Ben Frederickson Live

Ben Frederickson Live

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




  • What's your take on the Wainwright situation? Does he come back as a reliever? He has always, along with Molina, seemed like a likely "Cardinal lifer". It's just hard to picture him outside of St. Louis, but I don't see how they could possibly promise him a spot in the rotation.
  • Now is not the time for sentimental transactions. It would need to be a low-cost deal that includes incentives based on performance. He gets that. He has said that he is disappointed by pitching as rarely as he did on the big contract that is now coming to its end. He can't realistically be promised a spot in the rotation. As a mentor and seasoned reliever? As an option who can earn a spot in the rotation by performance? There's a right price for that, and he would be good at it. It's hard to overstate the leadership role he has on the pitching staff and beyond. Wainwright seems determined to keep this going. He's also open to the idea of doing it elsewhere. Similar to Matt Holliday situation -- if the team can't handle the notion of him contributing in a different role, it might be better to let him go.
  • Still, they were not consistent during that time. As I pointed out, 4-5, then followed by a 25-8 run, and then a 12-15 finish. So, even if you take out the 9 games, 33 games of dominance followed by a 27 game run of mediocrity isn't exactly consistent. And as you pointed out, still more errors than any other team. Again, Shildt will be fine. But still, that gives a message that what we saw this year was ok, especially as we squandered a 1 1/2 game lead in the last week of the season.
  • What we saw this year was definitely not OK. What we saw this year got a manager fired. What we saw under Shildt was a team that went from dead in the water to having an advantage on making the postseason. They lost the thread. I think Shildt knows that. I do think he was trying to stick up for his team, especially his young guys. He has talked diligently about his goal of winning championships, plural. He's intentional when it comes to that. I don't think anyone thought this was a World Series caliber team, did they?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how confident are you that St. Louis gets an MLS team?
  • The league wants to be here, and keeps making that clear.
    I don't see the city approving much in terms of public money for sports ventures at the moment.
    If the state wants to help, that's an easier sell.
    If there is big private money in the mix now (like the Taylor family) then I'd feel even more confident. But lips are sealed, it seems. The generic press releases say nothing.
    MLS wants to be here. Has for years. But the climate for public money for sports, especially here in the city, has never been worse.
     
  • Ben, any insight on who could be Mizzou's starting QB next year?
  • Great question.
    That there is debate is a problem.
    I wrote about that for Sunday's paper.
    I think the Tigers should be on a serious hunt for a graduate transfer to bridge the gap.
     

    BenFred: Grad transfer quarterback would be wise pursuit for Mizzou

    stltoday.comMissouri football fans who spent their favorite team’s bye week scouting the competition heard plenty about the latest debate in college football.
     
  • Your comment "I don't think anyone thought this was a World Series caliber team, did they"? ...does that include the Front Office??
  • The Cardinals built a team they thought could make the postseason. A team that gets into the postseason has a chance. By the time the trade deadline rolled around, no, the Cardinals did not think they had a postseason team. Clearly. Remember the moves. They traded away a starting outfielder for prospects. They cleared the lanes for youth. They did not make win-now moves that risked hurting them down the line. The said as much.
  • One thing on Mizzou: This game Saturday will tell us a lot about where the program is, in my opinion. South Carolina is a decent team that was beaten pretty handily when it played good teams this season. I'll be very disappointed if Missouri goes down there and commits a lot of stupid penalties and just lays an egg. I am still waiting for Missouri to beat a good team under Odom. This seems to be a prime chance, especially coming off a bye. Agreed?
  • Bingo. You nailed it. South Carolina is no the monster some made it out to be. Kentucky, on the other hand, might be. That makes it even more important to beat South Carolina if Mizzou is going to end the season as something other than another ho-hum SEC East team. South Carolina got smoked by Georgia at home, 41-17. South Carolina lost to UK by two touchdowns. The Tigers have had a bye week to prep. This one should be a win for Mizzou.
  • Is Marcell Ozuna having surgery this offseason or will they just rest his shoulder?
  • Hey, Jim. Scroll down. We've discussed already. You're late, Mr.
  • Do you think sports teams should report actual turnstile attendance?
  • Yes. Absolutely. I also understand why they don't.
  • Hummel has made it known that he would like to see Carlos Martinez be the closer next year. Unless there is worry about an injury that would prevent him from starting long term, I don't see how this makes sense. From 2015-2017 he averaged 193 IP per season and over 6 innings per start with a 3.24 ERA and .609 win percentage. I think he was leading the league in ERA or close to it when he got hurt. What is that, a $25 million pitcher (at least) on the market these days? Why would you waste that on 60 or so innings when you could have it for 200? I understand that getting the last three outs is important, but I'd wager that if Martinez was healthy and starting in September instead of being in the bullpen, the Cardinals would have had more wins and probably made the playoffs.
  • The Cardinals have been pretty adamant that Carlos will be a starter next season. The Cardinals also realize what they say now will be monitored by teams that might have an interest in trading for Martinez. So keep that in mind.
     
    Clearly, Martinez is best as a starter. What remains unknown is if the Cardinals or any team is going to get Martinez at his best. Injuries repeatedly set him back this season. He opened the door for questions about his commitment level and willingness to do everything in his power to be at his best -- one example is the timeliness issues on his own start days. And then you have the off-the-field stuff that caused stress for him and the organization.
     
    Betting on Martinez to be stud starter makes sense. There's just one problem. That was the bet this season. It did not hit.
     
    So, there's going to be a conversation about alternatives. Closer is one. I expect him to be in the rotation next season if he is here.
     
     
  • Is Crockett falling out of favor or are the other backs just good enough to warrant splitting the duties? This is a player who a year ago said he’d rush for 2000 yards in a season.
  • Some of both.
    He does not seem to run with the vision of Rountree or the motor of Badie.
    Rountree was always going to get reps this season.
    Badie is the one chewing into Crockett's carries.
    Numbers don't lie.
    Rountree has the most rushing attempts (55) and is averaging 5.3 yards per carry.
    Crockett has the second-most (50) at 4 yards per carry.
    Badie has 44 with 4.3 yards per carry.
    The coaches have been high on Badie since he signed. He's done nothing to tamp down the hype. Crockett is at risk of getting pushed down even more if things keep moving in this direction. OC Derek Dooley has said he's going to get each guy carries early, then ride the hot hand. To his credit, he's following through with that plan, and Crockett is looking like the least-hot of the three.
    One thing: Crockett has and will continue to help himself in the passing game. He is, I think, the best pass-catcher out of the backfield at the moment. That's a strength. There's room for all. But run the best runners. 
  • Since Gordo has PTSD from those Ram chats, is any brave soul at the PD willing to do game day live Mizzou chats? Yeah, I'm probably going to get salty like during the Georgia game when the blocked punt, fumble and other stuff happened, but that's Mizzou football. Sometimes you have to treat it like the sports version of Mystery Science Fiction Theater.
  • I vote Mike Smith.
    He could break out some of his old gems from his days on the beat.
    And you think I can get snarky! 
  • Have you heard anything about Kelly being hurt? It was quite odd both that he didn't start Sunday, and that in the key offensive moment in the game Shildt let Pena face righty-killing Cichek while leaving Adams to watch, even though no LHP was ready in the Cubs bullpen. That latter one really steamed me at the time. But now I think maybe Kelly has some injury. Shildt's basic MO that game was to not play any of his banged up guys, which I'm fine with. If Pena's the only not-banged-up catcher then it all makes more sense. Otherwise it looks like Kelly is toast and Shildt missed the boat on not using Adams.
  • I would not read too much into any moves made or not made Sunday.
    The lineup showed the Cardinals' interest in that game.
    Here's the number that should be discussed: 30 and 11.
    Francisco Pena started 30 games at catcher for the Cardinals this season.
    Carson Kelly started 11.
    Either Francisco Pena is much better than the Cardinals thought, or Carson Kelly's development has stalled, or a combination of both.
    Some explanation is needed here.
     
  • I always try to put myself in the shoes of others (in this case, the front office) and ask what a reasonable person would do. When Ozuna was on the DL, I said that a reasonable person would have him scanned up one side and down the other to find out what the problem was. I would give him the cortisone shot, then watch to see if the results seemed to be something that would last a year, or did it start to wear off, indicating that at best he would require periodic trips to the DL next year for more shots. Then, if it seemed that he got an immediate boost from the shot but that it seemed to be wearing off somewhat (as evidenced by hitting and especially throwing - and to me that seemed to be the case) then I would have my off-season plan firmly in place. My only reason for not announcing it would be to wait until after the season ticket-renewal deadline if my plan was guaranteed to kill season ticket sales.
  • That's a rather grim view, but to each his own.
    Ozuna was expected to have a post-season examination with the doctor who treated him during his DL stint.
    I imagine the Cardinals are going to see how that goes before finalizing anything.
    That makes sense, right?
    He has swatted away at the notion of surgery, but he also swatted away at the notion that his shoulder was limiting his performance, so I'm not sure I trust his diagnosis all that much.
    There is good news, and it's rare to refer to him in a positive light when it comes to the team perspective, but here it is: Scott Boras.
    Ozuna's superstar agent is going to want his client to position himself to make big money in his contract year.
    He's going to do everything in his power to make sure Ozuna is right in the field and at the plate next season.
    That includes steering Ozuna to the best possible treatment.
  • If the Cardinals somehow, someway sign Bryce Harper to play RF, will Dexter Fowler do the snoopy cry?
  • No, but he might blame Mike Matheny.
  • Shildt has been absolutely brutal, both in August, during the "bump," and beyond. Incredibly, he pulls all the wrong strings all the time. A few examples: Insisting on Munoz at 2nd, his worst position, not using Martinez at all in the Brewers series while all other relievers were blowing up, sticking with Gyorko down the stretch, even against righties, when he was utterly lost at the plate and in the field, going to Norris at the worst possible moment and then calling the ill-fated pickoff, seldom using defensive replacements and getting burned, turning up his nose at a chance to beat the Cubs, as previously mentioned. How much trouble are we in with this guy?
  • Less trouble than you were in with the last manager.
    I'm not sure how the most wins in the National League since the change can be described as "brutal."
    Winning is the point, right?
    Yes, the Cardinals hit the wall too early and the September swoon left a bad taste in the mouth after the August surge.
    No, that does not erase the positives the team showed under Shildt, who -- and I know this might come as a shock -- is going to make some decisions that do not work from time to time.
  • Jedd Gyorko and Kolten Wong are both at 4.1 years in MLB service time (though Gyorko is 30 and Wong is 28). Both have had trouble staying healthy/proving their value enough to get anywhere near a qualifying number of plate appearances. This year both were at or near 400 PAs. Each has surpassed 502 PAs only once: early in their careers. Gyorko batted .262 but with power (often batting fifth in the lineup). Jedd has that intriguing 30-home run potential. Wong hit only .249, always at or near the bottom of the lineup, but provides plus (though streaky) defense which perhaps makes up for the lack of hitting. That's the upside. The downside is we need players who can lock down 2B and 3B positions with 500 AB seasons and some consistency in hitting *and* fielding. And we havent won with those guys. I think it's time for an upgrade. Thoughts?
  • Third base and right field are your obvious positions calling out for upgrades. Wong's ability to stay healthy is fair to question. His defense? No. It is not streaky. It's exceptional. And Gyorko's third-base defense has been very strong when he has played there. Shildt has prioritized strong defense up the middle of the field. Wong is the answer for that. Gyorko's power has dipped every year since he's been a Cardinal. Home run count went from 30 to 20 to 11 this year. The argument that he can be the every-day guy at third has never looked less appealing, and I have made that argument before.
     
     
  • I believe the best use of Kelly would be in a trade, do you agree?
  • Depends. What does that trade look like? There's no sense in giving a top catching prospect away. There is an argument to packaging him in a deal for a need or needs before he starts to be viewed as a declining asset. Molina is not going to want to start fewer games next season, I imagine. And the Cardinals were happy to hand over the primary backup work to Pena this season. Knizner is climbing. This is starting to look like prospect hoarding again.
  • I know you touched on this before, but, I see the South Carolina game as critical in Mizzou’s season this year. A loss at SC likely means 7-5 this year with losses at AL, home @ KY, and on the road @ FL looking likely. Question for you is: does 7-5 keep BO at the helm or does that get him fired and we fumble and stumble along for 3 more years while his replacement builds a program?
  • At this point the Tigers probably have a better chance of beating Florida than Kentucky.
    I picked Mizzou to go 7-5, and I said at the time that this finish would be rather ho-hum considering the talent on the roster.
    It's hard to justify firing a Mizzou football coach who goes to a second consecutive bowl game in his third season. Recruiting has picked up it seems, especially in the STL area, where it was in bad shape for a while. If I'm Sterk, I'm paying close attention to fan attendance at the final home games. I also want to know Odom's plans for QB in 2019.
     
  • I know some dislike playing the "What If...?" game after a season like the Cardinals had. However, I spent the entire off-season last year hoping the team would pull the trigger on a Christian Yelich trade. Are the Cardinals playing in the post-season if they had Yelich all year instead of Ozuna?
  • Comparing what the Brewers gave up to get him to what that cost would have looked like on the Cardinals end, we are talking sending maybe Flaherty and Bader to Miami.
    Does Yelich on the Cardinals without Flaherty and Bader make the postseason?
    Tough call.
  • Ben, It is so tiring to get the 'what-if' questions about Yelich. At the time the Cardinals made the Ozuna trade, the Marlins told Yelich they did not intent to trade him. Yelich was not available. The Marlins later changed their mind. How were the Cardinals supposed to know that? Well in the mind of some chatters, the Cardinals are supposed to be all-knowing, but that is not realistic.
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