QUESTION: What do you make of the fact that Ozuna has not signed anywhere yet? I get the feeling he’s not getting the big money in the offers he’s gotten so far, otherwise I would have expected a press conference somewhere on it.
GOOLD: Absolutely nothing. Nothing has changed. This is how the offseason goes nowadays, and has for several years now. Matt Holliday signed in January and still got the money he wanted. Dexter Fowler signed in December and got a year more than he was seeking around Thanskgiving. The fact Ozuna hasn't signed yet tells us nothing more than we didn't know going into the holiday and it certainly doesn't mean the market has softened for him, not at all. Today is one of those dates on the calendar that teams work toward -- and then see how they sit after it. For example, teams interested in adding an outfielder are going to see what happens today because
-- Trades could happen.
-- New OF could be free agents if non-tendered today.
Those two things will help shape the market, and teams interested in Ozuna had no reason to sign him before today passes. There's no harm, only benefit. They have more info. And there is no game to play that they need to rush him into the lineup.
FOLLOW-UP: If Marcel signs elsewhere, does the draft pick the Cards get change based on whom he signs with or the dollar amount signed for?
GOOLD: For the Cardinals, no. This is a good question. The Cardinals are going to get a comp pick after the Compensatory Round B, or right after the second round. That's because they didn't get revenue sharing, and they aren't over the luxury tax. They are one of 13 teams that fit into this class, and they're the smallest market size of the group. Now, if they did get revenue sharing then it matters what kind of contract Ozuna signs and whether it's $50m guaranteed or more or less than than $50m guaranteed.
QUESTION: One of my favorite players over the years was Ted Simmons. I can’t believe he didn’t make the Hall of Fame in his first shot and even more stunned that he missed by one vote last year. Do you think he’ll make it this year? It’s a pretty attractive field.
GOOLD: I think this is the strongest chance yet he has to get in. I too am astonished that he hasn't already been a fixture in Cooperstown for at least a decade. It's long, long, long overdue and the voters seem to be aware of this. Strong group. But there's room for Simmons to get the Call this year, finally.
FOLLOW-UP: Ted Simmons should be in the Hall of Fame, his stats prove that. I can’t believe being in small market hides that what’s going on?
GOOLD: It has ZERO to do with the size of the market. Zero. Nothing. Nada. If it is market-size, then why has that not held any other Cardinals candidates back? The Cardinals are part of the fabric of baseball, they are baseball royalty, and voters have always taken notice of the great players here. Ozzie Smith, for example. There is just no evidence of market size playing a part in this, sorry. I'll welcome examples, but then you'll have to explain how the voting process that now features Simmons has regularly inducted players from all different sizes of markets.
QUESTION: Has there been any interest drawing around Michael Wacha? What is his current situation? Other than being a free agent.
GOOLD: Wacha is one of those many, many, many, many starting pitchers available, and as such there's been conversation -- but not action. That's because the market is still so deep with pitching, and some sorting is still necessary. One thought being floated about Wacha is that he'd seek that pillow deal, or look to the kind of contracts that Lance Lynn signed once he shook loose from the draft pick compensation. Could be a one-year deal with an option, one-year stacked with incentives that would include an option, and that makes him appealing to just about every team.
QUESTION: Is Munoz in danger of losing a spot on the opening day roster? With edman being so versatile and Sosa performing well in winter ball, I’m not sure there aren’t better options right now. Of course, things can change between now and then.
GOOLD: Yes, he is. And it's one of the reasons why the Cardinals have encouraged him to play some winter ball and get the at-bats and starts and innings in the field that he did not get this past season, or really these past two seasons. They want to see him get those everyday reps as he heads toward spring training. Edman has leapfrogged him for a spot on the bench. Edmundo Sosa can play shortstop and has had a strong winter, akin to Cabrera a year ago, and that positions him well because of the performance and the Cardinals need for a backup shortstop that they will play at shortstop. He's another challenger for Munoz's spot. There is an extra spot on the bench in 2020, but the Cardinals and others are looking at that spot as another reason to carry a bat, and as mentioned in previous chats that's one of the reasons why Ravelo is still on the 40-man roster not too long after the Cardinals wondered if Voit would have a spot. As you can see the competition is thick for Munoz's spot, and the Cardinals are open to him getting regular reps at Class AAA if that's how this falls.
QUESTION: Any updates on some of the Cardinals walking wounded? Hicks, Reyes, Cecil? Have the Cards been monitoring JMart and if so is he behaving?
GOOLD: Jose Martinez? He's an adult. I'm not sure what "monitoring" you're talking about. The Cardinals keep tabs on social media, and I know they've in the past tried to police some of the things they've seen from Carlos Martinez -- videoing himself while driving high speeds, for example, and they've had some success reminding him of that -- but I don't know what this would be referencing, and like I said. He's an adult. This is his offseason, his time away, his unpaid vacation, and you have to think of how you would react to your boss checking in on your vacation. It's the same thing.
Jordan Hicks -- Same as it ever was. He's going to be back around the All-Star break. There is an extra month of rehab built into his timetable this winter, in part, because of his diabetes, and the monitoring he and the Cardinals wanted to do as he rebuilt his strength.
Alex Reyes -- Normal winter. He's in the Dominican Republic, or was a few weeks ago when I checked. He's working out at the team's academy at times, and the Cardinals believe that the change of scenery and change of perspective and offseason without injury and family concerns will be best for him. Spoke to his agent recently, and he said that Reyes was in a good place, mentally, and focused on building strength.
Brett Cecil -- Ready to go for spring training. Should be deep into a throwing program in the near future and aiming to be good to go at the start of spring, ahead of the other major-leaguers.
Carlos Martinez -- Has an important checkup coming up here in Jupiter or St. Louis. The Cardinals need to know how he's recovered from treatment and where he appears to be headed with his throwing program. If they see some setback or some concern with his stamina/strength then they are positioned to pivot into the market place for a starter. If they think he can be the starter, the Cardinals are going to spend some time in the next few weeks exploring the relief market. His progress is a fork in the road for the Cardinals this winter.
QUESTION: Great article summing up the Cards' top 10 prospects. (See the article here) I am wondering why Arozarena isn't rated higher than 10th given his numbers (.344/.431/.571 for a 1.003 OPS) especially when compared directly to Carlson's .292/.372/.542 for a .914 OPS who's #1. What all goes into these rankings?
GOOLD: When it comes to Baseball America's rankings they do put an emphasis on high ceilings. They're going to side with potential over production in most cases, and also go with age, too. In this case, the scouts and stats suggest that Dylan Carlson is going to be a starting player in the majors, a regular even high up in the order, and a contributing player with high, All-Star upside. That's going to get him ranked ahead of a player who is older and who projects to be a fourth outfielder, maybe a starter on the right team or in the right situation. I try to think of prospect rankings in these terms:
Proximity -- to majors
Production -- in stats
Potential -- in the future
Position -- how demanding, how rare, how valuable, how versatile
Keep in mind, too, that Carlson is 21, and Arozarena is 24, and will be 25 in spring training. That's more information, and that's less time to his peak. And so on.
QUESTION: Is a third base upgrade (Moustakas) out of the picture because of their faith in Carp? Is Ozuna only signing for 5 yrs? Which I would imagine the Cards would say no thanks to. Is a starting pitcher in the discussion? Do they wait till Spring Training to determine their needs?
Editor's note: Moustakas left the market Monday, signed by the Cincinnati Reds.
GOOLD: 1) The Cardinals have been very public saying Matt Carpenter is their 3B. Pending another move that moves Carpenter elsewhere -- LF? -- then don't expect much action for them at the hot corner. That conversation has drifted from the start of the offseason.
2) No. He'll seek that. And he should. There are examples where other outfielders like him got that much as a free agent, even more. Doesn't mean he'll get that.
3) Yes. Starting pitching is in the discussion. It has to be. The market welcomes that and the Cardinals' situation does too, especially as they get clarity in the coming weeks.
4) They know some of their needs now. They know their wants. Of course, spring training will bring clarity to all of it as well. So, they'll assess their wants now, and then evaluate their needs in spring training. That's standard for all teams, candidly.
QUESTION: Has the team soured on O'Neill? He was a top 100 prospect and he has POWER. but after he came back from injury he never really played and was left off the post season roster. I get the impression that Lane Thomas has passed him in the FOs evaluations and in likelihood of Manning LF next year.
GOOLD: Tyler O'Neill really had trouble overcoming cold streaks and injuries this season, not necessarily in that order. He also seem to struggle because of the erratic playing time with some adjustments he was trying to make -- and had shown some early success making. It just was an erratic season for him. Erratic health. Erratic playing time. Erratic performance. Sure seems like he would benefit from a chance to drill down on his swing, get more of that hard contact that we saw in stretches in 2018, and then get the playing time to get the timing. Spring will afford him that. Lane Thomas has his fans in the organization, and that's going to also get him some prominent playing time in spring training. There's room for both to get the ABs needed to impress.
QUESTION: What are the odds the Cards go after Kuechel?
GOOLD: They'll have a discussion -- have had a discussion -- with his agent. The Cardinals remain committed to seeing how things are progressing with Carlos Martinez (as mentioned earlier) before diving into the pitcher market, but they're not plugging their ears when it comes to listening to what players like Keuchel are seeking and if there's a fit at some point.
FOLLOW-UP: I really don’t see the Cardinals making any significant moves this off season. They are being hamstrung by Carp's and Fowler's contracts. They won’t be jumping in the Cole/Strasberg bidding so that just leaves 2nd or 3rd tier pitching available to go after. What legitimate pitching help could you see them bidding for?
GOOLD: There are many, many, many, many, many good pitchers and possibilities out there. I cannot stress this enough: There is a pitcher for every price point available this winter. Sure, some have already signed. Odorizzi accepted the QO. Gibson has signed with Texas. But there are still a handful out there that could be Nos. 1-4 for a contending team. That's true: The Cardinals aren't going to be wading into the Cole waters, and if they have a talk about Strasburg it will be his agent trying to lure the Cardinals into the conversation, but they're reluctant to pay that freight and lose that draft pick, even if they're going to pick up one from Ozuna. That said, there still is a long list of potential pitchers that could have high upside, high value. It's going to take patience for that to sort out. Per usual.
QUESTION: It's been a quiet offseason so far. What percentage would you give that the Cardinals trade one of the three. Carpenter/Bader/Jose Martinez. Also, more #BPIB please.
GOOLD: The podcast should return this week as a preview of the Winter Meetings. We're putting together the coverage plan for next week in San Diego. Ben Frederickson will be traveling as well, giving the Post-Dispatch two writers on site, and a chance for the constant coverage and daily chats that you've come to expect from the Post-Dispatch's presence at the winter meetings.
It's been a quiet offseason for all of baseball, for sure. And the Cardinals haven't had that move that they want to make that means jumping to the front of the line like they did with Cecil, backup catchers, Peralta, or, even, a year ago Goldschmidt.
I would put the percentages as low for all three. Carpenter is about a zero with his no-trade clause and the Cardinals' public statements of commitment to him. The organization currently sees Bader as their starting center fielder and they've fended off interest in him before/again in part because they don't like the return they'd get for him. Jose Martinez? He's got a role now with the team, and does it well. And he's signed through 2020, so there's financial certainty that the Cardinals like.
FOLLOW-UP: Are the Rockies looking for OF's to roam their expansive OF? I could see Bader or O'Neill being attractive to them for 2 reasons, Bader's defense and O'Neill's offense in the rarified atmosphere. Any fit there at all?
GOOLD: Seems like I've said it every week for awhile now, and that includes trying to explore this during the season while in Coors Field: It doesn't take a brain surgeon to see how well Harrison Bader would fit at Coors Field with the Rockies. He could cover that huge wide-open space there in center and his offense would flourish at that field. If that phone call hasn't been made to at least explore that possibility, then -- shrug -- I must not be smart enough to figure out what's going on there in Denver. And, as we know, the GM of the Rockies would agree with that.
QUESTION: If the season would have lasted one week longer, the Cards wouldn't have even made the playoffs. Now, the Cards are hoping that Fowler, Bader and Carpenter have career years which means no upgrade at all offensively in 2020. Boy, is it going to be a long season!!
GOOLD: I think your math is dubious if not out and out incorrect. But that's the beauty of making statements that aren't rooted in fact -- you cannot disprove a negative, they say. We'll never know if they would or would not make the playoffs if the season was a week longer because this past season, like the season before it and the 10 before it and the 20 before that, was 162 games long and at the end of it the Cardinals were the NL Central champs. Not the Cubs. Not the Reds. Not the Brewers. The season said the Cardinals were the NL Central champs and they'll have a logo up all season in 2020 as a result of that. But I cannot stop you from adding an asterisk every time you see that because they didn't win the division in your week-longer season.
FOLLOW-UP: I LOVE when people use the argument “if the season lasted a week longer.” The season lasts as long as the season lasts. That argument is irrelevant.
GOOLD: Later this week, I'm going to try this argument with my boss: "My story would have been much better if I had another hour before deadline."
QUESTION: I know you've said not to sleep on the Reds. "Follow the pitching" was the phrase used, I believe. How about follow the balls that will be flying out of their ballpark. Moutaskas up, in the hunt for Ozuna...the NL Central is getting tight. C. Trent gonna have a good year.
GOOLD: Exactly. Follow the pitching, and we aware of a team that can create offense for itself with the ballpark. That's something I asked their front office about -- and they agreed. They have to factor that in, and know that they can get offense from somewhere because of the dimensions of their park. Scooter happens. It's a savvy play for them to make value plays on offense knowing a subpar hitter at, say, San Diego will be contributor at Great American Small Park. One would think that Colorado could take notice of that too and make plays for players who are strong defensive players and could see an uptick in offense because of that ballpark. But what do I know.
QUESTION: Molina has hinted that he wants play longer. If you were GM,how would you approach this?
GOOLD: Talk to him about an extension this spring training with the awareness that it would be at the same annual salary, and that to get the most production from him and in those years the playing time will shift. That said, as the GM, I'll know ownership will play a heavy role in this decision, and ownership sees the value of keeping Molina for the entirety of his career.
QUESTION: You made a comment last week regarding the Carpenter extension about Michael Girsch inferring that Girsch had more to do with it then Mozaliak in getting a extension done. If that is the case it's not exactly the "crowning achievement" of his tenure to date as a general manager. I know you have mentioned he does a lot of behind the scenes work but this coupled with the fact since Girsch's promotion to GM I have seen no reduced involvement by Mozaliak in major decisions made . If anything , Mozaliak seems more involved.
GOOLD: I don't get the sense that Mozeliak is more involved. I think people are probably paying more attention than ever to how much he's involved. I find it interesting that for years and years, I saw a lot of questions in this chat that gave Luhnow credit for things Mozeliak did and dismissed how involved he was, and now there's a sense that he's more involved, when actually it's just as much as ever.
Look, baseball has experienced what's called title inflation. And it's definitely a product of the modern front office, team's eagerness to keep talent that they have (and limit opponents' ability to offer promotions), and the demands on the traditional GM job. It's way different today than it was in 2007 when Mozeliak took over the role. So, you see this increase in titles (president of baseball operations is the new GM, GM is the new AGM, and AGM is the new farm director, scouting director, etc.) doesn't change the decision tree as much as you'd think. Now, Mozeliak's stated goal going into the new role was to work more on the greater issues facing the baseball ops and player dev departments. That was his hope, and that over time Girsch's voice would grow in the GM role and in the room and decisions would be made that way. That's definitely happened, though Mozeliak has said he's been involved more than he originally planned with the major-league decisions. That's the nature of his title. That's also the charge of ownership.
I pointed out the Carpenter extension because there's this sense that Girsch isn't involved in the deals. He is. Agents contact him. He negotiates them. And Mozeliak plays a role in making that decision. And Girsch isn't alone in that regard. Matt Slater scouted Miles Mikolas, worked some on that deal, and then Mozeliak finalized it. Decisions are made as a group. Directions are taken as a group. And DeWitt has the biggest voice of them all.
QUESTION: For the past several offseasons the Cardinals have said “we need another bat”. After getting only 16 hits in the NLCS compared to the Nationals 21 runs, I guess that is true once again this offseason. Why are the not making a Goldshmidtlike deal with Ozuna who had 29 HRs and 89 RBIs in 2018. He did win a gold glove in the year before he came to the Cardinals. Why not sign Ozuna and have it over with instead of holding a contest among the young and inexperienced outfielders like Thomas, Arozarena etal. If you got a guy with Ozuna’s production or is it that management only wants to pay the minimum salary for the 2020 LFer?
GOOLD: Goodness. Marcell Ozuna would definitely take the Goldschmidt deal. Not sure why the Cardinals would offer that. We're not talking about comparable players or hitters. Let's take a look at their career averages.
Goldschmidt -- .292/.391/.529, .916 OPS, 141 OPS+
Ozuna -- .272/.329/.455, .784 OPS, 112 OPS+
Ozuna is an above-average fielder at a position where mostly below-average fielders play. He grades out well compared to other left fielders, and does so with the advanced metrics for defense. Goldschmidt is an elite defender at a busy position in the field where an elite fielder stands out (see: Cardinals, 2019 vs. Cardinals, 2018). Ozuna has received MVP votes once in his career. Once. Goldschmidt has finished runnerup in the MVP voting twice in his career. These are not the same players. Goldschmidt's career compares to Fred McGriff, Derrek Lee, and from age 28-30 his career mirrored Jeff Bagwell, a Hall of Famer. Ozuna's career draws comparisons to Ryan Ludwick, Marty Cordova, and George Hendrick.
The metric where Ozuna has the edge is age. He's younger.
The reason why the Cardinals aren't rushing to sign Ozuna is in part because of those exact comparisons, and how they think freeing up that spot in the outfield will bring greater production from a younger player. It's a big bet at this time. And the reason why is because they don't have the obvious cleanup hitter as a replacement. That's a big if, right now. But using home runs and RBIs to compare Ozuna to Goldschmidt is missing every statistic that the team and the agent will use to determine what Ozuna will be offered and will sign.
QUESTION: What is the front office's view about the need for a lefty in the starting rotation? If C-Mart is ready to go, then it seems like adding a lefty is less likely. Is there less urgency given the trend in MLB to go to the bullpen sooner than later?
GOOLD: It's a luxury they'd like to have. But they're not going to force the issue. The way it has been explained to me is this: Lefty would be the tiebreaker. But it's not going to be graded on the curve. They'll go with the five best starters -- or the fifth-best starter, in this case. And if that fifth-best starter is a righthander ahead of a lefty, then lefthanded isn't going to get the other starter ahead. All things being equal, they'd prefer a lefty. They just don't have a roster right now where all things are equal.
QUESTION: How would you evaluate the following trade for both teams - on a 1-10 scale with 5 being balanced, are the Cardinals underpaying or overpaying here?
Mets trade Noah Syndergaard to Cardinals for Dakota Hudson, Harrison Bader, Andrew Kizner, and Daniel Ponce De Leon.
My reasoning is that we know the Mets were interested in Bader this past deadline and have a need for a controlled, quality defensive CF, they also need upside and controllable pitching depth and Hudson and Ponce provide that for both the rotation and bullpen, and Kizner would be a longterm fit at C for the Mets. The Cardinals would be gaining a co-ace with Flaherty, and I think Helsley could replace and even exceed Hudson in the rotation. Kizner and Bader would both be traded relatively sell-high, from positions of depth.
GOOLD: Let's pick this part, but first agree that 1 would be tilting toward the Mets and 10 would be tilting toward the Cardinals, and that as you suggest 5 would be a win-win balance deal. Noah Syndergaard is in the arbitration process and is going to earn around $10 million and climbing. That's a good salary, but palatable to both teams given his ability, his position, and everything. So, the money is part of it, but it's not a massive driver, and thus I'm not sure exactly what the Mets want to achieve except for getting a haul of talent in return, and also control.
Syndergaard will be a free agent after 2021, so you're looking at two years control.
On the other end you're looking at:
Dakota Hudson -- five
Harrison Bader -- four
Daniel Ponce de Leon -- six
Andrew Knizner -- six
So you're trading 21 years of control, including five of a starting pitcher, for two from a starting pitcher, and that's a volatile position, given the injury chances. It's hard to see that. I appreciate that it's a bigger, better package than the Cardinals had to give Arizona for one year of Goldschmidt and much more certain talent than the Cardinals sent to Miami for two years of Ozuna. It's the inclusion here of both Hudson and Knizner that gives me pause. You're talking about three players who could be on the Cardinals' major-league roster, and three players who could be on the Mets' major-league roster all for one significant standout player at an ultimately volatile position.
This is the kind of conversation the Mets would like to have, and the Cardinals would want to shift in a different direction because on the scale agreed to above this is a 3, listing toward a 2. And the Cardinals don't appear as urgent to undermine their pitching depth (Hudson) for Syndergaard, when there's going to be an internal argument that they'll get more from five more years of Hudson than they would from two more years of Syndergaard, and that's before you throw in the other players.
QUESTION: What is the big deal about trading Bader or Wong? They are the easiest players to replace! Bader could easily be replaced with Arozarena , Thomas, Fowler and O'Neil. Wong could easily be replaced with Edman, Sosa, Schrock, Carp,Munoz, Montero. I'm not suggesting that they give them away but if they could be a package or part of a package to get a cleanup batter or starting pitcher then let trade them! They're mlb baseball players not the family pet.
GOOLD: #KeepWong. That is all.
FOLLOW-UP: Good poll question. Keep or trade Kolten Wong? My vote is to KEEP Wong.
GOOLD: There should be no other answer. Would be a boring poll.
2ND FOLLOW-UP: Correct me if I’m wrong...Wong’s contract expires in the next year or two, correct? Any chance of another extension heading his way in the near future? I will never understand the desire to trade our best all around player from last season. That seems...well...dumb...
GOOLD: Kolten Wong's contract expires at the end of the 2020 season and has an option for 2021 that is a team option. Yes, it would be natural for the Cardinals to discuss an extension with him at the end of the 2020 season as they look at exercising that option and offer him extended security at that moment. The timing would be right, especially if he repeats this season.
QUESTION: Recent reporting in the P-D seems to discount the chances that Alex Reyes can rebound and be effective in 2020. Any updates on his progress? What odds do you put on a full recovery and finally getting to his original potential?
GOOLD: Huh? I'm not sure what reporting you're talking about. There was an update on Alex Reyes in the opening minutes of this chat. I don't think it's fair to expect him to be a starter in 2020 and log the innings of a starter and be the standout starter that his talent would allow in 2020. He's had three years undone by injury. He has tons of ability, for sure, but you have to be reasonable, and going from zero to 180 innings? I don't think that's reasonable. He could be an impact reliever, have a big role in the coming season, and maybe emerge as the closer for the team before Hicks returns. That's possible. I just think it's important to be cautious, conservative. He has given the team reasons to be hopeful that he'll contribute.