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Goold: Cardinals looking to 'close the gap' in their pitching philosophy

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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: Is the organization shifting their pitching philosophy from getting ground balls to more swing and miss? I know that Blake has been working with the minors, but is he going to have an increased influence in overseeing pitching throughout the organization like Albert did?

A: They are looking to "close the gap," as I was told yesterday, that has been created by a heavy reliance on groundballs and balls in play, and the goal is to increase the swings and misses in what ways they can. This is something that Marmol brought up often during the season, and all parties involved mentioned as a need for the team to improve upon -- either in approach or personnel -- for 2023.

The full scope of Dusty Blake's influence will be a question explored here in Vegas.

Q: How do you change to a more strikeout oriented team when you've drafted contact type pitchers? I can only think of 3 strikeout starters in the minors. Graceffo, Hence & Hjerpe. It's going to take a few years to cycle thru their draft picks. Interesting business model to change on the fly.

A: You just mentioned three players they drafted. Recently. That's where it starts.

Q: I am trying to get my head around the way Marmol constructed his lineups. Except for Goldy and Arenado, it was different every day. Poor Edman, he would be 9th one day and lead off the next. Don’t players want more certainty? It must be disconcerting to be demoted in the lineup a lot. Or does his approach really help offensive production over a season?

A: It does. Embrace matchups. Check the numbers for how players do against the handedness or style of the pitcher and Marmol's lineup construction will reveal itself to you like one of those 3D posters. Relax your eyes. Open yourself to the wonder of matchup-oriented lineups. They're all the rage. And they work.

Q: Who does Derrick Goold think is the best fit for the Cardinals at catcher?

A: Vazquez makes a lot of sense if the bigger moves are made for other needs. He can handle the role. He'll do well. He's a good fit for the organization. There are a lot of links there, and it's what price he wants to seek that will be a big part of this. Eager to get a feel for that. But stabilizing the catching spot is one step. Improving the offense is another.

Q: Did you see the Braves earnings report that was released last week. Very telling. Per the report and basic math, there is no reason the Cards can't afford a 200 million dollar payroll (obviously on the right players) and still be extremely profitable. So what's the answer for why they don’t? Is it greed? I don't believe they are a publicly traded company, so there's option.

A: I did. I find that information endlessly fascinating and helpful when it comes to understanding the finances of teams. The Cardinals and Atlanta have long been comparable. They get to their revenues in a different way -- ticket sales high for Cardinals, rights fee high for Atlanta -- but were always in that same neighborhood of each other, right there in that 8-9-10-11 range when it comes to rankings, sometimes as high as 7-8, and you get it. This is the year where Atlanta is expected to separate itself. Seriously. By a leap. That's what a source with MLB told me. It's the year that the comparison won't be as applicable because of the bounce Atlanta was headed to get. And now we're seeing that.

The Cardinals are not a publicly traded company. Twenty-nine teams are not.

Yes, all 30 teams like to make profits.

Q: Hi Derrick, what do you think will happen at SS? I think the team would be better with Edmonds at 2nd and someone else not taking terrible at bats at short.

A: Up in the air at the moment. The Cardinals are currently calling Tommy Edman their incumbent and their starter at shortstop. Paul DeJong is entering the final year of his contract. That said, they acknowledge that they do have the option of opening up any position in the middle of the field for an alternative/upgrade. That includes SS, 2B, and CF, and of course we all know and have discussed the opening at shortstop. They see Edman as a moveable piece, a defensive dynamo (which he earned this year and should be lauded for doing so because of how well he did at shortstop when there were questions), and valuable because he can move around to make room for a bat.

Q: We've all seen your normal yearly HOF ballots. If you were on this Contemporary Era Committee, and got multiple votes (unlike your reader here), who would you put in?

A: I would like to give it some more thought, but if there options are unlimited then I'd have to stick with the players I've already voted for (Bonds, Clemens, Schilling) and then also renew my support of McGriff.

And I would finally, eagerly, happily, joyfully get a chance to vote for Murphy.
 
I would take great pride in casting a vote for Dale Murphy, if I ever get a chance.
 
Q: DG, do you think the increase in the size of the base will have a major impact on the game and increase movement on the bases? Will we ever see a team steal 150+ in a season again?

A: I doubt we'll see a 150 steal season again, honestly. But the hope is that the bigger paces change the numbers just enough for the mid-speed hitter to force the other team to adjust. They have to change the calculus of teams when it comes to what they're willing to risk when it comes to steals. That does mean making it more likely to happen, even by a whisper. And it's not just steals. It's pushing for second base. It's going first to third. Those risk numbers need to change too so more teams are willing to go, go, go, and I'm hopeful the bigger bases will do that.

In today’s 10 a.m. video, columnist Ben Hochman discusses the Cardinals new pitching coach and the World Series. Also, a happy birthday shoutout to former Cards reliever Mitch Harris! And, as always, Hochman picks a random St. Louis Cards card from the hat. Ten Hochman is presented by Window Nation!

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