I rarely see those things reconciled in reports. Good eye.
    Murphy seems like the best fit for the Card's at catcher to me. But, who would be your pick?
    A close second pick?
    Murphy makes a lot of sense. He would be the answer for several years, and perhaps beyond -- the catcher who sticks around and leads them into the next decade. Jansen would be a solid pick but shorter commitment, so the emphasis would be again on developing the everyday player for a year or two from now, and that lines up with Herrera. Vazquez has so many of the traits the Cardinals say they're looking for in that position. Really has the look of a solid play for a team in transition and needing stability there.
    Derrick, best guess, who is the Cards Opening Day catcher?
    I'm sorry I don't know.
    Thanks for your insight on these chats, DG.
    My question is how can the cardinals justify going into the season with Waino as their number one starter ? They have been short starting pitching the past two years and look poised to make the same mistake again.
    I'm not sure they are doing that. They see their rotation more as a group of pitchers all on the same level -- and Adam Wainwright is the veteran leader, the ace. The Cardinals' preference would be for Jack Flaherty to be the performance leader for the rotation and to have the right-hander pitch and lead and dominate like he did during the finest stretch of his career back in 2019. They would like to have that pitcher atop their rotation in his walk year, and then coming with four pitchers who they think would be a No. 2 on other teams. They are, as mentioned earlier, high on the lefty Montgomery, and they are, as mentioned now, hopeful to get more from matz.
    Can you recall a season in past where 4 of the projected rotation were on their last contractual season w STL? Maybe it’s happened in past, but seems pretty atypical to me and a huge need to address this year, as it’s too much to chase in one offseason next year, even if they like the SP pipeline.
    I cannot. And I have been meaning to look back if that was the case coming out of a season about 20 or so years ago when they did go and add a bunch of starters, via trade and free agency and constructed the rotation that got them into the 2004-2006 stretch.
    Will Jordan Walker make the opening day roster or does his fate depend on what the Cardinals do in the trade market. I’m thinking that if Noot or Carlson are sent off as an asset in a trade, that makes it more likely that Jordan will be in the outfield in opening day?
    Please don't take this the wrong way -- but the opening day outfield for the Cardinals depends on the trade market for everyone involved. That's just the nature of the offseason, and the fact that they haven't started spring training yet. Jordan Walker is part of the Cardinals' planning for the 2023 outfield. Full stop. Period. He's in the mix. They'll get him every chance to hit his way and play his way into the opening day lineup, and you're going to see a lot if Jordan Walker in spring training just as the Cardinals have played other prospects a lot -- to see how they respond and how long they stick around, until there they are impossible to ignore and on the opening day roster. Andre Pallante did that this past season. 
    But how much of an opportunity he has, how many outfielders are ahead of him, very much depends on the trade market, just as it hinges on other things we don't know at this time such as health and performance come March.
    If the Cards get Murphy will that be enough of an offensive upgrade over last season? There seems to be no free agent big bats except for the 4 shortstops, so does that mean a bat to replace Pujos will come by trade?
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