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 11 a.m. Tuesday.




    Greetings, chatters. We are back on our Tuesday schedule for 2019. Locked in and ready to go. Huge basketball game tonight in Columbia. I wrote a column about what I think could be a growing rivalry with Tennessee for Mizzou. Tell me how I'm wrong, or let me know what I missed. SLU had a big W against Rhode Island. Cardinals are coming. Clemson is for real. Let's ride.
    Scale of 1-10, how confident are you that Alabama vs Clemson will be next year's championship game?
    Hard  to go anything below an eight.
    They were clearly the two best teams, and  Clemson was clearly the best team.
    I've got more confidence in Clemson being back than Alabama.
    Clemson's  best players were freshmen.
     
    Have the Cardinals announced report dates for Spring Training yet?
    Not sure if it has been announced yet, but the pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 12.
    Truck day is the 6th.
    Mizzou has a chance tonight against Tennessee if??? Tough one to open conf with, obviously.
    The good thing about the SEC is that the floor has been raised enough that there is no longer an easy win to be found on the road.
    That's a good thing for the  league.
    I think Mizzou will put up a better fight than Georgia did in Knoxville. That got ugly fast.
    I think Tennessee wins.
    For a chance of an upset, the Tigers will have to keep Tilmon on the court.
    Georgia's big picked up two quick fouls against UT leading scorer Grant Williams.
    If Tilmon gets in foul trouble, Williams could go off.
    The Tigers did a very good job against Williams last season. He's improved. And the team around him has improved.
    Rick Barnes basically brought his whole team back from last season.
    It's a shame this game is happening when the students are out of town.. That's going to impact the environment  I'm afraid.
     
    Do you think a labor stoppage is probable for major league baseball in the next five years?
  • I'm not sure about probable but it's certainly possible.
    The existing collective bargaining agreement is set to expire after the 2021 season.
    Some bitter feelings seem to be growing instead of fading away.
    Players see the league's  money growing and player salaries shrinking, especially through free agency.
    They don't understand that, and they don't like it.
    Hard to blame them considering they are the product.
    Free agency needs some new rules. Players need to be strong during the next round of negotiations. I think a lot more will be paying attention and voicing their opinions than in previous years. There are current stars, like Kris Bryant, who have been burned by teams using the service  time loopholes, for example.
    I would not be surprised if there is some sort of a stoppage but there is plenty of time to work out problems, and that would be in both parties' best interests.
     
     
  • BenFred,

    What do you think of the Cardinals Farm system as it compares to the rest of the league, and do you have a prospect not named Gorman and Reyes that you are keeping an eye on for Spring Training?
    It always has pitching, and it seems to be speckled with some high-upside position-playing potential it has lacked in the recent past. It might not have as much as tanking teams that have prioritized prospect collection, but for a team that aims to compete annually, it's pretty good. Pitching wise, it's Ryan Helsley for me. He can throw gas, and I thought we might see him last season, but he  got slowed by some arm issues. He could be a bullpen candidate. Lefty reliever Gensis Cabrera could also carve out a spot in the majors.You have heard about Gorman, of course, but the third baseman who might reach the majors ahead of him -- if things go according to plan -- could be Elehuris Montero. I imagine he will start at Class AA Springfield this season, and might make it to Class AAA Memphis. He's two years older than Gorman.
     
     
    I think Trevor Lawrence should be in the NFL draft this year. Do you think true freshmen should be eligible for the NFL draft?
    I'm struggling with this one.
    Should Trevor Lawrence have that option? Yes.
    But for every Trevor Lawrence, there would be way too many freshman who burn their college eligibility by entering the NFL draft too early.
    Guys get grades from the NFL that are pretty candid about their  prospects,  but still they don't listen.
    Take Mizzou RB Crockett for example. He was advised by the league to go back to school. Ignored it.
    If there could be a way where first and second-year players could enter the draft -- only if they are given a first-round grade by the draft advisory group -- then I think  I would be in favor of that.
     
    I feel like people are forgetting that Yasiel Puig is in the NL Central. Puig destroys the Cardinals. Yikes. Reds are not an easy out anymore.
    Who could forget Puig?!
    For those wanting specifics, he has slashed .305/.385/.558 against the Cardinals with 6 HR in 95 at-bats.
    Pretty good.
    And he's hit .364/.463/.795 at Busch with 5 of those 6 HR coming there in 44 at-bats.
    GULP.
    But the Reds' concern is not the lineup. That's been good. It's pitching.
     
    To follow up on Lawrence Trevor's question.....What, in your opinion, could be a "fix", or resolution to any possible labor dispute or stoppage? Your colleague D. Goold offered up a couple of possible changes yesterday in his chat. I would like to hear your thoughts.
    The players need to find a way to restructure free agency. They have lost their leverage. 
    Free agency is supposed to be a reward, but it has turned into a curse for players who reach it at 30-plus years old. That's a significant chunk of players. So, if I was a player, I would fight hard to reach free agency sooner. I'd fight to remove the comp picks because it makes free agents less appealing. And I would fight against tanking teams, because that really pulls the rug out from beneath good free agents by decreasing significantly the amount of teams  that want to pay good players. The draft should stop rewarding the worst teams. It should start rewarding the teams that just miss the postseason.
    Big UT fan here. Most people look to stopping Williams but Schofield and Bone are the keys. If the Admiral is hitting threes, watch out. Should be a good game, sure Conzo is pumped
    That's the thing about Tennessee. Vols are so dang deep and good everywhere. We haven't even mentioned 7-footer Kyle Alexander. I'm a big Admiral Schofield fan. I was covering Tennessee when he signed to play for Donnie Tyndall. Tyndall got the ax, and Admiral stayed on board. That was impressive. He committed to the school, not the coach. Back then he was just a big body. Now he's got a great 3-point shot that will help him stick in the NBA. He's Draymond Green-ish. And Bone, whom you mentioned, is as fast as a PG as Mizzou will encounter this season. But number one for Mizzou is not letting Grant define the game. If Tennessee beats the Tigers in other ways, so be it. Gotta keep the leading scorer honest.
    It’s been really quiet on the MLS front. Too quiet. When will we hear more about this effort? The STL bid has everything the MLS could hope for and more.
    The ownership group has gone quiet once again. I would not necessarily assume that is a bad thing. A visit from Don Garber and an ownership group follow-up trip to New York are potential  milestone moments to watch for moving  forward. I think things will start to stir a little bit more now that holidays have wrapped up.
    Call me crazy but because Gordon never really exploded and the offense has been bad, I think SLU has chance to improve with Hankton. He has a real nice looking shot and that may help spread defense out allowing French to work down low. He was +13 in the game Sunday. Still think they can win the A10? Gordo said making tournament now would put Ford up for coach of the year.
    I won't call you crazy, but I'll call you optimistic. SLU can be a good team without Gordon. It can't be as good of a team as it would have been if Gordon was playing  and playing well. He's a special talent. If only he could never leave the court. That said, the Rhode Island W was big. That sent a message to the team. These guys can do this. Yes, they can still win the A-10. It will be a tougher road, but SLU has gotten used to walking those in recent seasons. Ford is good at keeping a team together through ups and downs.
    A Keuchel signing solves 2 problems, adds a much needed "soft outs" LH to the rotation, and pushes a quality starter to the BP, such as CMart or Wainwright. Your thoughts?
    I've made the case the Cardinals need to be opportunistic as the free-agent freeze leaves talent feeling restless and eager for a deal. That could be starter, reliever utility man. I mentioned Keuchel here. Someone good is going to jump out of anxiety. Cardinals, with 2019 matters, philosophy should be circling like sharks. 
    Solid effort by the Blues last night, do we give the rookie 2 starts in a row after posting a shutout?
  • Is there any reason to do anything else!?
    Jevon Bess-NBA, D-League of Europe/Overseas Pro? He can both sides of the ball and be a shut-down defender. Thoughts?
    Guys who can defend at an NBA level and not get in trouble can stick in the league and develop the other parts of their game.
    NBA scouts often say a good college player has to have one true NBA-caliber skill to stick.
    That can be a 3-point shot, shot blocking, ball handling, whatever
    Bess can play NBA caliber defense. Can he stick? Hard to say.
    If he can't stick in the NBA, he will be able to play elsewhere.
     
     
    I know it's only one game, but do the Blues give Binnington a few more games or do they take it slow as to not overwhelm him. We know Allen is not the answer, but he seems to play better when he has a good backup.
    The Blues  have been taking it slow long enough.
    They should let the winning goalie play until he doesn't win.
    It's not rocket science.
    Allen deserves nothing at this point.
    What was Crockett thinking leaving school early? Best of luck to him but he hasn't exactly been lights out since his freshman year.
    I'm guessing he was thinking what the rest of us were thinking.
    He got outplayed by Larry Rountree this season.
    And there were games where he got outplayed by Tyler Badie.
    I suppose he didn't want to be second or third string.
    How he went from that understandable though to deciding he could play in the NFL, I'm not sure.
    Mizzou's staff was surprised  by his decision. He was told by the NFL to return to school. I'm not sure the coaches had much of a heads up between that advice and his decision.
    What do you think is next for C Gordon? Lots of stories floating around that make it sounds like he's a lockerroom cancer/coach killer type. Straight to Europe to play?
    It was a little odd that Travis Ford didn't seem to know when asked last week.
    He mentioned the idea of Gordon transferring or going pro.
    You would think SLU would have a sense of what the plan is, but that also points to the nature of Gordon and his departure.
    He does what he does. Sometimes it's hard to keep up.
    If Gordon can't make it to class at Webster Groves and SLU, I'm not  sure he's going to be able to handle living and playing professionally in another country.
    The buzz last week was that Memphis seemed like a realistic transfer landing spot.
    He has a relationship with the coaching staff there from his AAU days.
  • You and your fellow scribes will be in Florida a month from now, and this year it's a new show starring Mike Shildt. What will be different/better/unexpected about Camp Shildtyball vs. Camp Matheny (where, in my opinion, everybody seemed to get a participation medal and a juice box)?
    by Shirley in Fenton edited by Mike Smith 1/8/2019 5:54:33 PM
    I won't be there until March, but this is a good question about what type of Shildt fingerprints we will see on spring training.
    I'll sidestep the juice box comment. I'm trying to be more positive in 2019. (How am I doing?)
    I think right away there will be an emphasis on the fundamentals that slipped in past seasons. There will be a diligence that had faded. I also expect there to be an emphasis on this stuff actually mattering. 
    Toward the end of  the Matheny era, spring training had a nonchalance about it. I think that ends under Shildt. He's excited to get his hands on his team. A manager who doesn't get to run his own spring training doesn't really have HIS team. Spring sets a foundation. Shildt's first big shot with the Cardinals was running minor league spring training. He talks about that often.
    This matters to him, and that means it will matter to his players.
     
    Is too much being made of the Cards familiarity with Harper? This isn’t Tinder dating. They know the guy, the numbers and have competed against him for years.
    Probably, yes.
    The notion that the Cardinals' lack of firsthand knowledge about Harper gives them caution about pursuing him only makes sense if you add the ending.
    The Cardinals' lack of firsthand knowledge about Harper gives them caution about pursuing him -- at the current price point.
    If Harper was willing to drop his contract requests, that lack of familiarity would not be as big of a deal, right?
    The Cardinals felt they had good info on Ozuna because they shared spring training facilities, and how did that turn out? He had a bum shoulder they underestimated.
    The Cardinals don't seem to be convinced the juice is worth the squeeze when it comes to Harper.
    His spikes and dips in performance likely aid that opinion.
    He's not the definition of consistency. I'll admit that, and I like the player.
    This is about, more than anything, the contract for the player.
    I've said it before, but I'll repeat it here. Harper would be a DeWitt Jr. call. And I don't see it happening after Goldschmidt.
    I'm alto on the Keuchel bandwagon also, it gives the Cards a reliable starting lefty, puts Gomber in bullpen or Memphis, and gives security if and/or when Wacha, Wainwright, Reyes go back on DL again, or Martinez forgets how to pitch as a starter. Yeah there are a lot of good young arms for the future, but what about now?
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