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 starting at 11 a.m. Tuesday.




    He did? What for? I missed it, along with pretty much everyone else
    I've been most impressed by the tenacity of the Blues and their ability to overcome insurmountable odds. Interestingly for them, there really isn't an increase in pressure heading into the playoffs and I don't think any other team can say anywhere near the same thing. Their season has been a perfect prelude to the playoffs. Do they have the talent? If Binnington continues his play it could be a Stanley Cup trip, whether they hoist it or not.
    That is a killer observation, and it explains perfectly an interview with Ryan O’Reilly this morning. He was raving about the rush of postseason hockey, how every game matters, etc. My response was something along the lines of so ... kind of like what you all faced during your climb back into the postseason picture? He agreed. That the Blues have been in this mode AND exited it healthy SHOULD be two advantages. We’ll see.
    Ben, also I am readying on NHL and quite a few writers have the Jets beating the Blues. That could happen but it seems like they have ignored the Jets second part of the season. They coughed up the division title.
    They did, but some impactful guys were also beat up during that time. They’re healthier now. They also lost to the Blues just once in head-to-heads, though those games came before these Blues
    I think Fowler's Cubs connection adds to the anger towards his performance for a lot of fans. I think there is a feeling that he wished he was still there during this contract. Your thoughts?
    I think that only becomes a factor when connected to how he plays. If he was an All-Star for the Cardinals, no one would care if he was still revered in Chicago and close with his teammates from there. But instead he is celebrated in Chicago for being a player Cardinals fans have rarely seen, so there’s angst involved. I get that. Fowler has never said he misses Chicago or anything like that, but I imagine he has had more fun there than here so far. Wouldn’t you? He won a ring and made an all star team there. He’s struggled with health and performance here, clashed with a former manager and felt the weight (and financial reward of course) of a contract he has not lived up to
    I was born and raised in the StL area. A few years ago, my vocation caused me to relocate to Connecticut. I'm still a 100% Cards fan, but I also just enjoy baseball. Am I a sellout for also supporting the Red Sox now that I live just over an hour from Fenway? Also, do the Cards play the AL East again next season?
    You’re good in my book.
    Cite the TLR connection. And do me a favor and spread the good word about the DH to your old friends.
    Give me some odds on STL getting an MLS franchise soon? SAC seems to have all the momentum and why wait to the end of the month to reveal stadium renderings?
    No odds to offer, because it would just be a guess. Sacramento’s recent splashes reinforced what I’ve said since they roped in their new investor — they’re a challenger in this competition. Only the ownership group can offer an explanation on the timeline of its rendering reveal, but my general understanding when it comes to these things is that certain details must be in the bag before the cat is let out of it. This is the Enterprise model at work. Say very little until you have something big to say, something that isn’t going to need to polished after the fact. That the group said something is coming instead of just releasing it, to me, shows the Sacramento influence. Pressure is on.
    Hey Ben, I wanted to get your take on a Q/A from Goold's chat yesterday. Someone asked if Mo's job would be in jeopardy if the Cards didn't make the postseason for a 4th consecutive year. Goold said no, and gave supporting info about the farm system, the club becoming a player on the international talent front, no losing seasons, etc.
    That's all well and good, but isn't this ultimately about the success of the major league team? No losing seasons is not the same as winning your division or a wild-card slot. It's the same kind of unreasonable thinking as an earlier statement that the Cards can't pay players more because they have so many more front office people they have to pay now. I feel some of those people may be getting paid to help the Cards justify not paying players.
    Baseball is still a game, and you can't have a game without players. Mo's track record of balancing dollars vs contribution is pretty weak with free agent signings. His philosophy of the kinds of players to sign or avoid seems inconsistent. Has this evolved to the point that only players -- perhaps only some players -- are held accountable, but the front office gets a pass on its series of big miscalculations? Can you share some wisdom with us?
  • Here’s what I think on the front office job security topic. I think Mozeliak would be the last person, perhaps other than his own son, who chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. would fire. But no one is untouchable, and Mozeliak will be the first to say that. That comment he makes about not wanting to be “bridemaid” on free agents and trades is something he brings up in part because it was brought up to him, by his boss. Mozeliak goes through performance reviews like everyone else, and the most important performance to DeWitt — annual contention — has slipped as of late. Coaches were cycled. Managers changed. More turnover would be wise to expect if the lack of postseason continues. How high would it reach, and how quickly? I don’t know. There are levels between manager and president of baseball operations, like general manager, that could be refreshed first. Mozeliak does not have a job for life, no questions asked. None of us do. But he’s got more security built up than most seem to realize.
    I saw on twitter that Busch Stadium attendance was sparse for such a nice night with a marquee opponent. Did you notice this and what could be the reason?
    I was not at the game last night so I don’t know what it looked like other than the TV view. Maybe everyone is saving up for Blues postseason tickets?
    Agree wholeheartedly with Rod Munch. Taking a player away from his victory lap with being the leadoff guy who ended the 108-year curse ... was stupid on Mo's part. Look at his WAA (wins added above that of an average player) in 2016 for the Cubs, Fowler was at 2.4. In 2017 he was basically ZERO. In 2018 he was -2.4
    And if it works, it’s smart, celebrated, etc. Took their weapon and turned it into one of your own. First season there was some of that. Cubs have been searching for leadoff answer ever since. But in general, it’s probably best to not sign a rival’s departing free agent due to the combination of a) there could be reasons the rival let the FA walk and b) this whole topic can come to exist.
    I put a question/statement to Mr. Hummel a few days ago. My assertion is that the Cardinals are 1 of if not the best drafting and developing teams in the game. The problem is they are also 1 of the worst teams at evaluating free agents. He agreed with my statement for the most part. My question for you is what are they doing to fix that problem? To contend consistently you need a steady supply of young talent supplemented with key free agents. In my opinion if your response is every team makes mistakes then you’ve lowered your bar too much. If they don’t fix the problem this team is always going to be a borderline wildcard. That’s not good enough for the support this team receives. I never hear anything about what they are doing to address it though.
    I don’t think they are one of the worst at free agents, if we are talking about this front office’s full tenure. In fact, the job done before is what makes this recent run of swings and misses stand out. But lately? Yes, there have been some bad reads. Some of that can be attributed to the fact that the Cardinals seem caught in the most dangerous zone of free agency, the one that exists between bargain bets (Bud Norris) and monster deals (Harper). That’s where the biggest chance of a bust lies, because guys are good enough to demand significant dollars but not good enough to be no-brainer offerers of elite performance right now, no matter how much is paid after it fades later. There is a case to be made that the Cardinals should get out of the middle. Play the slots and high roller rooms. Avoid the $25 blackjack.
    Now that the AAF is officially dead, how is your confidence in the XFL changed?
    Less competition for the XFL should be better for the XFL
    Following up on the free agent evaluation question - have the Cards gone so far in to Analytics that they don't have the proper scouts to give the human input that still can't be categorized neatly into rows and columns?
    The Cardinals have feet in both camps of that spectrum, as they should. There isn’t a team in the game that isn’t trending more toward trusting what the algorithms and projections suggest, but eyes matter to the organization.
    Jose martinez is a bench player, yet bats third when he is in the starting lineup. Does anybody see anything wrong with that picture?
    I’ve heard this argument and I get it to a degree, but the alternative is burying him in the lineup to ignore that he is one of the team’s best hitters? No thanks. The Fowler situation is pretty clear. No need to tiptoe around it. Jose is one of the best hitters in the lineup when he plays, so the lineup reflects that. He’s also a challenged defensive player on a team that is committed (for now) to trying to get Fowler going, because they feel like a going Fowler is the best option in a perfect world, and because that’s what the big contract they gave him encourages them to hope to find. Let’s just be honest. Jose hitting third is honest.
    Re Bader and "Isn't that the exact kind of player that would be too premature to extend? Why do they tend to fall in love after one good year?" -- These extensions tend to work out fine. I'm not sure any have been busts, since they were able to trade Craig, who might have been. People should think of these extensions as being like investing in stocks. Some investments may lose money but if the overall strategy is solid, you make money across the portfolio.
    Correct. Owners win these deals more often than not. It’s why so many are happening.
    You're wrong Cbow, it was the fans' fault as to Fowler's downward spiral, that is according to Goold.
    Also not true. Derrick has never said what you just said. And I’m only approving the comment so you can’t play the he-never-answered card. From this side of the chat, it’s frustrating when answers are presented in this fashion, especially answers that are not said. Fowler has not justified his contract with his play. Fowler has also heard and read some bad stuff from people who identify themselves as Cardinals fans. Both can be true. Both are true.
    Thank you for your time. I enjoy the chats you do as well as all of the other media outlets you support, such as BenFred Friday's. On the last BenFred Friday, you mentioned that you were not a fan of the Cardinals which admittedly sort of caught me off-guard. I was curious, is this a standard stance that most reporters take regarding the teams that they cover. Is it so that you can provide unbiased and emotionally stable views on the team and its players?
  • It’s just different when you are covering it. Has to be. I don’t think I can be as good at my job as I need to be if I’m a fan of the team. I guess we all define the word differently, and this entire debate has played out in the chat before, and it usually turns into an agreement to disagree, and I never want the explanation to come across as anything close to sounding like I don’t like my job, because I love it. But when it is a job, it’s just different. You see how sausage is made. It becomes close to impossible to root for anything in mass. I find myself pulling for certain people more than any team. I wouldn’t have a job without fans of teams. Im thankful for them. But I don’t feel like one. I don’t lose sleep over losses or get jazzed with a win. I want to capture those moments and definitely feel those emotions with the ups and downs of chasing stories. That’s the difference as best as I can explain it here.
    I don't get Scott Boras's claim that these early signings by young players are hurting those particular players, they may be leaving $$$ on the table but think of the security that they also receive, I don't see where Scott Boras is setting money aside from all he's made off the game to help such a player if he suffers a career threatening injury.
    Scott Boras is the king of free agency.
    Free agency is heaving a scratchy death rattle at the moment.
    So, he’s doing what he does best — selling free agency so he can sell more free agents.
    He’s good at what he does.
    And he’s right about the owners winning the extension fever.
    That said it’s awful hard to turn down life-changing cash in a sport that can take it away in a pitch
    What do you feel is most likely to happen with Trevor Rosenthal?
    It would be wise to find a way to put him on the DL as soon as possible. Getting ugly out there. Velo is good but command is a mess. Maybe he can find it but goodness, keep him out of games until he does
    I think we know the cardinals "wait and see" pipe dream for Fowler's performance. We have heard about it being "their money." But lets say its you, BenFred, with whatever title they create, and you make the call.....does Fowler start? When do YOU make the DFA call? I think "some" fans believe it is overdue given the .180 and the horrible defense, weak baserunning, etc etc. But its hard to see in these chats if you are putting forth your opinion or the position of the cardinals.
    It’s only hard when chatters ask me to explain how I view the Cardinals’ thinking on something, then confuse it with my opinion.
    I’ve said here a million times that I’m starting Martinez over Fowler if I have a must-win game today. No questions asked.
    It’s harder for me to say I would eat the bulk of an 80-plus million dollar deal. And I imagine it would be hard for you, if you were being honest. You better be damn sure a guy has nothing to give before you do it.
    If Fowler continues to hit like he has so far, he’s going to wind up on the bench. If he can’t find a meaningful role off the bench, then you have no choice but to cut ties.
    I hope for his career he doesn’t get there, but evidence is growing more than shrinking so far this season
    Who was your favorite ballplayer growing up?
    Pudge. Jeter. Andruw Jones. Among others.
    Do free agents notice when the Cardinals bend over backward to commit to a player like Fowler? Is part of the reason the Cardinals keep supporting Fowler so that other free agents feel the Cardinals are a good team to play for?
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