Check out the highlights from Derrick Goold’s Cardinals chat with readers. The full transcript of the chat can be found here.
Q: 1-9 in their last 10 playoff games. Have now officially won only 1 LCS game in 10 years. Do the Cardinals look at their last 10 years as successful?
A: Not in the postseason. But they do for the regular season. The Cardinals do not see the record of 1-9 and think that's good.
Q: Is it fair to say that Marmol is much better at managing numbers than he is at managing human players?
A: It is not. Actually, we've seen examples of him managing players/people all season, as I'm sure you saw watching the game. We could make a list starting with Pujols.
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Q: Waino has been very tight lipped. You've covered him for his career. What's your feeling on if he returns? I think it more likely than not that he does come back.
Goold: I don't know at this point. He says he has an idea of his decision. But that would suggest two things -- he's spoke with his wife and daughters already about 2023. I do know that the Cardinals and his agent hoped to speak in the past few weeks to get a sense of what a return would look like if Wainwright opted to pitch in 2023. He has made it clear, in talking with my colleague Rick Hummel, that there is an appeal to chase 210 wins.
The other night in the clubhouse he made it clear that the question presented him was coming back, but only if he was sure that not pitching in the postseason this year was motivation to "never have that happen again."
Q: Does the front office look at the 1-9 record in postseason along with young players that seem to perform better when leaving Cardinals and decide it is time to look outside the organization for improvement to player development?
Goold: Oh, yes. They do. They spend a lot of time on that. More the production of the young players elsewhere, and some of that is to take credit for identifying talent to begin with, and some of that is to recognize where they have holes in their development or identification of talent. Heck, it was observing the performance of their players elsewhere that prompted the commitment to young outfielders on the roster and the insistence from the front office to look at Yepez as the right-handed DH coming into the season, not signing Pujols until late in spring training. Remember that? That was from the front office looking into how their players had done with other teams. The commitment to Tyler O'Neill is informed by that. They did not want to see him or Bader go and light up Queens with production for a few months of Wheeler. And so on. You can see how their view of their players performing elsewhere has both emboldened their internal view of their ability to identify and build talent and also informed their roster decisions and look at how to improve development and launch into majors.
Q: Does this new postseason format, change the equation of the "get in and see what happens" approach to building a team? Teams that are built to win the division and did can now be sawed off by teams that lack depth but have a powerhouse lineup or top of the rotation and as we saw, not even get to the division series. The Cardinals won their division handedly and yet, played one more game than last year when they were the 2nd Wild Card.
Goold: If it doesn't, it should. It's early in the new format, but there is already evidence to suggest that the Cardinals need to up their game from competing for a division title and taking on the Braves, Mets, Padres, and Dodgers to finish with at least the second-best record in the NL. It might 100 wins each year that gets the bye.
Q: DG, we all know that Goldy was struggling for over a month even before the wild card round. How involved was Jeff Albert in trying to get things solved? I imagine it may be a different approach for a seasoned veteran in a slump compared to a youngster.
Goold: Very involved. Turner Ward was also very involved. My hotel room in San Diego overlooked the ballpark, and five, six hours before game time, as I had lunch and worked on some expenses, I could see Goldschmidt and Ward on the field going through some early batting practices. There were times when Albert would be there -- my view could not see if anyone was on the far side of the shell -- and he'd be recording and gathering video to be watched with Goldschmidt later.
It was a team effort. That is what they're paid to do.
Goldschmidt's rapport with Ward was a big part of Ward being hired, and Ward's ability to work in complement to Albert was a big boost for the team, and it was something that Shildt, Mozeliak, and a few others had said they needed to add 12 months ago.
Q: Do you think it is harder now than ever before for AAA players coming up to the MLB?
Goold: I've always thought that was the biggest leap in baseball -- going from Class AAA to the majors, far steeper than Class AA to Class AAA and even more than High-A to Class AAA. For sure.
What has made it even more difficult, to your point, is the fact that there are no secrets for a young hitter or pitcher when he arrives. They've got you figured out before watching you. Gorman comes up to the majors and there isn't a period where opponents, pitchers, coaches, and scouts figure out the places to attack him. They already know. They're not going off of reports from their minor-league coaches and staffs either. They going off of the hyper-data that is not available to the teams, so they know Prospect A is vulnerable to elevated fastballs and Prospect B cannot handle a cutter low over the plate in the low corner when its set up by a slider out of the zone that he takes for a strike, and they don't need a week or two weeks or month to figure that out. That greets the prospect in his first at-bat -- and the execution is big league, too.
Q: Does the new wildcard format really increase the importance of having a two-headed monster at the front of the rotation?
Goold: Maybe. But then you get to the division round, and it requires four starters. The new format is really going to become a test of depth more than anything. That's the early read. We'll see how it plays out because right now it's all theory. It's possible that a team could get through this postseason like the Cardinals did the 2011 NLCS. That is possible. And it would take great depth to do it.
Q: What do conversations look like between Oli/Mozeliak/the organization in general with players like Goldschmidt and Arenado after a series like that? Is it water under the bridge, let’s try again next year, or do they address the elephant in the room of the highest paid guys on the team, MVP candidates striking out and otherwise falling short multiple times with the chance to bring us back into the game?
a) Don't need to because they're pros and know.
b) Don't shy form it, because it's their job to confront and help.
c) Don't do it immediately in the moment, under the crush of a season ending.
d) Don't avoid talking about it all winter, and into spring training.
As Marmol recently said in his office -- and thankfully said -- this is an adult game, and they're adults playing it, and they're competitive. They know numbers as well as you. They feel them. They own them. Don't hide from talking about them and how to improve them. Hope that helps.