Join columnist Jeff Gordon for his live STL sports chat at 1 p.m. Friday

Join columnist Jeff Gordon for his live STL sports chat at 1 p.m. Friday

Bring your Cards, Blues, Mizzou, SLU and MLS questions and comments, and talk to columnist Jeff Gordon in his weekly live chat.

    Bobo's here and a quick check of the queue shots there are lots of good questions and comments to tackle. So let's go!
    Jeff, was the Pujols signing more a need for the Marketing Dept to sell tickets or the Memphis kids not impressing? There certainly were better options, likely more costly, that would have advanced the on field performance of the club.
    The signing made sense for both points you raised. Bringing back Pujols to rejoin Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina will be marketing gold for a franchise that would like to draw 3 million fans again after the business-killing lockout. That was a no-brainer, given the modest cost. And as luck would have it, neither Juan Yepez nor Nolan Gorman stepped up to make their case in the abbreviated spring training. So it's not like Albert is holding them back. His signing helped buy them more developmental time.
    Once it became apparent that the lockout would compromise spring training and cost Yepez and Gorman much-needed work, the chances of them making the team decreased -- and the odds of the Cardinals adding veteran hitters, like Pujols and Corey Dickerson, increased.
    Hi Jeff. Thanks for doing this.
    JT's story today on Robert Thomas was good, but missed an important detail. Thomas took both defensive zone face-offs in the final 30 seconds against Vancouver on Wednesday night, and won both, allowing the Blues to hold on for the one-goal victory. That's a major improvement over last year, and perhaps the biggest sign of Chief's trust in him.
    However, the Blues' other young star, Jordan Kyrou, continues his goal-scoring funk and general failure to properly manage the puck. He's getting assists, so it's not all bad, and his presence alone can impact how other teams defend, but he's definitely not playing Chief-style hockey. Tom Timmerman notes this is the most games Kyrou has played in a season in years, especially after the two lockdown seasons, and perhaps he is mentally fatigued. My own feeling is that he is having trouble handling the tighter checking that has come after his big shows at the All Star game and Winter Classic. That doesn't bode well for the playoffs. Your thoughts?
    Yeah, watching Toropchenko, Schenn and Barbashev go bowling for Canucks Wednesday reminded everybody what playoff hockey looks like. I could see Berube leaning on a physical trio like that in the postseason while sliding Kyrou into a lesser role with more sheltered minutes -- because the Thomas line looks great these days with Buchnevich and Tarasenko. The O'Reilly line figures to take the lead role, given Ryan's checking ability, Perron's hot streak and Saad's reliability. Come playoff time, that reliability and Saad's experience will be much appreciated by the Chief.
    Long story short, Kyrou will need to earn his postseason role with better play. He hit a lull before getting sick, just as others hit a lull this season. Who will be at their best at the end of April? That will dictate player usage.
    Cards still need a 5th starter. Verhagen not impressive.
    That's a nice way to describe his last outing. I wouldn't mind seeing Jake Woodford get first call as the stopgap fifth starter. The Cardinals rave about VerHagen's stuff, but his poor command left him unable to set up his curveball as his out pitch in his last start. So he got raked.
    An optimist would say this is the year the collective offense puts it together, Pujols' presence adds life to the clubhouse and the vibe in the stadium, the defense is great, and the pitching has potential The Starters could be great if everything works out, Gallegos and Cabrera are solid on the back end, and Marmol seems to have an "It" quality.

    The pessimist says Jeff Albert's offenses have all been bottom 3rd in Runs, the starting pitching could unravel quickly,, all bullpens are question marks from year to year and the Cardinals tend to overuse their better relievers early in the season, and field level decisions are being intruded upon by suits who have never played the game.

    What does a realist say?
    There could be truth in both views. I have some confidence in the offense, which looked a lot more better last season once Tyler O'Neill and Harrison Bader got healthy and Lars Nootbaar joined the outfield party. Paul DeJong is showing some signs of life and Corey Dickerson should do a decent job with 300 to 350 at bats.
    But if DeJong returns to his offensive funk and Albert Pujols struggles during his farewell tour, then the Cardinals could be in some trouble. The starting rotation could remain fluid all season and the bullpen could fall apart if Oliver Marmol rolls out the Parade of 1,000 relievers game after game after game while seeking optimal analytics-driven matchups.
    My guess is the Cardinals will need to upgrade their arms supply on the fly this season. And if they wait too long, the Brewers could run away with the division.
    Good afternoon, Mr. Gordon. Thank you for your time. As the Cardinals search for a fifth starter, I can't help but think about the two young pitchers (Alcantara and Zac Gallen) they let get away in the ill-fated Ozuna trade. For one postseason series victory, the Cards traded two really good young pitchers. I'd take my chances any day with a rotation of Wainwright, Flaherty, Alcantara, Gallen, and Hudson, with Mikolas and Reyes available to piggyback on any of those two pitchers. A lot of Cardinal fans fixate on the Arozarena trade, but I think the Ozone deal was much worse. Do you agree? Thanks.
    You're right about the Marcell Ozuna trade. He was a useful player, but that was a high-cost rental. Sandy Alcantara could become a Top 10 pitcher in the National League and Zac Gallen could be a good mid-rotation hurler for years.
    Jeff,
    It's nice to have Albert back in the STL, but another item caught my eye this week. BenFred reports DeJong says Mo told him in November that he was not looking for a shortstop. Now, I can understand not looking for someone better at some positions, such as first and third base, but not looking for improvement at shortstop – the one position (other than pitching) where it was obvious the Cardinals could upgrade? In November? In the year of the shortstop in free agency, Mo was not even looking? One might think the GM or POBO of a competitive major league team would always be looking for ways to make the team better. Should Cardinal fans just accept the fact that operating method is not really their team’s M.O.? Thanks.
    So here was the calculus on standing pat at shortstop:
    1) DeJong was still under contract. Trading him to create an opening at shortstop would have been a sell-low proposition that could backfire. So giving him another shot was arguably a prudent business decision.
    2) At worst, DeJong is still a reliable fielder at a premium defensive position.
    3) Edmundo Sosa energized the team when he got a chance to start in play of DeJong. He is a low-cost, home-grown player and there still might be some upside there.
    4) If all else failed, Tommy Edman could play some shortstop with Nolan Gorman playing some second base at some point. That appears to be his destiny.
    5) The free-agent shortstops were commanding huge dollars. Theoretically, the Cardinals could spread that money around to multiple players -- which they haven't done yet.
  • I think with the basketball portal we are going to see a huge separation with maybe 15 schools with unbelievable talent and the rest. Look at ark. 7 5 star players. The players coming off of the bench will be great players. Programs like Mizzou will be in the second tier if we can get enough decent players out of the portal if we only get a few we will struggle to win many games especially in the SEC and the good non conf games.
    Eric Musselman has made his mark with transfer talent. It will interesting to see what he does some of these elite younger guys coming in off the grass roots circuit.. On paper they will be loaded.
    There is a ton of talent in the transfer portal and ton more that will end up there as the free agent marketplace heats up. Dennis Gates will need to hit the portal and JUCO circuit hard. He can't just get useful players, as Cuonzo Martin did. He has to find high-impact guys. Perhaps he found one in Diarra, but he needs two strong point guards and much more scoring.
    Thanks for the chat! With the expanded rosters for April, who did you think will be the 28 that head north? I'm think it will be 15 pitchers and 13 position players. Watched last game and was very impressed by Jordan Hicks outing! Stuff looked really good! Thanks for the time!
    Yes, it seems Marmol wants to go with 15 pitchers. The team is falling into place with Juan Yepez joining Nolan Gorman and Matthew Liberatore at Memphis. The bench is set. There are a few guys left battling for the remaining depth starter/bullpen roles on the expanded staff. The door opened for Aaron Brooks to get a look, for instance.
    I appreciate Jim Edmonds knowledge of the game, but would he please shut up occasionally? He talks so much on the telecasts I want to turn the sound off. I just want to watch the game, not hear him rattle on incessantly.
    It's fair to suggest that his forensic examination of individual hitting mechanics can become exhausting.
    Bobo, here we go again with the Shildt saga. Seems like his only cardinal sins (no pun intended) were to seek early season pitching help from the brilliant John Mozaliak following several key injuries and abandoning Albert’s failed hitting approach. It’s obvious to most fans although blatantly missed by Schildt, that Mozaliak has a lifetime job under the DeWitt family. Since Mozaliak is arguably the most disliked St Louis sports executive since the charming Walmart billionaire left for Malibu, why not get him some PR help?
    Some burning questions on the ongoing Shildt story? Will the whole version of each side have to wait till Shildt retires and comes clean and writes a book on his experiences? Was it because of ongoing season long post game comments about "playing who I've been given" which referred to a lack of support from the front office? Then they had to spin the decision because of the historic late season run? Did he push too hard about not embracing Cardinal culture by letting Chis Carpenter go elsewhere? Did he say "one thing" in that meeting that was over the line and a rash decision was made? And if so what was it? Who all was in that meeting and will anyone dare "spill the beans"? Where do you see this story going near future and how can it be resolved so it doesn't simmer and continue to grab headlines?
  • The Shildt dismissal and how it was conducted is a black eye for Mo and the organization. The guy bled Cardinal red. Couldn’t they have given him a warning before firing him? He was blindsided. There has to be things to it that have not been reported.
    This seemed to be a failure on both sides. Yes, John Mozeliak is the boss and, yes, his success earned the sort of job security that allows him to rule the baseball operation with a firm hand. This is a business, not a democracy. But the whole baseball industry knew how dedicated Mike Shildt was to the Cardinals organization and a LOT of baseball people were happy to see a baseball lifer get his run. So the imperious attitude Mozeliak exuded while summarily dismissing Shildt played badly in the industry as well as this marketplace.
    I don't know how the Shildt-Mozeliak tiff actually played out, but this is how it should have played out:
    Mozeliak needed to loosen his bowtie, sit down with Shildt, take in all of Mike's input -- which MIke earned the right to share after all of these years of hard work -- and conceded that Shildt was right about some things. Because he was. That being said, to use one of Mozeliak's favorite phrases, John could have proceeded to share his "this is the way we're going to do things" vision. He could have been firm with that presentation, making it clear is was this way in 2022 or the highway for Mike anybody else on the field staff. With cards on the table, Mozeliak could have let the meeting marinate for a day or two before reconvening with Shildt.
    If Shildt came back and said "I have to do it my way to manage here," then Mozeliak could said, "Well, then we're going to have to in a different direction." Each side would have heard the other but, at the of day, as Mozeliak likes to say, the president of baseball operations has the right to run things as he sees fit.
    Mike's mistake was allowing his passion for the organization to make him believe he was the Keeper of Cardinal Way. Obviously the input he offered was too pointed, rubbing Mozeliak the wrong way. Obviously he was too stubborn for his own survival. Mike needed to know his place in the food chain, realize that Mozeliak was right about some things, and proceed diplomatically if he wanted to stay.
    The Cards suspect starting pitching is again reflected in the almost hideous low win total projections by Pecota and FanGraphs. What did the front office do to significantly close the gap with the better Milwaukee team? Or let Pujols sell the tickets and just make wildcard again?
    The roster is not frozen, which makes the projections for the season useless. I love FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus, but they can't predict the in-season roster moves that can change team dynamics. The Brewers won last year because they kept adding talent to fill needs -- and they got started on that early on. The Cardinals waited too long to make upgrades last season, which is why they needed an epic winning streak to slip into the bracket.
    While the Cardinals lineup and bench seem fairly set, the pitching staff could be in flux all season. The baseball operation is facing a day-to-day challenge on that front. Where the Cardinals finish this season will depend on how the roster evolves on the fly.
    Do you think mizzou made a wise choice joining the SEC. We were so much more competitive in the Big 12. Even if teams left we would of stayed competitive. I have a hard time seeing us being much of a force in the SEC. We are over 40 games under 500 in sec basketball 6 under 500 in football and in baseball way under 500. I just wonder if mizzou has the resources or the desire to be an SEC type school
    At the time Missouri made the jump, the Big 12 was on the brink of implosion. The Big Ten would have been a better fit, but that courtship failed. So Missouri's choice was to aim high with the SEC or sit back and let the movement of other schools dictate its fate. Had things gone the wrong way, Missouri could have landed in the American Athletic Conference. Instead, the Big 12 survived the realignment scramble . . . while looking more like the AAC than it's old self. And maybe that is a better level for Missouri.
    If this school can't make a big revenue leap in both football and basketball in the next five years, staying in the SEC may be untenable. The SEC will only get crazier with Texas and Oklahoma.
    Isn't management claim of moving toward "modernizing" lineups and substitutions based on metrics a slap in the face to Shildt who despite saddled w an inferior bench made a historic run last season?
    Mike Shildt liked to leave veterans in comfortable roles and trust their ability to work out of funks. But like you say, for half a season he did not have much choice. He had a feeble bench and poor pitching depth. He didn't have much choice but to send Johan Oviedo out to die start after start after start. The team's refusal to dump the useless Matt Carpenter handcuffed him all season too. Once he had a better roster, he was able to direct the team an an epic streak.
    I think there is more going on with Binnington then we are lead to believe. Is there anything going on that us the casual enlightening sports fan may not know? Has he been hurt?
    He's not hurt. He hasn't played great -- and life won't get any easier when he starts one of these games in Edmonton. This Alberta swing can be hard on goaltenders.
    Gordo, what do you think of this convo:

    DeWitt: What do you think of signing Pujols?

    Mo: He is on the down slide and will block our younger players.

    DeWitt: What would he cost?

    Mo: Not $25m a year. Probably a tenth of that. But if he bombs it could get ugly. I don’t recommend it.

    DeWitt: Do you see those empty seats? Do you know the hit we took from Covid?

    Mo: I’ll call his agent.
  • Yes, there was a large business component to this decision. Judging from the fan reaction so far, that was the right call. Now the front office is crossing fingers hoping that this turns out better than the refusal to dump Matt Carpenter.
    With Pujols and Dickerson, the bench is more one dimensional. Does that mean Donovan, who can play several positions, will make the team? Nootbar to Memphis?
    I could Nootbaar getting regular work if he hits, since both he and Dickerson could start against tough righthanded pitchers while Bader sits. The fact that Pujols is limited to mostly DH work against lefty starters and pinch-hitting against lefty relievers does make the bench even shorter.
    How many 20+ HR hitters do you expect the Cardinals to end the season with (barring injuries of course)? And will Pujols be in that group?
    Albert managed to hit 17 homers past season for the two LA teams playing part-time, so that's possible. Otherwise, O'Neill, Arenado and Goldschmidt are shoo-ins if healthy and Carlson and DeJong will get every chance to hit more than 20 as well. Bader could lose at bats this season with more platoon managing.
    Matz got lit up in his last start and he has always been a .500 pitcher. Mikolas is an injury waiting to happen. The back up starters enjoyed success in Japan but not in MLB. The rotation is a disaster.
    Matz was 14-7 with a 3.82 ERA last season. He, Hudson, Mikolas and Wainwright are a decent foursome. The fifth starter could be flux until Jack Flaherty returns. But, as I noted earlier, pitching is something management will need to monitor day to day with this group. Issues that arise must be addressed more quickly than they were last year.
    Jeff - How much of Corey Dickerson do you expect to see in the lineup this year? It would seem the Pujols signing eats into his role in a massive way, especially given Marmol's comments that Pujols will get at bats vs righties and lefties. Not to mention the young guys who are knocking on the door will likely get a chance to see Major league time at some point.
    I see Dickerson getting 300 to 350 at bats. If Albert can turn back his clock and resume hitting righthanded pitching again, great, but what are the odds of that happening?
  • If we are going to laud DeJong's spring training performance, isn't it fair to raise a brow of concern about the rotation? Matz and VerHagen both got smoked and even Waino has surrendered 3 HRs in his two outings.
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