Ben Frederickson Live

Ben Frederickson Live

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




    Do the Cardinals have any left-handed pitchers in the minors that could get one or two outs a game out of the pen?
    How about any left-handed starting pitching?
    We traded a good one to Seattle last year.
    Austin Gomber could go either way, rotation or bullpen.
    I like him out of the bullpen more than I like him staying stretched out in Memphis for starts that might not come in the majors.
    Another name to know is Genesis Cabrera. He was acquired in the Tommy Pham trade and has since been moved to reliever, where he has been straight dealing in his summer league.
     
    The backup catcher won't impact much as long as Molina stays healthy.
    But how would an impact LH reliever not impact much?
    Explain that one to me.
    Andrew Miller posted a 3.1 WAR for Cleveland in 2017.
    That mattered.
    Zach Britton had a 4.2 WAR for Baltimore in 2016.
    That mattered.
    Brett Cecil had a -1 WAR for the Cardinals in 2018.
    That mattered.
    Don't overlook the impact (good or bad) a reliever can make on a season.
    Improvements do exist outside of the Bryce-Harper-level.
     
     
    Have the Cubs taken the form of a slithering snake hiding in the woods waiting to strike unexpectedly to make a big splash attack? Or are they truly in hibernation for the winter not to be heard from again until springtime in Mesa?
    Good question.
    I have wondered this myself.
    It would be very Cubs-like to cry poor, then strike.
    But I'm not sure they can.
    They have three nine-figure contracts, and two of them are regrettable (Darvish and Heyward).
    They have made it clear to their manager they want to see more production from the talent already acquired.
    The whole dynasty thing is looking a little shaky these days.
     
    On right field:

    In the case to keep Martinez, Cardinals have stated they intend to shift more, which means more help for Jose at times.

    Also, it sure would have been fun to see Pham in right with Bader in center, hitting in the 2-hole in front of Goldy. Never bet against that dude.
    Great point about the shifts.
    You and I agree on the Bader effect helping Jose if/when he's in RF.
    I will also argue Goldschmidt should help him.
    That's Gold Glove defense in front of Jose and Gold Glove-caliber defense to his right.
    He would not need to cover all that much ground, right?
    Here's where I stand with Martinez: If the Cardinals do trade him, they should demand something that helps them this season. A non-fringe reliever. Someone who makes a difference in the bullpen. This notion of shipping him for prospects or spare parts makes no sense to me. He's too valuable, and too important of a depth piece at a very vulnerable position in RF.
    My take on the Goldschmidt trade is this:
    If the Cardinals win the World Series, it is a great trade.
    If they get to the World Series and lose, it is a very good trade.
    If they get into the playoffs and advance to the National League Championship series, it is a good trade.
    Failing all that, if they re-sign Goldschmidt, it is a good trade.
    If they don't re-sign him, then it depends on the careers of the players they sent off for him. If they are all busts, then it is a nothingburger. If one or more have a long, solid major league career, then it is a bad trade (again, assuming that 2019 is nothing special and Goldschmidt goes elsewhere after it).
    Am I about on point?
    Sure.
    I would also add the context of how the players traded away were for the most part log-jammed here.
    Carson Kelly was not going to get meaningful reps as long as Yadier Molina is the starter.
    Luke Weaver was on the verge of being overtaken by the rising right-handed talent in the organization.
    These guys could have better futures sooner with Arizona than they were going to have with the Cardinals, so that's worth keeping in mind as we watch how it plays out.
    What they do in Arizona, especially early, might not have been possible here.
    Do you see the Shildt hiring thing like Hitchcock/Yeo set-up. FO had their manager-in-waiting then find out he might not be that guy and gets let go half way through the season?
    I do not see that happening, no.
    Shildt has been groomed for this for years.
    He's the right long-term hire in the eyes of the front office and ownership.
    And I agree with that, based off what I've observed.
    Yeo did get a full season after his takeover season as well. He was fired during his third.
    I like Fowler's charisma and candor. I loved his on base percentage before we got him and the thought of him and Carp in the one and two spots would be an RBI guys dream ... hopefully they will pull it off this year ... but - I would still go for Harper or Cody Bellinger. Who is more likely out of those two to become a Cardinal?
    Based off the comments of the front office about committing to Fowler and not seeking position-playing starters, I would bet on neither.
    Thanks for the great coverage, Do the Cards need closer experience, Robertson, plus lefties? Why go cheap on the bullpen, if going all in 18? Thanks
  • The all-in thing needs to be pulled back a bit.
    That took off, but it was not entirely what was said.
    "2019 matters" was the phrase, but there isn't a year that doesn't matter to the Cardinals. And the notion that they are going to push all their chips in for 2019 was rejected by the team. Here's how I have decided to view it: They have turned their sustained success dial a bit toward win-now, which justified parting with young players for one guaranteed year of Goldschmidt.
     
    About the bullpen, the problem is there is no guarantee that going expensive means it works. I know, I know, I will be called a water-carrier for this one, but actually look at the big-money bullpens and relief signings that happened last season. Many of them blew up. Colorado especially. The Cardinals have no excuses -- zero! -- to not enter the season with a kick-rear pen. They have young talent and motivated veterans and no shortage of prospects to trade and money to spend. The hard part is trying to find out where to invest and how to order the parts.
     
    Why would Goldschmidt not test free agency? I think the thought that he would not do so is plain goofy. He may love his year in St. Louis but he can love playing somewhere else for probably a whole lot more money. It doesn't appear that Dexter Fowler for example has enjoyed playing in St. Louis very much so far....If Paul G does go free agency there is absolutely no way the Cards will sign him. He will want too much or too many years or whatever reason they make up on the spot like they always do whenever they have failed (again) to come up with the better offer....
    Well, he has already chosen to not test it once before, when he accepted an extension in Arizona.
    He has a new agent now, and some believe he has that new agent because of the dollars his extension in Arizona left on the table, so maybe he is determined to hit free agency at one point in his career.
    I asked him that exact question, and he said he was not sure. As in, he didn't feel adamant about it one way or the other. Or at least he just didn't want to tell me, which is fine.
    Jason Heyward jumped at free agency over an offer to stay with the Cardinals.
    The list of guys who did not is longer: Holliday, Edmonds, Rolen.
    The Cardinals are aware of the kind of money Goldschmidt will make in FA. They traded for him knowing they wanted to extend him. If they are determined to keep him, they will make a compelling offer. Neither has to decide at the moment.
     
    Daniel Descalso just signed with the CUBS.
    They beat us on Descalso!
    I was waiting for this.
    When I mentioned Descalso as an interesting fit for the Cardinals, I was swamped by fans telling me I was promoting low-hanging fruit.
    Now the Cubs sign him, and the Cardinals have made a terrible mistake.
     
    Has anyone asked what the Cards are doing differently this year in evaluating relief pitchers this year as opposed to the last 3 when they have missed badly on the whole?
    They're trying to do better.
    Along with the long list of other teams that bought lemons: Colorado, Minnesota, Chicago, and the list goes on and on.
    It's a volatile position group.
    Another reason to realize throwing money at it is not always the answer.
     
    Just wanted your thoughts on the similarities to Goldschmidt/Heyward situations. Every seems optimistic that Goldschmidt will sign an extension here, and I'm glad for that. Was everyone as optimistic with Heyward? Or was that not seen as as clear of a fit?
    The Heyward departure really seemed to do a number on the psyche of this fan base.
    It used to be assumed that every player who came here would automatically want to stay.
    But since Heyward proved that was not the case, it's as if the guys who came here and decided to stay have been wiped, Men in Black style, from the memory banks.
    No other player will ever come on a one-year deal and want to stay again, because of Heyward.
    As if Holliday, Rolen, Edmonds were dinosaurs from a different time.
    The truth, as always, is probably somewhere in the middle.
    St. Louis is too far from its last championship to bank on being a no-brainer.
    It can't even guarantee it is the best team in the division.
    It can still win a one-year player over -- if it does not expect a hometown discount.
     
    Are the Cardinals not worried about trading J Martinez and playing Fowler in right? Who takes over right and third when Fowler and Carpenter go on the DL?
    They don't seem to be as worried about it as the rest of us.
    If they trade Jose, Tyler O'Neill would be first up in right field.
    Jedd Gyorko would be your first-up backup at third.
    I'm really starting to believe that there isn't a year that DOES matter to the Cards' front office anymore. Their moves simply don't bear out the thesis that every year matters to them. Sorry, not buying it....
  • That's a rather harsh view of a team that has not had a losing season in 11 seasons, in a tanking era that rewards teams that truly have seasons that don't matter.
    Got to love the fans complain about lack of moves....I understand to a point, about the complaints. But can you explain the big moves made by the Cubs and Brewers? I mean, Descalso...that is the biggest move by the Cubs so far right?
    Yep.
    Nationally, the Cardinals are being praised as winners of the offseason.
    In the chat, they are sitting on their hands.
    Tough crowd.
     
    The Allen Craig and Dexter Fowler situations are very similar to me. I realize the reasons for the decline are different, but why is the same FO having a totally different approach to the situation this time around?
    They say they still have faith in Fowler to rebound, still think he can be the guy he was in 2017.
    So, you know that part.
    Here's another reason to not overlook: Fowler is much harder to move than Craig was.
    Full no trade clause. Older. More expensive contract.
     
     
    Ben Fred, it seems that a Pandora's Box has been opened with Fowler's claim of depression, will other players use this to ratioinalize "bad" seasons or is the stigma such, that this wont be a ploy to cover poor performance. Yes, its a jaded callous question, but Mike Leake was unhappy in STL, pitched poorly and now the Cards are paying him to pitch in Seattle. Should not production ultimately be the bottom line for an organization?
    I'm not sure I understand.
    Fowler is not getting a second chance from the Cardinals because he battled depression last season.
    He's getting a second chance because the Cardinals think he can be better, and perhaps more importantly because he was impossible to move due to his performance, no-trade clause, age and injury history.
    Make a case Fowler got a pass because of his contract.
    Don't make it about his courage to admit what he was wrestling with last season.
    Mike Leake was moved out because he was easier to move. Same for Allen Craig. I'm not sure you all understand how untouchable Fowler's contract is at the moment.
    Yes, production should be the bottom line, but in reality, higher-paid employees and the biggest investments always get the most chances to work out.
    Why not go with some of the young lefthanders we have in the system and not waist money on the over priced lefthanders on the free agent market?

    Wait the Rockies and Cubs both made the playoffs with their wasted money free agent signings last year.
    They did. And do you know who stabilized the Rockies bullpen? Some trade add named Oh. And one of the Cubs’ most reliable relievers down the stretch became Jesse Chavez, who caught fire after he was freed from middle relief. The Cardinals know they need significant LH improvement in the pen. Mozeliak said you don’t get in the market if you are not aware of the cost it takes to leave it with what you need. Britton and Miller continue to make a lot of sense. What I would suggest is, instead of basing your opinion on who the Cardinals get, base it on how they put the pieces together when game start. Because even adding a Britton or Miller does not make a bullpen. Figuring out which Class AAA starters are more effective in the bullpen factors into that. Not letting under-performing veterans linger around if they can’t perform factors into that. The bullpen discussion has been boiled down to which free agent the Cardinals sign, but it should be bigger than that. That’s my point. If we have learned anything from last season, it’s that signing Holland or Morrow or Reed does not “make” your pen.
     
     
  • Where is the "We have faith in Bret Cecil" propaganda? Bad contract, and next to impossible to move. Im sure he will end up in camp, but how quick will the DFA trigger be before the home opener?
    It’s pretty much non-existent.
    I asked about Cecil during winter meetings.
    The stance was, hey, we hope he’s healthy and able to pitch like the guy we thought he could be,.
    But when Mozeliak is wondering aloud if “a change of scenery” might be best, you know what a guy is up against.
    He’ll get a shot to climb back into favor. No reason not to do that during spring, considering they’ve stuck with him this long.
    While it is not entirely Fowler’s fault, Cards fans have seen this movie before “Remdemption Road” starring some guy the FO overpaid and refuses to move on from. Previous stars include Brett Cecil, Jonathan Broxton, Jhonny Peralta, just to name a few. We all know the ending to this movie before the opening credits even roll. Maybe Fowle has an alternate ending but can you blame fans for skepticism?
    Have I blamed fans for being skeptical of Fowler?
    I don’t think I have.
    That would be problematic, because I have taken the same stance.
    And continue to.
    I need to see it.
    For me, it’s not about his mental health.
    It’s about his ability to do the job.
    He’s a speed-based player who has had multiple foot injuries and has shown a decline in speed as he ages.
    He just had a career-worst season at the plate and did not adapt well defensively to the shift to right field.
    These are big concerns, and the Cardinals can’t really point to anything substantial that says why they think there wil be a rebound.
    They don’t think Fowler can be as bad as he was last season, and maybe that’s true.
    They want it to work because of the contract and also because they genuinely like him, and I get that.
    But there is a lot of hope baked in to this. I’m not ranting against anyone who is taking the skeptical stance here.
     
    Who do you have the most faith in the outfield for us as a starting lineup? In order please
    If I had to win a game today and every outfielder was ready to go, I would start Bader in center with Ozuna in left and Jose Martinez in right.
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