Goold's chat: What is the future, 2025 and beyond, of Cardinals' corner infield spots? (2024)

Greetings. Happy Cardinals ChatDay. The Cardinals are coming off a split series with Colorado, one that included Sunday's strong five innings from Andre Pallante and a home run from Alec Burleson. Paul Skenes comes to town for his STL debut. A winning record for the Local Nine is just a sweep away. You've got questions, concerns, criticisms, and witticisms, and I'll do my best to keep up.

Let me set up the file so that you can read the chat here with a real-time transcript below this window, and then dive in. Bring the questions. Bring the concerns. Bring the heat. Let's see where the conversation takes us today.

As always, questions are not edited for spelling, content, or grammar.

People are also reading…

The answers usually are.

Away we go.

Jeremy: In your opinion, what are three best bright spots for the Cardinals so far this season?

Derrick Goold: 1) The bullpen, anchored by Ryan Helsley. The clear defined roles, the ability to close out games, and the number of saves -- already a career high for Helsley -- and it's possible the Cardinals could have two reps from the bullpen in the All-Star Game.

2) Masyn Winn. He's making a bid for Rookie of the Year attention where there is a crowded field, and he's doing it with all-around play, while also working with the team trainers to manage a sore lower back as discussed in this morning's newspaper. Impressive start to the season and career for Winn. What he's done offensively has been ahead of schedule. Credit to him.

3) The NL Central and the NL in general. The race remains wide open, and the division is agreeable to slow starts, stumbles, and even losing streaks. It's a forgiving division, and looks like it may remain that way for weeks/months to come. That is, unless one of the teams jumps the line, makes a move to create a strength, and pulls away ....

CardFanInUmoqua: How is Walker doing at AAA?

DG: My colleague Daniel Guerrero went to Memphis recently, and there's no better way to answer your question than his reporting and interview with Jordan Walker there in Memphis.

Here is the link to Guerrero's story, "Back in Memphis, Cardinals outfielder Jordan Walker feels he's 'swinging it a little bit better.'"

Jeremy: DG - as a journalist, how have you changed your mindset and approach over the years with interview subjects who aren't pleased with your questions?

DG: Interesting question. We could probably have a good discussion on this for awhile, and I'd welcome that. I had the opportunity -- benefit? -- early on in my career of encountering coaches, politicians, or business people who did not like my questions. One high school coach in Louisiana refused to answer my questions because of my writing, so I stood there and waited him for to answer questions from others. Stood my ground, if you will. He relented. I had some time covering politicians and business people who didn't like questions at all, and that helped. Covering Nick Saban, Dan Issel, Norm Stewart, and Tony La Russa early in my career also provided needed experience and challenges, and seeing how colleagues like Jeff Duncan, Dave Krieger, Joe Walljasper, Vahe Gregorian, Bernie Miklasz, Joe Strauss, and Rick Hummel (and I'm sure others) handled those situations also helped. How have I changed? When I use a phrase that was incorrect and draws the ire of a coach, manager, executive, I am probably less stubborn about admitting my poor usage and then repositioning the question -- so that the conversation doesn't become about my phrase and sticks to the issue at hand. I am also more likely to repeat the question -- much to La Russa's chagrin -- if I feel the response was just an attack on the question and not an answer at all. The lack of an answer does not make the question go away.

Ron: Mo stated this weekend he lookimg for right handed CF. Don't know who would fit the need for it though.

DG: I wasn't at the event where John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations, said this, though I have asked for the context of it. A followup question I would ask -- and it may have been asked -- is if he's setting the stage for Tommy Edman to be that right-handed center fielder.

Cardfan: Derrick, don’t you think if the Cards were ever going to sign a rookie long term it would be Winn? Is the odds that Burleson is the Cardinals 1st baseman next season becoming greater as the season progresses? Your thoughts.

DG: At the moment, Winn has put himself in that position. The discussion going into the season was when such an offer/conversation would happen with Walker or -- depending on your view of where he was in terms of the "rookie" or "young player" classification -- Nootbaar. Winn was probably there on the periphery of the discussion because the feeling with the Cardinals was that he would excel at a defensively demanding position and grow on the job as an offensive player. He's really accelerated that part, and put himself atop the group of rookies in general. The Cardinals have not been one to make the move for those kind of deals that say the Rays or Atlanta have made. The question keeps coming up on whether they will, on whether they will have that player who forces their hand to seek that deal. Winn is doing so as much as anyone.

I guess, if we want to track odds in the way we track polling or track other in the moment snapshots, we could see them increase and decrease on who is going to be the 1B next year. To me, that's a discussion for the end of the year because they have a first baseman now. He's going to play out there. There is information we don't have now about how that year is going to go. So, why track it like the weather forecast when we know we'll be able to talk about it with all the data available later. It just invites mercurial odds -- Burleson homers one day (odds up!), Goldschmidt homers the next (odds down!), etc. This much is clear: Burleson has helped the Cardinals at a time when they need left-handed presence in the lineup. That will be true this year and next, and Burleson is able to play 1B, so that's a possible spot for him as the Cardinals look to keep his left-handed bat in the lineup and think about the future of the middle of their order.

TomBruno23: Sign Alonso. Kidding, that is not going to happen.

DG: Probably not.

David: In your opinion, if Goldschmidt and Arenado (88 and 95 OPS+) were even hitting at their previous full-season career worsts (115 and 108 OPS+), the Cardinals record would be...

DG: A winning record. Maybe even leading the division. Some of the early losses were the offense not providing enough to overcome little mishaps that the offense should be able to overcome.

lizkingwt: I have a few questions that are interrelated. Is there a sense of how Cardinals brass assesses their own player development at this point in the season? Do they, or you, have a sense as to why hitting development has essentially been backwards up to this point throughout the system? Do they, or you, have a sense as to why pitching development, especially at the lower levels, has gone the opposite way?

DG: I'll be honest, I'm entirely sure that I a) grasp the entirety of your question or b) agree with the assertion, if I do. As far as hitting development goes -- Winn, Burleson, Gorman. That trio would all be part of that discussion, right? And so would Jordan Walker, of course. Burleson has developed the power and approach that the Cardinals wanted to see from him. Winn has really surged as a hitter, making leaps straight out of the hitter camp the Cardinals held for prospects in the offseason a few years ago into the hitter you're seeing now. Gorman has accelerated his improvement as a hitter after a slow start, and I hope to write more about that shortly. Some of the players at the lower levels have had steps forward, steps backward, but if we're talking about development of hitters I find it difficult to arbitrarily exclude the hitters who are doing well and only talk about the ones struggling. We have to look at the whole picture. As discussed in a recent podcast, there is a comparison to be made between the strides Burleson made and the ones the Cardinals are asking Walker to make, too. We can also debate on whether the change for Walker needed to happen at his current age, his current ability, or if that improvement as a hitter could have happened as he grows into power while he hits for a higher average in the majors.

Pitching is where the question should be, for sure. The Cardinals had one of the most robust pitching development machines in the industry, and they were the envy of other teams. At the 2016 World Series, a Cubs executive namechecked the Cardinals by name, on the record, for what the Cubs needed to be to turn that team into a consistent, constant contender for years to come. The Cardinal were so successful developing pitchers that over the past decade, they continue to have some of the highest performance and contribution from homegrown pitchers -- though it's top-heavy from a few years. Chaim Bloom is part of the audit on the system now because it's clear that the game changed around the Cardinals and other teams made advancements that caught or surpassed the Cardinals or shifted the emphasis of pitching development. As we've all talked about for years, the Cardinals have had a type in the draft (Wacha, Gonzales, McGreevy, Lynn, Hudson ... the list is long), and while that has worked for them, there are areas of pitching developing (swings and misses for example, upside velocity) where teams have done well to amplify the talents of pitchers they draft. Amplification is a big part of this. You see that with hitters. You look for it in pitchers.

Greg: Do you like going to the candy store?

DG: I don't remember the last time I did, honestly. Got to watch the sweets, you know.

lizkingwt: I'm not referring to guys in the big leagues at the moment or have been. I'm specifically talking about guys in the minor leagues. It's not like I was out to take potshots. A part of the question was about the nice pitching developments in Palm Beach, but alright.

DG: Gotcha. Thanks for expanding on your question. Yes, there are a line of pitchers that are showing what was discussed above -- the amplification. Quinn Mathews has done well this season and is on the rise. The work he did to add strength and the incorporate the curveball, that's all part of development, and done with the Cardinals' input of course. Cooper Hjerpe is doing well. I think the move of Edwin Nunez to starter is interesting after the departure of Jordan Hicks, whether they are related or not, and they probably aren't -- it's probably just a move to see what's possible in the same way the Cardinals (and other teams) will push a player one spot up the defensive spectrum just to see what's possible.

Speaking of pushing ...

The Cardinals can trace some of the results they've had pitching-wise to two places -- the lost draft where they had to hand over picks to the Astros and, more impactful, their decision coming out of the lost season of 2020 to move players up, and in some places they did so aggressively. The results were poor. They cannot undo that decision, but they adjusting as a result of it.

David: I would think the Cardinals need a frontline starter (a better than Mikolas type as BenFred would say) more than a 5 starter. Make the 5th spot better by pushing everyone down a spot and give yourself a legitimate shot to win a playoff series.

DG: Fair point. I think when people or reporters or pundits or anyone talk about adding a fifth starter, they're talking about the number of starters not the position of the starter, as in a No. 5. That's just me. Maybe we could choose our words better and suggest that they would benefit from the addition of a starter. Where that starter slots in would determine how big a move they're willing to make. The starters who would be worth pursuing at the price point would be fifth starters who improve a rotation, and if they're No. 5s then you're already talking about a robust rotation.

Ed AuBuchon: Is Kyle Gibson auditioning to be a pitching coach when his career is over?

DG: He's just being the teammate, as advertised. Let's just be honest. Kyle Gibson is long overdue for being a Cardinal, and what they're getting from him is exactly as they needed and wanted. His presence and addition to the clubhouse is clear everyday. What he's providing on the mound is valuable to them every start. He's a force multiplier.

Bob G: Liberatore seems to have settled into a very effective reliever but a not so effective starter. Is the pay scale for an effective reliever less than a so-so starter?

DG: Yes it is. Blame innings. We'll see if that changes as the game evolves.

(I was curious and wanted to look it up. So depending on your frame of reference some of the highest paid sometimes-closer relievers have been Zack Britton at $13m AAV, Andrew Miller $9m AAV, Alex Colome $10.5m AAV ... and those are all in the top 50ish all-time for relievers. Look at the top 100 AAVs for starting pitchers, per Cot's Baseball Contracts, and you're at $16m. I'll leave so-so for you to assign, but that gives you a look at the marketplace.)

Molly: Who would you list as the favorite to represent the Cards at the All-Star Game?

DG: Ryan Helsley.

AJ in NoVA: If one of the medioWild Card contenders have a couple of hot streaks (like the Cardinals’ 10-2 run) and plays .500 ball outside those streaks, would that be enough for a playoff berth?

DG: Probably.

Check that.


Might be the third wild card, but it will be there for the team that has it in them.

TomBruno23: Seeing Skenes tomorrow reminds This Old BFIB of seeing former rookie phenom pitchers on 6/19/95 (Dodgers) and 8/6/03 (Florida) at Busch II.

DG: I remember the 2003 day well. In 1995, Hideo Nomo started against the Cardinals. And in 2003, that day in August, Dontrelle Willis and his sensational rookie season came to St. Louis. Remarkable day. Know what each of them did in their debut here? They each pitched eight innings. They each won. Seems like another another they were playing. Nomo went 8 1/3 with two runs (one earned) allowed and 8 strikeouts. I was overseas at the time or headed there ... so I didn't bop over from Mizzou to see that game. In 2003, though, Willis was the event pitcher, and at St. Louis he pitched eight innings and struck out six while allowing three runs (all earned) on five hits. That win moved him to 11-2 ... in August! Not the result the home crowd wanted for sure, but definitely a performance a baseball city can appreciate.

Jackson: If Quinn Mathews continues to pitch at the pace he's at, could we see him in AAA before years end?

DG: Sure. Wouldn't put a ceiling on where he could be, honestly.

Molly: What happened to Old-Timer's games?

DG: They still happen. The Yankees have the most covered most famous most renowned one. The Cardinals bring their former players into the Fantasy Camps that the team holds at Busch Stadium, Jupiter, and Cooperstown. Seriously, Cooperstown. This September, the Cardinals and their alumni will have a Fantasy Camp where the games are played in Cooperstown. It's not the traditional "Old Timers" Game in the sense of how the Yankees do it or with the crowd there to watch ahead of another game, but it's a variation of it. And there are other examples of this at other organizations in baseball.

Molly: Which stadium has the best food?

DG: A few have Shake Shacks that are great, of course. Citi Field used to have Two Boots pizza and that was the easy answer for me. At Busch, Nonna's has climbed to the top of my list for spots to grab a bite.

Molly: Are the Cards poised for a youth movement? Has it already begun?

DG: It's already begun. Whether they are poised for it or not will be revealed in the results.

Molly: Do you favorite and least favorite stadiums to visit?

DG: Dodger Stadium, Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, Coors Field, and PNC Park are among the favorites. But I don't have a least favorite, because visiting a ballpark by definition is still a ballpark, and there's a chance to see something there on the field that I never have and a challenge to write about it in a way that captures the game or shares some thrill or insight about it. I'm fortunate to do that every day.

Donald N: Derrick-Tommy Pham would look great in Cards outfield; Why were Cards not interested in the Spring? Thanks for the great work and info Donald

DG: They felt they had a depth of outfielders that were already going to be squeezed for playing time. They saw Edman as their starter in center, Carlson as their fourth outfielder, and Burleson even as the fifth or sometimes sub. There was even a moment in spring training -- you may remember this -- when it was possible that Burleson would start the season at Class AAA Memphis given the roster moves around him. The Cardinals view is that they didn't need that addition because they had overlaps already and wanted to address where they didn't, namely that shortstop position.

Molly: Not counting the players associated with steroids, are there players you think deserve to be in the Hall of Fame?

DG: Dale Murphy comes to mind in addition to the players I've voted for who are not in.

Jackson: What is the reasoning behind the Cardinals handling of Cooper Hjerpe? Why do they always seem to pull him after 4 innings, regardless of pitch count.

DG: He's returning from surgery, and they're being cautious with him.

Kevin in DC: Losing Middleton for the year hurts. Kittridge can’t handle the whole load. Leahy and others are limited. Do they go shopping for another reliever?

DG: Not at the moment, no. And that's mainly because in the coming weeks they expect to have Gallegos return, O'Brien return, and Robertson return, in that order. Gallegos is imminent. O'Brien will give a feel for his readiness in the coming few days. And the Cardinals are looking at them with Roycroft and Leahy as part of the right-handed depth that is missing one with Middleton out. As one of the Cardinals officials pointed out recently, they haven't had Middleton all season and they've found a way through, and with Gallegos, et. al., they still have depth there.

Bob Cob: Always enjoyed when you were on the over the air Cardinals broadcasts on Channel 11

DG: That was not me. I believe that was Rich Gould, no relation. Different spelling, too.

TomBruno23: Unsolicited Book Rec of the Week: The Last of His Kind by Andy McCullough. Probably hard to write a definitive bio of an active player and Andy nailed it with this one on Kershaw. I particularly enjoyed trips down memory lane to the 2013 and 2014 postseasons...get it from your local bookseller.

DG: Already did. Eager to finish it and also The Yankee Way by Andy Martino. Both of them are recent baseball books that are worth digging into.

Welcome to the Heath Barn: Pages played very well yesterday. With Herrera's inability to throw anybody out on the bases, could it potentially turn into more of a platoon until Contreras is back?

DG: Probably not a platoon in the strictest sense of that usage. The Cardinals have already used Pages at times for certain opponents (who run the bases aggressively) or certain days (when Herrera is off or at DH), and there will be just as much of that in the coming weeks. Targeted platoon, if you will. Pages has done well when called upon, and his work beyond the games has also been noted by teammates. Dating back to spring, pitchers have said they enjoy throwing to him.

Steve: What do you think the main thing or things the Cardinals must do better to win more baseball games?

DG: Produce more runs, more consistently. Entering the season, the things that appeared to be the most likely strengths for this team was the offense built on the three-pronged output of Goldschmidt, Arenado, and Contreras, and flanked by left-handed production from Nootbaar, Donovan, and Gorman. That's a strong, balanced, and upside six. It just hasn't happened. The bullpen appeared to be a strength through spring, even allowing for injuries. The rotation was the question. The offense has been the strength that unexpected lagged and that has to change for the Cardinals to win more often, win more consistently, and contend as they promised fans they would.

EvilCalvin: Come on Derrick. There has to be at least one park you are willing to admit kind of stinks, for whatever reason.

DG: Not really. I wasn't a fan of the mini-golf elements of Houston's ballpark, but those have changed. Oakland needs a significant overhaul and is eroding before our eyes, but it's also a ballpark unlike any we'll see again with that foul territory and that leads to a style of play that I wonder if it will be gone when Oakland is as a home. I much prefer the old Yankee Stadium.

Steve L: Derrick, I am that Card fan that lives in SE Colorado. I got blacked out all four games. Who do I thank for sparing me watching the madness?

DG: I guess, in your case, the Rockies?

Standard caveat: Blackouts are archaic and outdated and need to be erased from the fan experience. And there are owners who agree with that.

Kevin in DC: Ozuna is having a MVP type year. Why couldn’t he do that for us?

DG: A lot of that had to do with shoulder health/strength. Could also be the ballpark. He's a right-handed hitter, hitting for power, and there he is at a ballpark that welcomes that kind of hitter as opposed to a home ballpark that leans toward pitchers. The thinking at the time was that he wouldn't be bothered by it (or Stanton, for that matter) because they played and powered through Miami at the ballpark there.

Kim Miller: Derrick, greetings on this Monday. The Cardinals are 60 games into the season and trying to reach and stay at .500. The trade deadline is roughly 6 weeks away. If the team continues at this .500 pace until then, can you see Mo doing nothing at the deadline and hoping the players on the IL returning will be enough push to get into the playoffs? Just so many needs for this team to assemble a roster to make a strong push into October, I don't see him as a buyer if this season continues as is. Your thoughts. Also Nonna's is also my go to place also when I'm at the ballpark.

DG: Of the Cardinals options at the trade deadline, "nothing" is by far the least likeliest outcome. This past weekend, when speaking to fans at Blogger Day at the ballpark, John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations, suggested they would be buyers at the deadline. The division is tightly packed and the Cardinals remain in striking distance. Heck, a week ago they had a playoff berth. They are most likely buyers. If their season goes sideways, their roster is geared for them to be sellers. The idle or stand pat or nothing is not a move that makes sense for this team and seems like the most unlikely scenario of all.

t: I understand the need to add "innings" and "depth" but when does this team takes steps to drastically improve? It seems like the best case scenario with the additions mentioned above would be (another) embarrassingly brief playoff appearance. It should be alarming that we have won less post-season series with Goldschmidt than the D-Backs have won without him.

DG: Entirely possible. I'm not sure of the realistic move that is available that would guarantee a difference, only change the probabilities of what could happen.

Joe B: I saw Marmol bristled after Saturday's loss about a variety of questions, but one in particular was about Kittredge's usage. He's coming off an injury and pitched in 30 of the Cards' 64 games. His numbers keep climbing -- 7 earned runs in his last 13 games.

We saw it in 2015 with Matheny's commitment to the Siegrist-Maness-Rosenthal trio -- burn out happens with overuse. Would Marmol and the Cardinals be better off integrating another pitcher -- Fernandez for example -- into the In the Lead Bullpen?

DG: This is a concern that the manager actually volunteers and then outlines how they're looking at it from a staff's point of view. Kittredge recently talked at length about it too with some reporters. He made the point that he's being used in shorter bursts this season and how that helps him and makes him available more often. (You've probably heard a similar thing about or from Helsley.) As far as Fernandez and the others, absolutely that is what you're watching happen in real time. Not too long ago, Romero got an entire series off with an off day and it went unnoticed because of the contributions of others, and then now you see how Liberatore and King are used in that lefty spot. ("Lane" is the word that Marmol uses, if you're wondering why he drops that word a lot into postgame press conferences.) The right side is a little less clear, though what is clear is how the manager did buy Kittredge some time off and how he has wanted Roycroft back in the mix to use as part of the approach. The Cardinals just had to let the clock run out on Roycroft's mandatory stay in the minors. Now you'll see him in audition for that role that Fernandez has done well in, too.

And all of that is said right now before the returns of Gallegos and others detailed above that will also help alleviate the workload.

Or they could score more runs, too.

JJ: Derrick, thank you for the story and insight into Masyn Winn's back issues. When my back is barking, it's hard enough to get up from the couch, let alone play ball at the highest level. Kudos to his toughness. As a glass-half-full kind of guy, I see optimism with the Cards. Winn and Burleson developing into impact players. A bullpen to finish games. If the lineup can ever gain any decent health, I see a lineup that doesn't have to be so focused on Goldy and Arenado and can go on a consistent run of good baseball. Fair take?

DG: Entirely fair.

And thanks for the compliment on the coverage. If others are interested in reading the story where Masyn Winn discusses the plan for his back, it's here.

Houston Cardinal: I just looked and it appears that gallegos has around an 11 ERA in AAA right now. How on earth can they bring him back up and expect any kind of positive performance from him?

DG: On rehab assignments, please please please please please please please don't put too much stock in the stats, not until it's clear that the player has moved on from testing his health to testing his stuff. That is true for hitters -- who may be tracking pitches those first few at-bats -- and for pitchers -- who might just be throwing fastballs first pitch and off-speed third and so on. Think of rehab appearances as spring training and use the lens accordingly. We can all make stats dance and do what we want them to, but in this case it is both a) a small sample size and b) in dire dire dire dire need of context. Which, mind you, Gallegos offered as he described testing his pitches, finding the feel for them, and then shifting into trying to get results once he was sure of his health, strength, and feel.

Joe B: According to Baseball Savant, there have been 777 batted balls at Busch Stadium this year from right-handed hitters and only 22 have been homers -- the fewest in the league. It feels like the only right-handed hitter who could consistently hit homers at Busch is Albert Pujols. Do the Cards need to do something to make right-handed hitters more comfortable considering their two cornerstones and Jordan Walker all hit from the right side?

DG: For as long as I've been writing from Busch Stadium III, I have been trying to write about that trait of Busch Stadium III. It is a pitcher friendly park and it can be brutal for right-handed hitters. Not sure how else to put it. That is particularly true for pull-side power right-handed hitters. The numbers show that year after year after year. It's real, and it hasn't changed. A few years ago, Cardinals ownership considered moving the walls in, changing the dimensions of the ballpark, and adjusting for some of the reasons you mention. They had corners, Arenado and Goldschmidt, who were right-handed forces. The Cardinals opted not to do so for a few reasons, and chief among them were 1) unintended consequences that they wanted to try and understand before doing any change to the dimensions and 2) the five Gold Gloves the team won and the idea that they were built around defense and pitching, so keep a ballpark that rewarded both. Hard to argue with that last part as a strategy that has worked. Run prevention teams have been good at Busch III. And there was a year when Arenado and Goldschmidt finished 1 & 3 in MVP, so it's not stifling for the best of the best. Does it change with Walker on the rise? The Cardinals have said they reserve the right to revisit the dimensions as they do an overhaul of the ballpark in the coming years ...

As mentioned, I have to step aside here for an interview at 1 p.m. I cannot miss. I'll return for some rapid fire questions as they come in and close off the chat with a flurry of answers, if possible ...

saw: Do you think the owners have hoodwinked the union by keeping the union focused on the luxury tax when expanding playoffs is what is really depressing payrolls? When teams below .500 are battling for a playoff spot, it doesn't cost very much to be "competitive," so why spend more than you have to be minimally competitive?

DG: Let's jump right back in -- and what a sharp question to resume with. Given how the union viewed the expansion of playoffs and some of the considerations they wanted to agree to it, I don't think there was any "hoodwinking" going on. You do a good job of outlining the fallout from that decision. But let's look at the player's side of the ledger too -- minimum salaries went up, teams have to pay into a pool that is paid out to young players ahead of arbitration based on their performance (but that money is paid before its divided), there are changes to massaging service time, and any time you increase the salary floor you increase the money awarded in arbitration, so players are starting from a higher point. And then there's the dollars involved for the playoffs, which do increase the playoff shares that are then awarded to players and staff. I see what you're saying on the top-end, highest-dollar scale, but look what it's done to the floor for players, the non-1% if you will. Those salaries have gone up, the stage has been set for them to go up higher, and getting those concessions from owners for that had to mean a tradeoff elsewhere. Expanded playoffs, international neutral-site games, etc.

Ryan: That's an interesting view on part 2. Those 5 GG's that are being referenced, only 1 was considered full time OF'er ( O'Neill ) in which the outfield fence dimensions would have a daily impact on. There were 2 corner IF'ers, a 2nd baseman and a utility player who at the time saw very, very limited time in the OF not like today.

DG: It's not about the outfield defense, entirely, it's about the style of pitcher who thrives at the ballpark. For several decades now the Cardinals have turned to groundball pitchers -- either as free agents or in development -- and believed that they put a good defense behind them they'll turn those groundballs into outs. So, that's where the five Gold Gloves come into play ... or, well four of the five. So, it's not about the dimensions of the outfield (do keep in mind that Harrison Bader was part of the GG group of that era, and there was the UT GG that involved playing the outfield) or even where the GG defense is playing, but the notion of a lot of balls in play, a ballpark that makes it difficult for those fly balls to leave the park and turn those groundball singles that slip through sometimes into crooked numbers.

milyabe: How many staffers cover a typical home game? And what do the responsibilities look like when you're not the one writing the game story? I didn't realize until that press conference the other day that multiple P-D writers fully cover each game, including the press conferences. It made me curious..

DG: For most of my time on the beat, we've had three baseball writers on staff. (A few years there have been two.) Currently, Lynn Worthy, Daniel Guerrero, and I are the baseball beat writers, with Guerrero also covering the minor-leagues in addition to coverage at the big-league level. Nineteen years ago, the trio was Joe Strauss, Rick Hummel, and me, and Hummel was the national baseball writer, who did a lot of stories on the MLB level. On any given day at the ballpark we also have one or two columnists present (Gordon, Hochman, Frederickson), a photographer assigned to the game, help from the digital staff to post the First Pitch stories and capture videos, and then a return this year of the Hummel Intern, a student at Mizzou who spends the summer with the PD staff and is paid for by the local chapter of the BBWAA through fundraisers. That's quite a lot of people, for sure, and that's the kind of investment that the paper makes in the coverage -- and it allows us to have all kinds of content. Each night, there will be at least four stories written off each game, and 9 out of 10 times there will be more, upwards of five or six even. The beat writers produce Cardinals Extra (a roundup of news or an issues story that today was about Masyn Winn), Quick Hits (immediate coverage of the game), and then a follow off the game that is a deeper look at something from the game and is based on reporting following the game. At home, the assignments are often split up, as you can imagine. On the road, the writer present does them w/ help from colleagues when needed. The goal is to be a team covering the team and give readers and subscribers of the Post-Dispatch the most coverage (quantity) and best coverage (quality) possible. Comprehensive is the goal. Subscribers make this investment in the coverage possible.

Mike: So at this point, I think it is clear that until the Cards get a reliable 5th starter, and our corner infielders start hitting better than league average, this team isn't going anywhere. But somehow they are still in the WC hunt. Any chance the FO will still try and add at the deadline if the current status quo of this team remains?

DG: Yes, that is their current plan. That is how they see it, maybe even if they sag back a bit. The perception is this division is there for the taking and it's not been decided at all, nor will it be as the deadline nears and passes.

Sean: A few questions related to Arenado: If Arenado's offensive production improves, what is the likelihood that he gets traded? I'm aware of his no-trade clause, but is there any way around that? The numbers clearly show that he is regressing on all levels and I fear that three more years of his high salary (and continued regression) will be more of a burden for the club and club's decision to make certain appropriate moves, whatever those moves may be. Thanks.

DG: 1) Low. Very low. How low can you go low.

2) There are always ways around no-trade clauses. The way teams get around them is to go to the player and say, "Under what conditions will you accept a trade?" A no-trade clause does not prohibit a team from talking about trading that player. It just gives the player veto power when it comes to the trade. The Miami Marlins agreed to trade Giancarlo Stanton to the Cardinals. It was Stanton who exercised his no-trade clause to void the deal. Players will often put teams on the no-trade list strategically so they can use that as leverage for another year or higher salary or anything to approve the trade.

3) If you have that view -- wouldn't you expect other teams to share it?

South City Steve: It's time to go external to upgrade and anchor this outfield. Mo has exhausted the Internal Options Method of outfield building. This team has produced zero star players in the OF dating back to… honestly I don’t even know. The outfield is a lot like their starting pitching in the 21st century, the best players have come via trade or FA. They rolled the dice with three unproven players and no competition for 4 seasons with Bader/O’Neill/Carlson, I don’t want to repeat that again with Donovan/Nootbaar/Walker, not without an established centerpiece.

DG: Got anyone in mind? I know a local columnist who pointed out Bryce Harper's obvious fit for the Cardinals ...

CardsfanintheOzarks: Hi Derrick,

DG: Greetings.

South City Steve: Who is more likely to be back with the Cardinals in 2025, Lynn or Goldy?

DG: I don't know at this point, in June.

robert: Where is Tommy Edman in his rehab? Didn`t he have surgery in October? That was eight months ago-is he going to play this year at all?

DG: He had surgery in October, yes. Wrist surgery. And a significant one. He is, right now, taking batting practice from coaches from both sides of the plate, and he's not encountered any pain or difficulty as he's doing that and recovering day to day. The next step -- and in the near future -- is facing machine pitch and velocity from both sides of the plate. That is the step right before game action, and how quickly he goes from one to the other will be determined on how he recovers.

Every game day, at StlToday, there is an update on injuries available in the First Pitch story. It's not just the lineup and matchups, it's also a list of where things stand for each player who is dealing with an injury.

Welcome to the Heath Barn: My family and I were down there this weekend for the Saturday and Sunday games (also had Todd Thomas "That one guy" on my podcast while there & would love to have you on sometime too, just sayin). But, yesterday really seemed like a good environment. Positive vibes, team played good, clean baseball for the most part, attendance was over 40,000. I know people like to gripe on here a lot, and often times for good reason. But just wanted to throw out there that it's not all doom and gloom, and this is a team that's had a lot of injuries and is still right there in the mix to make a run.

DG: That was a crisp, quality baseball game Sunday, for sure. Had a good pace to it. Didn't have the raggedness of the previous day's game. And for the Cardinals fans it had the outcome they wanted, complete with compelling offense -- not just all home runs and such, but some real variety there as well. Plus a vintage Arenado play. The weather was strong baseball weather all weekend, and it was definitely newsworthy and notable that the Saturday game was one of the smallest weekend crowds ever for full-capacity Busch III.

OkieDave: Thomas Seggese seems to be struggling just a bit. How do the Cardinals view his long term potential? Has he taken a step back?

DG: He has not taken a step back. They see him as a big-league bat on the way that is still defining where he fits in the field. Brendan Donovan is an obvious comp, though he has more defensive versatility at this point, and Saggese is viewed by evaluators outside the Cardinals organization has having more power potential.

Jason Blair: Hi Derrick. Appreciate your work very much. In today's P-D, there's a story about how Pallante's strong outing was influenced by some coaching advice from Kyle Gibson. Earlier in the season, we read about how Zach Thompson's impending breakthrough (went the thinking at the time) was shaped by some pitch advice from Sonny Gray. I'm sure this kind of cross-pitcher feedback is encouraged and happens all the time. But, I've not heard about it before, including on previous Cardinal teams. By implication, it makes me wonder what kind of "presence" Dusty Blake has, and whether he's an active coach, ie hands on. Do these stories reflect on Blake at all, and his style or ability as a coach?

DG: Honestly, if you've not heard about this before, then it could be a reflection on how well we cover it -- or how we advertise covering it. I recall writing often about how Joel Pineiro's one-seam sinker made its way through the team and continued to be used years after he left as it passed player to player to player. Or how Chris Carpenter worked with pitchers to teach them a cutter. Heck, Adam Wainwright's work with young pitchers on their bullpen sessions, work between starts, and preparation filled many notebooks through the years. It's always tricky when it comes to daily coverage how often to repeat that coverage or point back to past coverage, but my hope is it's been there all along, and this is a good reminder to find ways to share it again every so often.

It has happened, quite honestly, on every Cardinals team I've covered, and I've heard stories from pitchers with other organizations about how it happens there, too. Consider this story from spring training: '9 new pitchers on their 9 favorite pitches.'

If this was happening with Dave Duncan (Hall of Famer!) as pitching coach, isn't just something about the natural ecosystem of a team? And a good coach -- like a good boss, or a good leader -- facilitates this kind of interaction between people? We praise hitters for passing tips on an opposing pitcher when they pass in the on-deck circle or in the dugout. Should the hitting coach stop that from happening, or is a good hitting coach urging that to take place because ... well, he's not in the box? Teams throughout professional sports should encourage such collaboration and cooperation between players. The more input the better. That's not an indictment of coaches -- that's a celebration of them.

Pugger: Hey Derrick.. Where can the Cardinals go from here? Aren't they really at a crossroads... Do they 'sell off and rebuild?' Or do they try to add and roll the dice getting into the playoffs? Or go in the Blues direction of a soft rebuild? Honestly, I don't know what they should do.. They are times look like they could play with anyone, then they struggle against horrible teams.. I don't get it.. Help me understand Yoda Gould!!

DG: They have to play out this season with the group they have -- and augment it with what they need. I don't think that 2024 is over, nor is it a failure. It's June. They're just under .500 and the division is patient. They're not having the success expected of a Cardinals team, nor are they running away with the division or clearly capturing the imagination of the fan base at the moment. Those things could change by the end of the month. This is a way different club than year's. You may disagree. But that's my view. They've done the soft rebuild thing -- some would argue they've been in it for quite some time -- and need to move on to something more dramatic. The clear augment or the complete reset. If they choose one to today, it's augment. The division is there for the taking. If they wait too long, then they'll have the reset forced upon them. The choice is theirs to augment until it's made for them.

Jojo Disco: What is your anticipation level for Deadpool & Wolverine next month? Will you see it the first weekend it is out?

DG: High. I'm optimistic. I don't know if I'll be able to see it until after the trade deadline. That is a consideration.

CrampyCrampaneris: Couple Qs/thoughts: Is there a rotation among ump crews? East-West. NL-AL? Do The Cards see all crews across a season? 2) Winn's development gives him a chance to be ROY, an All-Star (errors are a blemish), and I think a potential Batting Champ down the road. Good two-strike control and sprays 120°. I think he has a little Carew in him without the weird stance. Finally, has Herrera thrown anyone out this year? His mechanics and position behind home need help. We've needed him with WC out, but he has been exposed badly.

DG: 1) I'm not sure if they see all of the crews; they do rotate, they do get time off, and there may be just a rotation that leaves a team or two out of one of the crews. It's not like spring where you see the same group over and over and over again because of geography. That's not the case.

2) High praise indeed. Don't fret about the errors.

Finally) He has. He's thrown three out. Some numbers for context on the difficulties he had throwing out runners. Herrera is 3-for-42 in throwing out runners. Jonah Heim is 9-for-50, Miguel Amaya is 5-for-43, J. T. Realmuto is 7-for-43, Omar Narvaez is 2-for-35, and Martin Maldonado is 2-for-31.

Ryan: Two things. 1) we were at the Cards vs Astros game last Tuesday night 10 rows behind Cards dugout. I'm sorry, I like Gorman's bat like everyone else, but he's not a 2nd baseman. I mean, yes, he can stand there and field grounders, but he got handcuffed on a 3 hopper routine ball near the bag. That's not going to work long term. 2) Mason's offense has been great for a SS (.790 OPS), but is the FO concerned by the metrics and the eyeball test regarding his fielding? Some sloppy play on some routine stuff for a MLB starting SS.

DG: Today is the numerical chat! Lots of 1) and 2) questions and the corresponding 1) and 2) answers

1) That was a difficult series for the defense, part of that stretch of difficult games that prompted some pointed comments from all involved. Gorman is a second baseman, especially for this team. He's able to use his arm at that position as a strength, and he's really improved at the spot. As of this morning, the Cardinals are a minus-4 DRS as a team at 2B, and Gorman is a minus-2. For context, the league leader at the position is a plus-11, and the lowest individual fielder on Sports Info Solutions' rankings is a minus-5 at 2B. Which brings us to your questions about Masyn Winn

2) The front office is not concerned because the advanced metrics and the eyeball test tells them something different than you suggest. At shortstop, the Cardinals are a plus-6 DRS. He's a plus-5 at shortstop which, according to Sports Info Solution, puts him in the top five at his position, where the leader is plus-7. But ... as an example of how advanced defensive metrics can show two different, sometimes conflicting stories, he's a minus-5 when it comes to outs above average. The leader in that stat, per, is Bobby Witt Jr. with plus-10 OOA. All that is to say that the front office isn't looking at the errors, isn't see the same thing as you suggest, and doesn't have the concern about his ability defensively. His arm is an asset. His range is exceptional. His peers praise his feel for the position. And with consistency (the real question there, and how much that has to do with his sore back) the metrics will get better.

Jojo Disco: Where is DeWitt on this middling season and declining attendance? Does the proximity to a WC spot offset the above concerns?

DG: I haven't had a chance to talk to him recently. Based on his previous comments ... no.

Billy: I asked a question a couple of weeks ago about the Cardinals hitters possibly being overcoached and I over simplified it with "See the ball, hit the ball". I hope to expound on that question. I understand that the coaches provide input through pitcher scouting, and other information to the hitters. It seems like they may be overcoached in a sense of looking for the perfect pitch or working the count too much, and many strikes are given away. Maybe instead of "see the ball, hit the ball" I should have said be aggressive in the zone. Do you see an issue with an over complication of what constitutes a good pitch to swing at?

DG: I don't, sorry. If anything, you are repeating the exact phrase that I have heard recently from the hitting coach and how he's urging players to "be aggressive in the zone." It's almost verbatim what he said.

Tim K: As much as I love Goldy and Arenado, I think it is time to get what they can for them and move on. It is the younger guys that are contributing to the offense. Am I off base?

DG: Someone is welcome to try and convince me, but I fail to see how trading either of those players makes the Cardinals better for 2024 or beyond. What makes the 2024 Cardinals better is having the production from those two players as expected.

Mike in KC: And now adding more to the Molina SB items: From 2005 to 2022, the Cardinals allowed 887 stolen bases. The next closest team, the Arizona Diamondbacks, allowed 1,310. But he did so much more. There were only 1,370 stolen base attempts against the Cardinals from 2005 to 2022. The Diamondbacks, the next closest team, had had runners attempt to steal 1,883 times. Amazing.

DG: Yadier Molina and the Cardinals during Yadier Molina's era were exceptional and stopping the running game. Perhaps what has happened this year should reinforce how elite that era was because the Cardinals were doing things then that other teams weren't. Heck, a few teams didn't even try to run on Molina. That says everything about Molina and nothing about the current game. Molina was a Hall of Fame defensive catcher. That he was the best at of his era implies that he was better than others.

Jimbo: Hi Derrick! Thank you for doing these chats for us! It's impressive to see you respond week after week to really interesting questions, as well as responding to all the people who act like you are the one holding the bag for the front office. Mozeliak once mentioned "proving they could do it" as one of the driving factors in bringing Arenado to STL. In light of the article this weekend about the slumping attendance, has anyone from the Front Office made any reference to proving they can do it again to start putting fans in the seats again? It has to be shocking to them to see a stadium that looked to be about 1/3 full on a sunny Saturday afternoon in June...

DG: The "slumping attendance" -- which is a fair description, I just want to be accurate in quoting, that it's not my phrase -- really is only 48 hours old, so I've not seen any comment from the front office on it, nor, to be candid, have I sought it. That is an entirely fair thing to point out that I should have, if you're about to. I did reference in a game story, and it would be fitting to seek comment. That said, ownership has mentioned the lack of a sellout of a playoff game as a driving part of decisions made previously. Mozeliak's point about Arenado -- at least the one that he made to me -- was that the Cardinals wanted to prove they could land the star player again. They didn't get Stanton, for example, and they had some other offers to free agents that did not sign with them, so his point was that Arenado wanting to be there and their ability to pull off the complex trade to get one of the best all-around players in the majors was a response that they could still do that. Not a direct response to attendance, but one to criticism or questions about the team's attractiveness for players.

Satyen: Has there been any indication yet for how quickly Oli and co. think Willson C will be back behind the plate once he is back off of IL? I would anticipate he won't be back right away trying to catch Helsley And as a result, do they continue to carry 3 catchers and possibly delaying a return for Walker? Or do we see a Walker trek being independent of the number of rostered catchers?

DG: There has not been because he's so early in the rehab/recovery process. The Cardinals don't currently see him returning as a hitter ahead of being a catcher because hitting may be the thing that he needs to most time to rebuild. So the timeline is longer for hitting than catching. Consider he's already catching bullpens. He's not taking BP yet. I don't see the link between Walker and Contreras. Maybe one develops. But Walker's time at Class AAA appears independent of anything but the work he's doing, the production he gets, etc. Marmol recently said there is playing time for him in the majors when he's ready.

Jackie: It is a simple allocation of resources argument, Derrick, and hard to believe that you cannot see the merits, whether or not you concur with the overall strategy. Regardless, I will indulge you. While neither player is likely to bring back a haul of top prospects, presuming they intend to resign Goldschmidt to at least a 1-year deal with option, trading both clears approximately 50 million in salary for 2025/2026, not to mention clears a significant amount of deferred money due to Arenado through 2041. This money could easily be used in Alex Anthopoulos model to buy out arbitration years and lock up younger core of the team through their age 30 seasons. Not to mention, this strategy also opens up to coveted corner infield positions, which could potentially allow at least 2 of the younger core players to return to the natural position, and would have the kicker of some good but not great upside prospects that would come back in return. This is not to convince you, but just to show you there is another path.

DG: I guess it is hard for me to see.

That doesn't mean it's hard for me to understand. But thanks for your commentary.

Your explanation presumes that the Cardinals have those players ready to take over those positions with the same level or more production that also would not reduce production elsewhere. Your explanation does not accurately portray deferred money, and that's OK because it is tricky, and it's not the huge savings suggested here. And, I'm not sure why you would just move the money around instead of suggesting that the Cardinals, to be more competitive with the NL leaders atop the league, need to change their payroll structure -- not in how it's allocated, but in its size and how it's allocated. But to do that would require getting more impact from the farm system at this point. And, as you said, these moves wouldn't solve that. So, again, it's hard for me to see how this makes the Cardinals better in 2024 or beyond when it doesn't solve any of their issues other than you're saving them money. Which if that's your goal ...

Kevin in DC: Does the FO think we have a budding star in Winn? Or should we level expectations?

DG: Cardinals see Winn as a cornerstone of their future, defensively and offensively. That is how they view him.

BL: Is there an "untouchable" prospect in the Cardinals system right now in the same way Walker, Winn had been viewed going into last year? And would you say that internally Walker is still viewed the same way - or at least comparatively so - as he was before he broke into the majors and had his ups and downs? Just wondering how that all (not Walker specifically, but prospects as a whole) plays into this coming trade season

DG: There's probably a deal out there that the Cardinals would move a top prospect to make happen. Not sure what it would be. But we could probably come up with one. A surefire, ace pitcher under control for years and years to come, for example. The Cardinals still believe everything about Jordan Walker that they have all along, based on their comments publicly and privately. That hasn't changed, and they want him be the player they see him being in their lineup. That's about as "untouchable" as it gets, right? There is real intrigue when it comes to the lefties on the rise too, especially Mathews, who is going to generate some interest at the trade deadline, for sure.

Travis: I recognize that most fans would consider it insane, but wouldn't it make sense to trade Walker to ATL in a package for some of their pitching depth? I fear he may never truly thrive in STL and I also know he's from Georgia. Feels like it might end up being the best possible outcome, like another STL/ATL trade from 20 years ago...

DG: I'm not sure you want to trade a player who isn't too far removed from being the top hitting prospect in baseball for depth. You want impact for impact, if we're exploring trades like that. What do you think the upside is for Jordan Walker? If you're doing a deal, aim for that equivalent in return ...

That question seems like a good one to end the chat on because it's something to mull over for another week. This will be my last chat for the remainder of the month. Lynn Worthy and Daniel Guerrero will be at the keyboard for the chats ahead and covering the beat in the weeks to come. A lot of excellent coverage planned as Flag Day arrives, July Fourth nears and the season reaches its midpoint. But first, a significant visit from the Pirates because, well, at this point all division series are a chance to climb out of the cluster in the standings.

Thanks for the conversation. Strong questions. Good challenges, and some comments worth mulling over for another week. I'll chat with you in July; look for the Cardinals chat here next Monday. Aloha.


  • Pro-baseball
  • St. Louis Cardinals
  • Cardinals
  • Jordan Walker
  • Nolan Arenado
  • Paul Goldschmidt
  • Derrick Goold
  • Kyle Gibson

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