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Goold: Nolan Arenado left 'quite a bit' of money on the table by choosing to be a Cardinal

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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: Biggest free agency surprise for you so far?

A:The length of Jacob deGrom's contract stands out. But not as much as San Diego being involved in every single free agent and the whopping offers on the table. Goodness. Check their market size some time and consider how other teams in markets of a similar size act. Looking at you Pittsburgh.

Q: What players will the Cards be looking at for Center field?

A: Dylan Carlson and Lars Nootbaar are the leading options at the moment. Tyler O'Neill is another possibility but the Cardinals would prefer one or both of the other two outfielders make their claim and produce to go with the playing time.

Q: An unconventional and probably wrong-headed question I will dare to ask anyway - if Adam Wainwright's late-season shakiness rears its head again early next season, could he benefit from a move to the bullpen, where he could perhaps pick up a tick of velocity and just throw that curveball as much as possible? Aside from whether this makes sense or not, it would be fascinating to see him end his career in relief the way he started it so epically.

A: Adam Wainwright has said that he would be open to that if it was the best way for him to help the team. He brought it up before being asked, but when asked he's also said the same thing. His point: He doesn't want to be overlooked as a starter for the postseason or for the rotation because he's pitching too well for the team not to want more innings from him. That is a driving force for him.

Q: How much money did Arenado leave on the table by not opting out? It made me like him even more seeing these deals.

A: Quite a bit.

More the more you look into it. Xander Bogaerts, a year younger than Nolan Arenado and playing a premium position but not nearly as well as Arenado plays third and a good hitter but not as good as Arenado, got an 11-year, $280 million deal. Several of the players who signed got deals that take them to their age 40 season (or more). A year older and a better player at a position not quite as in demand, why that still puts Arenado at a nine or 10 year market with an AAV greater than Bogaerts. Goodness. Maybe chatters will believe me now when I mention how much he's enjoyed being a Cardinal.

Q: I'm afraid I still don't understand about the extra draft pick. Are you saying that if Jordan Walker is on the team all year, the Cards *automatically* get an extra pick? Or are they placed into a lottery for a pick? And how high would the pick be? I tried to research this question for several hours over the weekend, and all I could find was that teams get a free pick if they have the Rookie of the Year. There was no mention at all of any other way to get an extra pick. Could you please provide a link, some sort of source I could look at?

A: They get the pick. No lottery. They get a draft pick if the conditions are met.

-- I believe they are called Prospect Promotion Incentive (PPI) draft selections.

-- The prospect must be eligible (highly rated).

-- The prospect MUST get a full year of service time (on roster opening day for entire year).

-- They do need to appear in some of the awards voting -- top three ROY, top five MVP/Cy -- and getting a single vote would not be enough. Aside: There are some elements of the CBA still being printed and presented teams if you can believe that. (Believe it.)

-- Teams can receive as many as three PPI, if these conditions are met before the player reaches arbitration. That's huge.

-- The picks would be in the compensation gap rounds built into the draft.

Q: Which Cardinal position player will benefit most at the plate from the new rules regarding the lack of a shift?

A: One of the Nolans.

Q: Derrick, categorize this as a rookie question. Do you think Mo telegraphing loud and clear the (desperate) need for a catcher lowered his leverage with the Jays and the A’s? I mean it was a hole, but you don’t need to send it over the wires. It will be interesting to see if the Braves gave up 2 starters and a pitching prospect for Murphy.

A: He joked that it did. During the winter meetings, we were all talking in his suite and he was describing the search for a catcher this winter and how maybe he shouldn't have advertised the need like he did. That said, the other teams and agents pay attention, just like the media.

If he didn't say it, I would have still written it, and other teams would have still seen it.

Q: Given that Contreras accepted the QO and will cost the Cards a draft pick and international bonus pool money, do you think this will prevent them from pursuing a FA Starter who has the QO attached to him? Or are they willing to give up that compensation for the right contract price?

A: It would cost them one more pick, and they're already down one ... So the cost would be less. There's an argument that suggests now would be the time.

Sports columnists Ben Frederickson and Jeff Gordon break down the Cardinals' need for an impact arm and discuss whether the search should be solved through free agency or trade.

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