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Hummel: Despite recent struggles, Paul Goldschmidt is still Cardinals' MVP

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

In today’s 10 a.m. video, columnist Ben Hochman discusses fan-favorite Adam Wainwright, who pitches Tuesday against the Padres. And, as always, Hochman picks a random St. Louis Cards card from the hat. Ten Hochman is presented by Window Nation!

Q: Hey Rick, thanks for the chat today. Woody (Jake Woodford) seems to really be adjusting to the long relief role instead of starting. When given the opportunity he had made the most of it this season by being one of the most consistent relievers for the Cards. With the roster being trimmed back to 26 for the postseason, do you see him on that roster?

A: That will be a tough call. A lot depends on the makeup of the opposing team's roster. You have to figure on four starters and not five and do Hudson and even Flaherty provide more in long relief than Woodford? The Cardinals very likely will have three left-handed relievers and Matz might be one. They likely will have five true right-handed relievers in Helsley, Gallegos, Pallante, Hicks and Stratton. That leaves two spots among Quintana, Hudson, Flaherty and Woodford. Woodford might on the short end there.

Q: Should us fans be overly concerned that the Cardinals bats have suddenly gone stone cold?

A: Define "overly." The fact is that the Cardinals haven't been feasting lately on the poor staffs of the Pirates and the Reds. They will encounter much better staffs now in the Padres, Dodgers and Brewers. The time is now for the offense to display some consistency.

Q: Pujols has produced so many great moments this season. He has also masked a huge team deficiency: This team doesn’t have a third bat for 2023. A void Pujols conveniently, but unpredictably filled. No reasonable fan is prepared to buy a repackaged narrative on O’Neill or Carlson after watching them this year. And I certainly hope the team has moved on from selling the DeJong bounce-back story. Yes, they will dangle Walker’s arrival but after Pujols also filled the coffers this summer, there should be no excuse not to spend this winter to solidify this line-up.

A: It would be premature to give up on Gorman, who was counted on to be a left-handed-hitting complement and Carlson is only 23 and should be a better hitter left-handed in the future. Walker, while not a left-handed hitter, is a hitter and you could see him next year. DeJong will not be back and perhaps not O'Neill either.

Q: If it were up to you, would you go with the 2 catchers we have in our system next year, or bring in someone to compete, or sign a big-name player? Thanks for all of your experience.

A: I would go with Knizner and Herrera but with a veteran presence, not necessarily a No. 1 guy, brought in. I've changed a bit on Knizner. I think he could be a No. 1 here if he can provide a little more offense.

Q: Using Steven Matz out of the pen in extras turned out to be a stroke of genius, but was there any concern that he hadn't relieved a game A.) in the majors and B.) with a runner on second base to start? Additionally, I'd love your thoughts on how he may be used down the stretch? Is he a long man or more of a specialist?

A: Matz has relieved in a handful of games before. As far as his encountering the ghost runner, that rule does not apply in postseason play. Matz will be used more in shorter stints than longer because he hasn't been conditioned on the most recent rehab to be a multiple-innings man on a regular basis.

Q: Hello Commish, Have you been hearing and rumblings about the cardinals moving the outfield walls in this offseason? Goold said they had some discussions and consults down at the ballpark about it recently.

A: There was some talk about adjusting the fences last year, too, but nothing came of it. Don't know about next year. Cardinals are going to hit 200 or more homers, as it is. That ought to be enough.

Q: How much does Oli like his rotation as currently constructed? It seems like we may not have enough swing-and-miss for his preference. Do you foresee any movement to create more of that for 2023?

A: Oli does like the swing and miss. Montgomery has been a find in that regard. Flaherty could be. But he will want to see more of it next year and Graceffo and McGreevy are not that far away.

Q: Do you think that Arenado has overtaken Goldschmidt as the MVP of the Cardinals?

A: Even Arenado wouldn't say that. Goldschmidt has been too steady for too long this year.

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Rick Hummel is a Cardinals beat writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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