Ben Frederickson Live

Ben Frederickson Live

Bring your Cardinals, Blues and St. Louis sports questions, and talk to Post-Dispatch columnist Ben Frederickson in a live chat from spring training starting at 11 a.m. Tuesday.




    Tommy doesn't turn 24 until May.
    He's played only 17 games at Class AAA.
    He was not really supposed to be in the conversation for that open utility spot, but he did everything in his power to force himself into the conversation.
    He rakes for his size. He's solid in the infield. He's going to play every day in Memphis, while bouncing around the different positions.
    I would not be at all surprised if we see him at some point this season.
    And, credit where it is due: Commish was all over Edman being a sleeper in this camp.
    Hummel knows ball.
    Ben - being down in spring training for a bit, what stood out to you about Nolan Gorman and what's your honest take about his future potential? Is he a legit power hitter?
    What stood out to me the most: his handshake.
    Seriously.
    I felt like my hand was getting smashed beneath a semi truck tire.
    Kid is strong.
    And he doesn't scare.
    He looked lost against Max Scherzer in his first two at-bats of his first Grapefruit League start -- who wouldn't -- but he was up there taking serious cuts. And then he later homered in that game, off of a major league reliever.
    His power is legitimate and should only improve.
    My question is about his defense.
    I saw him make an error out of a relatively easy grounder on the back fields.
    He had two -- one was  tough call -- in his first Grapefruit League start.
    The bat could be special. Where he plays is a bit muddier. Maybe corner outfield? He has the arm. Maybe first base? Maybe DH -- it's coming, truly, it is.
    Don't worry about the power, though. It's on.
  • Why do you think it was so easy, relatively speaking, to extend Goldy? I know the question was always whether Goldy wanted to commit, but there is another side to it: whether the Cards made a good investment, as they have not seen him take one official bat as a Card. What metrics, etc, made them feel comfortable with a six-year commitment?
    I think I'm reading this right, but want to check. What made it so easy for the Cardinals to want to extend Goldschmidt? A few factors, none more important than him offering a two-way solution to two of their biggest problems -- a hole in the heart of the lineup and a turnstile at first base. There was concern about his age, 31, but there were also some reasons to bank on Goldschmidt continuing his production. His track record of health is very impressive. He plays a position, very well, that is kinder toward aging players than most. He is not a bulky power hitter who can do nothing else, the kind of players who don't age well. He runs well, moves well. Other factors include his fit with the team culture, his marketability toward the fan base. The Cardinals had to extend Goldschmidt, because there was a startling lack of options if they did not. That doesn't mean it was a rushed or bad deal. Time will tell. I think he's gonna be very good here for the bulk of his contract.
    BenFred, you been enjoying March Madness so far? Not many upsets.
    I HATE chalk brackets.
    This one has been a bummer.
    I was casually watching a Cards-Nats game, the one in which the Cards scored 5 in the ninth inning against Sean Doolittle, and saw some big Cards player crush a home run over the left field wall off Doolittle. I wondered who it was and then saw it was Knizer. If he can hit like that, let's start him now (with all respect to the great Yadi)....
    He detonated that thing. And finished it off with a nice, subtle bat flip. A no-doubter from the moment he hit it. Knizner's bat has bigger damage potential than Kelly. He's the every-day starter in Memphis with Wieters backing up Molina.  Don't rush Molina off the scene just yet. I know the folks who like to scoff at his chances of being a first ballot Hall of Famer -- not saying you are one -- like to poke at his offense, but let the record show he ranks second in average (.292) and is essentially tied with Joe Mauer for third in OPS (.776) among all catchers since 2011. Posey leads both camps, but Posey also spends a significant chunk of time at first base, something no one ever mentions.
    The team with the most question marks runs the greatest risk of having some of those questions being answered in the negative.... and being exposed over 162.
    Which of the Cardinals, Cubs and Brewers do you think has the most question marks at this point in time?
    I guess the Brewers, right? Because they have had some injury flare-ups in their dominant pen, and their rotation is a big bag of questions. The Cubs have questions, but they revolve around proven players, for the most part. I really don't think Yu Darvish can be as bad as he was last year. That rotation, while there are some age concerns, could be surprising.
    With SLU's recent A-10 tourney win and resulting NCAA appearance should we be concerned about Coach Ford leaving the Mid Major Billikins for Power 5 school? That's three years of incrementally better teams. I'd hate to lose him but he is probably a hot commodity.
    I haven't heard anything about Ford looking to leave after this season, but I do have a feel for his style when it comes to this topic. He listens. If a team is interested in him, he will hear that team out, even if it just winds up making his situation at SLU better. It's a fine line but one he has walked well throughout the course of his career. You don't want to be the coach with the wandering eye, and that, to me, is the big question for Ford and the Billikens. Is he willing to plant his flag in Midtown? And is SLU willing to make that happen? If so, this program could become a force. If not, SLU will keep chasing the basketball status it believes it can have, yet rarely finds.
    Anything that stuck out to you at spring training that hasn't gotten much publicity?
    I'm trying to use my spring-training-optimism filter here, and will not guarantee this makes any sort of a difference in wins and losses, but I noticed an overall upbeat, positive vibe. Past Cardinals teams talked about being positive and having fun, like, a lot. It came across as trying too hard. This team just does it. Everyone from the players, to the coaches to the team officials, to me, seemed more friendly, upbeat, engaging, excited. No more manager on a hot seat. No more mixed messages as a result of that. Shildt is a straight shooter, and I think he kind of set the tone for the entire spring. Now, if the Cardinals lose their first 13 games, you all can rip me. But I don't think they will. In fact, I think a trip to Miller Park could be JUST what this offense needs. Paul Goldschmidt is the MLB leader there in OPS for guys with a decent amount of at-bats, and Ozuna smashes there as well.
    Happy Tuesday Ben. I hope you have a great day and hope you don’t get any rude questions today! My question is about the front offices in MLB. Do you think they have made a statement to the players about free agency? It sure seems like they prefer to sign an extension than pick up a player in free agency? There are few exceptions but it seems like there are still some quality players still out there?
  • Thanks. Pretty tame crowd today. I guess everyone is just ready for the season to start. A spring softening, perhaps? I'll wait for the first loss :)
     
    The owners have certainly made a statement, though not an official one. The market speaks, though, and it's telling players that they are only going to get massive money in free agency if they are elite players in their prime, age-wise. Guys who are incremental upgrades over players already under (cheaper) contracts are not making team bites. Guys who were amazing but are living on the wrong side of the 30-year-old wall -- unless they are elite -- are going to get the short end of the stick. Players who are happy where they are will be encouraged to take extensions that, in the grand scheme of things, are more team-friendly than player-friendly. Financial security now is great, but it comes with a cost, sacrificing some potential dollars if you out-perform the contract in the end. Goldschmidt out-performed his last contract in Arizona, likely leaving millions on the table. He doesn't seem too worried about it, and just got another great deal.
    Ben, do you feel Paul DeJong has improved his defense enough to be a solid shortstop. Cal Ripken was not your typical shortstop but became very steady at short. Can DeJong eventually get to that point. Just not totally sold on him a defensive shortstop.
    I do, and I think that process made a big step forward last season. If you care about Fielding Bible's calculation of Runs Saved, and I do, then Paul DeJong was not a passable shortstop last season. He was much, much better than that. His +14 Runs Saved ranked third in the game, tying Francisco Lindor. And this was after he was labeled an average shortstop by the same metrics in 2017. DeJong is getting better on the job, before our eyes.
    Good morning Ben. Its the most exciting week of the year. Very excited to get the season going, could be a great one. I have 2 questions. The way the offense is constructed do you see the Cardinals having the ability to manufacture enough runs to win games when the offense goes cold? The second is have the Cardinals improved enough fundamentally to overcome what plagued them the last 2 years, beating themselves? Thanks so much for the time.
    Question One: If the right cylinders fire, yes. There are some concerns at the moment, starting with Matt Carpenter's back. From there, it's Marcell Ozuna's power (off or on) and then another big one: What's Fowler do now that stats count?
     
    Question Two: There were good signs for that argument in spring. The errors were down. No NL team had fewer than the Cards in Grapefruit League play. Goldschmidt's Gold Glove defense at first showed how plays that were not made last season will turn into outs now. The commitment to Kolten Wong and the confidence Goldschmidt gives him at second base seems to have unlocked a whole nother level for him defensively, and he was already elite. The pitchers are holding runners on better and fielding their positions better. The outfielders are hitting cutoff men. Shildt as stressed the importance of keeping a game to 27 outs. You often lose when you force yourself to get 28, 29, 30. Previous teams were chasing additional outs much too often. This one should not have to, and that should help the offense too, right? It should have to cover fewer mistakes.
    Aren't the same types of arguments made every time a manager's team is underperforming and an interim comes in and turns team around temporarily.

    Manager runs out of rationalizations or can't use the same type of turnaround methods and we change coaches. This doesn't guarantee that we will have success. Look what happened to Hitch and Yeo. Then once manager is gone no one left to defend him.

    Fans are fickle.
    It's all about results, in the end.
    But I have been trying to give specifics when asked.
    Ben - Any hints on a more permanent role for C. Carpenter down the line or will he continue in his current role(s).
    He has the same title as Edmonds, and had it before Edmonds.
    Special assistant to the president of baseball operations 
    These roles are very fluid in their job description.
    Ryan Franklin is more involved in front office action.
    Edmonds is working with the major leaguers across the board.
    Chris Carpenter could often be spotted this spring talking and watching with pitching coach Mike Maddux.
    The Cardinals want him to be involved, and are glad he has taken more of an interest as of late.
    Any insight on how Patrick Wisdom did in spring training for Texas
    He hit .170/.250/.319 in 47 spring at-bats.
    Had a slim shot of making the team, but did not force the door open.
    Will start the season at Class AAA
     
     
  • Is it just me or do the actions of the Blues and Cardinals mirror each other a lot? A disappointing season of missing the playoffs, a front office "going all in" via big trades (Goldschmidt and O'Reilly), an underperforming club getting their coach fired, interim coach rallying the troops to impressive runs. A commitment to a key player in the off-season who is often a whipping boy (Fowler and Allen). Does this happen more often than we realize or is it really a strange coincidence?
    You point to a lot of similarities, yes.
    The Cardinals better hope they start better than the Blues, because this division will not allow a Blues-like comeback.
     
     
    We hear about improved defense, and yet the last "tuneup" before the season and there's 3 errors? I didn't watch the game and just going off the boxscore so I don't know how they looked. But saying the defense is improved doesn't "make it so". Then again that's the only true knock on Munoz, he plays a lot of positions just not one really well.
    Basing conclusions off of spring is a risk, but I feel better about using the entire spring than one wonky exhibition game against teammates.
    The Cardinals' 20 Grapefruit League errors were the fewest by a National League spring training -- by two.
    That number jumped out to me, considering the Cardinals led baseball in errors last season.
    Most of those erorrs happened at first base, where Jose Martinez was struggling. Trying, but struggling.
    A bunch of the others happened on the mound. The Cardinals' pitchers did not defend their spots well. That was a focus this spring.
    The Cardinals are also committed to a strong defense up the middle, from Molina to DeJong and Wong, to Bader.
    Factor in the Goldschmidt Effect and, yes, I think this defense will be better. By a good margin.
    Mizzou athletes having money problems and probation of some type lurks. Football program is mediocre. Conzo is floundering. Even is new addition things have to improve. Football is bell cow but butts are not in the seat. What is Mizzou todo?
    That's a rather tough read on what's going on at Mizzou. A check on the recent Learfield Directors' cup finishes suggests a brighter outlook. All Odom has done is win more games than his previous season in each of his first three seasons -- then landed one of the most pursued graduate transfer quarterbacks on the market in Kelly Bryant.  All Martin has done is turn around what had become the least competitive program in power five basketball. Wrestling dominates. He went to the NCAA tournament last season. Does anyone else remember that? Women's basketball ascended. Other non-revenue sports are thriving. But yes, the Tigers should just drop the department altogether and focus on rec sports, I guess. The ongoing appeal against the NCAA, if it doesn't work, could cut the momentum from this football season. That's a valid concern. And the academic breakdown that led to the investigation is, without a doubt, embarrassing. But the push back against over-reaching punishments has done more to unite the fan base and alumni group than anything in recent memory.
    If i subscribe online to the PD, as it pertains only to the cardinals, do i get every little tidbit,articles,special editions etc, that goes into the print edition of the PD
    Very rarely do we have any print-only content.
    Usually, it's the opposite.
    If you only receive the print paper, you miss a ton of the content we provide on the Cardinals.
    Blogs, chats, chat recaps, videos, podcasts, online columns, interactive polls and quizzes . . .  All of these things are available online only, or only in a limited scope in print, if it all.
    And while there's nothing like holding a print special section in your hands for opening-day prep, all of that coverage is online as well.
    Thanks for subscribing, or considering it if you are not already on board.
     
     
    If you had to wager a guess, how many sports teams will St. Louis have in 2030?
  • Three: MLB, NHL, MLS
     
    Not counting XFL, because while it's coming, it might not be there by then. 
  • RE: Brewer's.

    Their bullpen, lineup, defense are really good.
    Starting pitching is always the question - but people don't seem to recognize how highly regarded their young starters have been.

    Burnes and Woodruff were regarded by the industry as top 100 overall prospects coming up. There is reason to really like there upside. These were guys compared to Hudson and Flaherty in fact. Seems like a very similar situation with an interesting perception?
    I'm not sleeping on the Brewers. I picked them to win the division. Of course, that was BEFORE BOTH Jeremy Jeffress and Corey Knebel were on the injured list. Suddenly, that bullpen looks a little less potent. If the bullpen is not a force, the Brewers are not the Brewers. It's very hard to replicate elite relief season after season. I picked the Brewers, in part, because I overlooked them last season. If the relievers who made that happen are not back and pitching well soon, they won't win the division.
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