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.

  • Which defense will show itself more capable Saturday, Gamecocks or Tigers?
  • Only one of them has to face a top-25 offense in points per game.
    Mizzou's defense doesn't have to be amazing if the offense does its job.
    It does need to be much better than it was against Purdue.
    If it can match what it did against Georgia, things should be in good shape for the Tigers.
    But if you are comparing defense to defense, in a vacuum, I'll take South Carolina's.
    Gamecocks have allowed just 23.5 points per game and have played 3 conference games
  • So are fans so obsessed with talking about the hypothetical of the Cardinals passing on Ozuna and hoping Yelich became available? Yeah, the dude will win the MVP. But there's two things I think should be pointed out. 1) Why did they prefer trading quality prospects - one who throws 100mph and could have formed an awesome bullpen duo w/ Hicks for a player with a pre-existing injury over signing JD Martinez. Who was traded during the season last year so he didn't even cost a draft pick? My conclusion has been the Cardinals will explore every single option available before they have to spend any big dollars and it continues to cost them over and over by them spending biggish dollars on guys like Leake, Fowler and even a Brett Cecil rather than spend big dollars on a Scherzer, Andrew Miller or take your pick of the littany of big time power hitting middle of the order hitters that have been available(no Jason Heyward doesn't count. Didn't like the trade with a steep price tag for a player who failed to hit 20 or more HR since his rookie year and wouldn't resign with his hometown team then and sure didn't want his contract now). Rather than pay over 20 mill per year for 5 years for an absolute stud, the opted to spend minimal dollars and a steep price in prospects for a player with an injured shoulder. 2) It was asked everywhere and quickly dismissed, but after Yelich was available, it was asked everywhere why couldn't they trade for both? Obviously the team wasn't that committed to Pham, afterall they traded the dude after a meh first half. So they knew they didn't have their CF for the present or future. Now they have to ask, is Bader really a full time major leaguer two years from now, three years? No one believed that when he was in the farm system. Look the free agent CF the past few years and now this year. There wasn't much then and not much now. Having an opportunity to trade for an extremely talented player at an absolute premium position in the very prime of his career at an absolutely amazing contract should have been seriously considered and pursued. Most prospects don't work out. They don't. Ask Mo, he's still waiting on his first player who he drafted and developed to become a star in this league. When opportunities like this become available, the Cardinals need to be more flexible and open minded. They can't afford to discard such ideas because they traded for a very good left fielder from the same team. They had a familiarity with the players in the Cardinal system. They knew which guy(s) they really wanted to get for Ozuna but couldn't. I don't see how a deal couldn't have been made. Three years ago the Cardinals assumed free agents would take less cash to come here because it was a destination team because of the history of the team and winning. They quickly and conveniently now contend that it's the absolute opposite now. So when a player who has a long term deal for very reasonable money is available, they don't have the luxery of passing. Especially, when everyone seems resigned that they will never win a bidding war for a superstar caliber player like Machado or Harper. Your thoughts? I personally would have traded for Martinez(more proven than Ozuna's one year - Martinez had two great years under his belt and another few really good ones and that was when I had no idea Ozuna had an existing injury. I still struggle with how they came to the conclusion that Ozuna was a better option.
  • Your keyboard must be smoking. Let me speed-read. OK, a few thoughts:
    1. When you are trying to diagnose an organizational trend, you don't get to say something -- the Heyward offer -- does not count. Gotta view the whole picture.
    2. On Yelich, you are disregarding the Marlins stance. They said at the time that Yelich was not on the board. There was doubt about if they meant that, but that was their stance. The Cardinals did not need two outfielders. They did not see Dexter Fowler's career-worst season coming. You can argue they should have, but no one was arguing that entering the season.
    3. Yes. I agree with your point that the Cardinals have been burned by the mid to upper tier free agent market as of late, and the answer is to not give up on free agency. It's to aim higher, spend more, and reduce risk. Go for the bargain bin and the top shelf and be much more cautious about the middle.I think we agree on that point.
  • As a long time critic in these posts to the overhype of the organization’s pitching, you might have mentioned that the Cards also lost all six of Flaherty’s starts in Sept. Bottom line, for whatever reason, the young pitchers on this staff were absolutely dreadful in Sept. And while I acknowledge that the organization has a plethora of Gant and Gomber type pitchers in their system, perhaps more than most teams, I remain unconvinced that any of these pitchers are capable of transforming the team to elite status.
  • The "for whatever reason" does not need to be some big mystery.
    They were young pitchers who had never done this before, in terms of both innings pitched and stress level and pressure.
    Every single major league player will tell you there is nothing that can prepare you for pushing through the grind of the final month of the season in the majors.
    You just have to go through it.
    Now they have.
    Another thing:
    If you are banking on one elite pitcher to change this team into an elite team, look around.
    How did that work out for the Mets with deGrom?
    Increasingly, starters are pitching fewer innings and bullpens are mattering more.
    The Brewers' biggest weakness all season has been the starting pitching. They loaded their lineup and sharpened their bullpen, and now look at them.
  • Paragraphs are your friend, Brian. Think about the way other people's writing looks, the stuff you do and don't like looking at. Then write the stuff you yourself would want to read.

    Question, Ben. From what you've heard, and assuming good health, will Alex Reyes begin next year in the pen, to keep his innings down? Or will he start Spring Training on a normal starter's schedule? Thanks.
  • The plan is for him to head to spring training as a starter.
    That could change, of course.
  • Your opinion on Patrick Corbin is right on. He is everything this organization should be looking for. I'd like to think they know that. The big question, as always with our FO, is their reluctance to walk up to -- and past -- their puke point. If you are not playing to win it all, you're just wasting everybody's time and money. There can be only one ultimate victor. Did we learn nothing from Highlander?
  • if I can pick one players for the Cardinals to go past the puke-point to get, it's not a starting pitcher.
    But I understand the argument.
    There's a legitimate debate to upgrade there. No doubt.
  • I hate how these chatters take their frustration aqbout how the season ended out on you and Rickie Hummel, Ben. But, in your opinion, do the Cardinals move heaven and earth to get Brett Cecil out of St. Louis before next season?
  • I don't get the sense the Cardinals are as tired of watching Brett Cecil pitch as the rest of us.
    I was convinced we had seen the last of that in the penultimate trip to Chicago, yet he returned from the DL and continued to be the same guy.
    Finished with a career-worst 6.89 ERA and 1.96 WHIP. 
    He walked six more batters (25) than he struck out (19).
    Lefties averaged .310 against him and righties slugged .507 against him.
    It's gotten to the point where his appearance has a tangible affect on a game; it's like the punt team coming onto the field.
    It gets worse. He has a no trade clause. He is owed $15 million through 2020.
    The good news is things can't possibly get worse.
  • Does Joe Girardi get another shot to manage a big league club?
  • Gotta think so, if he wants to, and the word is he does.
    He's followed the right path by getting his face out there on MLB Network.
    That's helped his image and personality out there.
    I imagine it's just a matter of time.
  • Any fire to the new MLS2STL smoke? Excited to get disappointed all over again!
  • The new Gov's involvement is a good sign.
    Any mention of the Taylor family is a good sign.
    That the league continues to bat its eyes is a good sign.
    But as you know, better to take a believe-it-when-you-see-it approach on this subject.
  • Did we keep the wrong GM a few years back? It looks like Houston might be the team to beat again. I think Mo should be held accountable, if the team doesn't improve this year.
  • Held accountable how?
    You want him canned?
    I'd be careful what you wish for.
    And also I would remember who controls the cash.
  • Ben, you do a fantastic job in these chats offering insightful, objective analysis. You are BY FAR my favorite chat writer!
  • Nice, the comment I sent into myself made it through. Thanks!
  • Liddell to The Ohio State University. I thought Cuonzo Martin was going to grab every STL area recruit?
  • No need to sugarcoat it. This one stung for Mizzou and Martin. Cuonzo's mission statement when he got the job was not that we would sign every player, but that he would not miss on a recruit from this area due to a lack of oversight or hard work. When you are doing things the right way, that's all you can expect. And that's not to suggest Ohio State isn't doing things the right way. At all. The kid wanted to play for the Buckeyes. Had his whole life. And Holtmann has it rolling there in recruiting right now. It isn't the first time the two have clashed on the recruiting trail -- remember that Martin wound up winning the Torrence Watson round -- and it wont 'be the last. Martin is doing pretty good in this area. McKinney. Tilmon. Mark Smith on the transfer rebound. Javon Pickett. There will be more, and he has positioned himself well. He prioritized the recruitment of Liddell. He watched him more than any other coach. Liddell could not say Mizzou did not want him, did not prioritize him. He just wanted to be a Buckeye.
  • The road record for most pitching wins with 0 losses is 13 in 1995 by Greg Maddux, our pitching coach's brother, in 1995. Miles was tied for 2nd with 10.

    Can he repeat?
  • Miles went 18-4 with a 2.83 ERA in 32 starts and 200-plus innings pitched. He made 20 quality starts. He was an absolute beast, with a primo mustache.
    It's probably risky to bank on that again, but anything close would be impressive, and I don't see any reason he should not be able to do it, other than the usual "hitters know him better" reason.
    They will, but they knew what he was up to by the second half of the season, and it didn't help all that much.
    He can mix his pitches so often and so well that he is tough to hit. And he pounds the zone. A better defense might make him even better.
  • The super-long paragraph Brian is a different one from me. I think a key point he was making got lost though: they should have gone after Yellich even though they had Ozuna. If you can get a star, get a star, particularly a position player star as we seem unable to produce those. In hindsight, I think Flaherty + Bader + xxx for Yellich seems ok. And putting my mind back to last offseason, when Yellich hadn't gone off yet but neither had we seen what happened with Flaherty and Bader, it seems ok too. I like Flaherty but it seems like the Cards produce a new future star pitcher every couple years. Getting Yellich also likely would have meant moving Pham, with a better return.
  • I have a hard time believing anyone here was, at the time, pounding the table for the Cardinals to add BOTH Ozuna and Yelich.
    That would mean you both saw Dexter Fowler's career-worst season coming, b) saw Christian Yelich's breakout MVP worthy season coming and c) were willing to trade a painfully high price in prospects -- both quantity and quality -- who wound up helping the Cardinals a ton this season.
    Sorry, not buying that.
  • I’m late to the show, but want to beat the same drum as you, re: Harper.
    If cards don’t go big and bold and get him to bat third and play RF, they aren’t trying to win.
    Enough with the nibbling around the edges.
    Fowler can be 4th OF for a year to prove he deserves LF after Ozuna leaves.
  • Let's not confuse "not trying to win" with not going over the top.
    It's important to note the difference, because there are multiple teams that are truly not trying to win.
  • Bennie: I would like to see the Cardinals trade for Kyle Seager of the Mariners. They seem to like our pitchers.
  • He's 30.
    Hits left-handed. (Great!)
    But I have some reasons to pause.
    Career-high slugging (.499) and OPS (.859) came in 2018 and has declined in the two seasons since. His batting line this season read: .221/.273/.400 with a career-high 138 Ks.
    He's been in the red defensively at third base the past two seasons, per Fielding Bible's Runs Saved. A combined seven runs below average in that span.
    Sign me up for the 2016 version.
    Now? Not so sure.
  • Given that the Cards have identified a need for improvement at 3B, but they see their 3B of the future--Gorman--just a couple years away from challenging for a MLB role, it seems that leaves a very limited number of potential upgrades. Donaldson is less of a viable option than in years past, Machado is so unlikely as to be not worth considering in my opinion, and fan favorite trade options (Arenado, Chapman) are young enough to effectively block Gorman. Do you see any players the team would try to trade for or sign, or is it more likely we enter next season with a combination of Gyorko, Munoz, and Wisdom trying to win a majority of time at the hot corner?
  • Donaldson and old chat favorite Mike Moustakas can both help their value this postseason.
  • Hey, Ben.
    Patrick Corbin will get 23-25 million per year, for 6-8 years. Maybe more. Some fans seem to think that if *they* don't know much about a guy, if they haven't watched him 20 times on TV, that must mean he's not that great, and hence not incredibly desirable to MLB teams. Yeesh.

    Question: When you have Mikolas & Martinez & Wacha & Flaherty & Reyes & Hudson & Weaver & Gant & Gomber & Poncedeleon, why on earth should the Cards go out and pay or trade for a veteran starting pitcher? The rotation was SECOND in the N.L. in ERA this year, and that was despite receiving just 42 starts and 246 innings from the combination of Martinez, Wacha, Reyes, and Waino.

    On the other hand, the bullpen was TERRIBLE. It seems crystal clear to me where the upgrade needs to come. (1)Bullpen. (2)Bullpen. (3)Bullpen again.
  • I think we are thinking along the same lines, but will also wonder why there is this imaginary divide between "improving the bullpen" and "improving the rotation." When a quality starter is added, the starter he replaces is not taken out back and put down. He becomes an option for the bullpen, usually a good one. Carlos Martinez is a great example. In this new era of bullpenning and short starts and bullpen games, we would be wise to stop debating about "save the rotation" or "save the bullpen". It's all pitching. You can always improve it. And it is the easiest part of the team to improve at any time.
  • I could see Matt Carpenter being traded this off-season. At 33 next season, he is probably at his peak value for return. I'm not suggesting he be moved, rather that he could be attractive to several teams whose need(s) he might fill, and that he could be the center of significant deal. It fits into a scenario where the Cards seriously revamp the line-up. Your thought, please.
  • I've never gotten the sense the Cardinals have much interest in moving Matt Carpenter.
    Of course there would be interest in him. He slugged .523 and and hit 36 bombs.
  • Does no one else see that Waino would make an excellent number 4-5 starter? He's never going to be a number 1 again, but he had good numbers for a lesser pitcher. The way his curve had been working, he even hit 93 on the gun! The team DEFINITELY need to resign him
  • I'm not arguing against  that.
    I'm arguing against a contract extension with that in mind.
    There is too much unknown, and not enough of a sample size from his return.
    If he gets a modest, realistic extension, I have no doubt he could wind up making more starts.
    I'm not sure the Cardinals should hand him that extension with that on mind.
  • Does Jose Martinez become trade bait the winter? Believe me, I know he's a great hitter, but he is also a very valuable trade chip
  • Of course. He has been for a while now. No true home defensively. It's going to keep biting you. But if you are going to trade one of the lineup's most reliable hitters, you better build a better lineup. He's a DH. Too bad the NL won't get on board.
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