STL sports chat with Jose de Jesus Ortiz

Bring your Cardinals, Blues and St. Louis sports questions and comments to a live chat with Post-Dispatch columnist Jose de Jesus Ortiz at 1 p.m.




  • Good afternoon. Thanks for joining our live chat this week. Now that the Cardinals failed to miss the playoffs, this should be an interesting week on here.
  • Jose,

    Between reading articles from Gordo and JR I am preparing for a down year from the Blues. Other teams in the division made improvements and I liked what the Blues did at the draft and swapping Lehtera for Schenn but with the injuries and the poor showing in the preseason, it could be a long year for Blues fans huh?
  • Mike Yeo was very excited about the depth heading into camp and the fact that several players could make strong cases for spots on the roster. The Blues had already braced to be without Patrik Berglund, but the injuries to Jay Bouwmeester and Alexander Steen added perhaps bigger blows. Moreover, Zach Sanford's injury has to be considered a minor blow compared to the season-ending injury that Robby Fabbri suffered to his surgically repaired knee. I had high hopes for the Blues entering preseason, but it's probably a good idea for Blues fans to have modest expectations this season.
  • Jose,

    I understand the the Cardinal's FO knows they need to add an impact player, but they have yet to show that they are willing to get outside of their comfort zone and make moves involving prospects or winning a bidding war. What if they stick to their MO and fall short of what they say they need to do?
  • This is a very good question. Actually, it's the most important question of the offseason for the Cardinals. By design, John Mozeliak, Michael Girsch and Mike Matheny were quite vague on Tuesday when they gave their state-of-the-Cardinals address. The status quo will not cut the gap on the Cubs or keep up with the Brewers, who have surpassed the Cardinals. I think it's wrong to assume the Cardinals are only one or two players away. To be considered a contender, they must plug a hole in the starting lineup, at least one hole in the bullpen and, I would argue, a hole in the rotation. My Friday column will be on the holes in the rotation. Considering the talent coming up in the farm system and what the young Cardinals showed this year, they are not far away from being legitimate wild-card contenders next year if everything goes as planned with Alex Reyes, Luke Weaver, Jack Flaherty, Sandy Alcantara, Dakota Hudson, Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez. I don't know how anybody could see those options and not be at least a little concerned about the starting rotation. To your point, the Cardinals definitely must go out of their comfort zone.
  • By the way, here's my column addressing the Cardinals' needs.

    Ortiz: Cardinals know they need an All-Star hitter

    stltoday.comA year ago, the Cardinals erroneously believed they were merely a center fielder away from returning to the postseason. Now that they’ve missed the postseason for two years in a
  • Seems like the Cards need 2 impact bats. What about adding BJ Upton and JD Martinez for about the same cost as just adding Stanton. BJ seems to be on the verge of opting out of his current contract.
  • Considering that the Cardinals' payroll was about $3 million lower than the Major League average and 16th in the majors at $149,454,185, according to spotrac.com, Bill DeWitt Jr.'s ownership group owes the loyal fan base way more than he invested in the payroll this year. The apologists for the Cardinals kept pointing out that they were among the biggest spenders last year, but who gives a rat's behind if you're still not spending enough to be a playoff contender or to at least have a payroll in the top third in baseball? The Cardinals got away with not adding the slugger they needed last offseason because there were too many apologists in this town claiming that the Cardinals had a long track record that earned them the benefit of the doubt. Well, how did that work out for the Cardinals? As I wrote last winter, the Cardinals cannot go about business the same way. This front office had never competed in the NL Central against a front office led by the brilliant Theo Epstein and the Brewers' David Stearns, who played a crucial role rebuilding the powerhouse Astros. What worked in the past for the Cardinals won't necessarily pass muster anymore. Anybody who tells you different clearly has not paid attention.
  • Cardinals have fired or reassigned 3 coaches this year, players that don't perform are sent to the minors or released, very much a performance based organization. Then why is Mike Matheny untouchable? In a related question do you see the new pitching coach given the ability to make bullpen decisions instead of the manager?
    Thanks
  • First of all, you have to consider that Mike Matheny was given an extension last November through 2020. Bill DeWitt Jr. decided that Matheny was his man a year ago. The Cardinals aren't going to eat three years of that contract after a season in which they didn't give him nearly enough talent to compete in the NL Central. Moreover, you must judge Matheny by his overall record and the talent at his disposal. He has never had a losing season. His teams have missed the playoffs only twice. The truth is that the Cardinals didn't have enough talent to compete in the NL Central this year. The more I think about it, the more I believe that they actually overachieved if you consider just how bad the bullpen was. If I had told you at the start of the season that Trevor Rosenthal, Seung-Hwan Oh, Brett Cecil and Kevin Siegrist would be major disappointments this year, there's no way in hell you'd expect this team to contend. The Cubs won the offseason when they traded for Wade Davis. If the Cardinals had acquired Davis from the Royals last winter, they would have reached the playoffs and perhaps even won the NL Central. Matheny isn't perfect, but even the legendary Tony La Russa couldn't have won with so many holes in the bullpen.
  • Sounds like Nashville will be getting 1 MLS team. Does that pretty much end the MLS to STL talk?
  • I've covered enough MLS to know how they leak stories in a timely manner to try to impact public officials. Not surprisingly, the Nashville leaks started happening as officials were debating whether Nashville would give corporate welfare to the tune of millions to billionaires. I don't think anybody in the MLS has actually gone on the record saying that Nashville is assured an expansion bid, though. The Nashville mayor made a horrible deal. Considering that the taxpayers will pay $250 million while the MLS owners chip in only $25 million. Then the owners will pay only $9 million annually to pay off the $13 million in debts. Lots of journalists buy into sports team's go-to claim that the city (in this case Matro) will own the stadium. What journalists almost always fail to mention is that it's in the sports team's best interest to have the city stuck with the property for tax purposes. Moreover, after 30 years on the lease those properties aren't worth much other than the price of the land the stadium sits on. Here's hoping St. Louis citizens continue to be smart enough not to fall for MLS' lies. www.tennessean.com
  • Hi Jose tell me how you see the rest of Mizzou's football season playing out if you can guess at the remaining games I see optimistically one more win somewhere in there How about you Sir!
  • That is a very good question. I'm afraid that Mizzou might actually be worse than I initially expected. I don't expect the Tigers to win more than four games this season. As it turns out, I was right when I wrote after the embarrassing South Carolina game that the Tigers likely wouldn't win at home again until Idaho on Oct. 21. I expect them to lose to Kentucky, be embarrassed again by Georgia, beat Idaho, beat Connecticut, lose to Florida, play Tennessee tough, lose to Vanderbilt, play Arkansas tough. The key to this season will be Tennessee and Arkansas. If Barry Odom can beat those two SEC opponents and show some serious progress in the final three weeks, he might salvage some recruiting momentum and deserve to remain on the job. If Tennessee and Arkansas beat the Tigers, Odom should be fired.
  • What wasnt Lilliquist doing analytically that the Cards wanted him to do? Shifting? which Bull Pen pitcher to pitch?
  • Derrick Goold addressed these questions in his story. The pitching coach isn't in charge of shifts. That should have been on one of the coaches.

    Lilliquist out as Cards seek pitching coach with 'modern' focus

    stltoday.comBy the time Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has left the dugout behind to make a move to the bullpen, he has already sifted through a stack of cards with influential
  • Mr. Ortiz, back in January you stated that the Blues ownership group made a reasonable request for upgrades at Scottrade Center. You called the request "reasonable" and cited the 100 million in tax revenue as another positive. Just last week in your chat however, you state "The city built it. The Blues make all the money from it, so the Blues should pay to refurbish it." In reality, the city paid for the land clearance of the old Kiel auditorium, and payment for the building of the garage which THE CITY makes money off of. To date those funds have totaled in 60 million. The garage funds were not stated in your January article. The rest of Scottrade Centers original construction was privately funded, which was over half of the funding. This is what brought in line the agreements of property tax waivers and the 1 dollar lease. Kiel Center Partners operates the venue and they do make money off of events there, but the city of St. Louis still owns the venue. This is also after decades of the Blues being one of the highest taxed teams in pro sports with the amusement tax. Since the year 2000, the team has only profited twice, and towards the lockout of 04-05, had a year where they lost near 30 million. They have come a long way since then but don't think this franchise and the venue is rolling in money like scrooge mcduck. The approval for the funds of Scottrade Center back in February should still stand. Cara Spencer's proposal is completely asinine.
  • You make some very good points, but if the Blues want to be good corporate citizens they should agree with Cara Spencer's proposal. As you state, the city owns Scottrade Center. The reason even teams that build arenas and stadiums opt to have the cities own them is because they want the tax breaks that go with that type of partnership. Remember, these are all businesses. I don't blame the Blues for wanting the sweetheart deals that they were able to sucker out of the Aldermen, but I also don't blame the city comptroller and Spencer for realizing that the awful deal for St. Louis puts St. Louis' credit rating in peril. I have a serious issue with taxing the city's poor for a venue primarily used by people from the county and St. Charles. The good and noble thing to do would be to have the folks who attend events at Scottrade Center pay for the upgrades through a tax on their tickets. I don't expect the Blues to do the right thing because they already got a sweetheart deal from the city. In the future, though, I hope that the city bars Aldermen from taking campaign money from groups associated with the team owners. If you took campaign money from lobbyists or folks tied to the Blues or Cardinals or MLS2STL, you should recuse yourself from voting on these stadium issues or bringing up any of these proposals.
  • Hi Jose, thanks for doing the chat. If Jeter makes it clear that the Marlin will not trade Stanton to the Cards unless Reyes is part of the deal, would you still make that deal? Based on your understanding of the Cards FO, do you think they would? Put another way: is Reyes untouchable in a Stanton trade?
  • John Mozeliak doesn't believe in untouchables. With all that said, I wouldn't give up a top prospect like Reyes in a package for Stanton. There won't be a big market for Stanton, who has a no-trade clause and $295 million remaining on a heavily backloaded deal. Stanton's contract is a huge gamble, and the Marlins must pick up some money from that deal before teams can even begin to consider a trade package. Because of Stanton's contract, I assume that the team that acquires him won't have to give up the types of pieces that you normally would expect to be necessary to complete a deal for such a superstar.
  • My take away from yesterday's presser: this FO will continue to mold this team to compliment Matheny's weaknesses. That is the top priority is to keep Mike in place and make him successful.
  • You might have to elaborate on your question because I don't understand it. If you mean that Mozeliak vows to fix a roster that wasn't playoff-worthy, I agree with you. You cannot blame Matheny for a roster that wasn't good enough to win. I feel bad that some folks were suckered into believing that this was a 90-win team. If you follow my chats or my twitter profile, you'd know that I consistently said that this roster would probably tap out at 84 or 86 victories. Even I was too optimistic.
  • With Waino and Wacha huge question marks next year, don't think the Cards have to go out and get at least one established starter? They both won't be able to give them a full season.
  • I agree 100 percent that the Cardinals need to add a starter. Please check out my Friday column because I'll make that very case over 950 must-read words.
  • With Jagr off the table, what other free agents might be available that would have an immediate impact for the Blues? Do you see their cap space as better saved for the trade deadline or used immediately to bring someone in?
  • The Blues signed Upshall. I wouldn't expect any free agents to come through the Scottrade Center doors anymore this season.
  • Based on the insane free agent class of 2019, do you envision a scenario where the Cards try to improve both starting pitching and the bullpen while waiting on a younger big bat in the following offseason?
  • They'll definitely have to improve the bullpen. I wouldn't be surprised if they add the bat through a trade. Donaldson of the Blue Jays is a prime target. You are correct about next winter's free agent class appearing much better than this upcoming weak class.
  • Jose,

    Good afternoon and thanks for the chat! After watching yesterday's press conference and listening to Mr. DeWitt in Bernie's talk show this morning. I was getting more of the vibe, Mr. Dewitt isn't very interested in taking on the length of the deal with Stanton nor the $ owed on it. He didn't of course directly say this, but mentioned when acquiring a player in a trade these were things to take into consideration that could hurt you in the future.

    With that said, I am getting more of the feeling they will try to acquire Yelich, a young cost controlled High upside talent as well as try to push for Donaldson. If they are unable to resign or he doesn't put up the #'s, possibly make a run at Machado in that years FA class?

    I was curious your thoughts on this? Or if I was reading too much into the comments and current noise, etc. Thanks!
  • Bill DeWitt Jr.'s stance has been consistent since he spoke to me in Cooperstown, N.Y., in late July. I don't know what DeWitt has said elsewhere, but this column pretty much spells out why he's against a contract like Stanton's.

    Ortiz: If Pujols was too expensive for Cards, so is Stanton

    stltoday.comIt’s always easy to spend somebody else’s money, especially when it’s a pro sports team’s cash. For the most part, fans don’t care about the Cardinals’ profits.
  • Jose, I have to admit that the Fabbri injury especially, along with Berglund, Sanford, and Steen has got me pretty down on the season at the moment. The current bottom six looks really really week and have sobotka and jaskin in the top 6 isn't great either. Seems like some of the kids are going to have to produce big this year as Fabbri did as a rookie. Am I being too negative?
  • You are not being too negative. At this point, it's too early to know whether the Blues can survive the rash of injuries that will hamper them for the first half of the season. They're counting on players that they weren't expecting to need so early in the season. At this point, I can only say that I wouldn't be surprised if they miss the playoffs or squeak in as a wild card.
  • JD Martinez, Donaldson are too old. Why give declining players an outrageous salary when they don't have too many productive years left? At least Stanton is young and his contract will be considered a bargain by the time some of 2018 free agents become available.
  • What if I told you that Martinez, 30, is only seven months older than Tommy Pham, who will be 30 in March? Donaldson will enter his final year of arbitration, so there's a chance to work out a multi-year extension with him if you acquire him via trade.
  • The Cards count 3.4 mil attendance again this year. One could conclude that many fans are going to collect bobbleheads and other trinkets passed out at nearly every home game, or have resigned and accepted to watching mediocre baseball. Within that premise, where is the sense of urgency from ownership to significantly improve the team rather than more of the same incremental tweaks we have seen the past few years?
  • John Mozeliak has proven to be a very competitive man, so is Bill DeWitt Jr. I don't think fans appreciate just how difficult it is to win consistently in the majors when you're essentially always drafting in the 19-range, as Mozeliak noted yesterday after I asked him if I was too tough on the Cardinals. The fact is that the Cardinals haven't taken any shortcuts. They have continually tried to win while "keeping their stride," as Mozeliak noted, without taking steps back as the Cubs and Astros did. If I'm a fan of the Cardinals, I'd be grateful that DeWitt and Mozeliak have always delivered a competitive major-league team. Despite some rare blow ups, you have almost always been guaranteed a true major-league product at Busch Stadium. I covered the rebuilding Astros, including a team that lose 111 games and 15 in a row to end the 2013 season. I felt bad for Astros fans who were forced to pay major league prices for a minor-league product as the Astros tanked in 2011 through 2013 and were still struggling in 2014. The Astros had a plan, but they sacrificed three seasons in the process. The Cardinals never bailed on their fans like that. For that, I think DeWitt and Mozeliak deserve praise. It hasn't been fun or easy, but trust me when I tell you that I'm really sold on the health of the Cardinals' farm system and Mozeliak's commitment to get this team in the playoffs this season.
  • Now that we have come to the end of the Randal Grichuk era, who will be the first to congratulate Dexter Fowler on his move to LF?
  • Grichuk is just one of the Cardinals outfielders who will be shopped this offseason. You can bet that the Cardinals will discuss Stephen Piscotty, Grichuk and Pham in trades this season, whether initiated by the Cardinals or another team. Do you sell high on Pham? Do you sell low on Piscotty and Grichuk? Do you package Bader or Sierra in a deal for a slugger or pitcher?
  • The Cubs are arguably better at every position than the Cards. And they will restock their pitching by signing a top ace and a quality secondary pitcher, perhaps Lance Lynn, to replace Arietta and Lackey. Do you still believe the Cards can overtake the Cubs next season based on one big bat and a closer?
  • I think the Cubs will likely be the favorites next year again. The Cardinals will need another starter. I do think they can contend and even surpass the Cardinals if they add a starter, a legit All-Star bat and a closer.
  • Cards were a 5-star restaurant whose menu got stale. Now they are a 3-star restaurant and they need to decide: Do they need a total menu overhaul? Do they need a new chef? Do they even want to be a 5-star restaurant again?
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