STL sports chat with Jeff Gordon

STL sports chat with Jeff Gordon

Columnist Jeff Gordon takes your Cardinals, Blues and STL sports questions in his weekly chat, beginning at 1 p.m. Friday.

    Who bats 4th for the Cardinals in 2020?
    To be determined. That is the case for digging deep for Ozuna. The case against digging deep for Ozuna is the very real possibility that he could become another bad contract, especially if his deal drags well into his 30s. As we have seen here in the STL, age-based decline is a real thing.
    The Cardinals are not hated. What is hated is the owners Blindspot to a president of operation that lost his fastball years ago. Sort of like Carpenter the owner gives an extension to a declining asset.
    And yes Stan k gets the top billing for most hated
    The owner likes continuity and wants this team in contention every year. When the Cardinals are no longer getting into contention every year, then he will consider change.
    Re DeWitts comment on payroll vs revenue, why doesn’t he talk about his profit margin? He uses a false comparison to justify not spending. It shows where his interests lie, more on the bottom line than in getting a World championship.

    Instead of coming out and announcing extensions for an underperforming staff, he should have announced a reduction in ticket prices, like the Cubs did.
    Yes, the Cardinals are profitable. But DeWitt will also note his huge investment in St. Louis at a time when others were running from downtown. That investment should pay off nicely, as investment in the ballclub has, but let's not forget that DeWitt has put a lot into this city. August Busch III bailed on baseball, bailed on brewing and essentially bailed on the city. Kroenke went the extra mile to trash the same market he makes a real estate fortune in with other non-Rams projects.
    If there were no free agency (like back in the old days) teams would use the draft and young players coming up from the minors to replace old players who retire and players who had career-ending injuries. Teams would improve or regress over time based on their skill in drafting and developing players. Teams would make occasional trades, but as we know you have to give up something to get something, so trades might re-arrange assets, exchange duplication to make an area of excellence and an area of weakness into two areas of average talent. The overall improvement would come from drafting and developing, and it would be hard to do. I view free agency as a supplement to that system. Teams either lose more free agents than they acquire (like Miami), which keeps them in the cellar, they acquire more than they lose, like the Astros/Yankees/Dodgers, or they about break even, in which case they tread water in the middle. The last few years, I have put the Cardinals in that last category, but this year it seems they will be in the Miami category and will lose more than they sign. I think that this should result in a weaker team than they would have had if they had spent the money saved by departing free agents on free agents who could plug some of the holes in their roster? On target or off base?
    The Cardinals agree with your view of free agency as a supplement to player development. And while they have remained pretty good at player development, they have whiffed again and again in free agency while targeting mid-level players to fill needs. The Mike Leake and Brett Cecil deals put dead money on the books for years. Dexter Fowler's money isn't dead, but it's excessive. Miles Mikolas went from a free-agent steal to an overpaid keep. All of this has caught up to the Cardinals and all of this makes it less likely we will see a huge play of any kind this winter..
    What are your current odds for Ozuna being on the Cards' roster next year?
    I honestly have no insight on that. Rick Hummel wonders if the odds didn't worsen when J.D. Martinez decided to stay in Boston. Ozuna is arguably the best outfielder available. It's him, Nicholas Castellanos and Yasiel Puig. So there's a good chance Ozuna can get overpaid this winter. Can the Cardinals afford one more potential overpay? Would that amount to quadrupling down on earlier bad bets?
    In response to Paul DeJong playing fatigued, he slashed .206/.297/.403 from May 1st through the end of the regular season. Take out his highly publicized, putrid September, and the slash line was .214/.306/.407 from May 1st through August 31st. It wasn't fatigue; simply put, he was not a good hitter, save a few HR's, from May 1st on.
    OK, there were a LOT of home runs from may on for DeJong. And plenty of walks too. But, again, his inability to make consistent hard contact really hurt this offense.
    My favorite Jeff Gordon adjectives (Updated): mystifying, horrific, guilt-wracked, alarming, gruesome, shocking, festive, sturdy, oafish, star-crossed, preening, lamentable, cheapjack, scant, and abject. "preening" might be a gerund. I forgot the rules.
    I haven't used "cheapjack goon tactics" or "Munster-sized enforcer" in a while. Too much time away from the hockey beat!  Also, I need to work in "keel-hauled" more often while describing a bad defeat.
    Didi Gregorius move the needle for you as a potential upgrade for this team's offense? Or, does DeJong lose too much value moving him off of short to play 3rd?
  • DeJong offers very solid fielding at shortstop, but third base is a bigger offensive position and his numbers there -- if his current trends continue -- would be problematic.
    Anyone who *hates* John Mozeliak because of his roster and contract decisions needs to get a life.
    Fans get a little worked up. Also, bow ties trigger some people. They really do.
    Mo has averaged over 89.5 wins per season. He must be making some outstanding decisions to overcome all of the bad contracts and extensions.

    I have some issues like signing so-so relievers for big dollars and considering how many OFers were out there all of the time signing Fowler to 5 years shouldn't have happened.
    Yeah, the Fowler moved seemed a bit knee-jerk by Cardinals standards. He checked multiple boxes at the time, but when you think about all of the former Cardinals outfielders excelling elsewhere you really question that huge commitment to Dexter.
    I am disappointed but reconciled to the Cardinals fielding a regressing team next year, with Wacha and Ozuna departing, Yadi and Wainwright further along the downslope toward retirement. I don't like it but there is nothing I can do about it. I hope, of course, that some of the prospects pan out, but it seems that most of these prospects other than Carlson were available last year, but were deemed not as good as Wacha and Ozuna. This year, I thought it would take more than 95 wins to win the Central, and I didn't think we would have even 95. I was right on one and wrong on the other. Next year, what win total do you think it will take to win the division, and based on the team's comments not to expect much if anything as additions, how many wins do you think the Cardinals will muster?
    Many things must go well for this team just to get back to 90 victories. Carlos Martinez could make a good rotation very good -- maybe even great if Flaherty and Hudson progress further. But what about the bullpen? There are some good pieces there, but nothing to feel great about in the ninth inning as we speak. With or without Ozuna this team needs more offense from the outfield. Which, if any, of those young guys can be a consistent plus? Also, this team cannot afford to have Carpenter and DeJong hitting in the low .200s month after month. There is work to do and it's hard to make improvement on the margins of the roster.
    Changing pace here a bit to SLU BB. Impressions from first game? Question: over the summer there was a lot of talk about Terrence Hargrove from East St. Louis. But as the season approached, the talk dimmed and he was a DNP in game 1. Is he hurt or having other issues? For me, a couple of impressions of the team: more athletic on both ends of the court. French looks quick and dominating. Goodwin looks to be a more offesnive force and the kid from St. Mary's looks like a 2nd or 3rd year player. They played the up tempo very well. of course, the opposition was lesser but I think that Ford will coach them up to a pretty good level and this team may surprise. BTW, how fortunate in SLU to have Travis Ford?
    Sounds like Hargrove had a hiccup there. Travis Ford gave 10 different guys pretty good run and did not give Hargrove a whiff. As far as I know there was no injury, so that much have been a refection of what has happened in practice. Hargrove played 6:44 in the exhibition against Kentucky Wesleyan, which was the 11th most time of any Billiken in that game. This IS an exciting SLU team. Ford finally has some depth and that will allow him to coach even harder in practice and create tougher competition for minutes. He has not had that luxury since taking this job.
    Any concerns about Faulk who is a -5 while the Blues have scored 5 more than they have given up?
    Nope. He has assists in two of his last three games. He is still logging big minutes. Not only is he adapting to new teammates and a new system, he is also dealing with ever-changing pairings. He is never going to be a Norris Trophy candidate, but he can shoulder a big workload and play in all scenarios.
    Does Jake's performance against Edmonton re-set the bar for him to start more games other than back to back games? Seems like a little less workload for Binner could help in the long run
    Allen's victory was huge for him. That gives him confidence and his teammates confidence in him -- which had been lacking. There is a lot of talk about "load management" for goaltenders these days. Binnington held up well in the playoff grind last season, but there is no need to kill the guy if Allen can win some games. If Jake can start 25 to 30 games this season that would be ideal in my opinion. The Blues had to push Binnington hard early this season when Jake struggled, then got hurt.
    Gordo - do the Carsinals have a credibility issue when they mention the word "continuity" in regards to the front office, but are quick to axe subordinates when things get "stale"?
  • There was quite a bit of talk about that at the news conference. On one hand, continuity at the top yielding stability in vision. Moderate turnover below -- be it with players on the roster, members of the field staff or operatives in the player development side -- can keep things fresh. That is the cold part of the business.
    I was somewhat surprised when Tarasenko went down to see ROR get the A in his place, since Jaden Schwartz had worn it in the past when there was injury. Do you know was Schwartz talked to about that? Does Schwartz get the A now with Steen down, or will it go to someone like JayBo or Parayko?
    Who will likely get Steens "A"? Perron?
    This team has an army of guys who could wear a letter. But everybody would agree that O'Reilly has been a tremendous leader by example, so that was a no-brainer. Then again, Schwartz is well-respected within the group for his character and work ethic. It will be interesting to see how Berube moves the letter around due to the injuries, but he has lots of choices.
    I saw Army and Chief intend to play the new guy received from the Fabbri trade instead of calling up Walker from San Antonio. I would rather promote a guy who is performing. Tell me wise one what is your opinion?
    Walker has put up numbers in the AHL, but he is strictly viewed as a depth guy. De la Rose is seen a fourth-liner and penalty killer, offer size and decent wheels. He sounds like a guy Berube would like, but the Chief will have to make that assessment himself.
    Gordo - as far as comparables to Tarasenko's injured shoulder (treatment, recovery, performance) who would that be? Wondering if there is a precedent for this type of injury.
    Tarasenko has been down this road before. I don't believe his injury was as serious or this surgery was as involved as the one before. Tarasenko is due to talk about this when the team returns home, but this team is pretty vague when it talks about player recovery timetables and such. And wisely so. As the team gets into the new year, the team hopes to learn where Tarasenko could realistically return to the playoffs. If he can, that will limit what the team does before the trade deadline. If it appears he is done until next year, then the team can spend his salary cap allotment on a rental forward to add more depth and perhaps scoring.
    I agree that when you look at the past 12 seasons, the Cardinals boast a track record that is hard to beat. What fans are upset about is their track record over the last four seasons, and aside from boasting about not having a losing record during that time, there is little else to talk about. The death of Oscar Tavares, followed by the untimely demise of Allen Craig have led to a series of bad trades, poor drafting, and absolutely terrible free agent signings, and contract extensions. Baseball (at least to fans) is all about what have you done for me lately, and Mozeliak has not been good. I know the Cardinals won the division, but it was more about the Cubs and Brewers losing it, than the Cardinals winning it.
  • And I suppose the NLDS was more about the Braves losing than the Cardinals winning. Deal with it people: The Cardinals reached the Final Four. That is a good thing.
    I thought the anti-Mo people said the Cards couldn't make the playoffs with him as head of operations.

    He amazed us by getting starting pitching performances from young pitchers and a veteran who could have retired or not offered a contract.
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