Ben Frederickson Live

Bring your Cardinals, Blues, Mizzou and STL sports questions, and talk to Post-Dispatch columnist Ben Frederickson in a live chat starting at 11 a.m. Tuesday.




    Greetings! I'll tack 10 minutes onto the back end of today's chat. Got pulled into a meeting here in the office and it held me up. Blame my boss! Anyway, here we go ...
    Plenty. And now some more, thanks to you.
    BenFredLive 4th of July edition! I'm wearing my stars and stripes outfit for this chat? Did you get yours in the mail? Let's get after it Benny!
    My favorite time of the year. Here in downtown STL, we play the annual game: gunshots, or fireworks?
    Any traction to rumors to Nolan Aronado wanting to be moved - what might it take to get him
    Arenado has certainly turned heads, including the Cardinals', with his recent comments about feeling frustrated losing in Colorado.
    But the Cardinals' have had dreams of Arenado for a long time.
    It would cost a fortune. The Rockies have not shown desire to move him. But, with him becoming a free agent after the upcoming season, maybe now would be the time -- if the Rockies don't feel like they can contend.
    I think we are dreaming, but Arenado, for me, is much more fun to dream about than Machado. 
    I found it weird that Mo called out Dexter's effort on two different platforms, then when it blew up, tried to back track. What, if anything, should we read into this. I'd say the odds Dexter finishes the contract as a Cardinal are O%, but do you think there's a reasonable chance he doesn't finish this season with the team?
  • There is absolutely a chance he doesn't finish this season with the team.
    I would imagine the comments made might make him consider rethinking his no-trade clause. Of course, the Cardinals would have to eat a lot of money in that deal. Better than getting nothing if another team could be sold on a fresh-start attempt.
    Mozeliak's comments might have been an attempt to fire Fowler's engine. Nothing else has worked. What got lost in the chaos of the comments and the fallout is that Fowler and Mo are close. Mo was the recruiter for Fowler. Mo was the one who took Fowler out for dinner when the deal was done. They have a relationship.
    And to think Mozeliak's comments came from a lack of knowledge of what is going on seems ... silly. He's in tune with the the team from top to bottom. Him saying he hears questions about Fowler's effort that he doesn't know how to answer is different than someone who does not work for the team saying that. His remarks, while they could have been timed better toward a player on paternity leave, had substance.
     
  • Chad Johnson doesn't really seem like the type of goalie that can save Allen if he falters (his usual January swoon). Will Husso be an option next year or will the Blues look to trade for a goalie mid-season if its clear Allen is not the answer (which most people already think he isn't)?
  • Great question.
    A stronger offense and improved power play would, in theory, take more pressure off Allen.
    I think that's the spin you are going to hear, and maybe it will be true.
    But like you, I don't feel good about banking on Allen after two consecutive seasons with such a drastic collapse.
    That's hard for a team to take. Then it happened again. Now it's, you know, a thing.
    But Army has said since the season ended that Allen is the guy, and I don't expect that to change now that most moves have been made. If the collapse happens again, a move will need to be made. And the Blues could find themselves in a bad spot. With no Hutton to save the day.
     
  • Hey, great acquisitions from Army. He traded third line talent and dumping salary for a top line guy. Another Schenn type deal!!!!!
  • That's high praise, but yes, I like the moves quite a bit.
    The Blues got rid of two contracts they were not interested in keeping.
    They really beefed up a weak spot (middle) without blocking prospects.
    And they saved what they feel are the best of their prospects. Tage might turn into a star, and who knows what the Sabres will get with those picks, but the corny give-to-get cliche is true. Blues fans think they won it. Buffalo fans do too. Sign of a decent deal.
  • What will it take for O'Neil, Wisdom or Voit to get some significant stretch of playing time? Is it really worth making a deal for Moose or someone else without giving one of them a shot? Or is there just too much roster clutter to enable that?
  • I'm not a Moose guy. We've had those discussions in this chat before. I just don't see him as being that much of a significant upgrade over what the Cardinals currently have.
    Hopefully O'Neill starts every game that Fowler misses, to get a better sense of what he can do at the major-league level. At worst he is like a long-drive-champion in golf. A powerful swing that doesn't apply in the real game. But if he can find an approach that includes some OBP, he can stick. His speed and defense are better than his body build suggests.
    Bader has come back to earth a bit, and that's going to be the player he is for a while -- great defense and speed, with offense that is hard to play every day at times.
    Voit has been up and down. He's blocked by Jose/Carp at 1B.
    Wisdom is behind Voit, so he's really the one feeling the pain of prospect hoarding. He is headed toward becoming a minor league free agent if the Cardinals don't do something before long. Some team out there would give him a shot, I'd think. He's improved his K rate this season and is taking more walks while preserving his power
  • People are talking about ROR,but,I think the Bozak signing is a good one too.He will surprise some people.Any thoughts?
  • ROR gets the attention because he was biggest name.
    Bozak as THE move looked lacking. Bozak as one of the moves looks really good.
    And how can you not love Bozak's line in his Players Tribune essay about joining the Blues?
     

    The Stanley Cup.

    I want to win a Cup. So damn bad.

    That’s why I signed in St. Louis. There’s your headline. Print it.

    Talk about playing to your audience ...

  • I like the fact Mo and Girsch make themselves available, but do other teams GM's get themselves involved with the players and/ or media like they do? It seems like that is the role of the manager. Are they stepping on Matheny's toes.?
  • It depends on the preference of each team's leadership.
    The Cardinals, to their credit, place an importance on making the front office available for questions from the media.
    Mozeliak is very accessible, whether the team is home or away,.
    Girsch has taken over the meeting with the media, usually on the first game of a home homestand.
    This is not uncommon, but there are places where you have to run these types of decision-makers down, where they avoid questions entirely.
    That's not the case here.
    Matheny talks before and after every game and does media appearances on top of that. He's more than happy to let someone, anyone else take a turn.
  • If (IF) the Cards don't make it to the Postseason this year, Matheny gets the boot, and so does Mabry. Who do you see as the new coaches? I personally would like to see Stubby Clapp and Joe Girardi. Thoughts?
  • I agree with your prediction, but I would not limit your candidate pool to potential replacements who are currently in the minors or out of the business. It's the Cardinals. We have talked a lot in these chats about how young, upcoming players might not understand or appreciate the history of success the Cardinals hope to benefit from during recruitment. Managers and coaches understand the history. An opening for the Cardinals would and should send ripples across the game. Think big. The Cardinals should, if that point comes.
  • What has been your favorite World Cup game so far?
  • The Belgium Blitz, of course.
    It received a fine showcase on the front page of today's Post-Dispatch.
  • If the Cardinals don't promote Stubby Clapp are they going to lose him this winter?
  • That's possible, sure.
    I have not talked to him about who has reached out or anything, and Memphis is home for him, which matters, but he's building a rather impressive resume.
    The amount of players the Cardinals have plucked from Class AAA and the success that team continues to have really speaks to his skills.
    Think of the Cardinals' Memphis pitching shuttle alone, and how hard that is to build a bullpen and rotation around guys coming and going.
    Memphis has good players, but they also have good leadership.
  • At this moment the team doesn't deserve Dakota Hudson in the same way it doesn't deserve Manny Machado. The theoretical 2024 team deserves 6-year vet Hudson more than this one deserves rookie Hudson and the theoretical 2019-2024 teams deserve the prospects the Cardinals have more than this one deserves Machado
  • Now you're thinking like a front office that doesn't want to mortgage the future for a team that hasn't looked like it's headed for the postseason.
    As for Hudson, there are guys ahead of him who have pitched their way out of Memphis.
    Gant. Ponce. Gomber.
    Why not give these guys a chance to start before adding Hudson?
    I'd like to see someone else get Weaver's next start, personally.
    If not, and he struggles again, then it becomes harder to justify citing the 40-man reason for Hudson.
     
     
  • If Carpenter knew how to bunt down the third base line, he'd be hitting .350 and teams might think twice about the shift.
  • That observation is not limited to Carpenter.
    Many seem to lack the ability or interest in taking what the shift gives them -- even (and this is important) when doing so presents an advantageous situation.
    It's one of the more frustrating aspects of the shift. Blame the numbers for creating it if you must, but it makes more sense to me for blaming the lack of adaptation.
    Carp's been pretty good this past month, for what it's worth. Slashed .313/.404/.636 in June
     
  • I'm thrilled by Mozeliak's comments because it's put out an edgy frustration with the quality of play, one that should ruffle some feathers and one that Matheny has never been willing to put out there. If Matheny doesn't think it's appropriate to make those comments then I'm glad Mo can.
  • Mozeliak has been highly critical of this team for a while now during his interviews around town.
    And believe it or not, the biting criticism has not been reserved to Dexter Fowler.
    He had an eyebrow-raising line about Brett Cecil "not being the person we thought he was".
    He expressed frustration about hitters not taking advantage of the shift (Matt Carpenter).
    He has called for a look in the mirror, from top to bottom of the organization, and brought up that it includes the coaching staff as well.
    So, yeah. He isn't happy. And it's not new. And it's not limited to Fowler. But that doesn't fit the narrative.
     
  • Ben,
    I’m squinting but having a hard time seeing MM make it past this year. Just too many managerial errors. It’s almost like he’s too stubborn to learn from past mistakes. Mo can take some heat too, but MM has had 7 yrs of downhill.
  • No need to squint. Cardinals' stated goal is to build a 90-plus win team that makes the postseason. Fans can want more, but that's the stated goal, so let's stick to that for this assessment. Since 100-win season of 2015 that included a postseason appearance, Cardinals had 86 and 83-win seasons that included no postseason. This season seems headed for that range unless something changes the current direction. Players have changed. Coaches have changed, except for Matheny and Mabry. Running out of things to change before those two.
  • If Carpenter bunted more, teams wouldn't care and wouldn't stop shifting. He leads the team in homers and doubles, and is on pace for nearly 80 extra-base hits. Teams would gladly reduce that bat to dribblers down the third base line. Certainly, there is the rare situation when a bunt makes sense, but for the last two months MCarp has posted a 1.000 OPS. Just let him do his thing.
  • I agree. The shift exists for the reasons. It takes away a hitter's strength and offers him an easy alternative, but an alternative that is preferred by the defense.
    There are times to gladly take the alternative, and try to prove to defense that offering it was a mistake. Hitters don't seem willing to do that or capable of doing that very often.
    But in the grand scheme, yes, always taking what the shift gives you is a plus for the defense that has decided to shift.
  • I'd be more appreciative of Mo's sudden voice for the people if he ever directed that criticism toward the guys (Matheny and Mabry) fans have been complaining about for years. Where was that blunt assessment after the 2014 playoffs?
  • You answered your own question, my man.
    The frustration of the 2014 playoffs -- a lost NLCS in the midst of a five-year window of annual postseason play -- doesn't burn like looking at three years of watching the postseason from your couch.
     
  • Man, all of this Fowler bashing sucks. He was the best signing last year and seemed like exactly what we needed. I don't think anyone could have seen this decline coming so quickly. I like him as a player and he seems like a fun, good guy to have around. Maybe he could potentially bounce back and I get the criticism of his performance but the bashing I've seen of his character from some "fans" seems way out of line. Plus his wife is a good follow on Twitter both for a laugh and real talk regarding fan criticism.
  • That's sports. There are jerks who are worshiped because they play well, and good men who are demonized because they don't. It's not right. It will never end. Criticism of play should not bleed over into criticism of the person, without correlation. I'm not going to assume, like many did, that Mozeliak made commented publicly about Fowler without basing that comment on his firsthand knowledge of the situation. And sometimes, comments come with a purpose. A nudge. A challenge. All sorts of things. There are lots of questions floating about Fowler.  Some examples: Is he physically healthy? Is he mentally healthy? Is he unhappy, and is that reflecting in his play? Is he just past his prime and sinking fast? These are questions being asked by people who are paid to figure out the answers, not just the people who have watched him struggle this season.
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