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. For a change, the folks milling about the lobby don't seem angry. This could be easy Friday afternoon for a change. So let's go!
    I just found that the MLB website allows you to sort all teams in both leagues by win percentage. Interesting list of course. The Cardinals have risen to a very respectable 6th overall in all of MLB, albeit they are kind of the 'best of the rest,' being well behind the top 5 and just in front of a gaggle of teams. Yet, I suspect their record since the all-star break is as good as any and you have to like the momentum. With a little luck, this team could go a long way in the playoffs...
    When you look around baseball, you see how quickly thing can change for the good or the bad. The Yankees were a juggernaut, then they weren’t. What will they be come October? The powerful Dodgers have taken some big injury hits. The Padres lose Fernando Tatis Jr. before he ever made it back. So which teams will be healthy and playing well in October? And which teams will have players get hot, ala Randy Arozarena, at the best possible time? Right now the Cardinals are playing well, but they need to get more guys hitting. Then there is wishful thinking: Fall production from Jack Flaherty and Steven Matz would allow Oliver Marmol to strengthen his suspect bullpen with middle relievers building a long bridge. Ah, but what are the odds of that?
    Gordo thanks for your Chat. I look forward to Fridays. Since discussing Moe incompetence is not in vogue now with the winning streak, I would ask you what would your alternate career choice have been if not snarky sports writer? Something likely not brain surgeon.
    Yeah, medical school was never in the picture. Let’s just say biology class did not go well in high school. True story: We dissected pigs to get up close to animal organs, then we put the dissected pigs back into the class barrel. I carved up my pig for parts and put the intestines and such in vending machine change return slots in the school cafeteria. How funny!. So when we got our pigs back out for the examination, I was screwed with my stripped-down carcass. It took years of soft high school classes (Journalism 1 and 2, Creative Writing 1 and 2, etc.) to get the GPA back up to college entrance levels. Thank god we could load up with electives back in those days.
    If Albert ends the season 1-3 homers short, does the club and player agree on a monthly renewable contract that will sell a ton more tickets next April while getting Pujols to 700? I say yes no matter what both parties are saying at the moment.
    So how badly does Albert want 700? Is his ready to put in a hard winter of work to maintain playing shape? Is he prepared to put in long hours in the batting cage again? At his age, staying ready to play is a process. Right now he looks like he is going out on a high note. He saw first-hand with Yadier Molina what happens when a player stays in the game one year too many.
    It is time to move on from Maddux. Every time he comes out he has to put his hand on the pitcher's shoulder. Like he is really doing something. There is a drinking game somewhere in that walk out to the mound. Like a person walking around an office carrying papers as if they are really doing something. He doesn't put his hand on Wainwright's shoulder though.
    He’s just helping these wizened veterans turn back the clock to their Little League days when playing baseball was fun and their coach/dad would take them for ice cream after the game.
    In the Athletic they ranked the front offices of the NHL. I was really surprised the Blues were at #12. They had Colo at #1. Ok they did a good job drafting, but you better when picking where they did the last few years, Detroit was #3. How long since they made the playoffs? TBay was 2 and should be #1 considering the multiple SC in a hard cap era. Kings 5, Ducks 6 and Sens at 8. Again, no playoffs. Vegas and Flyers at the bottom. I think DA made and makes tough decisions. Especially with a hard cap.
    The analytics community really hated the Nick Leddy re-signing. Maybe that’s it. Also, the analytics community did not see the Stanley Cup coming – so maybe the numbers guys keep pretending that it never happened. Doug Armstrong has made some great trades, most recently the deal for Pavel Buchnevich. The Blues did a great job the past few years signing depth guys for the AHL and fill-in work. The team traded away some draft picks to stay competitive, but they feel pretty good about the offensive upside of forward Zachary Bolduc and the plug-and-play potential for winger Jake Neighbours this season. It’s not easy staying competitive year after year in the salary cap world, but the Blues have done that.

    Does Alec Burelson make the Show in 2022?
    Yes. But will it be with the Cardinals or another team? In the post-Corey Dickerson Era the Cardinals could use another bat out there. If Lars Nootbaar can play center field, maybe there's at bats for Burleson as the right fielder against right-handed pitching.
    We MLB ever see Revenue Sharing? Why not?
    The disparity in market-generated revenue in baseball is enormous and the big-market teams only want to go so far helping teams in flyover country. Also, neither the owners nor the players have shown interest in the sort of collective bargaining agreement the NHL has with similar team-to-team revenue disparity. A salary floor/cap system would create competitive parity as it did in hockey. But baseball is content with its current system that allows wholesale tanking and long, long summers for too many fan bases.
    Are we seeing what DC3 is as a player? Good defender in CF but an average bat who doesn't hit for much power? His age has been cited a lot, but for every young player who ascends as they age, there are 100 who do the opposite.
    Somewhere out their Stephen Piscotty is nodding his head. He arrived as an older player, having played college, but he was an ascending player for three seasons. And then he wasn't. As for Carlson, his defensive metrics in center field are strong. So if he does not develop into an impact hitter, he can still keep his regular lineup role hitting down in the order. Steady production at his 2021 level (.780 OPS) would be fine if he plays center field.
    If RB's like Floyd Little and Leroy Kelly are in the NFL HOF why Isn't Ottis Anderson?
    His stats are superior to theirs.
    Little never won anything and the teams he played on were worse than some of the Big Red teams of the late 70's-early 80's!
    Ottis asked the same question for years. At least the New York Giants stepped up and put him in the team's Ring of Honor.

    Ottis Anderson on joining Giants Ring of Honor

    Giants legend Ottis Anderson speaks to the media on Monday following the Ring of Honor announcement.
    Jeff, I hope Pujols resists the temptation to return one more year just to chase a record. He’s a first ballot hall of famer. Why take up a roster spot that someone like Burleson, Yepez or even Walker should have. He’s had a much better year than I anticipated he would. Go out on top.
    That seems to be where his head is at right now. As chat regulars know, I wondered how much Albert could add this season. He is exceeding my expectations by miles. But as I noted earlier, staying baseball-ready is no small task for a player in his 40s, especially someone who has had nagging foot problems.
    DeJong has done ok since being called back up, but I still think the Cardinals should address shortstop and pitching upgrades. I think Knizner get one more season to prove himself. He’s been living in Yadi’s shadow. Let’s see what he can do when he’s the #1 catcher. It’s almost impossible to have nine .300 hitters in your lineup. I think Knizner deserves another year before making a change.
    I have advocated for an upgrade at catcher, given the poor showing Ivan Herrera made earlier this season. The Cardinals were hoping he would be the guy taking over for Molina with Knizner staying in his current role. The Cardinals could still roll with those two, with Knizner getting more time, and put their money to other needs.
    I don't see the Cardinals making a big play at shortstop with Tommy Edman offering a near-term option and Maysn Winn looking like a legitimate possibility for 2024.
    So 3 months into the DH in the National league. Pinch hitting and Bunting are basically disappearing. If you had pitchers that could bunt they used to pinch hit. That's gone. A teams pinch hitters on the bench were very important. A deep team was a better team. Is it Baseball strategy for Dummies now? How do you like it? Turns me off.
    While the analytics movement has minimized small ball and the DH stripped some strategy from the National League game, we're seeing teams with depth -- the Dodgers and Rays the past few years, the Giants last year as examples -- play the matchup game. There is more lineup shuffling and more in-game adjustments. So in that sense we're seeing more managerial gears grind. You're seeing some of that with the Cardinals since they got closer to full strength offensively.
    The Flyers’ front office should be ranked number 1 for hiring John Tortorella. The Athletic must have some writers who are afraid him too.
    It will be fun to see what Torts can do with that mish-mash roster. Chuck Fletcher has made one blunder after another on the personnel front. What a mess!

    Did you see the XFL media blitzkrieg this week? Do you think it will be as effective now that Hunziger isn't involved? What are your expectations for the league?
    It will be interesting to see how the XFL comes off as a more centrally-managed operation. Will fans turn out again in the STL? Or has the novelty faded and the local NFL animus lessened? We'll see. Kurt Hunzeker did a heck of a job here as team president and that business success will be tough to top.
    Back to the front office stuff. I do believe both the Cards and Blues have done an outstanding job picking really good players late in the 1st round and later rounds. I know NHL has less rounds, but the Blues have done a great job. It was tough to lose Bill Armstrong. Who is the guy or guys who replaced him? I know it is a few people not just one who oversees the draft. The Blues have some former Blues players who are out there finding guys in who knows where places. That could be a good article at some point. The behind the scene guys of the Blues. Thanks for getting on this early.
    Tony Feltrin replaced Bill Armstrong as the man overseeing the NHL Draft. He was an internal promotion, so he had a hand in some of Armstrong's notable success here. Analysts judged the latest Blues draft as solid but definitely unspectacular.
    Jeff, I’m surprised how quickly the media turned on Herrera given a small 2-3 week sample size at the major league level. The P-D scribes hyped him as one of the biggest hot shot prospects in recent years. After he underwhelmed in June, the catcher position has seemingly gone to crisis mode. Perhaps with Herrera the truth lies in the middle: he will morph into a good player but someone unlikely to elevate to great status due to defense. Thoughts?
    Yes, that was a tiny sample size. And experts have no doubt that his hitting will translate to some degree at the big league level. But it was alarming to see him have so much trouble with pitches in the dirt, which is why I suggested that Andrew Knizner could see a bigger share of playing time if the Cardinals go with him and Herrera next season.
    Here is how the prospects guy at FanGraphs assessed him:
    "Even as he’s improved his receiving (average) and framing (below-average, at least to my eye, especially at the bottom of the zone), they’re still not great, and his ball-blocking is even further behind and at times is a real problem. Things aren’t so bad back there that Herrera will have to move to first base, but even though he’s kissed the big leagues, he does need polish. He’s only 22 and is now Molina’s squire, so those issues should improve at least a little bit. Very likely to be a good everyday player, the strides Herrera can make on defense will determine just how good."
    Hi JG. What ( if any ) does an extension llook like for Flaherty next year ?
    First, let's see if he pitches again. If Flaherty returns to the IL yet again this season, the front office will have to decide whether to qualify him for his final arbitration year. Chronic shoulder injuries create a giant red flag. Beyond that, I'd be surprised if Flaherty got an extension past 2023 because he would have to sell low on himself to get more term. His smarter play would be to gear up for a big comeback season then go to market off of that. If Flaherty could stay healthy for a whole season ahead of free agency he could cash in.
    What’s going on with Matthew Libatore? Calling him a future top of the rotation arm, as some were, was over hyping him, but he has realistic middle of the rotation stuff. Last year he looked like he was making progress, but now he’s getting hit hard pretty consistently. Is he dealing with an undisclosed injury? Is the team trying to get him to adjust his pitches? For example incorporating a two seem fastball, or throwing an existing pitch in a different part of the zone? What’s causing this dramatic step backwards?
    The issue he had here, inconsistent command, has plagued him at Memphis. I wouldn't write him off because pitchers have more tools than ever before for fine-tuning mechanics.
    Here is the assessment from Baseball America that I shared this week on Tipsheet:
    "Liberatore impressed following an aggressive assignment to Triple-A last season, adjusting his arsenal throughout the year and showing the ability to command the zone. In 2022, Liberatore has backed up in several areas. His command hasn’t been quite as crisp and he’s struggled to keep the ball in the park. Still just 22 years old, Liberatore is still a Top 100 prospect, but the expectations for his long-term role have adjusted. Liberatore doesn’t have the No. 2 or 3 starter upside many had envisioned and might be more of a solid, back-of-the-rotation innings eater. On the bright side, Liberatore has missed more bats this season but it’s been at the expense of his overall execution."
    I hate to beat a dead horse or even an alive one but......long time hockey pundits say goalies take a very long time to develop. More so then any other positions in the NHL. You rarely see a 22 or 23 year old goalie killing it. Binner and Husso took a long time. So I guess that's why Army signed Griess. I'm trying not to get too disappointed about Husso leaving. I can't imagine Hofer doing anything when Chuckie actually beat him out at Springfield. Griess was good on the Islanders a few years ago. Is the season lost? Let ROR and Vladi walk or trade them start a rebuild? It's bleak like a gulag in Siberia or the Dust bowl during the a dystopian future awaiting die hard Blues fans staring somberly at an empty arena crying.....
    No, I do not expect the team to collapse this season without Ville Husso. I do not expect the team to stage a wholesale selloff.
    Marmol needs a leadoff hitter for RH pitching. Can Oneil move to Center so Donovan can play left? I know Carlson is a first round pick but his stats against RH pitching this year is 215/293/353 with an OPS of 646 and a lifetime OPS against RH is 694. MVP2 is missing out on some Rbi's. Have a great weekend BoBo.
    While O'Neill can fill-in as a center fielder, that is not the preferable option. Lately the team has liked Lars Nootbaar leading off against righties. Brendan Donovan hitting No. 2 as the DH was a good look on Thursday. That could be a nice 1-2 combo to boost on-base percentage against righties.
    If the playoffs started tomorrow, would Pujols be on the playoff roster?
    I know your not supposed to change when successful but here are some offensive thoughts moving forward if the scoring goes stagnant vs RH SP. First since the advent of the DH almost all stats show your best hitter should hit there and better than Goldschmidt? Trout for years, Judge, go on and on. That would alleviate the need to find two hitters to go in front of him.. Find the best...right now Donavan should be given a good look w his high OB plus pitch/AB although Nootbaar has also been good lately. Then bottom load at 8-9 two speedier( Donavan if Noot is LO and Edman). In close games I'd hate to see Goldy in the on deck circle w Areanado in the hole as the game ends. That means C bats 7. (Molina presently looks feeble swinging the bat) Hope Knizner gets more play time as he actually has good splits vs RH compared to all other choices. (.327 OB). That would bump Areanado to 3, Gorman to 4.( My question w him is he better defensively than Donavan? if not why not D at 2nd, Gorman DH). That means to play and get Edmans speed at 9 he needs more games at SS which may need to happen as Dejong is sliding. Dejong then is more of a full time platoon or 1/2 time vs RH and then late game D and move Edman over to 2nd to finish out leads. That leaves 5&6 as Dickerson (if he isn't moved to get Yepez back) otherwise O'Neill then Carlson. This lineup gets the most LH bats and doesn't compromise the D very much. Your Thoughts on my thoughts?
    If the team has good on-base options with some speed -- and it did Thursday, anyway -- then I like using those guys ahead of Goldschmidt/Arenado. Such an alignment sets up the possibility to a fast offensive start. But that's a big if.  Moving Goldschmidt and Arenado one spot in the order would get them some extra at bats over the long haul, which is a good thing. So obviously that makes sense. Either way, the Cardinals must find consistent production behind Arenado so teams have to pitch to him in RBI scenarios.
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