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Goold: A power bat, preferably an outfielder, should be at top of Cardinals' shopping list

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Check out the highlights from Derrick Goold’s Cardinals chat with readers. The full transcript of the chat can be found here.

Q: How do you prioritize the Cardinals' needs going into the off-season, and, although it's early, do you see any potential targets to fill those needs?

I had this discussion on a recent Best Podcast in Baseball, and for me it goes from:

-- Adding a bat that changes the look/length of the lineup for sure (leadoff hitter? middle hitter? either would do that), and gives them a guarantee alongside Goldschmidt and Arenado, so that whatever O'Neill, Nootbaar, Carlson, and Walker provide is lagniappe, a boost over a reliable 3. The lack of that depth of offense has become a chronic part of their October exits.

-- Catcher. Looking at an addition to the mix of catchers and a backstop that gives the Cardinals some certainty there. For the first time since 1999 they can really have a competition there for the opening day start.

And then somewhere down the list, down down down the list, is pitching depth.

Q: Hi Derrick, The "vibes" seem to suggest that Gorman no longer really has a place on the team and will likely be traded in the next year or two. Is that your sense of the vibes?

I don't get those same "vibes." He plays multiple positions. The Cardinals do not have any clue what their roster will look like for opening day 2023. They have some hopes. They have some designs. They don't know if they will all work. Gorman could be a DH, too. And a left-handed hitting DH with 30 homer power -- goodness, what team did I just watch win a pennant with a similar player in left field. If Gorman is the Cardinals' Schwarber (not saying he's going to hit 46 homers, so tread lightly there), then doesn't that make sense?

Q: In seeking a big bat to make a true triple threat, do you see DH or SS as the best areas to explore? Is it time to make a splash for a big time free agent signing and end the W.S. Drought?

Outfield. Add outfield. The Cardinals have lagged behind the league when it comes to having a bona fide bopper out in the outfield with the exception of 2021 for Tyler O'Neill. Outfield is usually the land of middle order hitters in the corners and thunder at the plate. The Cardinals need that. They have not had back-to-back strong, productive above-average power seasons from an outfielder since Matt Holliday. If the DH helps that change, so be it. But that seems like an area of improvement for the Cardinals to explore.

Q: DG, thanks for the chat. Now that we see PHI going to the World Series, do you feel that it was more of a case of a Cardinals' roster that was lacking in some ways, or that PHI has a roster better built for the playoffs, or that they just played better? I'm thinking it is some of each.

The Phillies have received a raucous postseason from Bryce Harper and terrific starting pitching from two of the top right-handed starters in the majors. The Cardinals did not get production from their two MVP-caliber players and they got one pitching performance similar to what Wheeler and Nola have done several items.

Those are significant differences in the two teams.

So, too, is the payroll and the depth that provides for winning games when the stars don't all align, but it buys time for them to do so.

Q: Why would the Cardinals sign one of the free agent shortstops long term with Winn about a year away?

Because shortstops can play multiple positions, and Winn will head to Class AAA. If anything, there is nothing wrong with having multiple shortstops who hit on the same team. Dodgers have done it. Red Sox did it. Go for the best players. Sort the positions by who handles them best, and see where things go.

Q: In looking back at the decisions before the season, it seems that the Cardinals passed on Schwarber and signed Dickerson. The difference in price was about 15 million. Would you say that this is an example of why fans view the team as being conservative in their spending? Is the homerun champion in the league worth 20 million?

The difference is far far far more than that. Kyle Schwarber signed for a guaranteed $79 million. Corey Dickerson signed for a guaranteed $5 million. That's a difference of years and of $74 million. Dickerson signed during spring training after the Cardinals took a look at the left-handed-hitting, DH options already on the roster and, yes, waited on the market to cool and then make a play for an outfielder who may not have had as many options as he hoped. They played the market. They signed Dickerson to a one-year deal and minimal expense.

The Cardinals did not have interest in Schwarber at the expense and years he was going to command. If they added a left-handed hitter, and they did later, they were shopping at a lower shelf -- in cost and commitment.

I'm sure this is an example fans cling to as conservative in their spending. But that's not new. The Cardinals are conservatives and "data driven" with their moves. But the question isn't is the home run champ worth $20 million more. Schwarber will make more than $70 million more. So the question becomes how much will cost the Cardinals to catch up.

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