Ben Frederickson Live

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

  • How much is the angst of the Cards slow off season do to the timing of the Ozuna trade? If the trade was made this week, then I dont think people would be as upset.
  • Great question.
    Some who are screaming about the lack of moves seem to forget the Cardinals added a 2-time All-Star and Silver Slugger -- AFTER they had a deal in place for some guy in Stanton.
    It's not sexy to admit a significant move was made when ranting about the lack of moves.
  • There were reports of Fowler being the last one to show up to the clubhouse and the first one to leave, and he no showed both Winter Warm Ups since joining the team. Doesn't sound like the jovial clubhouse presence the Cardinals anticipated when signing him to 82.5 million.
  • I can assure you Winter Warm-Up attendance has no impact on a player's standing with the team.
    Not being there might frustrate the front office, but teammates don't care much about that, if at all.
    If Fowler was the breath of fresh air many expected him to be in 2017, I didn't see it much. I'm also cognizant of the difference in the clubhouse when media is in there and when it's not. And aware that Fowler had a frustrating year with injuries.
    Folks probably expected too much out of Fowler, in terms of overhauling the team dynamic entirely.
    The Cardinals just need him to stay healthy and perform. Time to give the rest a break.
  • Ben, how about a one year deal for Andrew Cashner? He won't break the bank and he would eat up innings early in the season, while we wait for the young kids to get more seasoning.
  • Sign me up. I've suggested Cashner before. Or go get someone even better. But I like the idea of adding another innings-eater who can carry a load, especially early in the season as youngsters get their feet under them.
  • Do you mind sharing your thoughts on the Earlywine situation at Missouri? Seems like an odd time to get rid of the coach. Surely something else had happened that tipped the scales to his firing.
  • EE's resume in terms of wins can't be debated. He was one of the best coaches at Mizzou.
    He was also very much disliked my his coaching peers and some of his players due to his abrasive tactics and personality.
    He took things too far sometimes. 
    This isn't politically correct, but here goes.
    If you coach a revenue sport, winning usually rules all.
    Not always the case in non-revenue sports, so EE was asked to tone things down.
    Asking EE to tone things down usually doesn't turn out too well.
  • Imagine if the "fans" in St. Louis had the Padres, Reds, Mariners, etc. for the past 20 years. I can't imagine the crying that there would be. I'm not saying the team is perfect, but this will be a significantly different team than last year. I mean 5 of the players that played on opening day aren't even on the team any more.
  • There wouldn't be as many fans, that's for sure.
    The Cardinals have created high expectations.
    They have also benefited greatly from these expectations.
    Tickets sold. Tax breaks. Etc.
    It's a mutual relationship, and I don't blame fans for keeping track of the payroll.
  • Don't get me wrong, I love the Ozuna addition. But the FO touted a top tier SP and RP as well before he was signed. The restless fan base is very much aware that Ozuna was a great get. Our issue is that they advertised so much more, but filled the rest of the offseason wish list off the scrap heap. We find it unsettling and uninspiring that they would advertise their financial muscle only to "play it safe" for the rest of the offseason. Our most glaring hole was and is still a glaring hole. What is the reason you can think of for their flip flop? It seems disingenuous to the fan base. A lot of us feel that, as an example, passing on Reed in favor of Gregerson shows that the FO is willing to do the bare minimum in order to stay competitive, but don't have the guts to attempt to catch the Cubs. Which would be fine, but the advertised that they are going out to catch the Cubs and retake the division. We simply feel lied to. Why the flip flop?
  • It's important to stick to facts here.
    The Cardinals never said they were in the market for a top-level starter.They did mention closer. Specifically. Often. And I don't think anyone had Luke Gregerson in mind for that role when it was being discussed.The messaging from the team shifts often. Sometimes it doesn't add up. For example, the Mikolas signing came after Mozeliak specifically said adding a closer was not a big focus. Things change, and it's not always in the best interest of the front office to give a road map for the additions they are prioritizing.
    I think fans get that, and they are cool with it as long as they are satisfied with the additions in the end.
    That's not the case for you, Mikey, and I don't think you are alone in that department, judging by the tone and questions of the chat -- along with interactions with fans in real life.
  • Hi Ben. Thanks for the Chats. Can't wait till Spring Training to start here in Florida. I believe the fans angst is the don't trust Mo. He put his foot in his mouth this offseason. He made fans believe big moves would be made. He got a great bat( which every Cards fan knew was missing for 3 years), soon to be 34 year old reliever ( closer according to Mo ) with an 89 mph heater and a starter who washed out of the majors. Maybe it will all work out this season but less said the better.
  • Messaging matters.
    The Cardinals were crazy active, for them, at winter meetings then things hit a lull.
    But look around! 
    The lull is not just in St. Louis. It's across the game this offseason. Something is going to change, or a ton of free agents are going to be out of jobs. I think teams' competitive nature will push things into motion before that happens. Let's see what the Cardinals' final scope of offseason additions look like then.
    I've said this before, but I'm good with the position players and I'm not losing sleep over Gregerson as closer because I don't think he ends up there, and I like some of the options for that job. I do think the Cardinals could add starting depth with major league experience, but acknowledge there is time and options to do that. More now than most seasons in the past.
  • Even though I believe Mo signed Fowler out of pressure (from up North) and expendiency, I have a gut feeling this contract could end up working out. I predict Fowler has a career year in 2018 and if this OF stays healthy, they could easily be top-3 WAR in all of Baseball. The optimism for the OF is the reason why I had hoped they would add more proven depth to the pitching staff, but that's fodder for another comment. My message is: Don't sour on Dex and what he can bring to the table the next 2-3 years.
  • I agree with you Steve. 
    If Fowler can stay healthy, he is going to be a key player for this team.
    He was a huge liability defensively in center field last year. Thankfully he has been moved. But his bat was better than most realized. And his power boost was unexpected at much-needed. He should be much better in the corner spot. And I'd hit him below Carp because I like the power potential. Just my two cents.
  • How similar are the HOF candidacies for Omar Vizquel and Yadi Molina? Both are viewed as superior defenders, with an average bat. I feel like Cardinals fans view Molina's candidacy as a slam dunk, but that on a national basis, Vizquel's 37% on balloting will be about equal to Yadi's first time on the ballot.
  • Molina has 2 more rings and five more All-Star games. That helps his case, before you dive into the tough stuff of comparing players of different positions.
  • I think there is more to the Addison Reed situation than most fans are aware of. Early on it was predicted by many in baseball that he could command a 4-year deal for a total of $36 million. He was linked to the Cardinals, Cubs, Phillies, Rockies, and Yankees among others who were interested. In fact, at one point, it appeared he had an agreement in place with the Phillies, but it was pulled. I think there may be some potential injury issues that teams became aware of which cooled his market. The Twins were willing to take a shot for $16 million and the other teams were not. It would seem all the other teams could afford him if they wanted him, so I suspect something else is up. What are your thoughts?
  • Yep. More than one seemingly close deal for Reed fell through late. It does make you wonder what teams saw that turned them off.
  • I'm still curious about 2018 payroll for the Cards. If they spend less, why don't fans get a break at the box office?
  • Because it's a business? Supply and demand. The tickets sell. Why drop the cost?
  • Molina has also been a far superior hitter than Vizquel (98 OPS+ vs 82). Vizquel also never really had an offensive peak, best single-season OPS+ was 111. Yadi had a three-year run of 124, 137, 129
  • Yes. And Molina won a Silver Slugger in 2013. A year AFTER he slugged .501. Molina was, and is, a better hitter than some people think. And no, I'm not making a case for him to bat 5th.
  • "If Fowler can stay healthy . . ." Good luck with that. Might as well ask DGoold to stop reading comics or watching superhero movies. Fowler has played fewer than 120 games 3 of 5 seasons, fewer than 130 games in 4 of 5. He is what he is and he's not getting younger. Luke Voit better get that OF glove broken in!
  • That's why it makes even more sense to move him to a corner. Should be less wear and tear on his aging wheels. The heel issue is the thing that worries me most. Bad feet are bad news for ball players. See Pujols, Albert.
  • You reported in December that the Cubs were interested in signing Mikolas. If he is such a "dumpster dive" as some people suggest, why would the Cubs go after him?
  • Multiple teams were interested in Mikolas.
    Many have dismissed him because they are unfamiliar with him.
    If he had not flamed out in the majors before he reset his career in Japan, and came over as a completely unknown Japanese pitcher, I imagine more people would be more excited about what he might bring to the team.
    But because he failed here, that failure is held on to instead of what he did after to get another shot.
    The Cardinals were really impressed with what he did after.
    And here's what I like about Mikolas. He just owns it. He knows he has everything to prove. I'm eager to watch him try.
    I asked him specifically about the other teams that were interested in him, and he made it clear each other team interested started after the Cardinals. He wanted to be here. That should count for something.
    But his performance, nothing else, will dictate how he is received and remembered.
    I'm willing to give him that chance before I label him a dumpster dive.
  • Of the four starters you mentioned earlier, who would you like to see the Cardinals sign, if any and why?
  • Lynn.
    If whatever bridges burned could be rebuilt and he would be willing to take on a 2-year deal due to the market freeze, I'd like to see Lance back in STL.
    He eats innings. He brings an edge the team needs. He is a better mentor to young pitchers than he ever got credit for during his time with the Cardinals. 
  • Writers on the P-D give the Cardinals credit for doing a deal on Stanton when in fact, that did not happen. My interpretation of Stanton meeting with the Cardinals and the Giants was that he felt that there was something that they could offer him that would make him change his mind, but they did not offer enough. If there was no chance he would go with either of those clubs, why meet with them? It doesn't mean much to me that the Cardinals met the Marlin's price when they knew that Stanton wouldn't agree unless they made a deal with him also, and they chose not to.
  • Stanton is not playing for the Cardinals? I didn't realize.
    Of course it did not happen. To me, it's worth pointing out why.
    It fell through because the Cardinals, in Stanton's eyes, were not in a position to compete for a World Series without him. He wanted to join a team that was in that position, and put it over the top with his addition.
    It did not fall through because the Cardinals were cheap, as is the claim here. The Cardinals were willing to take on Stanton's super-sized contract. They were willing to send the prospects to Miami to make it happen. The Marlins agreed. If Stanton had been convinced by the Cardinals pitch, there was no turning back.
    The process confirmed the Cardinals are willing to stretch for the player they determined to be worth tabling their practical approach in order to acquire.
    Should they put more players in that category?
    That's a worthy discussion.
  • The FO and P-D continue to push a mantra that the organization is stocked with young pitching prospects that will replace Gregerson as closer and one of several starters that likely will be bounced by the all-star game. Until then, we can only speculate what the Cards deficit to the Cubs might be at that time. Rumor has it that the Cubs are not taking the first three months of the season off like last year when they still finished 9 games ahead of the Cards. Again, most fans are incredibly perplexed with the lack of bolstering the pitching which at one time in baseball accounted for 80% of all wins.
  • Scroll down to read my thoughts on the pitching. It doesn't fit your narrative.
  • Sure the Cubs were interested in Mikolas. The fact that the Cardinals gave him a better deal indicates to me that the Cubs were interested in him as a swing man - as the Cardinals described him when they signed him. It is since then, when they have not signed a legit starter, that they started calling him a starter. If the Cubs were interested in him as a starter, they would have beaten the Cardinals offer and he would be a Cub. They knew he was not a good enough starter to get a team to the playoffs.
  • Unless I overlooked it, I don't recall Mozeliak saying anything other than the Cardinals expect Mikolas to be a starer.
    Here are his first comments on the signing from a Hochman column.

    John Mozeliak said Wednesday night that he sees this guy not just as a “fifth starter,” but maybe even better than that.

    “I think so, yeah — we feel that he profiles as someone that could have an impact on your rotation,” Mozeliak said from Ballpark Village, where he also spoke to KMOX (1120 AM) for a live offseason show. “And I think a lot of people were probably unsure because he didn’t pitch here. As a fan, your calibration of what that means is probably a little foggy. But we feel pretty confident in how we look at that. We thought he was a great fit. We were pretty excited about getting Miles.”

  • Has there been a better name in Mizzou sports than Marvin "Moon" McCrary?
  • I see starting/relief pitching as a big hole on this team. Mo is wanting to wait and see if young arms will fill the void. Why are you, I, and many fans uncomfortable with his approach? For my part I see it risky because having tools and knowing how to use them are two different things and there are better (more expensive) options out there.
  • It's past production versus projected production, to some degree, right?
    The team is high on what its cost-controlled youngsters might do, and reluctant to block their paths to the majors with more expensive options who have performed well in the past but might not do as well in the future.
    If the young pitchers step up and the team rolls, the Cardinals are smart for developing and trusting their process.
    If it doesn't work, they will look like they left themselves exposed.
    One thing working in the Cardinals favor is that you can always add pitching, especially this season. Look at all the options still out there.
  • Why all the love for Flaherty? I was not at all impressed with him at the major League level last year.
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