Greetings from Cleveland, where the Cubs or Indians will break a long World Series championship drought tonight. Thanks for joining me this week. I'm rushing to Progressive Field immediately after this chat. It should be an amazing night. Fire away with your questions, please.
As far as columnists go, we split the World Series games with Ben Hochman taking the Chicago games and I had the Cleveland games. I actually attended only Game 3 with my daughter. I bought tickets to the World Series for my daughter and my mother in-law. The atmosphere around Wrigley Field was truly magical. The crowd was as into it in Game 3 as any crowd I've ever witness in all my years of covering World Series games. It reminded me of Game 3 of the 2001 World Series at Yankee Stadium, which was the game when President Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
I can understand why you would want Coach Miles at Mizzou. I really think he could lift the Tigers to prominence. With all that said, it's not going to happen. I cannot imagine Mizzou having the guts to go out and make such a game-changing hire. Moreover, you have to wonder what coaches would think of working at Mizzou if they dumped Odom after only one season. Quite simply, Gary Pinkel left Odom a bad team. Pinkel got out at the right time. I haven't covered Mizzou football enough to have the pulse of the team quite like the brilliant Dave Matter, but I have really come away impressed from my interactions with coach Odom. I bet you that if Mizzou gives him time he will turn this thing around. Cliche alert: Mizzou's problems are more about Jimmys and Joes than Xs and Os. In other words, Mizzou needs an infusion of talent before you can really judge coach Odom.
Lorenzo Cain is a very good center fielder. He is due $11 million next year before becoming a free agent in 2018. I'm really of the opinion that the Cardinals should sign a free agent like Dexter Fowler and save their farm system assets for a truly elite player on the trade market. I've mentioned this before, and I really do believe it: The Cardinals should go big or go home. Swing for the fences this winter or keep the top prospects and prepare for another deep run in 2018. You have to believe that the Cardinals and the rest of the NL Central will be playing for the wild-card next year unless they go out and get a guy like Chris Sale for the starting rotation and an elite middle of the order batter. Go big or stay.
I was dreading this question, to be honest with you. And many folks are going to hate this answer in St. Louis, but I have really enjoyed getting to know Aroldis Chapman during this World Series. He's quite fascinating and has a jovial personality. I ripped the Cubs for acquiring him with all his baggage from last year's domestic violence assault, and you cannot ignore those reports. But I have spent a bit of time talking to him. Strictly as a ballplayer, he has really put himself in good position to be the World Series MVP if the Cubs win it all tonight and he closes it out.
The Cubs are extremely confident, but Kluber has dominated them so far. I would expect a low-scoring affair. It will be interesting to see how dominant Kluber can be going on short rest for the second start in a row. He's the first pitcher to win Games 1 and 4 of a World Series since Jose Rijo in 1990. Kyle Hendricks must hope he can keep the Cubs close. I'm going to pick the Cubs to win this. But if the Indians have a one-run lead after five, you might want to hand the World Series MVP trophy to Kluber because you have to believe a fresh Andrew Miller and Cody Allen will shut this bad boy down. I'm going to predict the Cubs win it.
The Cubs will win it 6-2.
I honestly haven't heard anything about St. Louis wanting an expansion NBA team. I would love for the city to get an NBA team, but I don't know that the NBA sees St. Louis as a market looking for an NBA team.
I appreciate the sentiment. Thanks.
That is an interesting observation. I hadn't even noticed that. To be honest, I haven't seen any of the broadcasts from Progressive Field because I was here. I will take your word on it.
That is a great question. I know Chris Pronger is still beloved former captain here. One thing that I noticed during my time with Mr. Bob Plager on Saturday was how the Blues truly reserve that honor for truly special players. All the retired sweater numbers in Blues history are for some of the most beloved players in franchise history. It's clear they don't just retire any star's jersey. I'll ask Mr. Stillman, though.
Be honest, do you really think the Royals will go for that? I bet you they wouldn't. Moreover, I wouldn't call that a good blockbuster. Good blockbusters that truly help the Cardinals contend will hurt. You don't get something for nothing, as the trite line goes.
Andrew, that is a very good question. The Cardinals have until five days from the World Series to exercise Garcia's option. If I were John Mozeliak, I would pick up that $12 million option and bring him to spring training. Garcia took positive steps until he tired in the final month of the season, as should have been expected considering he had thrown more innings than he had since injuries started to derail his career. I would pick up his option, hope he has a great spring training and then use him to acquire an important piece if he doesn't fit in the five-man rotation.
I will be on vacation next week, but I promise to get off my butt and really start using my MLS connections to chase this MLS2STL. I promise you nobody has more MLS connections in the local media than I do from my years writing international soccer, MLS and NWSL when I wasn't doing Astros coverage. I need to start calling those connections. I will jump on this and have answers for you in mid November. I promise.
I promise you it's not rigged. It is fascinating, though. The Indians are a magical group that should be commended for getting within a victory of the World Series with only two healthy starters. I expected this Series to go six games, but the Cubs were stunned early and have now bounced back from the brink of elimination. It should be fun to follow.
The Cubs will win. It ends tonight.
I haven't been around St. Louis more than seven months, so I couldn't possibly address this question. I haven't heard of any such issues since I got here. I will tell you that Dexter Fowler told me he'd definitely listen to the Cardinals this winter.
I haven't heard that he will. I would hope that they wouldn't. The Indians should celebrate their actual players and honor them with the ceremonial first pitch honors instead of giving that honor to some actor. That's just the baseball purist in me speaking.
That's a funny question. To be honest, what answer would you expect to get from your follow-up question. They all say the same thing, and it's just a bunch of cliches. I mean, how would he really know if the Browns have a family atmosphere? What does that even mean? It's all BS, spin.
That is not crazy at all. I don't know nearly enough about Illinois hoops to try to guess there, but I bet you SLU will have a brighter future in basketball over the next five years. I think Travis Ford will set the foundation during a rough first season and then have a consistent winner at SLU starting next season.
They tanked and then made amazing trades. You have to give them credit for the trades that landed them key pieces. Remember, the Astros also tanked and even reached the playoffs last year, but their trades have really backfired and set them back more than they have helped.
I bet you the Cubs will let Fowler test free agency.
If I ran the Cardinals, I would go after the Jansen, but I don't think they are willing to give up big money for a closer like that. I would, though.
Exactly. I'm surprised nobody has suggested Wong for Trout straight up with money coming back to the Cardinals.
This was the biggest mistake of the Luhnow era. When I was in Houston, I had a respect amateur scouting director who had picked first or second multiple times do a graphic on how he would pick. We ran it in the Houston Chronicle. Let the record state that my graphic suggested the Astros pick Bryant or Gray. I like Apple as a person, but I would not have picked him. The greatest motivator is hunger, and I would not have picked a guy who wasn't hungry enough to sign as a high first-round pick the year before.
I don't think Cardinals fans would tolerate tanking, but if the Blues won two Stanley Cups it would ease the pain.
If you remember the Trout suggestion, I mentioned that Carpenter would need to be part of such a deal with major prospects thrown in. Even that scenario was silly, though, because why would the Angels want Carpenter if they were going to get rid of Trout and rebuild?
I was surprised, but the Cubs were desperate. I had a bigger issue with him coming out for the ninth.
Thank you so much for participating in this chat. I wish I could get to more of your questions, but I have to rush to Progressive Field now.