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.

    That's a question for the editors, but we will have it covered when that time comes.
    At this point with no real trade value, especially with injuries a constant in pitching staffs, isn't it better to keep Wacha on and in the mix?
    I don't mind the idea of having Wacha around for what-if, but having the Wacha-Ponce baton pass as the fifth starter is not the situation a team determined to win the division lives with.
    How about some updates on the MLS expansion news?
    Insert sound of crickets chirping.
    All we know for sure is the league will not announce expansion at the upcoming All-Star weekend, as some predicted earlier.
    It could come after that.
    MLS ownership group has been quite quiet, in part because league wants it that way.
    I don't interpret the silence as bad, though some will.
    Ownership group members remain confident they're going to get it done.
     
  • Mo said trading Carlson would happen basically "over his dead body." Do you buy that? Is Mo posturing to build the value of Carlson or does the organization think that highly of him that he is off the table in any deal? Including a Thor or Ray?
    Everything is posturing, to some degree.
    Reading tea leaves, it seems from this vantage point that the Cardinals are perhaps moving the "untouchable" umbrella more over Carlson, which might mean shifting it away from Gorman a bit.
    And that would make sense, right?
    The Cardinals have multiple third basemen on their list of top prospects. Montero, Sosa and Nunez are all in the Cardinals' top-20 as of today, per MLB.com. There's some depth there.
     
    Can Carpenter insist on being put back on the big squad at anytime even if his current slump continues?
    Considering that he has agreed to this minor-league stint, pretty much.
    That's a misunderstood thing about this process.
    Veterans can't be forced.
    Carpenter knows he needs to get right, so he's agreed to this (frustrating, so far) search
    Despite what seemed on the surface to be a sincere apology by Bauer afterwards what's your take on how the Cardinals likely view him in terms of a potential acquisition?
    Hopefully they view him as a starter who could make their team better.
    Anything else is eyewash.
    He got mad and chucked a ball.
    He didn't hit a guy in the head with a heater.
    He didn't stomp on someone's ankle like Machado.
    He hurt no one.
    He apologized, sincerely.
    That should not affect his trade value or standing, and any team that suggests it does or did (after the fact) should be challenged, because it sounds like an excuse for teams looking for reasons not to make a big move
    Ben,

    To build off of what you said about the lack of return for Stroman, I have to ask where were the Cardinals? The guy has been at the top of the Jays rotation for many years. He has the style the Birds like - he pitches to contact, is under contract for cheap for another season. When I saw the trade analysis, I’m not going to lie, it really worried me that the Cardinals passed. Call me a worrier if you want, but man I want this team to play playoff baseball this year! It’s right there! I hope they didn’t pass in Stroman and then only trade for some players from the scrap heap and we fall short. I’m tired of complaining about their lack of urgency, I’m tired of watching other teams play in October when they’ve ha rosters that have been close but they continue to fail to make significant in season additions. They could have addressed all of their major issues this past winter. I was their on Sunday and watched Miley pitch another great start. He wasn’t an expensive free agent addition for the Astros. Kuechel has been pitching well. He only cost money and really not that much and didn’t cost a draft pick. Are they over analyzing things? Some moves look pretty obvious and yet still more inaction.
    We had similar reactions to the Stroman trade. I didn't just think, 'Where are the Cardinals?' I thought, 'Where is every team that needs a starter?' This move is really confusing, and much of the conversation has focused on the Mets -- why are they buying when they should be selling? I'm more interested in the Blue Jays. Why did they accept that package from the Mets when they did when it seemed they could have leveraged more -- perhaps a lot more -- from the Yankees and/or the others on the list of teams that are hunting for rotation help. It seemed like a rushed move from Toronto, when the bidding could have gotten better (for Toronoto) if the Blue Jays waited for teams to get more desperate and change their tunes regarding what they were willing to give up.
    Ben - The Indians are in the playoffs if the season ends today. Why in the world would they trade Bauer who could help them win and could conceivably pitch against them in the playoffs?
  • I hear you. Would not, should not be a surprise if they hold onto him, no matter what the conversation around him says. But that conversation around him, reported widely, is that Cleveland is at least considering a buy-and-sell handling of the trade deadline that offloads Bauer before he gets a significant raise. If Bauer is not a part of the long-term plan in Cleveland, he is much more valuable to trade now than hold. That way, the trading team gets him for two postseasons, not one. 
    Personally, I think Cleveland would be crazy for dealing him at this point.
    Go win a World Series with him instead.
    So the Cards need a starter, preferably lefthanded, that can eat innings, offers multiple years of control, and can pitch at a level that positions him near the top of the rotation? The team is also pinched on prospects, so the ideal way to acquire said pitcher would be by taking on some excess cash rather than trading away talent. Dallas Keuchel checks everyone of those boxes, yet the team decided not to sign him despite Wacha struggles and Reyes injury, all of which happened well before he put on a Braves uni. How many games ahead of the Cubs is this team if Keuchel had been starting in the place of Wacha and Ponce every 5th day since early June? It's hard to take this front office seriously on being all-in for the season when they refuse to make such obvious moves to strengthen the team.
    If the Cardinals don't strengthen the rotation, this criticism is totally fair.
    For sure.
    If they add a starter who is better than Keuchel, not so much.
    Keuchel has an adjusted ERA of 118 through eight starts. The Braves are 3-5 in those games. He's posted a quality start in half of his outings.
    Wacha's adjusted ERA is 82, 18 points below league average. Ouch.
    Ponce de Leon's is 112, just six points below Keuchel's. The Cards are 5-2 in his seven starts. He's got two quality starts in seven shots this season.
    So, yes, you can certainly argue Kuechel has been better than Wacha and Ponce de Leon.
    Can the Cardinals make a move for a stronger starter? 
    Yes.
    They should.
    If not, and their current staff plays out, passing on one-year of Keuchel at $13 million will seem like a miss.
     
    At what point do we start to put some pressure on Mike Maddux? I know we've seen a small turn around since the All star break, but i just dont see our starters getting better consistently? So many pitchers are performing for other teams that we've given up on? Maddux was high profile coaching change and i'm not seeing the effects? Is Chris Carpenter interested in being a coach? I remember reading stories from his playing days of him and Waino watching struggling pitchers to find a flaw in their mechanics or find where they are tipping pitches.
    I've got a hard time pinning this one on Mad Dog.
    The rotation is at this stage because Carlos Martinez apparently wasn't physically capable of being a starter, because Alex Reyes has had another lost season, because Austin Gomber got hurt, because Michael Wacha did the same thing Michael Wacha has done for a while now, and because as the depth thinned and thinned, there was nothing done to bolster things to this point.
    The deadline is a chance to do that.
    Flaherty has not taken the next step forward like the Cardinals hoped. But that's just growth as a pitcher. It's rarely linear. Mikolas has been up and down. Hudson has been strong. Wainwright has been better than anyone in this chat would have predicted.
    And the bullpen has been outstanding. So, Maddux gets points for that.
    The Cardinals' don't need a new pitching coach as much as they need a new arm in the rotation.
    Is the MLS group in Orlando? Some said the governors will vote tomorrow
    They're on their way there for the MLS All-Star festivities, yes.
    Expansion is going to be discussed there.
    Decided? Don't know.
    Only thing we know for certain is there will not be any expansion-specific announcements made at the break.
    That confirmation came from the league.
    The league has in the past done those in the city that is being awarded the team.
    That will be the same case here.
     
    I miss "old time" baseball. Pitchers going deep in the game. No launch angle, no OPS, no WAR, no home run distance. A home run that just clears the wall counts the same as one that goes 500 feet! Just play the games. Your comments?
    Well, there has always been launch angle. It's just now measured and obsessed over. I think we agree that home-run-or-nothing baseball jam-packed with pitching changes is not the most pleasant to watch, but I don't want to see it forced out of the game with rules. Don't ban shifts. Don't limit pitching changes. Players and teams should adapt.
  • How long can the Cards keep Carpenter in the minors before he can force a promotion to the Big Leagues.
    The Cardinals can't keep him in the minors.
    Carpenter has had to agree to these rehab games in the minors.
    The veterans have leverage in these situations due to the CBA.
    With Ozuna's injury, Tyler O'Neill received a bunch of playing time, and with that, he seemed to relax at the plate and carried the team for a few weeks. Then, the pitchers adjusted to him, and he went cold. Now playing time seems to be drying up, with Ozuna expected back soon, perhaps against Oakland. With Bader down to AAA, will O'Neill be given chunks of playing time to adjust to the pitching adjustments he saw, or, is it back to a carousel between Tyler, Dex, Jose, and Munoz? I liked what i saw of a relaxed O'Neill, but you wont see that same guy unless he sees more than some at-bats here and there.
    When Ozuna gets back, I think the outfield will look like Ozuna (left field), Dexter Fowler (center field) and right field (O'Neill/Martinez).
    Munoz and Edman can get in there some, too.
    Hot bat plays. Hard to ignore O'Neill's when it's on. Hard to justify it when it's cold. That's who he is until we know differently.
     
     
    O'Neill and Martinez have OPS of .770 and .771 respectively. For me, O'Neill has to play the bulk if you're choosing between them because he's cut his K rate recently and because of defense
    O'Neill also has one home run in his last 45 at-bats. You play the hot hand, the one that looks better against that pitcher ,the splits, the data that day. That's how I would handle it. That's how the Cardinals should handle it -- play the lineup that give you the best chance to win, today. 
     
     
    Happy Tuesday BenFred. Thanks for the chat!

    What do you estimate is the amount of money remaining under the cap to sign Maroon, Barby (can't spell Ivan's last name) and Edmundson? I get the impression from recent articles there may only be money for two of them.
    We don't have to guess, thanks to a very handy website called CapFriendly.com.
    The Blues have an estimated $5,070,406 left in cap space, per that site.
    The recent additions the Blues have made suggest they could pivot away from Edmundson if something cannot be worked out before arbitration, or if there is an arbitration figure they don't like. That would make him an unrestricted free agent.
    Barbashev doesn't have the shot at arbitration. This seems to be haggling over small potatoes, more than anything. Have to figure he will be ready to roll for camp.
    As for Maroon, the Blues made it clear he's on the tail end of the list of any priorities, and the money is running out. Would Maroon be willing to come back on the same contract? If he had a multi-year deal elsewhere, wouldn't he have accepted it by now?
    These are the big questions at the moment.
     
    Is this a fair statement that when Jocketty was here we knew we had this time of year when the calvary was coming to help us!? It seems like know we wait to see what the Cubs and Brewers do before we move. Is that fair?
  • You've forgotten some of the deadline moves the Cardinals have made under current leadership.
    But that's because it's been a while.
    Last season's deadline, especially, left fans stumped as to what the Cardinals were: buyers, or sellers.
    They were  . . . roster managers.
    Now's no time for that.
    Give them until the deadline to make a splash.
    But it's more than fair to expect one by then.
    Small bears just added reliever David Phelps and put Strop on IL with apparently more move to come. Theo, with no payroll flexibility is trolling MO & Girsch. Maybe the birds FO has too many ppl with titles and that makes it hard to make a decision or a deal??
    Where Cardinals fans see the Cubs wheeling and dealing, Cubs fans are beginning to question some of the deals. Kimbrel has not been good.
     
    But yes, as I've said before, the Cubs seem to be one of the teams willing to be bold in an era defined by front-office pragmatic paralysis. That's why I like this new deadline approach. Do it, or do nothing. No do-overs. Already, front offices are whining about the deadline. Go figure.
    All this talk about winning the division and first place. The weak Central Division has propped this team up for decades. THey would be a mile out in any other division. 50 games out of 162 against three of the worst teams in baseball is making an average at best team look marginally good. "Ohhhh we are tied for first place". LOL.
    But they are not in another division. They are in this division, and tied for first place. That's the reality. I'm sorry it does not please you? If you're suggesting a team tied for first place of any division should sell and turn the page, I disagree.
    It's always hard to say goodbye when a hometown boy makes good, but the Blues nearly cut Maroon at one point in the season so let's not overstate his importance to the team's success. Even the goal he will always be remembered for was generated more thanks to Thomas' skill than Patty's size. Aren't the Blues a better team next year using Maroon's roster spot to give more playing time to guys like Kyrou, Sanford or Blais?
    It depends on what Maroon could he had for. If he is on the same contract as last year, or something close, I'd like to have him back. His experience, physicality and leadership got more important the deeper the season went, and it was very valuable in the postseason, which gets heavier as it continues. A lot of teams around hockey were wishing they had more guys like Maroon by the time the Blues won the Cup. I'm not hinging next season's hopes on him. And he had some grim parts of the season for sure. But I'm not ready to say the Blues are better off without him. If he can return on a reasonable deal, that's the best-case scenario. I'm afraid it might be out of the realm of possibilities at this point.
    I understand the frustration with some of the recent moves, and lack of moves, by Mo and the front office. But, is a part of that merely following a game plan from ownership?
    Everybody has a boss. In a front office that is very much guided by a team approach, there is one person who can say, hey, here's what we are doing, go do it. It's not Mozeliak. It's chairman Bill Dewitt Jr. The division is right there for the taking. If the Cardinals don't make those kind of moves, it's fair to ask how to reconcile that with the comments about reclaiming the division that were made this winter and spring.
    Ben. I agree with you that hot bat plays as you suggested for the outfield! Should there be any discussion that Edman or Munoz plays third and Carpenter rides the pine until he gets a hot bat?
    PS. I don’t think that is happening this season!
  • Can we save the Carpenter angst until he is back and taking at-bats away from players who are performing better than he is?
    Please?
    Because, that's not happening right now.
    In fact, he agreed to a longer stint in the minors than originally planned in order to get right.
    Carpenter's OPS is nearly identical to Yairo Munoz's.
    His on-base percentage bests both Munoz's and Tommy Edman's.
    With him hitting a dreadful zip for 19 with 7 K's in six minor-league games, nothing suggests he should be immediately planted at third base without exception when he returns.
    But let's also not conclude that Edman and Munoz are the hottest hitters on the planet, either.
    Whatever you think about Carpenter, and I think we can all agree the extension was a mistake, we know he can get hot and go nuts at the plate for stretches.
    The Cardinals would be silly to rule that out.
    They would also be silly to just assume it's going to happen.
    A solution is creating chances here and there for it to spark.
    When he's back, you find him chances to perform, same as you do with left field and the options there once Ozuna is back and O'Neill, Martinez and others are available for starts in LF. Adjust accordingly. The Cardinals and their fans should hope Carpenter catches a groove, because Carpenter in a groove does a lot more damage than either Munoz or Edman.
    But Carpenter, as he is right now, should not be starting above either, because Munoz and Edman are more dynamic players and have better speed. They're also both able to play different positions, meaning their appearances are not completely eliminated by chances created for Carpenter.
    The answer is not black or white.
    Carpenter doesn't look like a starter.
    He still offers the most upside if he's right, or close to it.
    So, don't eliminate an option when you don't have to.
     
     
     
     
    It is my opinion that the Cards would do best to clear some of the mediocre/ underperforming veterans (Wacha, Fowler, Carpenter) as a shakeup to also clear room for a SP pickup, Arozorena, and Edman/Munoz to spark the team. It would seem to clear up a muddy roster. What is your take on such moves?
    I'd suggest you review the Cardinals' history on eating money.
    They're not big fans.
    Also: Why cut Fowler?
    He's had a bounce-back season in center field that lessened the damage of Harrison Bader's slump and is on an uptick offensively in July. He's slugged .514 this month. 
     
    Do you think that the focus on cost controlled talent for MLB front offices now is eliminating, or at least stunting, the push to go for it or win now?
    I think the obsession with "value" combined with the fact that all teams are viewing players in the same way has led to a gridlock of sorts.
    Throw in that there are some super teams, some jump-started by tanking, that have bludgeoned away at the notion that getting in could lead to winning big, and there are even more reasons to find reasons to not make deals.
    It's boring.
    It's stale.
    It's something the league should be aware of, because the baseball deadline and winter meetings has become like watching paint dry compared to the dealing periods of NBA, NHL, NFL.
     
    You were right to say that Wieters deserved more respect from the fans. The guy has played well, especially considering the production the Cards have enjoyed out of Molina's backups in recent seasons. With Yadi set to return in early August, do you see the team having the fortitude to tell Molina no when it comes to starting everyday, and instead split the playing time with Wieters should Yadi continue not producing at the plate? I'm not sure a guy managing his first full season has the cache to make such a decision when it comes to a franchise icon.
    If Molina hits, this question answers itself.
    If his bat is slow to come around, it's going to be a very interesting conversation.
    Shildt has to play the team that gives him he best chance to win, no matter what.
    If Molina hits, it's easy.
    If not . . . Shildt's going to have a tough one on his hands.
    That was a pretty impassioned defense of a guy who is making $14.5 mil this year and $19.5 mil each of the next two years, yet is batting slightly over .200 at the MLB level since 9/1/18 and batting what, slighly over .000 in the minors this year. LOL. Let's start a Hall of Fame push for Cereal Boy.
    Really?
    I felt like it was just common sense, knowing what we know about how the Cardinals operate.
  • I know this would make 4 years missing the playoffs in a row, and fans tend to live in the now. But if they miss the playoffs this year, i would say this would go down as the most disappointing year in recent history for the team. Especially if they stand pat at the deadline and the Cubs and Brewers improve.
    Gotta run, folks. Thanks for jumping in today. As always, find me on Twitter if I missed your question. I'm at Ben_Fred
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