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.


    Greetings, chatters. Lots to discuss today. The Cardinals might be stirring? Tyler O'Neill is going to come up, I imagine. And Miles Mikolas as well. Kelly Bryant is the SEC media days darling. Don't miss Dave Matter's awesome story on him in today's Post-Dispatch. Jordan Binnington is in the bag. And more. Let's ride.
    Oh, and one more thing. The chat format I was asked to try out recently was deleting questions and answers, so we are back to the old way, which some of you had requested. Onward.
    Remember when you were throwing shade on Tyler? Stick to predicting Stanley Cup playoff rounds
    Ha! I don't think I've ever "thrown shade" on him, but I did say he's going to have to earn his at-bats and can't expect a competing Cardinals team to hand him a month worth's of at-bats without results that justify the time. This is not a slam of O'Neill. Like every player, he has to prove he belongs out there. And right now, he's clearly doing that. Last night was impressive, clearly. In the past, when given these chances, he has had spikes of production, then leveled off, or had a hard time staying healthy. The Cardinals desperately need offense. They know O'Neill can provide that in a major way. He's going to get his chances now. He has to keep capitalizing on them. So far so good on this time around. And, if you remember, I am the one who pushed back against the "this is the last chance for O'Neill" narrative. He's 24 with big power. There will be more chances -- if he does not turn this one into the last one he needs.
    With MLS making their presentation to the expansion board, can we expect more news (potential sponsors, new stadium renderings) coming soon?
    I'm not expecting much of anything until the league plants its flag in St. Louis, officially. The league has more or less issued a gag order on the ownership groups that are close to the finish line. After being informed of the meeting yesterday, I hoped to provide some of those details, but was told the ownership group members are not doing interviews. The ownership group members are planning on  going to the All-Star game festivities in Orlando on July 31. At least they were as of yesterday. Garber likely updates expansion there. There is speculation, because Garber said in the past that he would like for the league to have its mind made up on this wave of expansion by the All-Star break, that there could be an announcement at the event. I don't know that that's the plan, but I don't know that it is not.
    Please explain MLS' obsession with secrecy when it comes to expansion. We all know St. Louis will be one of the 3 cities so why not give us some details about the stadium and so on.
    It's the league as much as it is the ownership group.
    The league likes to keep people guessing, and when you are one of the groups trying to land a team, you tend to follow the league's lead on what you do and don't say.
    The league wants as much surprise -- and more importantly as much leverage -- as possible.
    I know many are convinced it's a done deal with St. Louis. Perhaps that's the case. But until the league says so, I'll wait. Would be very surprised if it doesn't happen, but this entire MLS expansion issue shifts like sand constantly it seems.
    Do you expect XFL to play at the MLS stadium once it's complete? It'd look better in a 20,000 seat stadium compared to a 60,000 seat stadium.
  • I've not heard any mention of that. And I doubt it, especially considering the group that runs the Dome was a big reason the XFL came to St. Louis in the first place. I don't think the MLS crowd is rushing to help the XFL crowd. The XFL is on the outside looking in when it comes to the St. Louis pro sports fraternity. That's one of the many challenges the XFL faces here.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays got me thinking. Do you think we could convince the Memphis Grizzlies to play 1/2 the the home games here? The Midwest Grizzlies?
  • Ha! Sign me up, though I don't think Memphis fans would like that idea. They actually show up once in a while -- unlike baseball fans in Tampa.
  • The Giants have won 10 of their last 12. Bochy is leaving at season's end. What likely happens with Bumgarner and Smith?
  • What, you are doubting that San Francisco might want to trade two of its best pitchers when it's three games back of the second wild card with a manager on his last go-round? I'm starting to doubt that, too.
  • Hey Ben, you da man. I think what Tyler O'neill is doing sets the cardinals up perfectly to FINALLY sell high on a player. He in my mind is exactly what everyone thinks he will be as a full time player, 30+ home runs with 200+ K's. Solid yet not spectacular defense and plus speed. To me if he tears the cover off the ball the next 3 weeks it doesn't mean he is suddenly the future of our outfield, it means he has gotten on one of his hot streaks that will soon be followed by a long dry spell. This sets them up to move him in a deadline deal for what we need because we can sell high on his current production. The cards shouldn't be blinded by a few 430' home runs.
    I have pumped the brakes on O'Neill in the past. We just need to see more. But I'm not sure why the Cardinals would deal him if he keeps hitting like this. The Cardinals' lineup has become a desert. O'Neill is an oasis of power. Can it last? We don't know. Previous small sample sizes suggest he's a streaky hitter, and that could be the case for his career, but if he produces enough power, you live with the ups and downs and strikeouts. It's always about the power production for him. Always will be. Here's here to mash. Everything else takes a back seat. And if he does not mash often enough, it's hard to play him. Simple as that. Right now, he's mashing. And you are seeing how it brings life to this team. When you are trailing only the White Sox and Marlins in extra-base hits at the All-Star break, I don't think it's wise to deal the one guy who's forcing his way onto the scene with power, especially when Marcell Ozuna, the one guy hitting better than his career average, is out with a hand injury that could dent his power when he returns. The Cardinals should not deal pieces that are currently helping this team. They should add pieces that help this team. This is not he season for lateral moves or roster maintenance. This team's goal was to win the division. This team handed out extensions that said there was confidence in this core this season and beyond. It's time to take a gulp and double down, because the standings say the Cardinals should.
    It's been great to watch Waino thrive at Busch. And here's to hoping Flaherty and Mikolas's last starts are signs of things to come, but this team still needs a top of the rotation pitcher, for this season and the near future. If this team had to start a playoff series on the road, they'd be toast. Does Mo make a "full measure" move for a starter at the deadline?
  • The last full turn of the rotation has been quite strong, but I agree with you. Adding a top-shelf starter is still the move that could put the Cardinals over the top. I understand the call for a bat, but where? Is there an available bat out there that is better than what Paul Goldschmidt, Tyler O'Neill and Jose Martinez could offer? Is there a bat that justifies not playing the best defensive second baseman in baseball? Is there a bat that replaces Matt Carpenter at third; and would the Cardinals really make that kind of move with a legacy player they extended? Doubtful. So, if you are going to use hope and time for the lineup, use action for the pitching. Go get a starter who makes the entire rotation better, who strengthens the bullpen by default. That's the move, in my opinion, and the upward tick of the current rotation does not change it. As for will it happen? Wait and see. I've been in believe-it-when-you-see-it mode on Cardinals moves for some time now. They made a splash trade with Goldschmidt. Is there another?
  • This talk of trading O'Neil is absurd. Ozuna will most likely leave via trade or after this year. Bader can't hit. J.Martinez can't field and Fowler is up and down and may be here only a year or two more. Why would you get rid of the one outfielder who is young and hitting?
    It's not absurd. He's not untouchable. And his recent performance could increase his value. That said, I don't see how the Cardinals could be serious about contending and deal away the one guy who's pumping some crooked numbers into a power-starved lineup lately. If the Cardinals are interested in extending Ozuna after this season, they have done a good job of hiding it.
    Ben: Why is Drew Robinson and Justin Williams on the 40 man roster? Neither will contribute in the near future. They should be replaced with Carlson and Arozarena. Secondly, Here we go with Reyes again. it is same old same old. I think it is time to move on from Reyes and either trade or release him.
    Carlson and Arozarena are not being blocked by the 40-man issue. They're being blocked by playing time at the MLB  level. No reason to have them on the 40-man unless they are going to be used at MLB level. If they convince the Cardinals to call them up, they will be on the 40-man. On Reyes, the annual hype and then delay has become frustrating, I get it. More for him than anyone else. But why in the world would you trade him at his low, and why would you release him? So he might live up to his potential elsewhere? Trading low is not a great idea, especially with a pitcher whose ceiling is as high as Reyes'.
    Do you think Auburn being in the same division as LSU and Alabama influenced Kelly Bryant not to go there?
    Not from anything I've read or heard. If Bryant was basing his decisions based on the playoff, he would have bounced when Mizzou received his postseason ban. I think he liked Columbia and really bought in on the idea that one season with Derek Dooley would make him a better NFL prospect.
    Hi Ben. you've seen a lot of Matt Carpenter like the rest of us. He hasn't hit in a long ,long time going back to last season. What would you do with him if you were making the lineups ? I think the FO had put themselves in a bad situation .
    The extension, as we've discussed here a ton in recent weeks, is looking rushed and unnecessary. A bad situation is a fair assessment.  And while the Cardinals hope Carpenter will pull out of this and go on a surge, you're still looking at a good second half, at best. And things got even more frustrating last night. Out of his last 10 or so at-bats, Carpenter had hit 6 or 7 on the screws. Hard. Most became outs. But it looked sort of like Goldschmidt as he circled around his swing, doing more and more damage as he got closer to looking like the guy he can be. And then, bam, ball off the foot. Out of the game. We will see how he recovers. Initial scans of the foot were positive, but we will have to see how Carpenter recovers and if this becomes another setback on the bit of traction he seemed to before he was pulled from last night's game. Shildt should play the lineup that gives him the best chance to win, period. The longer Carpenter struggles, the less his contract and track record should matter. But if he goes on a tear, his upside is higher than others. That's the rub.
    Hi Ben. I know you're a good sport, so I'll ask this: Any comments you made when the Blues were struggling early in the season that you look back and say, "What was i thinking?" And, have any fans or chatters written you and said, "You know, I really was off on some of these things." I ask because there is a lesson here. Frustration is understandable, but advocating just to "blow things up" for the sake of doing so without a plan will doom one to failure. Not saying you went that far, but a lot of people pushed for that. I remember several people talking how trading Ryan Reeves ruined everything. How laughable. He's a fourth-line player and that Sundqvist guy ended up being pretty good, didn't he?
    I said in these chats that I thought they were toast, so that made me look dumb. I don't regret pointing out the grim picture history painted, because that became part of the story. And I don't regret doubting Jake Allen, because I was right. I did not see Jordan Binnington coming, but I saw he was better than Allen and that the team played differently in front of him. I thought Craig Berube was a placeholder. Wrong! So, I have some things I regret, sure. More than anything, I wish I would have been more patient with Alex Pietrangelo. He proved me wrong. He also said he was doubting himself at the same time. That was interesting. The Blues taught us a lesson in patience, but don't forget the changes they made. Coach. Goalie. Those are big shifts. GM Doug Armstrong made the right moves in knowing what to trust and knowing what to tweak.
    The Blues struggled early on,and we know how it ended.Any correlation for the Cardinals getting hot after the same struggles?
  • I remember smart hockey folks like P-D colleagues Jeff Gordon and Tom T saying things like, 'The Blues can't be this bad with the talent they have.'
    That description can fit the Cardinals, yes.
    It's never received well in the chats, but what we know about baseball suggests its unlikely that every Cardinals hitter not named Marcell Ozuna is going to have a career-worst season or one that barely touches his career average -- all at the same time.
    And it's unlikely that two of the top members of the rotation in Miles Mikolas and Jack Flaherty are going to have as poor of second halves as they did first halves.
    Now, to add on that last answer, that does not mean waiting is the best approach.
    The Blues made moves that saved their season.
    Coaching change. Goalie change.
    I'm not suggesting the Cardinals should replace Shildt. His team plays for him. The defense has improved -- you saw that last night -- and the baserunning is no longer Bad News Bears out there. It's actually a strength.
    But this team is still missing something. If the front office is serious about winning the division -- and the standings say it should be -- then it will do more than expect the team it assembled to click. It will find a way to try to add fuel to the fire.
    Season ends today and we're playing game 163 for a chance at a wild card game so the FO can argue that to this point they've followed the model of just get in
    Bill DeWitt Jr. said the goal was to win the division. Hold him to that.
    With Carpenter likely to miss a few games, do you think Shildt will give Fowler a run at the leadoff spot? His OBP does lead the team and he has been a leadoff hitter for most of his career. I don't understand why a run of this hasn't happened already given the results out of the leadoff spot so far
    Fine by me. Fowler does have 23 at-bats there this season. He's slashing .043/.154/.043 in those limited sample sizes. It's been late May since Folwer got much of a run there. Might be time to try it again with Edman cooling off and Carpenter's struggles, combined with his wait-and-see foot issue.
    Is Wacha likely to be dealt?
    It would not be a surprise. He's been forced out of the rotation by Ponce de Leon and does not have much of a defined role in the bullpen.
    Realistically, can this organization make an impact move without gutting an already depleted minor league system?
  • Ben - If O'Neill continues to produce and Ozuna returns, does he go to Center or Fowler to center and O'Neill to right?
    Updated Answer: If meaning beyond this season, I would not assume Ozuna returns. He's a free agent after the season, and the Cardinals have not put on much of a public recruiting effort.
     
    If meaning this season, I think you have to play Ozuna (if his hand is ready) and Fowler with O'Neill until or unless O'Neill slumps. That leaves Bader as defensive replacement and Jose Martinez as threatening pinch-hitter. Let Fowler play center field. He's been better there than I thought he could be, though the heat is going to test his legs.
    Ben, can’t get excited yet about this modest three game winning streak. When it gets up to 8 or 9… then you have something. I’m not sure why Shildt keeps trotting Carp out the in the lead off spot. Bader is cold as ice. Bring up Arozarena and stick him in the lead off spot and let’s see if he’s the spark we need. I’m sure we could make room for him on the 40 man roster somewhere.
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