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Hummel: What does the future hold for DeJong, Dickerson and Reyes?

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Check out the highlights from Rick Hummel’s Cardinals chat with readers. Check back on Tuesday for more highlights from this week's chat. 

Q: When DeJong gets back up, doesn't he reach a service time milestone quickly, where he can't be sent back down? Does this mean that when he is brought back up, he will have to play a lot in a hurry?

A: Yes, DeJong will reach five years' service time within a couple of weeks after a call-up. So, this was really the only time the Cardinals could option him. He will play when he comes back, I assume, or else he won't be back and they might try to trade him. Keep an eye on if he plays other positions at Memphis. That says "utility player," then.

Q: What is the team expecting at a bare minimum from Corey Dickerson going forward to keep intact a meaningful role on the team?

A: The team — and Dickerson — were expecting more power. He is a good contact hitter and good base runner, but he might be aced out by the preponderance of DH-type players the Cardinals have now and with one more to come sometime this year in Nolan Gorman.

Q: So the Cards maybe could have shopped the almost-always-injured Alex Reyes a few years ago during his brief healthy window. Regrets?

A: There always has been upside with Reyes, and we saw it through much of last season when he was one of the top closers in the league until he was bitten by walks and the home-run ball. I don't think the Cardinals should have any regrets about not trying to move him, nor should they. He was that good.

Q: Reyes is a great talent but faces yet another setback as 2022 could be another lost year. How have his series of injuries affected his march toward free agency? When he finally gets healthy, how much more control will the team have?

A: The Cardinals will have one more season of control of Reyes after this season, meaning he could be a third-time arbitration candidate. If he doesn't pitch much, or at all, this season, he might also be a non-tender candidate at the end of the year, as difficult a move as that might be to make.

Q: When Flaherty comes back to the rotation, I assume that means Hicks is out, right?

A: Nothing wrong with having six starters. Flaherty won't be going deep into games when he first starts pitching here again. And injuries always crop up. If Hicks is good enough to do this, it will all work out.

Q: Does Hudson become a sneaky trade chip if Hicks' ascension continues? Obviously, Waino won't be around forever, and then Liberatore slots in in '23.

A: You have to be very careful about trading starting pitching when you don't really have that much of an excess. You just aren't going to see many major-scale trades now because, with a short spring training, teams don't exactly have a real read on their teams yet.

Q: Since it’s really the hitters' fault if they do well or not, is there any need for a hitting coach? Seems like an extraneous position. Either the hitters perform or they don’t. What role does a coach have in that?

A: The hitting coach's job is to help get the most productivity out of what he has and also adapt to what style the front office wants to see. But, while the pitching coach can go to the mound to calm a pitcher, the hitting coach can't go to the batter's box and hold the hitter's hand.

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