Ben Frederickson Live

Ben Frederickson Live

Bring your Cardinals, Blues, Mizzou, SLU, MLS and St. Louis sports questions, and talk to Post-Dispatch columnist Ben Frederickson in a live chat starting at 10 a.m. Monday.




    Greetings, chatters. Happy New Year! Thank you for stopping by for a special edition of the weekly chat. Last Tuesday was Christmas, and most of you will be hungover -- I'm kidding. Maybe -- tomorrow, so we figured we would hit it hard for a couple hours today, before Mizzou and Oklahoma State kick off the bowl game. It's a multimedia Monday, with some radio fun (tune into the Mizzou football pregame on KTRS) and a column for tomorrow's newspaper, so we are gonna limit this bad boy to two hours. It'll be a blitz. Ready? Let's roll.
    More likely to happen : Sam Bradford plays in the NFL again or Jeff Fisher coaches in the NFL again?
    It depends on what level of coaching for Fish. I could see him getting a non-head-coaching gig, if he wants it. Bradford continues to amaze in his ability to make money and get chances. I'd much rather take a chance on him than Fisher. Maybe Fisher could get a job in one of these upstart leagues, but I'm not sure if he really wants to work like that. He can just hang on his ranch.
    Do you still get the feeling that the Cards are looking to move Jose Martinez?
    Until the season starts and he is on the roster, I'll have the feeling they are willing and interested in entertaining offers on Martinez.
    Again, they're not going to accept any deal just to get rid of him.
    That wouldn't make much sense, considering his value.
    But if they can get a trade for a player they feel like is a better fit, I think they would pull the trigger.
    Personally, I would need a great deal to move Martinez. He's too good of right field insurance to back up the risky double down on Fowler.
    What is a "great deal" though? A very good reliever who is going to be an impact addition to the bullpen from day one. An up-and-coming young reliever who could become a meaningful addition now  and an impact addition later, who has years of control. These could be good fits. Prospects? No thanks. Not if "2019 matters" like the front office said after the Goldschmidt trade.
    Any cardinal news? Still need LH bat off bench or trade jose Martinez or jedd
    Nothing new at the moment. Tons, and I mean tons of free agents still out there. Plenty of shopping available for teams that want to go the extra mile. Cardinals have been one of the most active teams in baseball so far. They seem to have checked the boxes they -- not us -- said they need to satisfy. That would make Drew Robinson the LH bat off the bench. Sometimes they talk about Robinson like he is a clear cut addition, earmarked for the roster. Sometimes they talk about him like he is an option. I think they are still looking there. Shildt really likes Robinson though. He's been talking him up.
    When the Cardinals are out of the playoff race, will Goldschmidt and Ozuna be trade bait?
    Glen, your optimism for the new year is overwhelming!
    The Cardinals have made it pretty clear they are interested in extending Paul Goldschmidt.
    They have not made it clear they are interested in extending Marcell Ozuna.
    Interpret that as you will.
    I interpret it as Ozuna would be trade bait before Goldschmidt -- if the Cardinals decided to sell.
    They never really sell, either.
    Last season would have been the time to do it, and they didn't.
    One simple question: Is there ANY chance at all the Cards still somehow wind up with Harper?
    As long as he's unsigned, there is some percentage of a chance.
    A good chance? No.
    A slim chance. Not really.
    A Dumb and Dumber, 'So, you're telling me there's a chance!', chance? Sure.
    But don't overlook the programming here. Harper was the buzz of winter meetings, and the Cardinals used winter meetings to make a public re-commitment to Fowler. The Cardinals don't usually throw curveballs when it comes to their intent. They play things close to the vest, then they decide, then they roll out their decision. You saw it with the prioritization of Harrison Bader as a face of the team and center field starter. You are seeing it with Fowler.
    Not saying it's the right call. I've got big doubts about Dexter.
    But don't ignore what you see.
  • Ozuna;s agent is Boras. No way he is re-signed with the tactics of that agent. Right?
    Boras usually steers his big-name free agents toward free agency, yes.
    We don't know yet if Ozuna will a) be considered a big name free agent or b) be of interest to extend after the upcoming season.
    He's gotta prove he can get his power back after the shoulder operation.
    He's not a star free agent if he doesn't do that, and the Cardinals might be more interested than letting him walk than bringing him back.
     
    Happy New Year Mr. BenFred: I would like for you to project the Cardinals' five starting pitchers -- with no "could-be's." Just how you think the rotation candidates will shake out. On the five you pick, maybe a nugget on what we should keep an eye on for each of them this spring.
    Thanks, Shirley! Back atcha. If I had to predict it today, it would be . . . 
     
    Miles Mikolas: You're watching for signs that last season was unrepeatable, that he can't possibly be that good again. But remember, he had a rough start to last spring training. Didn't matter once games counted.
     
    Jack Flaherty: Just continued maturation and ascension of a new leader of this group.
     
    Carlos Martinez: You want to see him have the opposite spring training from the last one, which was marked by back field work, inconsistency, absence, and whispers of off-field issues.
     
    Michael Wacha: Health.
     
    Adam Wainwright: Same as Wacha. And throw in velocity. The magic only works if there's enough juice on the fastball to get it out of batting practice range.
     
    Ben, do we have any more clarity on the timeline for MLS expansion?
    At this point, not really. And that's by design. MLS, unlike NFL, does not roll out a schedule for how this works. The expansion decisions are not directly tied to the meetings. The league kind of picks and chooses as it sees fit. And it likes to make a splash, so secrecy is preferred. St. Louis feels it's in good shape. Detroit and Phoenix are the competitors to watch for the 28th spot. The ownership group has said it feels like the first quarter of 2019 will bring good news.
    Thanks for that thoughtful answer the my Harper question. That's pretty much my exact thoughts on the matter. I'm curious, whether the Cardinals remain in it or not, if Harper's (or Machado's for that matter) market dips a bit, and teams make it clear they are not willing to go the full 10 years, what would be the AAV of a 5 to 7 year deal for one of those guys?
    Yes, as we have discussed before.
    But here's the thing.
    Every other team is doing the same thing.
    The Cardinals are not the only team that would be in on Harper if the market reached a certain point.
    If there's a sale at the store, a bunch of shoppers show up.
    I don't think the Cardinals want Harper bad enough to get him over other teams.
  • Are we talking about Jack Flaherty as a Cy Young candidate in 1-2 years?
    Could be.
    His strikeouts will help that debate.
    Needs to improve his workload per start.
    I thought similar things about C Mart, and look how that has turned out.
    Best to wait and see.
  • I don't know that it's as much of a deep south thing as it is a coaching thing.
    Saban and Swinney are the best doing it right now.
    Alabama is elite, dang near untouchable in every facet of the game.
    Clemson is the best Alabama impersonator out there, and I mean that in a good way.
    As long as Nick and Dabo are at it, two titans are going to roll.
    The geography should not be dismissed entirely, though.
    Football is religion in the south.
    The best football athletes come from the south.
    When they can compete for national championships in their back yards, they are going to choose to do that.
  • That would be quite the splash. They certainly have the money. And hey, with the way veteran relievers go, it might be the closest thing to a guarantee  that you get a good season out of either Britton or Miller. I'm  serious.
  • With all the outfield log jam the cards have do you see a scenario where the cards try to address right field by throwing body's at it and see what sticks? this all assuming Fowler fails(hope he bounces back though)
    Is there another option? Fowler will get the first chance. Martinez (if he's around) and O'Neill would be the next up. Then the younger guys. The big question, for me, is how much of a run Fowler will get before that switch is made. Spring training? First half? More? It's going to be one of the biggest stories of the season. Only way it's not is if Fowler is clicking come spring training. That's what the Cardinals hope happens.
    While obviously you can't place all the blame on Allen this year, I think it's at a point where the Blues and Allen both need to part ways and move on. While he has great moments like the series vs the Wild, his penchant for letting a game or several games snowball is not what you want for several best of 7's. That being said if Allen is gone would you rather the Blues go fishing for the big one (Bobrovsky, etc.), or get a serviceable vet and hope Husso or Binnington make the next step?
  • I agree.
    When optimism was overflowing for this season, I got ripped in these chats for pointing out, hey, the goalie who tossed a wrench in the past two seasons is still on the team.
    No, no, no, I was told.
    It's the players around Allen, not Allen.
    And here the Blues are.
    It's not ALL on Allen, of course, but what the fans who continue to defend him overlook is the undefined detraction of bringing back such a known and season-altering risk.
    I'm fascinated by Husso. Why not see what he can do? It's not like this season is going anywhere anyway. Let's be honest.
    Why is Kyrou still in San Antonio? Hasn't he reached Tyler O'Neill status where he has nothing left to prove in the minors? I say bring him up and install him in a Top 6 role...what do we have to lose at this point?
  • I'm all for a play-the-kids approach at this point -- if there is a sense it helps development more than hurts it.
    The Blues at some point are going  to have to decide what the rest of this  season is about: figuring things out for the future, or insisting the party can still happen even though the DJ is packing up and the lights are on.
    Gordon wrote a nice article dividing the baseball world into the "Haves" and the "Have nots". Using that simple dichotomy, the Cardinals clearly belong in the "Have" group. We have known for years that they are one of the (if not totally the) most profitable baseball franchises, and now they have their new, lucrative TV deal lining their pockets, but they still adopt the attitude towards elite free agents that the Pirates do, which is "No way we are even getting into that discussion". So far, they have not proven that they can accomplish their stated goal with this strategy. So the question is: when two priorities conflict, the top priority always wins. Which is the Cardinals' top priority - getting into the playoffs every year or having the most profitable franchise in baseball?
    This analogy works -- if the Cardinals' started playing baseball three seasons ago.
    That's the sample size you are using.
    The Cardinals have won championships without signing elite free agents.
    Their memory is longer than fans'.
    I think the smartest place to be is somewhere in the middle.
    The Cardinals realized they lacked that star-power bat. They thought it might be Ozuna, and it wasn't. They made a bold trade for Goldschmidt, but he's only here for one year. They seem more interested in multiple short-term fixes than one big investment. The benefit of the first approach is you get re-dos. There are few options for re-dos on a decade-long contract that include a no-trade clause.
    i agree with you Ben Fred time to play the youngsters and see what we got, but to do that we will have to trade some vets like steen. who do you see as must go vets?
    I'm not sure if a team would want Steen.
    Pietrangelo seems to make the most sense.
    Tarasenko if you truly want to jolt the group.
    Armstrong talked big when he fired Yeo.
    Nothing's changed.
    Time to do something big, soon.
    Since left field is usually where the worst defender is put,why not keep Jose Martinez and put him there after Ozuna leaves?He couldn't be any worse than Ozuna or other left fielders around the league,and his bat will make up for it,right?
    Ozuna's defense won him a gold glove in Miami in 2017.
    If his arm his healthy, he can be a plus defender.
    It's not fair to Ozuna to compare his defense to Martinez's.
    Martinez is not a good outfielder.
    But, he can be serviceable if he's hitting.
    With Martinez's age and body type and long-term outlook, I'm not betting on him beyond the next season, no matter the season. But I'm not giving him away if 2019 is a go-for-it season.
     
    Hi, Ben. I asked this question of Gordon Friday, and he even chose to make my question and his answer part of his "Quick Hits" piece, but he didn't really answer my question (unless his non-answer was the answer). The question was: while we all hope that Fowler has a bounce-back year, are the Cardinals or Fowler doing anything specific to help move the result in a positive direction, or are they just hoping things change. Gordo's answer was that they would have him on a short leash, which isn't really doing anything to make his results better, it is just a different plan in case of failure. Have you heard of anything at all going on to actually improve the chances of better success? We have gone into so many seasons lately with success based on hope, and I was hoping that they have identified the problem and were taking steps to correct it.
    They're not in season, and they have not reported for spring training, so it's not as if they are working with him every day. They are not working with any player every day. Fowler, like every Cardinal, was a part of this year's "improved accountability program" or whatever it's being called. The Cardinals were more in tune with what guys were doing in the offseason, and even offered suggestions on specific training emphasis, etc. Fowler was involved with that. At one point the team trainer visited him and checked in on him, to see how things were going after his foot-related setback. That said, there is still a lot of hope baked into this. No question about that. Hope. And risk.
    What are your thoughts on the moves made by the Reds? I don't see them as a legit NL Central contender with their current starting rotation, but they aren't the rollover team they were in past seasons. Votto, Suarez, and Puig are a solid threesome.
  • We see them the same way. Not a challenger, but a bigger speed bump to those who are. They're gonna be the season spoilers. When the National League Central is decided, I bet the team that wins it has the best record against the Reds.
    Cards have 5 starting players who will struggle to hit .235-.240. Isn't that one too many, realistically, when you combine it with our fielding and baserunning woes?
    Hard to know what anyone is going to hit on December 31.
    And I'm not sure I would pick average as the weigh to judge it.
     
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