Hello chatters, and Happy Tuesday That Feels Like Monday. Hope you all had a great, safe holiday weekend. This will be our last chance to chat like this for a while. The furlough fairy visits me the next two weeks, so the Tuesday chat (at least one with me) will be dormant until I return the week of the 15th. So, if you've been holding back a question or a take, it's time to let it trip. Let's roll.
There are multiple reports out there that say the owners will talk today, and those talks will produce an altered proposal that will be sent to players regarding pay for the altered 2020 season. If that proposal drops the revenue sharing idea -- something players will disagree with for philosophical reasons as much as anything -- then that would be a good start. I said from the beginning that the best way to do this would bet for the player to take a little less than the pro-rated portion of the salaries they want IF the owners agree to pay that pro-rated amount later on, through deferred payments, once baseball gets back up and running. If that happens, or something close to it, I think there will be a deal. Both sides want and need games, and want and need to avoid the disaster of letting money foul things up.
I'd suggest a re-read of DG's story on the future of the catcher position. Knizner is mentioned plenty, and mentioned as the catcher first in line to replace Molina at the moment. Even says he's expected to make the team as a back-up and pinch-hit option if the shortened 2020 season starts with a 30-man roster, which it most likely will. We know about Knizner. We know less about Herrera, so he was mentioned more in the piece. And sure, there is a chance he becomes the future behind Molina, not Knizner. Some got bent out of shape when Knizner started getting more attention than Carson Kelly. Now we see why. Kelly's breakthrough did not line up with Molina's exit, so he was shipped out as a key piece in a good deal for Paul Goldschmidt. A similar thing could happen with Knizner, especially if Herrera continues to move up quickly. Time will tell. No one thinks Knizner is "chopped liver". At all. It's a question of timing, more than anything. And the commitment the Cardinals are willing to give Molina. I like watching Knizner play. Especially hit. He's hit two of the longest home runs I've witnessed in West Palm Beach. He would start for some MLB teams. No doubt about that.
Just in golf, right? How about a Cardinals Classic? Ozzie Smith. Mike Shannon. Albert Pujols. Each get to pick a teammate, but that teammate has to have played or coached or managed for the Cardinals. Put Danny Mac on the call. (The smart captain would pick Cardinals pitching coach and three-time hole-in-one man Mike Maddux.)
You're free to vote however you want. It's a fan vote for that reason. But the platform you just presented does not put Mark McGwire in the Cardinals Hall of Fame. It would have kept him out. If David Freese gets a shot to go in, I bet he goes in. And good for him if he does. But he was not exactly a choirboy during his time with the Cardinals, as he has discussed often since his departure. To me, the Keith Hernandez angst has a lot more to do with him being good for the Mets than it did with his drug use with the Cardinals. It's revisionist history, built upon a base of morality that suddenly disappears when its time to consider other candidates.
Few things amaze me more in St. Louis sports fandom than the lengths to which Cardinals fans go to defend Big Mac while remaining oblivious to moments of obvious hypocrisy. Nothing like booing Ryan Braun from Big Mac Land.
This shortened draft could play to the Cardinals strengths. They've done well with college pitchers. I would not expect them to pass up desirable ones if given the opportunity.
I'm good with this stance. If you have a hard line and hold it, good for you. If you draw the line so it makes exceptions when you want it to, well, that becomes pretty obvious. I think Cardinals fans, collectively, have done that in their voting for the Cardinals Hall of Fame.
Yes, THAT'S the reason he's getting booed. (It's not the reason.)
That would be a $12 million pay cut that would require Molina to -- at least for the theatrics of it -- go through free agency. Would another team be willing to give him more to shape a young staff? Hard to say, considering his age and the financial landscape of front offices after the pandemic. Ideally it would be a year with a vesting option for a second, but he might want more than that. Incentives that took him to $10 million would certainly be more appealing than a $10 million guarantee. But we are ignoring the unknown, and it's a big one. How much does coronavirus tighten the spending on teams. It's safe to assume the Cardinals will be on the conservative side of the new normal.
I'll give Carlos Martinez some credit. There was A LOT of discussion this offseason about how he handled the offseason impact his chances of being where he wanted to be -- in the rotation -- during the season. And he answered the challenge. He was in good shape when he got to camp. Focused. It showed. He was looking like the All-Star starter he have seen before, the guy he says he still can be. Then the bottom dropped out through no fault of Martinez's. How all players, not just Martinez, handle this unprecedented curveball is going to be a huge factor if and when games resume. We are going to find out about the guys who did not take care of business. They will be exposed. And, unfortunately, some guys who did the right things are probably going to be shut down to injuries that are beyond their control. Pitchers, especially, are routine-oriented athletes. Their routines are going to altered big-time. How Martinez prepared for this spring should give us some confidence in how he will prepare for this shortened 2020, but he's still in prove-it mode.
Those are two pretty different scenarios. If someone doesn't want to talk, you can't force them to talk. What you can try to do is explain why you want to talk, and -- sometimes -- what you want to talk about. Often, I've found people tend to assume what you are going to ask, or assume what your angle will be. Sometimes just saying, hey, here's what I want to ask you about, and why, takes some of the assuming away. That's not the same as handing over your questions. I don't do that. If you get the interview, and you are good at your job, the person you are interviewing should not be bored -- unless they are just being rude, which sometimes happens. Asking questions that have not been asked, directing the interviewee to something he/she has not said a million times, that's the challenge for the interviewer. Getting someone off their talking points, or to explain something with energy, that's the goal. To have a conversation, not simply swap quotes. But a lot of interviews ask for that -- quotes, soundbites, etc. -- so it's good to establish a conversation that goes in the opposite way. Prep for the interview with research. Don't ask questions you already know the answers to. Don't ask something you can look up yourself. Respect their time, and they will be more likely to respect yours. Sometimes you just get an unwilling participant, and then it's usually best to write about that -- because it tells you something. If it's a standoffish, bad interview, there's no rule against explaining it as such.