STL sports chat with Jeff Gordon

STL sports chat with Jeff Gordon

Bring your Blues, Cardinals and STL sports questions, and talk to columnist Jeff Gordon in a live chat beginning at 1 p.m. Friday.

    Bobo's here, hoping that all the ballplayers out there are safe. Let's talk some sports today and give ourselves a diversion.
    Good afternoon, Mr. Gordon. With Munoz's departure, Mo rightfully is receiving criticism for the Piscotty deal. I understand why Mo made the trade -- to allow Piscotty to be closer to his ailing mother. It was a class move. But, why couldn't the Cardinals have just put Piscotty on some type of reserve status, and then brought him back? I know Piscotty hasn't played all that great with the A's, but he'd be better than Fowler.
    Realistically, Piscotty was not going to quit playing entirely and sit on an inactive list while dealing with his mother's illness. The trade allowed him to continue his career closer to home. Ideally the Cardinals should have gained more back in that trade -- although Yairo Munoz became a handy player here. The Cardinals were not ready to hand him an everyday job, as he clearly wanted. But had he been willing to compete like everybody else he could have earned a big role on this year's team. He showed up in top shape and played well early. Given his speed and ability to play anywhere on the field, he could logged outfield time if O'Neill and Bader continued to swing and miss. I question the decision to just release him when he walked away. It's not like this franchise is so deep that it can just fritter away assets.
    Jeff, People will come, Jeff. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn into your driveway, not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door, as innocent as children, longing for the past. “Of course, we won’t mind if you look around,” you’ll say, “It’s only twenty dollars per person.” And they’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it, for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they’ll walk off to the bleachers and sit in their short sleeves on a perfect afternoon. And find they have reserved seats somewhere along the baselines where they sat when they were children. And cheer their heroes. And they’ll watch the game, and it’ll be as they’d dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick, they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come, Jeff. The one constant through all the years Jeff, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Jeff. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh people will come, Jeff. People will most definitely come.
    Old farts like me agree that Our National Pastime will endure, but baseball does have some work to do to improve its product and game experience for the next wave of young adults. Live NBA and NHL games are fast-moving sports and the arena experience is a relentless assault on the senses. Baseball does need a greater sense of urgency.
    Question I posed to Mr. Thomas the other day: With the halt of play in the NHL do you think the Blues will try and enter into serious negotiations with Petro’s agent or do you see him testing the free agent waters?
    If I am Alex Pietrangelo, I would rethink the whole "test-the-market" plan because, like you say, that market is uncertain. A few weeks ago the NHL seemed headed to a higher salary cap number. Now the players may do well just to keep the number flat for another year, which will definitely tighten the market. If Pietrangelo does move on, yes, the Blues would still be fine on defense because Parayko is rising up, Faulk eats a lot of minutes, Mikkola is ready and Perunovich (if he signs here) would be on fast track. Scandella could re-up as well. In that scenario, I would see the Blues using the Petro dollars to keep the rest of the team intact for next season and to lock in young veterans for future seasons. Given the crowding already occurring at forward, I do not see this team looking invest big  money for another Top 9 forward from the outside. As it is, the Blues were winning without Tarasenko this season and with Kyrou making only cameo appearances. Imagine their lineup with those two playing in the Top 9 at even strength and on one of the power-play units.
    What is the latest on Boumeester? Have you are anyone in the sports department speaking with him?
    Bouuwmeester, like the rest of the Blues, are away from the game spending time with family. My guess is he will get around to announcing his retirement sometime this summer. There was no need to go there during the season since he is still under contract getting paid. Should play resume this year, he could opt to rejoin the group as a non-player for the postseason run.
    If the NHL does somehow find a way to squeeze a playoff into late summer when ice surfaces will resemble snow cones, it seems like teams that need to play a highly structured game like the Blues and Stars will be at a massive disadvantage trying to recapture the chemistry they've lost while sitting out three months. Meanwhile, teams that have the talent to play pond hockey like Toronto, Tampa, Colorado, and Calgary can just play their first lines for 25 minutes a game and just try to out skate the competition. If the league returns, could a team that had no real chance of winning the cup (Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton) suddenly become a surprise favorite?
    Jim Thomas and I touched on that topic on the latest "Net Front Presence" podcast. For the first round, at least, the Blues would face a huge challenge getting to their game. Meanwhile a skilled team like Colorado, which will finally get healthy, could go for a skate in their first round and win on talent. In time the Blues could regain their form, but first they would have to fend off the first-round upset. As for the ice conditions, that could actually help grind-it-out teams like the Blues and Stars and hurt teams that score more off the rush. Playing on slush could create some truly ugly hockey.
    Jeff, at this point I don’t think I’d be too upset if the NHL decided to just cancel the remainder of the season and not award the cup. Unfortunately this pandemic is going to get worse before it gets better. Chalk it up to an Act of God and move on and start getting ready for next season. Even if they resume hockey in June or July it won’t feel like a real season and the league will be competing with baseball starting up as well as football. I understand it will affect the salary cap but we’re only talking about one season. Players that are up for renewal can sign a one year deal and wait for the cap to rise. If the money is not there you move on from Petro and invest in the future with Perunovich.
    That could well happen, but the players association sounds willing to go to extremes to stage some sort of postseason and get the industry back on track. That extreme could include summer hockey, a later start to next season and then more summer hockey. I could see the owners going along, especially if an expanded playoff bracket (with a play-in round to resolve close races) is part of that.
    At this point I just want life to be somewhat normal again -- and that would include having sports again. 
    Gordo, three years into Cuonzo's regime in CoMo, we have two losing seasons and one winter of sitting around waiting to see if MPJ would be healthy enough to suit up. What is it going to take to restore the roar to Mizzou basketball? And who could get that done? Is it Cuonzo?
    Martin might have had three postseason teams -- two NCAA teams, one NIT -- but for ridiculous injuries to the Porters, Mark Smith (twice) and Jeremiah Tilmon. And he would be viewed as a savior for doing that. As it is, he needs a big Year 4 to get things back on track. That means keeping his key returning players, fixing the team's offensive execution and adding proven scoring punch -- as SLU did with Javonte Perkins for this season. Given the woeful basketball attendance at Mizzou and the dismal financials for the athletic department these days, I don't see the school can afford to spend giant dollars it would take to move on from Martin after next season and make the home-run hire some boosters are clamoring for. So the school's best hope is that Cuonzo actually catches a break on the injury front, wins 20-plus games with an experienced team next season and enjoys some recruiting breakthroughs amid that success.
    If you had to guess, do you think the NBA or NHL even finish out their seasons? And do you think it's possible the MLB cancels their season and the NFL postpones their's?
    As John Mozeliak might say, everything is on the table right now. I have some hope for some sort of summer return of sports because America will have to get back work at some point. If it doesn't, the total economic collapse could do much more damage than the pandemic. Can that "some point" come in June or July? Let's hope so for everybody's sake.
    What is your take on Brady leaving NE? Was this an ego thing between him and Belichick?
    There was some friction for sure. At some point a self-absorbed megastar is going to want to win on his own. The same goes for the genius coach. Ask Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson about that. It some ways, it's amazing Brady and Belichick lasted as long as it did.
    I was a bit surprised the Cards optioned 4 players, especially Sosa, yesterday. I thought they could wait on that decision.
    The players and owners are going to have to figure out how to move forward through the work stoppage. MLB has the right to quit playing papers during a national emergency. What accommodation will be reached between the owners and players association? How will it differ for players on the active MLB roster vs. guys on the 40-man roster who are in the minors? I imagine those unresolved issues help explain why the front office would make such a paper move.
    During the offseason, if the Blues sign Petro and Kyle Dubas calls Army to offer him Mitch Mariner for Parayko and Allen (just so the money lines up), would you make that deal? Colton will eventually demand the same kind of money as Petro, so if you eventually have $20 million tied up in 2 players, wouldn't it make more sense to spread that money between having one high-priced forward and expensive d-man?
    Mitch Marner is a nice player, but there is nothing about that trade idea that makes sense for the Blues. Parayko is a cornerstone defenseman and those guys are much harder to find than perimeter offensive forwards like Marner. Parayko has a team-friendly contract while Marner carries a cap hit of nearly $11 million per year. Armstrong would rather drive a nail into his own forehead than take on an $11 million cap hit for a guy like Marner. As for Allen's money, I imagine the Blues will find another way to move that if needed.
    In trying to put Cardinals fans discontent in perspective, we are like shareholders of a company that is profitable (winning consistently) but could be much more if resources and assets were managed better.

    Part of the frustration is seeing them not moving on from bad assessments and mistakes or trying to prop up those to make them appear better.

    Eg OF Keep trotting out Fowler and Bader but trade Pham, Mercado and now Arozerena who are all going to bat higher in the order, get on base and play better defense

    They seem to be able to draft and develop pitchers but really fall short on trades free agents and managing assets.

    Thank god we didn’t sign Hayward or Price
    There has been some questionable asset management for sure. It will be interesting to see how the outfield sorts out if baseball resumes. I suspect the situation will remain fluid because I just can't see Bader, O'Neill and Fowler proving steady production right out of the gate. As I noted earlier, Munoz could have factored into this equation had he stuck around. As is it, it may be up to Carlson, Thomas and Edman to fill the void. And if Randy Arozarena becomes The Next Mookie Betts as some fans seem to fear, we might get a fan complaint or two in these chats once the season resumes.
    Who is your 5th starter now that Mikolas is back on time?
  • Flaherty, Martinez, Hudson, Mikolas and Wainwright would be the rotation if everybody is healthy. There really hasn't been much doubt about that. Kim and Ponce De Leon can handle long relief and fill in when the inevitable rotation injuries hit.
    Hypothetically, Fowler looks like he did in spring training and Carp is only marginally above his '19 output this year, what does the team do with them a year from now?
    Fowler hit .097 this spring. If he did that for an entire season, the Cardinals would release him and eat the final contract year. But I doubt he will hit .097 for an entire season. As for Carpenter, he could hang around as a part-time player if he only slightly improved his production this season.
    Tom Brady on Tampa Bay is going to be weird. Some other instances of players in weird uniforms are Ken Griffey Jr on the White Sox and Hakeem on the Toronto Raptors. What is your favorite example of a player in a "wrong" uniform?
    Wayne Gretzky playing with the Blues was weird, when you think about it.  Will anybody outside of the STL remember that even happening? Old-timers cringe thinking about what was left of Willie Mays laboring for the Mets.
    Mr. Gordon,
    Among the unfortunate consequences in sports from the shutdowns is the halt in Ovechikin's chase for 894 + 1 goals. Do you think he can still do it? On top of what he is missing at the end of this year, he also lost the entire 04-05 season to a lockout (presuming he would have come to the NHL that year) and half of 12-13 to a lockout. Going by Ovie averages, I feel safe penciling him in for another fifty goals on his total if he had played during that time. That would give him 756 right now, and he'd be threateningly close. I think his chances obviously would have been much better to get there without all the time missed.
    Ovie is a freak of nature. How does he keep scoring at his age? How does he score while still banging around he ice like a bull in a china shop at his age? The way he plays has to take a toll at some point. Even if the NHL only misses the last 10 to 12 games of this season, I can't imagine him getting that record. He is one big injury away from realizing that it's a mountain too high to climb.
    Mr. Gordon,

    I think the Blues need to re-sign Pietrangelo, even taking into consideration that the last few years will likely be an overpay. One doesn't have to look too far to see contracts that didn't age well, such as both Keith and Seabrook in Chicago. I think Petro will age better than those guys, though. Do you agree?
    I believe this team can contend for another four or five years. Alex could still be a very good player for that span. Could it get ugly in the last three or four years of the deal? Sure, but a franchise that finally won its first Cup is willing to pay that eventual price. So I agree that keeping Pietrangelo makes sense for the Blues. But I see eight years, $70 million as the limit. Going beyond that would make it hard to keep the Blues in the hunt for next four to five years. And the Blues don't need to overspend because they are in great shape on the blue line.
    How do you think the team makes decisions regarding how much of a rollout/press conference to give a player they've signed? For example, they really struck up the band and trumpeted Cecil and Fowler. Very few outside of the FO were really jazzed about those signings at the time. Not to say anyone actually envisioned how bad things would get for both of those players, but they were "just guys" and that was pretty obvious. "Just guys" meaning they were kind of like a lot of other guys already on the roster, some good stuff, some question marks and not obviously making us better from day one. And yet, the roll out the welcome mat and strike up the band style welcome and effusive praise those two guys got really set them up to disappoint if they ended up just being themselves, never mind what actually happened.
  • I don't recall either player rolling through town in a royal carriage while fans lined the streets to cheer their arrival. Neither player was an especially high-profile free agent, like a Bryce Harper or a Gerrit Cole. Cecil had been one of MLB's better lefty relievers. And then he wasn't after coming here. Fowler was a good player on a winning team and that's how he was presented. He had a nice first season here, filling a void in the middle of the order surprisingly well. That was followed by a terrible year, then by a season that half good and half bad.
    Adding to the Brady question, we've seen stuff like this before where lifetime players move to a different team for the last couple years of their careers (thinking Favre retiring from Green Bay and coming back a few times). Is the lifetime, franchise player in the NFL not quite the badge of honor it is in MLB?
    In the NFL, most players don't get guaranteed money. Teams make splashy signings, then they cut their losses. Then they make more splashy signings and they cut more losses. Look at the current free-agent chaos. The NBA is really bad that way, even with contracts that are guaranteed. The NBA's soft cap allows a lot of bedlam. MLB contracts are guaranteed, MLB lifespans are different and every now and then a team keeps a superstar for his entire career.
    We need the obligatory Arenado question. If the season is delayed or even cancelled, would that increase or decrease the chances of the Rockies dealing him? I am assuming that they lose more control of him as time goes on. And would the Rockies take Carp and Fowler? (ignore the last question just joking)
    If there is no season, then what does that do to contracts? Does that push his opt-out back for a year? Or did this contract year just disappear into the mist, meaning that his opt-out didn't move? That is the variable. Otherwise nothing about his situation changed due to the shutdown. The rift still exists and the Rockies will either fix that (unlikely) or trade him (very likely).
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