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 spring training starting at 11 a.m. Wednesday.




    Curious your impressions since being at ST. Who has impressed you? Who are you concerned about after seeing them up close? Who aren't we talking about that we should be?
    I just got here yesterday, so these boots have not been on the ground long.
    Flaherty was outstanding yesterday. He has talked recently of watching and appreciating how Miles Mikolas pounded the strike zone and challenged hitters last season, and how he wanted to do that this season. We saw that yesterday.
    Everyone, even opponents, are raving about Goldschmidt and his effect on the team.
    With Fowler, there's optimism but a lack of tangible results so far, and that becomes more concerning the longer it goes.
    Kolten Wong is having a sneakily strong spring.
    Matt Carpenter's arm looks better, which should ease some of the concerns about his switch back to third base.
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Any rumors on Dallas kickel? I figured someone would have signed him by now. I would still like to see the cards bring him in.
    Cards-related rumors? No. I asked Mozeliak when Carlos Martinez encountered his setback with the shoulder if the Cardinals had any free agents on their radar in terms of the rotation. It's the kind of question that could be answered in a we'll-see manner. It wasn't. They are not shopping for starters -- unless something else happens or they are just lying about it.
    MLBTraderumors says 5/150mil for Goldy is way too much. That nobody is signing a slugger through age 36 season for that kind of money. Too short of a window to extrapolate the best value. Interesting that the Cards put their eggs in this basket. Fixing to be some double talk coming right up! Fascinating!
    Time will tell. Baseball is increasingly viewing age 30-plus players with more hesitation, and the trends do not lie. The question is, is Goldschmidt an exception? There are reasons to believe he could be. Look at his health to this point. Look at his body type. Athletic, not bulky as a power hitter label might suggest. Look at his defensive ability and how he runs the bases. Factor in the position he plays, one that ages as well as any spot on the field. Factor in the DH coming to the National League at some point in the near future. A Hall of Famer told me today that he thinks Goldschmidt will hit at a stellar level for 4-5 more seasons.
    Can Lane Thomas or Tyler O'Neil make enough noise this spring to take some playing time away from Bader early in the season?
    That would be surprising, considering the Cardinals have made a big display of their commitment to Bader, and have positioned him prominently as a young face of the team. If he does not hit, he opens himself up to be pushed. If he continues to defend at an elite level, he makes it hard to move on from.
    I apologize ahead of time if my question irks some people but I have to ask! I’d imagine that the batting practice that Wainwright is throwing to batters will catch up with him early in the season! I get he’s been with the team so long but there are a long list of pitchers that can throw at least the league average fastball! My question is, is his ego getting in the way from realizing he should just retire? I’m sure the organization is okay with it since they signed him and passed up on other opportunities to make the ball club better? Like they said, they are putting the 25 guys out there because they are getting paid and not because they are the best 25!
  • "Like they said, they are putting the 25 guys out there because they are getting paid and not because they are the best 25!" --- the Cardinals have never said this, for what it's worth.
     
    As for Wainwright, I think most -- even the Cardinals though they will not say it -- fear what you fear, to some degree, that Wainwright won't be able to stay ahead. But he is going to get more chances than about any other player out there, and we can argue if that's right or wrong, but it's not going to change the fact that he is. He's spent more than a decade with the team. He's respected, beloved, all that. For deserving reasons. He and the Cardinals agreed to an extension that would reward him for success as a starter or reliever, depending on how this season shakes out. So far, he has pitched five Grapefruit League innings. That's not going to change things. If a healthy Wainwright can give the team a chance to win, he's going to make starts. He's done that when he's healthy.
     
    As far as ego, I'd argue that there are few major league players who would be in the majors if they let others decide when they should walk away from a challenge.
     
    Do you think STL finds out after the MLS meetings in April if they will be franchise #28? Also is Don Garber coming to STL before those meetings?
    That could become the timeline, yes, but there is no guarantee. Unlike the NFL, MLS does not follow a rigid schedule when it comes to expansion. It floats and bends to whatever timeline best fits the league at that time. Garber is scheduled to make a visit to St. Louis before those meetings, yes. Remember when I wrote about MLS wanting to see more sponsorship support beyond Enterprise and WWT? That's going to be a big part of his visit.
    O'Neill just homered again. Can barely make the bench in STL. Cards FO/PD spin is amazing!! Eye roll emoji
    He did. That's four. Which is four more home runs than Marcell Ozuna has hits this spring. But yes, let's never direct attention away from Dexter Fowler. Talk about spin.
    I'm I'm Ozuna, I'm taking my time rehabbing my shoulder. Guy played through injury all season only to be derided by fans and management. The team has shown no interest in signing him, so why not take the extra time to come back strong in May or June to earn himself a good contract by showing he's now fully healthy and has power back? Loyalty works both ways...
  • You have some facts confused, it seems. The front office was frustrated because he played through injury all season and was not forthcoming about what he was going through and had to essentially be dragged toward treatment. His toughness was not questioned. Taking time to be healthy is not what is being questioned. It was how offseason time was or wasn't used to put him in the best position to have a bounce-back 2019. You would think that, whether Ozuna has interest in playing here beyond 2019 or not, would be of mutual interest to both parties, considering it's his contract season.
  • "Unlike the NFL, MLS does not follow a rigid schedule when it comes to expansion."
    LOL!
    While corrupt, the NFL makes it easy to plot out its decisions. MLS not so much.
    Have you heard any update on when the MLS Stadium plans will be released to the public?
  • Nothing concrete that I can pass along at this time, but the assumption that the ones released by the previous, unsuccessful ownership group will be mirrored by this one has been pushed back against by the new ownership group. Similarities, for sure. But they will not be carbon copies.
  • I'm under the impression Ozuna is a July trade candidate. He's in a walk year, they're very unlikely to extend him (see O'Neill, Adolis, Randy (not Jedd's brother), Lane, etc.). Am I mistaken?
    Do you think Goldschmidt's strong union credentials will push him towards testing free agency? He's rightfully been out front on the issue of teams squeezing out players when they hit the FA market. And on a separate note, is Wacha still the team's player rep with Goldy and Miller on board?
    Great question, and one that I have wondered about myself. He's not saying, for now. I did ask him previously if he feels called or obligated to experience a free agency at some point during his career. His response was basically that it just depends on where he is at that time, and he did not want to commit to either side. No surprise there. He is active in the union and in tune with the current conversations regarding free agency. If he does reach it, and I don't think the Cardinals should let him, then he's going to present a fascinating case. If there's a 30-plus star who has earned big, big money, it's Goldschmidt. But baseball increasingly says 30-plus is old news. Is he the exception or the biggest example yet of baseball turning a colder shoulder toward guys on the other side of the 30-year-old wall. It's really, really fascinating. 
     
    As for the current union rep, I'm not sure. That' a good question and worth finding out. I can figure that out and let you know next week, if you remind me.
    Do I have my facts confused about Ozuna? Or did management trade for a guy they knew was hurt and are now trying to shift the blame to him? The "he didn't rehab the way we wanted him to" seems awfully convenient, on-sided and vague.
  • Let's try to clear it up, then.
    The Cardinals said they were aware of Ozuna's arm issue before they traded for him. Clearly, they did not think it would affect him like it did last season. It did not affect him like that in Miami, when he had a breakout 2017. It either got worse, was not handled properly or some combination of the above.
    Part of that is on the Cardinals.
    Part of it is on Ozuna.
    Between the two parties, they did not seem to get the best performance possible out of a player they traded for to be a difference maker. And it speaks to Ozuna's potential that he was one of the team's most reliable, consistent hitters in what was a disappointing season in terms of power and production.
    So that gets us through last season, which was supposed to incorporate these new initiatives that encouraged more conversation between players -- especially ones rebounding from health setbacks -- and the team. A good call, considering a breakdown in communication seemed to exist between Ozuna and the Cardinals regarding health/treatment in 2018. But Ozuna was not in communication with the Cardinals like they had hoped he would be. Communication is a two-way street.
    Blame shifting is an interesting phrase to use, because ultimately the blame belongs on the Cardinals if this does not work out. They traded for the player. 
     
     
     
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    Prediction = Mo will walk out to Goldy at first base and offer that extension while Pujols is receiving an hour long standing ovation in his first at bat.
    Now, that would be good timing.
    Thanks, for the chats. I always look forward to your columns. I think you are continuing the great tradition of Miklasz, Burwell and others. So far the Mike Schidlt era has been pretty smooth sailing for him, what do you think the 1st major test for Schidlt will be. With Tyler O'neil's spring, it looks it will be juggling outfield playing time between Ozuna being hurt, Bader’s offense in question, and Dexter needing to rebound, if those guys struggle you can’t keep Jose and O’neil on bench. How does he balance those things and egos. Does Bader become a late inning replacement. Does O’niel and Bader do a timeshare originally planned. What happens with Dex if his playing time is decreased. With some many early games against the Brewers, Dodgers and Mets, you can’t leave offense on the bench.
    Thanks.
    We gotta get this right, together, though.
    It's Shildt.
    No c in there.
    I totally agree with you on the smooth sailing so far. We are going to learn more about Shildt as he encounters choppier waters. How he handles struggling or non-performing veterans is going to be a huge test, I think.
    What if Wainwright is not giving the team a best chance to win at some point in the season? How long does Dexter get to prove he is the best option? What if Ozuna's power doesn't appear and he still can't throw when games count?
    Shildt has often referred to things as "above his pay grade" when it comes to who he would like to see signed and other front-office-type moves. Well, now he has his contract. How will he start to insert his influence into the equation? He's a TLR disciple. He has a very good relationship with the front office, but there will be times when he has a different opinion. It will be interesting to see how he acts upon that, where he falls in line and where he takes a stand. He had to win over the team at first. He's done that. Now what?
    Shildt* Shildt* Shildt* Shildt* Shildt* Shildt* Shildt* Shildt* Shildt* Shildt* Shildt*
    If Bader can’t hit a breaking ball, O’Neill is going to play a lot in centerfield. Marketing be damned.
    It certainly would not be the first time a center fielder of the future has been phased out earlier than expected. The position has been a revolving door since Jon Jay. In fact, Jon Jay was the last Cardinals outfielder to log the most innings in center in back-to-back seasons. Think about that for a second. Bader's defense is his foothold. It will give his offense time. How much time is a fair question. I thought Lou Brock's take to Rick Hummel was interesting: “If Bader is batting .110, put him out there.”
    Kudos to Shildt for stating the obvious - have consistency between NL & AL by removing the DH. He’s getting some positive feedback, it seems. There’s a reason Sparky told TLR he needed to manage in the NL before he retired - it’s the superior strategic game. But you know better than Sparky & Shildt, right?
  • Shildt also said he realized his preferred suggestion -- removing the DH from the AL -- was never going to happen and that he was not going to campaign for it. I'm all for his idea. My distaste is not for the lack of a DH. It's for the difference between the two leagues. It's absurd.
  • When are pitchers going to start hitting? This baby league style is boring me.
    When making a lineup out for a spring training game is the manager concerned with making the best use of available players to try to win the game or will the manager sometimes have other reasons for line up position such as batting Weiters fifth so he can come out of the game after his second at bat or grouping some left handers together so they can all be sure to face the lefty specialist?
    Depends on the day, players involved, and most important items on that day's agenda. A player the team wants to see more of might hit higher in the order, so he might receive more at-bats. Same for players. Depends. A guy who knows he has a spot waiting for him might intentionally work the count to two strikes so he can work on that approach. A guy like Tyler O'Neill? He's going to mash as many balls as he can, treating Grapefruit League games like World Series games, because he's trying to force the Cardinals' hand.
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