Cardinals chat with Joe Strauss

Submit your Cardinals questions and opinions NOW; talk to Post-Dispatch baseball writer Joe Strauss starting at 1 p.m.

by Mike Smithon Aug 24, 2012 at 2:31 PM

  • We're here anticipating the series finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates and the beginning of a 4-game series in Washington against the Nats. The Cardinals, as you may know, have promoted catcher Bryan Anderson and pitcher Trevor Rosenthal. The former is protection for Yadier Molina, the latter offers a fresh arm in place of Brandon Dickson, who has been hit around in two recent relief appearances. Returned from Memphis on Sunday. So if you have any pre-Sept. 1 queries about the Triple-A club, I may be able to offer some impressions after attending several tilts. Thanks in advance for participating in the ChatMeister's final August appearance.
  • What would have to happen for Chris Carpenter to be eligible for the playoffs? Does 60 day DL qualify him or would he have to appear before Sept.1?
    Normally do you just have to be on the 25 man roster at some point during the season to qualify or do you have to play?
  • He's on the 40-man. He's eligible.
  • Joe, Is there any possiblity that Chris Carpenter could pitch this season?
  • A lot of folks have taken a line in this morning's P-D and run amok with it. I'd be interested in hearing what scenario within a pennant race is conducive to working a guy barely a month removed from fairly radical surgery. Carpenter didn't predict his return. Neither has Matheny or Mo'. Carp' threw off a mound for the first time in two months. Is it possible? I guess anything is possible. I don't see the value in making it happen, though, unless the club wanted to run him out there in a one-sided game to see how his shoulder reacts. Again, Carp has thrown one 40-pitch bullpen session since surgery. I hope to speak to him directly this weekend. His next side session is scheduled for Friday. He and the club may be more expansive with their thinking at that point.
  • Ok I will ask what I consider the most important question: Perhaps presumptuous of me but you decide. Molina was banged up before yesterdays home plate collision. How badly was he hurt and how much time will he miss? I consider him the most crucial piece to the whole puzzle that is the Cards.
  • I anticipate he'll miss several games. Saying it's not a DL situation is misleading since we're within a week of rosters expanding. It's far easier to play short for several days than to consign your starting catcher to a 15-day DL stint. Molina is very banged up. He's dealt with an oblique strain, back stiffness, a rolled ankle and a significant plate collision -- all in the last three weeks. He needs some down time. Unfortunately, the Nationals don't offer a break in the schedule.
  • Joe, Not totally in agreement with accepting the inevitable Lohse departure. Yes, his big payday has arrived and logic would tell you he probably is moving on, BUT: 1) you can never have enough pitching; 2) the younger up-an-coming arms are still not totally proven at this level; 3) there are enough younger position players established and "under control" that a Lohse salary could possibly be budgetable; 4) and even though a hometown discount is probably out of play, Lohse seems to like the St. Louis "fit" and might, just might, call off Boras if a "reasonable?" deal could be struck within the next month. Thanks for your time.
  • Sorry you don't agree. Perhaps you have better insight. With Wainwright's contract situation unresolved and several available options (Rosenthal/Miller/Kelly) available, it's almost impossible to envision how the Cardinals guarantee Lohse 3 or 4 years. The hometown discount narrative is cute but not very relevant in this case. The Cardinals obtained Carpenter insurance by rolling Westbrook's option into an extension. If Carpenter is available next season, the club projects Waino', Carp', Westbrook, Garcia, Lynn and the younger arms as depth. Players typically hire Scott Boras to work the market for them, not to go hat in hand to offer a discount. Lohse has already told Boras to refrain from approaching the Cardinals about their thinking. That should tell you something.
  • What is the current status of Puma? Sounded recently like he was on his way back to serve as the bench bat this team disparately needs, but being so far out of market sometimes it's hard to keep up with the current status of the team.
  • Berkman remains in Memphis on a rehab assignment. He is 2-for-13 and has played 30 innings at first base with one error. Any devoted Post-Dispatch read last Saturday that Berkman is leaning toward this being his last rodeo. His knees are not fully cooperating. I would project his September contributions as pinch-hitting and perhaps an occasional start at 1B against RH pitching. Allen Craig deserves to continue playing.
  • Joe, the Cardinals seem prepared to let Lohse walk. Notithstanding that Lohse has a record of 14-2, and has logged a Cy Young worthy season this year. To my mind, losing Lohse would put next year's Cardinals at least 7-10 wins behind this year's team. And, this year's team may not make the playoffs. I would like to see the Cardinals resign Lohse and trade one of their other young pitchers like Garcia, Lynn, or Kelly. Not because I am down on Garcia, Lynn, or Kelly, but because keeping Lohse would make the Cardinals a stronger team in 2013 than would keeping either Garcia, Lynn, or Kelly. Your thoughts?
  • It's economics. The club likely will have to commit around $20M per season to keep Wainwright. If Carpenter returns, all the spots in the rotation are accounted for. Many are down on Garcia now -- a common occurance once a player missed time with injury -- but he carries plenty of contract and is not coming off a good year. The same dynamic that has soured many on Garcia once led many to demand the club trade Lohse (despite his full no-trade leverage) when he was compromised physically. I don't see the scenario you suggest playing out. The Cardinals believe Miller, Martinez and Rosenthal could become major-league starters in the next year or two. They've committed heavily on a player development track. They appeared to show their hand re: Lohse when retaining Westbrook. Lohse sees the same thing.
  • Assuming that Albert Pujols has another 5-10 more solid years and avoids any scandals, do the Cardinals ultimately retire his number ?
  • Joe, Why was Hurdke making such a scene last night? He plated the game and had to know what was coming, especially when the score tilted. Seemed to be a big show for nothing.
  • He's allowed to act on behalf of his player. Any sentient viewer could deduce Harrison was hit intentionally within a blowout game. By failing to make a point, Hurdle's silence might be construed as admitting Harrison's play dirty. As Hurdle noted it was "a baseball play." So was Westbrook hitting Harrison in the leg with a pitch. The umpire's warning took away Hurdle's option of putting on another "baseball play." I'd be surprised if the incident has legs beyond last night. Molina chose not to give Harrison a piece of the plate. Harrison chose to go through the catcher. It was big-boy baseball. It was also a hard play that is going to reflexively stir emotion within the visiting dugout. Fortunately, Yadi wasn't badly hurt.
  • How likely do think it is that Jon Jay wins a Gold Glove award this year or in the future? The more I see him play, the more credit I have to give him for the plays he makes. While everyone knows he's not the fastest outfielder and doesn't possess Ankiel's cannon, he takes great routes to the ball and more importantly from what I've noticed, if he can get a glove on the ball, you can bet he will catch it and hang on to it?
  • The Gold Glove is not a writer's award. Managers and coaches are polled. Some of their choices are baffling. The fact Jay has never won one previously is a significant hurdle. His innings were truncated by injury. However, the highlight plays you suggest could command attention from managers and coaches who are drawn to bright, shiny objects. I have no issue with Jay winning the award but would stop short of calling it a slam dunk.
  • Joe

    What in your opinion is the main reason the Cardinals are so inconsistent in scoring runs. I believe we have players that hit for a decent average and an slightly above average in driving in runs with runners in scoring position.
    I believe the main reason is a total lack of team speed it takes us 2 to 3 hits to score a run , we don’t advance runners and too often we don’t go from first to third on a single and too often we don’t score from second on a base hit. We have a few players with average speed that appear fast on our team compared to their teammates. What do you think?
  • It's primarily a power-based offense. Power lends itself to big innings rather than scoring in many innings. After promising a more aggressive baserunning philosophy in March, the Cardinals appeared to become more conservative after some early-season gaffes. The team has not "pushed" as much since late May. Then again, do you risk giving up outs with Holliday, Craig, Beltran, Freese, Molina at the plate? Beltran has not been a consistent on-base presence since June. Issues remain at leadoff. The club pushed when Furcal was scalding and Greene remained an everyday influence. Furcal is now hitting below .270 and Greene is gone. The dynamic has changed.
  • Why do you think Lynn is struggling so much? Fatigue? Lack of physical conditioning? The guy just looks out of it and is getting shellacked every outing.
  • He's lost some command of his fastball. His focus has become inconsistent. Those aren't guesses. That's what his manager and coaching staff see. Lynn also benefited from the league's best run support for much of the season. Trade the support offered Lynn and Lohse and the records are radically different. Lohse might be pushing 20 wins. Lynn might be a .500 pitcher. When Lynn was going well, folks saw his size as a benefit. Now that he's labored, folks question his conditioning. Many don't fully appreciate the grind of making 32-34 starts within a major-league season. Lynn is in his first full major-league campaign. He's never worked more than 165 innings in a season. To me, a regression could have been expected. The club says it still projects him as a starter in '13. Lynn should be applauded for helping save the rotation in the first half. WIth Kelly ascending and Wainwright returning to his 2010 form, Lynn's contributions are less vital now.
  • What members of the current 40-man roster do you see taken off in the off-season? I see Browning, Marte, Anderson or Hill, Kozma, and Shane as candidates.
  • Those issues are currently being discussed in Springfield between Mo' and his top lieutenants. I agree that some familiar names will be excised from the 40-man following the minor-league season. I'm not comfortable at this time playing the role of The Turk.
  • You've said multiple times that you felt Holliday would have a monster year. Must be nice to be right. What were the reasons that gave you that feeling? Attitude? Being more in shape? Main man with AP gone? All of the above?
  • Holliday has always been in shape. I think some folks' perceptions were colored heavily by his freakish '11 season. None of Holliday's issues suggested a long-term problem but they compromised him for most of last season, including October. When Holliday is healthy, he's among the game's most consistent producers. Holliday had a 1.023 OPS with the Cardinals following his '09 trade. He had 74 extra-base hits and 103 RBI within the team's disappointing 2010 season. His OPS barely shifted (.922 to .913) despite last season's issues. Because he is not a graceful defender and employs a violent, unorthodox swing, his mistakes often appear more pronounced. And, yes, Pujols' absence does make his value more obvious.
  • Hi Joe. I do welcome Wednesdays. I find it interesting how many different ways to explain a season's record. The Orioles won their 24th 1-run game (13th straight) on Monday. They are 12-2 in extra inning games. For the season, they have given up more runs than they have scored. Everybody know the frustrations the Cards have experienced in 1-run games and extra innings. Yet, the Cards and Orioles records are nearly identical. Do you think we, as fans or media, get to wrapped up in how a team wins or loses versus whether they win or lose?
  • Media typically follow patterns. The Cardinals are the anti-Orioles. I admittedly have been waiting for the Orioles' collapse since the All-Star break because of pitching issues. Instead, Buch Showalter has done a masterful job of maximizing his team's strengths, specifically his bullpen and an almost-failsafe closer. I believe teams win and lose close games for a reason. Sure, there are random events where a team rallies from 7-2 to lose 7-5 or 7-6. But the Cardinals' poor record in such games is a direct result of early bullpen uncertaint and season-long erosion of offense in late innings. There's a reason Mo' went after Edward Mujica at the trade deadline: stabilize middle relief.
  • Do u think the cards will make the playoffs?
  • Yes. I have all season. I've thought them the league's most talented team for much of the schedule.
  • Just curious if Sanchez is improving his control any Memphis. What a valuable asset he would be if he could find control.
  • Still displays inconsistent mechanics. Salas offers a much more consistent profile when both are healthy.
  • Both in the Buster Posey injury in '11 and after last night's plate impact, media talking heads were calling for a ban on plate blocking etc. I for one think the players know what they sign up for and its part of baseball. But the 24-hour news cycle breeds yellow journalism and many have found their way into your industry. What say you? Shall we comence with the sisification of baseball as we have with the NFL?
  • I wouldn't call it "yellow journalism." It's filling a news cycle or a three-hour sports talk show. Athletes put their bodies at risk. It's part of the reason they are well-compensated. It seems like society has a compulsion to legislated based on anecdotes. If a high-profile player is hurt, it creates an outcry. If a lesser player is injured, stuff happens. There was amazingly little said by MLB or national media about better protecting players after Juan Encarnacion suffered a career-ending injury standing on deck. I guarantee there would have been major hand-wringing if it had been Pujols or Votto. Little is being done to better protect fans subjected to bats and foul ball lasers. Unfortunately, it will take a fan death before MLB reviews that stance. In sum, the players are aware of the game's hazards. That said, steps should be taken to ensure better safety on the game's periphery.
  • I noted on vid replay that after Holliday home run the other day, Lohse kept his head down and did not go to congratulate him. Was he tired after pitching? It seemed aloof, but I could be wrong. Sure, he may be on the way out, but how about a little comraderie anyway?
  • That's a scissors stretch, sir.
  • Do you think that jake Westbrook has lost a little focus since singing his extension. I know he does go they these little funks every year wee he is real good then has a few bad games, bu I can't help but wonder if this is a lack of focus do to not having to play for next year maybe a little to relaxed
  • I'll leave the drug store psychology to the BFIB. It might be helpful not note that Westbrook is 1-4 against the Pirates this year. By my reckoning, that means he was 1-3 against them prior to Tuesday's loss. He has not appeared comfortable within his delivery in his last two starts. I see that as coincidental.
  • Miller"s has seemed to mature a bit as of recently. Can we expect him to make the big roster this season?
  • There is discussion which wouldn't have occurred a month or two ago.
  • Is it realistic to expect Carpenter back in the rotation should the Birds make the playoffs?
  • Hey Joe, do the Reds ever sell out a baseball game ? The attendance for the weekend was weak except for Barry Larkin day....
  • Same in Baltimore. The ballclub is not a civic centerpiece in all places as it is in St. Louis.
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