Welcome to our weekly live chat. I assume many of our usual guests are enjoying their Thanksgiving week off from work and probably away from the computer, so thanks for checking in.
Before we begin the live chat I want to start by offering my condolences to Ralph Branca's family. I had a chance to meet the former Brooklyn Dodgers great a few times when I was a Mets beat writer. He was former Mets manager Bobby Valentine's family. Here is the statement MLB commissioner Rob Manfred issued today. Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. issued the following statement regarding the passing of longtime Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca, who was 90:
“I extend my deepest condolences to the family, friends and fellow admirers of Ralph Branca, a three-time All-Star, a friend of Jackie Robinson and a former President and board member of the Baseball Assistance Team. Ralph was a true gentleman who earned universal respect in the game he loved and served so well. Ralph’s participation in the ‘Shot Heard ‘Round the World’ was eclipsed by the grace and sportsmanship he demonstrated following one of the game’s signature moments. He is better remembered for his dedication to the members of the baseball community. He was an inspiration to so many of us.
“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my best wishes to Ralph’s wife Ann, his daughter Mary, his son-in-law Bobby Valentine and his many friends throughout the National Pastime.”
Happy Thanksgiving. I'm probably more in a giving mood than a receiving mood this Thanksgiving season. I hope you and your family have a great holiday.
I assume that Bruce Arena will be more open to MLS players. Jurgen Klinsmann was tremendously dismissive of MLS, both in his public statements about the league and in how he treated the players. Ironically, MLS' own twitter page trolled him in his last game after the USMNT gave up multiple goals to MLS-based players in that embarrassing 4-0 loss.
I really appreciate your compliment, but I must admit that I can immediately think of 10 pieces that were written by Derrick Goold, Rick Hummel, Jeremy Rutherford, Tom Timmermann, Ben Hochman, Jeff Gordon, Ben Fred that were much better. With that said, I appreciate the compliment. I promise you Derrick Goold does not go with the company line. Respectfully, I'd bet you my mortgage payment that you're wrong on that. I will agree with you, however, that I don't see Mo making the significant moves that this team needs to upgrade the team. Happy Thanksgiving!
I was actually on my friend Jeff Blair's radio show in Toronto discussing the Brett Cecil signing. The folks in Toronto think highly of Cecil. I think he's a significant upgrade over what the Cardinals had available. I would still argue that the Cardinals need to add one more significant late-inning reliever, a Kenley Janser or Aroldis Chapman, to make this one of the best bullpens in the majors. Remember, when I discuss the winter moves, I'm pointing toward making the Cardinals as good as the Cubs. My suggestions are aimed at making the Cardinals the best team in the NL, not a wild-card contender satisfied with sneaking into the playoffs.
We will likely have to wait until 2021 to develop a rivalry with the Dynamo. I definitely hope that MLS places St. Louis with Sporting KC and the Dynamo in the Western Conference. The Dynamo and Sporting KC had a very good, heated rivalry earlier this decade.
WIll, you make very valid points. I know it's unrealistic to expect the Cardinals to sign all the free agents I made, but I wanted to point out how far behind the Cardinals are compared to the World Series champion Cubs. For the Cardinals to succeed, Bill DeWitt Jr. and John Mozeliak cannot have another poor winter. Whether by design or not, it's clear they failed to upgrade the team last year. Mike Leake's signing will set the team back for year. They need to go big or acknowledge that they're going to use 2017 as a season to take a step back and build toward having a contender in 2018. If they don't add major pieces, they are essentially conceding that they'll be mediocre next season. You cannot pretend you are trying to contend if you put up the type of roster the Cardinals did last year.
The Crawford Boxes, the short left porch at Minute Maid Park, will always tempt some hitters to pull the ball. I don't think that will change. If anything, the new MMP center field will be more forgiving now. Although the Crawford Boxes made MMP appear like a hitter's park, the deep center field and Tal's Hill actually helped the pitchers. Now, some of those long doubles or long line outs to Tal's Hill will be home runs.
The biggest surprise is such how fascinated I would become with hockey. I absolutely love attending Blues practice and chatting with the players and coaches. I had a long exclusive with Blues superstar Vladimir Tarasenko on Monday for a Thanksgiving column that will run Friday. I'm working on what I hope to be my best takeout feature of the year with coach Ken Hitchcock. I hope to have that piece ready to run during Christmas week.
Mr. Lou Brock isn't the bar for Raines. In my opinion, Rickey Henderson is the one I judge Raines against. They were in the same era. He was a poor man's Henderson, but that doesn't mean he's not a Hall of Famer. I've voted for Raines the last two years, and I must admit that it will be tremendously difficult to leave him off my ballot this year.
You definitely make some good arguments, but I know Dexter Fowler well. I covered him. I know how he'll help the Cardinals defensively, offensively and in the clubhouse. He's a steady veteran. As far as your last point about advance metrics, let me counter with this bit of wisdom. Who were Fowler's last two teams? The Astros and Cubs were his last two teams, and few teams in baseball have spearheaded the advanced metrics revolution quite like the Astros and the Cubs. You also know that the Cubs won the World Series with a guy named Dexter Fowler leading off and playing center field. He made some amazing defensive catches during the postseason.
I'm not sold on Tab Ramos yet. Remember, he is the guy who coached the last U.S. Olympic qualifying team that failed to qualify for the Olympics. Ramos is considered a good coach, but I don't know that he's done enough to deserve to lead the senior team yet.
I wish Dominic Kinnear, who now coaches the San Jose Sharks, would get a serious look at coaching the national team. Unfortunately, he has had three consecutive losing seasons with mediocre talent in San Jose the last two years and in Houston during an injury plagued final season there. I know Dom was on U.S. Soccer's radar because they had checked to see if he was interested in coaching the Olympic Qualifying team a few years ago.
Considering that I'm likely the only Jose de Jesus Ortiz in St. Louis, I'm assuming that you're using a fake name. I'll answer your question anyway. Folks in Houston worry that commissioner Rob Manfred will be hesitant to bust his good friend Bill DeWitt Jr., who helped him get the commissioner's role. The Cardinals publicly have acted as though they expect the commissioner will impose some sanctions against them, but they're too smart to concede that they might catch a break from a commissioner who is tight with DeWitt Jr.
The Cardinals can handle a $180 payroll, and that's what it's going to take for them to make the additions that will be necessary to contend next year. I'm not saying they should spend to spend. They need to make the additions to compete with the Cubs. The Cubs had a plan, and it's paid off. The Cardinals may also have a plan to be mediocre for a few years and then be competitive again in 2019, but they must be honest with the fans. There's no such things as Lovable Mediocrity, but that's what the Cardinals will try to sell again this year. A sections of the Cardinals' fan base made a bit of a statement in the final week of last season by staying away from Busch Stadium even though the Cardinals trying to promote a wild-card race. Only the fans can prompt DeWitt Jr. to demand more than mediocrity, but something tells me DeWitt Jr. would prefers to make his profits for a few years over making the investments necessary to compete with the stacked Cubs for the next few years.
I would only be guessing on Turner, so I'll have to dig around before I can truly answer this one. I'll get back to you next week.
That's an interesting question. It really is too early to know where Wong will hit. We need to see what the Cardinals do this off-season. Hopefully, the Cardinals upgrade enough to bat Wong near the end of the order.
I assume somebody will make a blockbuster trade for Chris Sale of the White Sox.
I think the Cardinals are committed to Peralta. He was plagued by injuries last year, so it's too early to give up on him.
If Derrick Goold says the Cardinals are committed to Peralta, then I would take that to the bank.
Happy Thanksgiving.God Bless. See you next week. Stay safe and sober, or safe and drunk, but above all, safe.