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.




    I think that groundwork has been set, right? Primarily privately funded. Resources set aside for renovation and destruction -- if it ever gets to that point. The overwhelming support from the aldermen showed, to me, that even some of the more cautious leaders see the initial outline of the funding plan, and feel good about it. Specific details would need to be hammered out once the league announces the team is coming, of course.
    Let's call it what it is. The deWitts are CHEAP. If they cared about winning, they'd absolutely sign Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. They care about lining their pockets, first, foremost, and forever. As long as they draw 3.4M fans, they don't care how the team plays. I see a team that missed the playoffs 3 years in a row headed into a season where they could do a lot more to improve, and they won't.
  • The Cardinals rank fourth in baseball in winning percentage since Bill DeWitt Jr. became their chairman. During that time the Cardinals have won 11 division titles, four National League pennants and two World Series. Pretty good for a chairman that "doesn't care about winning" You are choosing to see a concerning stretch, but ignoring the big picture. Why not see both?
    BenFred, it looks like the Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks are busy making moves to improve themselves when Armstrong sits on his hands. We should be in sell mode!!! These guys have teased us all year. This is not a playoff caliber team. Armstrong said in the paper Monday "It's a cliche, but the players tell you what you're supposed to do at the deadline". These guys can barely win three games in a row and you’re going to let them tell you how the makeup of the team should be? Seriously? Armstrong is delusional if he thinks this team can win a couple rounds in the Stanley Cup finals. Is he supposed to get a gold star by getting the team into the playoffs only to be bounced in the first round in 4 games? I think our signs were set a little bit higher than that last August.
    There are other factors to consider here. One is Armstrong's job security. He built this team, so it's in his best interest to give it as many chances as possible to catch season-altering momentum. Not every player the Blues would love to trade is easy to trade or desirable to other teams. And there's also the deadline. It works as a motivator for teams looking to tear down AND build up. We see that in baseball. The notion that Armstrong is going to get a much better sense of season outlook between now and the deadline is hard for me to believe, but the standings can be viewed in a hopeful fashion if that is the intent.
    Dont know if this has been asked, but are you going to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday? if not, what do you plan on doing?
    My plans, as of now, consist of driving home from Kansas City, location of my niece's birthday party. My buddy invited me to his Super Bowl party, but said he might have to cancel it because his TV is on the fritz. I said: Perfect.
    Will the Cardinals have a special weekend planned to honor Pujols when the Angels come to STL in June? Or will it just be a standing O and get on with it sort of thing?
    Based off their promotion of his return, I think they will have a variety of things planned, though some of that could depend on Albert's wishes as well. It will be a show, for sure.
    Do you think this free agent freeze effects Goldschmidt's thought process? If he likes St. Louis, and gets a solid offer early to mid-year, do you think other teams' hesitance to offer mega deals makes him more likely to lock in here?
    It has to, right?
    Goldschmidt spoke at length during Winter Warm Up about free agency, and what he is witnessing around him.
    He's concerned. A lot of players are concerned.
    I think every player, regardless of where they are on their contract, is concerned.
    Jack Flaherty has even been learning more about the topic, and he's just entering his second season.
    I think the scene, as is, encourages players like Goldschmidt to take fair money when they can get it. The guys who test the current system and win are few and far between. Maybe Manny and Bryce can pull it off. But Goldschmidt is five years older in a league increasingly cold to players of his age.
    I agree with you on Marwin Gonzalez. They could put him anywhere in the field and could then trade Gyorko and get a good reliever or prospects. Why don't they think strategically like that?
  • First off, Marwin Gonzalez would have to want to come to St. Louis. He wants to be a starter, not a utility type, moving forward, and he has that leverage as a free agent to only be interested in teams that offer him what he's interested in. What remains unknown is if he has come off that demand as spring training approaches.
  • Ben-just got home so i'm not sure if this has been asked yet, but where will Cardinal Nation be able to purchase the tar and feathers IF it comes out that the Phillies (or another team) sign Harper for 6-7 years with a reasonable AAV? (that's the neighborhood Mo always said that the team will be interested in if it goes there).
    Not sure if home debut carries feathers, but surely has tar. One thing though: Mo has never mentioned any neighborhood that includes Harper and the Cardinals, at least not to the media. He's refused to talk, even in generic ways, about Harper and Machado when asked.
    Do you think Pujols contract with the Angels (and how badly is has turned out) was the last straw in terms of players getting ridiculous contracts in free agency and teams being more cautious?
    He will go down as one of the big ones, yes. The Cardinals won't say it, but they are happy Albert Pujols is not on their payroll right now. And if they were better off not signing Pujols, they are going to have a hard time finding a player they MUST sign to a mega deal. They can talk themselves into it. They did with the shot at Stanton, for example. But it's going to be rare, and it's going to be made with gritted teeth. It's also the owner's call. Decisions like that hinge on DeWitt Jr.
    I won't say that I'm excited about this season for the Redbirds, but I am at the very least intrigued. There are so many things to look at as possible pluses for this team, but so many that are big question marks. What is one thing that fans are (A) overlooking that is a positive and (B) overlooking as a potential sinkhole for this team?
    I think the decision to keep Jose Martinez instead of trade him is being overlooked as a positive. He's the second or third best hitter on this team, depending on the day, and now he can become a corner outfield starter if the need arises. 
     
    A potential sinkhole? I'll go with the bullpen, again. I can see how it could be much, much better. But there are a lot of what-ifs there, including Miller's health.
    Is there a reason you think Kavanaugh and Kindle-Betz have been quiet for awhile now? Do you think the league has told them to not say anything publicly? Sacramento's Ownership group sure has been out in the public eye now.
    Not sure. They seem to be very careful and calculated with their message. We have asked for updates, and those attempts have been politely declined. I know there are a lot of questions. I'm not convinced that no news is bad news, but I understand how some feel that way after previous attempts stalled.
    We have a saying in my company that we "stay in the pocket" on deals and sometimes they come our way on terms we want. It seems the Cardinals haven't stayed in the pocket on Harper/Machado. I think there are going to be some very unhappy fans if one or both of these guys go for something like $200/7yrs
  • Oh, there will be unhappy fans no matter what they go for, or when. I never thought the Cardinals would go over the top and get either Harper or Machado once they traded for Goldschmidt. That's just not the nature of the current leadership.
  • If Fowler was not on this team, would we be hearing more about a Cardinals pursuit of Harper?
    Perhaps. The cost of adding Harper is not just the cost of adding Harper for the Cardinals. It includes the cost of doing something with Fowler. And that -- as we have covered time and time again -- is an albatross of a contract at the moment, and includes a full no-trade clause. So, it's not as simple as just signing Harper.
    Does a Goldschmidt extension kill any chance of an Arenado pursuit next off season?
    I don't think so.
    I do think reading the Cardinals' stance on the free agencies of Harper and Machado should be considered before getting geared up about Arenado.
    Yes, the Cardinals love his game.,
    But Arenado is going to be seeking big money and big years if he reaches free agency, and the Cardinals are not always willing to go there.
    A lot of people have said, if not Harper/Machado, then when?
    Arenado is probably a better litmus test, considering it's well known how much the Cardinals love him as a player. They also have multiple intriguing prospects on the rise at that position. It makes for a really fascinating scenario. But history says, when predicting which way the Cardinals will lean when asked to pick between internal options produced and developed internally vs. expensive options from the outside, to lean toward the former instead of the latter.
    Ben, This off -season has been nice and quiet regarding our manager. Gone are the speculations on how Matheny would screw up this game, or burn out that pitcher. How much will the absence of MM and the presence of MS actually make for this team? I, for one, think Mike Shildt will make a huge difference for this team, and am looking forward to the season and the changes in approach he brings.
    This would usually be about the time of the year Matheny would give an interview that reminded you of some of his out-of-touch thoughts.
    It was a tradition, like moving day.
    We are going to learn more about Shildt at spring training.
    He has very, very specific plans for how it is going to run, how it is going to keep things fresh, how it is going to emphasize the fundamentals and defensive attention to detail that had eroded over previous seasons.
    Eager to see how he handles it, and how players respond, because that will be a test, too
    I guess i am the lone wolf out there. live in Central Illinois had season tickets and went to almost every home game in St Lois while the rams were here and remain a Rams fan .Cant wait to see the Super Bowl. I thought an outdoor stadium was a really dumb idea and wouldn't have re-upped if that was where they went. Thus i understand Kroenke wanted the money and chose LA. Dont really know why he trashed St Louis but the town has some serious issues even if those who live there dont want to admit it.Those issues are far important to solve if St Louis wants to grow as a community than feeling sorry for themselves because a billionaire wanted to make another billion and took a NFL team that St Louis took from another city in the first place.
  • No argument here that St. Louis has issues. But the argument the Rams floated, that it's not a good sports town, and was incapable of supporting a team, was bogus, and that's me trying to watch my language. Check the attendance numbers despite putrid results. You were there and saw them firsthand. The Rams' spin was false.
  • Did the Cards ever say anything publicly behind the reason why they traded Pham at the trade deadline? Seems like he could be nice fit now. Did his mouth get him in trouble?
    They downplayed the notion that Pham's often-abrasive comments had anything to do with their decision. I don't completely buy that, of course. But the bulk of it came down to freeing up space for rising prospects and getting some left-handed options for the future. The Cardinals always seemed to be more concerned with what Pham might stop doing than what he was doing at the moment. He showed in Tampa that he can still play really, really well. Can he keep it up long-term? Clearly, the Cardinals did not think so.
    Do you think it's inevitable that college football will expand to an 8 team playoff?
    If it makes more money, yes.
    I think you hit the nail on the head to my question that I didn't realize I was even asking: if not now, when (in terms of spending money). I am all for hoping promising internal options pan out but at some point it feels like you need to spend the money (or prospects) to put yourself in a position to win a world series. That should be the goal right? Not just squeaking into the playoffs but roaring in and being a favorite. Goldschmidt is a great start but look at the teams that have competed and won the world series the past few years. They don't go into the season hoping to be competitive for a playoff spot, they are shooting for 100+ wins and a world series berth. Mo's comments about competing for the playoffs really continue to irk me. This is the St. Louis freaking Cardinals! Premier franchise.
    This is why I tried to press pause on the interpreting of Mozeliak's "2019 matters" comment. Fans hungry to see the Cardinals go all-in (in fans' view) used it as proof it was coming. But the Cardinals thought trading for Goldschmidt was that kind of statement. Fans wanted to see the Goldschmidt addition as a warning shot before a cannon splash. The Cardinals thought it was the cannon. The Cardinals have moved their sustained success dial toward urgency, but I'm not sure it's ever going to be at the level some fans want. Only a deep postseason run will get the two slowly separating groups back toward seeing things the same way. How that happens is viewed differently by the fans and the front office, perhaps more now than ever before.
    Fundamentals have been the focus the last couple of years at spring training. The players and their execution are the issue.
    I'd argue the manager makes a difference.
    the blues start the second half with columbus, florida, tampa bay, and a home and home with nasheville. yikes. if they can manage 3-2 or better, i'll fire up the playoff bandwagon.
  • And the trade deadline is February 25. This is what Army was talking about when he suggested the play will decide the deadline direction.
    Sorry for the delay. Had to field a can't-miss phone call. We've got 30 minutes for the blitz.
    All the fans complaining about the Dexter Fowler contract -- just out of spite, Mo should trade Fowler to the Orioles, straight-up for Chris Davis. Then, at the press conference, Mo can stand up and say, "See, Fowler wasn't even close to the worst contract in the league!" That would teach Cards fans a lesson.
    As much as Mozeliak likes driving home a point, I don't think anyone is coming close to touching the Davis contract. But, because I know you're joking, I get your point.
    I'd agree with John. Didn't we read a lot of articles about how fundamentals and defense would improve when Oquendo was back? Or it would be better because we'd make it the focus this year? I feel like I read that coming into 2017 and 2018, so I will believe it when I see it.
    Sounds good. But does it not make a difference for you that when it was said previously, there were never any details as to what would be enacted? Here's Shildt's answer to what he has planned for this spring. 
     
    "Is it going to be more relaxed, or is it going to be more intense?  It’s going to be both. We’re going to enjoy it. We’re going to appreciate what we’re doing. It’s going to be efficient. Our job as a staff is making sure we’re going out and providing them things that are actually going to help them and not create any eye wash. One of the things I know we’re doing, if you look at Spring Training, it can get a little long. It can get a little monotonous. Our game is like that. We’re very routine-based in our game. And the challenge that I have for our staff is to make the routine seem fresh. And what we do is we do it and then we progress it, so every time we do something, it’s not like groundhog day where, OK, we’re doing first and third… Well, we are doing first and third, but we’re advancing into this and creating more situations that you’re going to see that are hopefully more game-like. At the end of the day, you want to come out and be ready to go and be ready to play and create that template and baseline. I can tell you this: We’re going to spend a lot of time on team defense. And we probably will get to a point where guys are getting like, ‘Here we go again,” a little bit. But that’s OK. We’re going to get it to where it’s so ingrained that it’s more of a natural habit. We’re going to do it respectfully, and we’re going to do it mindfully, but we are going to do it."
     
    Results matter more than words, as you mentioned. But there is a plan this spring.
     
    I'm having a hard time with the birds not taking advantage of this soft market as a team who tries to win. If you're able to land Machado on a 5-7 yr/25-28 mil per year deal, man thats a huge discount. I'm not paying Harper anywhere near 300 mil, but Machado, his production speaks for itself. And I don't want to hear that DeJong or Carp blocks this, nonsense, he's a far better player than either. If DeWitt says " owners have gotten smarter " then act on it. WAR is valued at 9.5mil per. WHich is the new math all these teams use now. So he has to put up 3 WAR to justify the contract. His first 7 seasons he avg 4.8 COUNTING his rookie year @ 19yrs old where he put up 1.6. He's a steal at these prices.
    You can make a case he's a steal at that price you mentioned, but there is no actual proof that's the price. We won't know until we see the terms on a deal he accepts. There have been erroneous reports about the offers in the Machado market, and an offer, even if true, does not mean it's an offer he would accept. The assumption that he's going cheap is just that, an assumption.
    One thing that has been abundant in this off-season and others is optimism. Goldschmidt is anything but a lock to re-sign, and Ozuna walks at the end of this year. Carp has a hefty option, and realistically Arenado is the only big ticket free agent on in the field (Rendon possibly). It is confusing to me why obvious fits like Harper isn't more explored. Is there potential red flags with his fit with the organization or is the hesitancy to jump in the mix purely contractual?
  • Arenado. Rendon. Donaldson. Goldschmidt. K Davis. Bumgarner.
    There have been worse free-agent classes.
    Saying Goldschmidt is "anything but a lock to re-sign" is the same as saying he "could reisgn" in that they are both unknowable at the moment; it depends on how he likes it with the Cardinals, and he can't have an opinion on that yet. You are simply choosing to view the glass as half empty, which is fine, but at least acknowledge it.
    Ozuna walking at the end of the season is not scary based on what we have witnessed so far.
    I have a hard time believing the Cardinals won't pick up Carpenter's option.
    2019 is, as one Cardinals official admitted recently, a bit of a cliff.
    That's scary if you assume the organization is going to run off of it and crash.
    Another option is: Turn the wheel in a different direction. That can be scary, or exciting, or anything.
    The doom and gloom is not a view I see. The Cardinals don't tank. If they rebuild, they will do it competitively and on the fly. Some new blood won't be the worst thing if this season derails.
    If this team is another maybe good enough to fight for playoffs then I am done and put all my funds in mls. Is MLS a blip on Cards radar as competition goes?
    Yes, a blip for now.
    The Cardinals would not be so quick to support a significant competitor.
    They want to see MLS succeed.
     
    If you had to guess, would you think the pace of this year’s free agent class would look much different if Harper would have taken the 10/300 deal the Nationals reportedly offered him?
    I would guess, no.
    We do this every year. 
    Last year, it was Ohtani, then Stanton holding things back.
    It's neither.
    And it's not Harper.
    The teams all think the same. They are determined to not give out bad money. And the players are getting frozen out by the CBA they agreed to. That's the story.
    A giant season from Ozuna with team success results in a QO that he turns down. We get a draft pick and save $ to spend on Goldy and xxxx. Similar to losing Pujols allowing extension of Yadi and draft of Wacha
    Sounds about right, where things sit today.
    Or maybe he wins over everyone, fires Boras as his agent and signs on to be a Cardinal for life.
    But I'm with you if I had to guess today.
    Gotta run. Thanks, everyone, for stopping by. As always, find me on Twitter if I missed you. Thanks!
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