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.




    Did you watch the Hall of Fame game? It probably got better ratings than any MLB game this year. If so, you probably saw Drew Lock underperform. Cause for concern?
    Nope.
    The Cards and Cubs were playing that night, so I was at Busch.
    You can ask a Drew Lock question without slamming baseball.
    Promise.
    I caught up on Lock's struggles.
    Not good.
    I don't want to over-react to one meaningless preseason game, but it seems Drew has a long way to go before he's ready to be the guy for an NFL team. The good news is the Broncos have that guy in Flacco. The coaching staff has made that pretty clear. I don't think Josh Heupel did Lock many favors in terms of NFL development, running a paint by numbers offense. That's not a knock on Heupel, but could be a sign to QBs he recruits in the future. The NFL is kind of crazy for knocking college offenses, considering they steal from them all the time, but this situations seems to show the gap between the complexities of the NFL game compared to Heupel's run-and-gun, no-huddle attack. Lock hoped a season with Derek Dooley would make him more NFL ready, but the offense didn't change all that much that season. I'm not out on Drew, but he's going to have to learn fast. We know he's got the arm.
    Mizzou BB question. It looks like they are pretty set this year at guard and with the big men, but do you see anyone that could emerge to be a threat at the wing/forward position? It seems like most good teams have someone that can score/defend both on the perimeter and on the inside. Could that be the freshmen Jackson?
    I'd lean toward Kobe Brown over Tray Jackson at the moment.
    I think Kobe Brown would start if the season started today.
    That lineup would look like: Dru Smith, Mark Smith, Javon Pickett, Kobe Brown and Jeremiah Tilmon.
    We've heard a lot about the open lines of communication differences between Mike Matheny & Mike Shildt. Just curious if MS is still as open and forthcoming nowadays with the club having some issues, such as Carpenter back despite a 2-29 showing in the minors, playing Tommy Edman in RF (at the MLB level) for the first time since he was 12 years old, no apparent 5th starter, some young pitchers, such as Hudson, appear to be hitting a wall, and others. Is MS as testy in these dog days as MM was? Just curious. tks for all you do,Ben!!
    Two different things here, so we should be clear about the two. Shildt has been praised for being candid and direct with his players. That wasn't the case with Matheny. Guys felt confused, misled, etc. by the end. That's no more. Players know where they stand, and if they don't they know they can find out.
     
    As for how Shildt talks about his team, he and Matheny are going to get criticized for some of the same stuff -- relentless positive comments, etc. Other than that, it's a pretty big difference. Matheny was uncomfortable explaining his decisions. He bristled when questioned about them. He did not see the value in discussing his team. Shildt gets it.
    I just want to be clear. You are arguing that Shildt is an upgrade over Matheny?
  • You new around here?
    Yes.
    Check out the improved baserunning and defense for examples.
    Shildt isn't the one who should have added starting pitching.
     
    All the people cardinal bashing need to relax...this is what they are right now...it is our way of sort of a rebuild........its been that way for 4 years.....it could be worse
    Let me know how the Carpenter extension fits into a rebuild.
    The Cardinals had a chance to rebuild after this season -- then extended Goldschmidt, Mikolas and Carpenter.
    That's not a rebuild.
    I wouldn't make anything of Lock's performance last week. He had three touch throws down the sideline in which he made the right read and put the ball between the corner and safety but about a yard too far each time for his receiver. That's not a college vs pros adjustment, that's just timing and knowing your receiver. We saw him make that throw all the time in college. He had a bad throw to his left that should have been picked. Again, not an adjustment to the pros kind of thing. Just a bad thrown. After that, the line was horrific, the game plan so vanilla that if you look at each QB's states, passes were going for like 5 yards per completion, that it wasn't even a real display of offense on any level. My worry is that Fangio has already decided that Lock is a project and won't allow to get the kind of reps he needs to develop. I'll be curious if the Broncos are smart enough to follow Philly and KC's lead and tailor an offense that suits Lock's skills rather than try to do what most idiots in the NFL do when they draft a spread guy and try to shoehorn him into a 1950s system.
    The Broncos have made it pretty clear they want Flacco to work.
    So, it makes sense for them to ride Lock extra hard, to draw that clear line between Flacco and Lock.
    If Flacco stinks or gets hurt, I bet they are higher on Drew than before. Fast.
    Politics.
     
    Speaking of Mizzou basketball, any word if Tilmon has taken anything resembling a step forward this offseason? If he's constantly playing in foul trouble, another long season awaits.
    It's impossible to know until the season starts and games begin.
    It's in those settings where Tilmon has to show he can play without becoming a walking foul. 
    He gets in his own head when he feels calls are going against him, or when he has a hard time staying away from fouls he knows he should not have caused.
    It just shuts him down.
    Of course the team is working with him on this, and putting things in place off the court and on it to try to help him turn the page when it happens instead of spiraling, but evidence of it working is only going to count in games.
    What's crazy is that Tilmon made some nice strides last season. Really improved his free-throw percentage. Rebounded better. But the foul trouble overshadowed everything, and it will again unless he can find a way around it.
    Cheer up Cards fans, it's almost Blue's season! Wait, that sounds backwards...
    Armstrong, after winning the team's first ever championship, says the Blues can't live in the past.
    Meanwhile the Cardinals remain stuck in it.
    Local media often praises DeWitt’s baseball acumen. This season really seems to cast some doubts on that. Couple that with how long they stayed with Matheny and you start to wonder if the organization has lost its fastball from the top down?
    I think I've said this before, but I'll repeat it again here: Nothing about the Cardinals' slide has surprised me more than DeWitt's rationalization of it at every turn. I figured he would be mad by now. Sick of it. Ready to retake what was lost. No sign of that at the deadline.
    Ben, I have heard comments like "if you don't like the product don't go" as a way to put pressure for change. The media believes this and it is a true statement that it would have impact. The other side is you are asking for people to turn away from something that is enjoyable, a part of their soul. Fans believe that the media has more power to put pressure on a situation too, sometimes that belief is overstated. However, I do believe, and very thankful, that journalist, media have power. Do you think the media gives the Cardinals too little accountability, say compared to other markets?
    I imagine we all have different opinions about what the Cardinals value when determining their decisions, but I can promise you their bottom line matters more to them than what media members think.
    And again, I'm not telling anyone to avoid going to games. Do what makes you happy. Honest.
    That said, I get a kick out of those -- not saying you are in this camp -- who rip into the media for giving the team a so-called free pass while the same people are buying tickets, attending games, etc.
    I did everything but stand on the top of the P-D beating pots and pans hollering that the Cardinals were betraying their season message if they did not make moves of substance at the trade deadline.
    I can send the links if you don't believe me or were not reading.
    I wasn't the only one.
    Cardinals still stood pat.
    Until the organization decides to force itself out of its comfort zone, it will continue to make more comfortable decisions than risks to win now.
    The Cardinals are comfortable.
    Check the Forbes list. 
    I haven’t seen to many troll questions today. Have you been holding those out???
    Just the ones about NFL coming back to St. Louis. Those are new to the no-fly list.
    So with Voit/Pham/Mercado at .901/.896/.806 OPS respectively since they left the Cardinals a year ago and no Cardinal over .800 except Ozuna (.835) isnt it pretty clear that if we had STOOD PAT and went with Ozuna/Pham/Mercado and Voit we might have made the playoffs LAST year and would be ahead of where we are this year offensively (third to last in the league) *and* have better defense (except for 1b)? And not have needed to trade a reliable starter and a valuable Molina-replacement candidate and give up $135m in salary flexibility plus int'l slot money?? Or where have I miscalculated?
    You're hitting on something important.
    The Cardinals have been accused, sometimes accurately, or prospect hoarding.
    That claim has popped up again after this hibernation at the trade deadline.
    If that's the case, Mercado should have been hoarded. Instead he was traded to Cleveland for minor leaguers who have done nothing of substance and is now creating conversation for AL ROY. He's hitting second for the Indians and stealing bases left and right. 
    The Cardinals used to be money when it came to knowing which players to keep and which to surrender.
    That edge has dulled.
    Forget the Voit trade, and I'm a Voit honk. But Voit, who was blocked, for Gallegos, who has become a stud in the bullpen, is not a bad deal. Even if Shreve was supposed to be the better add.
    I'm talking more about Pham and Mercado. Seeing what those guys are doing this season compared to Bader and O'Neill makes you wonder what the Cardinals missed.
    Instead of being upset with Dish Network I guess I should be thanking them for denying me the opportunity to watch the recent west coast games.
  • I feel your pain. Well, specifically, my dad does. I went home to Sedalia this weekend to help him out with some stuff, and he can't watch Cardinals or Royals games anymore. And as far as I could figure, the YouTube TV option for his area only aligns with Fox Sports KC. I couldn't even find a number for YouTube TV to call and ask if there was a way to get both. The entire situation is maddening. Greed.
    Sorry if this has been asked, but why get rid of Gyorko? He was a solid 3B and he probably hits better than Munoz or Edman when he gets going. This team needs all the offense it can get.
    Because why not give a National League competitor a salary-cap favor and a potential power bat off the bench if he's able to get things going?
    You have to make that kind of move when it's available.
    I'm kidding.
    It didn't make sense. 
    Maybe Jeffry Abreu turns into something down the road, but he's also shut down for the season, like Tony Cingrani, the free agent to be also acquired in the deal.
     
    I think Oscar and Pham are 70 RBI guys from OF. Somehow I don't think we traded HoFers.
    No one here is claiming they are Hall of Famers.
    Would you rather have them starting in your outfield today over Harrison Bader and Tyler O'Neill?
    That was the question.
    I think they basically have thrown in the towel on this season. The Gyorko move as much as said that. He was the kind of player a buyer with hopes would bolt on to a roster as an add. Instead they were a seller in return for a bag of balls. No move(s) at deadline was a stark admission that whatever trade currency we have was devalued and that we better hold on to the little we have.
    When you won't trade your two two prosects, and you don't want to trade from the MLB roster, and you don't want to trade for a starting rental because it would require a deal that starts with one of two young outfielders who have not yet proven they are for-sure MLB starters, then, yes, you don't have a very good chance of making an impactful deal. The Cardinals knew all of these things going into the deadline, and still painted themselves as sellers. That was crazy, knowing what we know now about their lack of motivation to pull off a trade that helped this team. And if they knew that all along, and they should have, then why not get Dallas Keuchel for the rotation? It doesn't add up. It doesn't mesh with the 2019 matters message. Hence, confusion and frustration.
    Ben, Thank you for your reply. I know your work, I do think that you are in the minority though. I grew up in StL, still spend time there in 12 week assignments. StL is unique. People where red on game days, Cards caps, flags etc. Friends, family are going to less games. It takes a lot in StL to drop attendance to 30k. The point was more about the majority of media, not you personally or any 1 singled out.
    I understand the question. I'll answer it the best I can, but it's something that is probably going to launch me into rant. It's not my job to be the media critic. I write what I think, what I can back up with observations, reporting, research, etc. It's opinion, usually, but I work for it to be educated opinion. That's my job. Some think it's too critical. Some think it's too soft. Whatever. I stand by it. I show up and take my lumps when the people I cover get mad. It's the job. Now, not everyone has the same role as me. I can't help but laugh when I hear people complaining about how Fox Sports Midwest or KMOX or another official broadcast partner of the team presents something, because that relationship is totally different. Different expectations. Different job requirements. Different everything. Another thing: It's a good act to tell folks, "I'm the only one telling it like it is, and no one else does it." Say it enough, and people might believe it. It's marketing. Good marketing. Doesn't make it true. Is this market different than New York? Sure. But the back page of the tabloids is not a true representation of what Aaron Boone deals with every day. There is a range of coverage there, just like it is here. It would be hard to find a market that analyzes baseball like this one, with daily interest in the smallest of roster moves, with big expectations and big money spent on the team by fans, with the unlimited coverage available, from the minors to former Cardinals who have moved on elsewhere. It's not a soft market. It's an obsessed baseball market. It's also a market that has watched the Cardinals have a lot of success, so it tends to give the Cardinals the benefit of the doubt. I think you have witnessed that benefit of the doubt fade along with the team.
    regarding Voit, who was "blocked" by none other than Matt Carpenter, who at the time couldn't be moved to third, because at the time he couldn't make the throw
    Also blocked by Jose Martinez, who we were told was a first baseman who would not be sent back to the outfield.
    Until he was.
     
    I think the toxic, entitled nature of the fan base is a reason (not the only, but ONE reason) why big name players don't come here. For the record I am a Dodgers Fan.
    Interesting.
    Can't imagine Mike Trout was thinking toxic when he came for the Pujols reunion.
    I've never figured fan behavior as much of a factor in free agent decisions.
    Money seems to matter most.
    Winning matters.
    Location.
    Guys like to play in front of fans more than no fans.
    But rare is the player who says no thanks to a team because of fans.
     
    Just to clarify, BF, the Cardinals do hoard prospects (even DGoold has noted this), and Mercado's trade was not an example that proves otherwise, but an example of the problem they created for themselves via prospect hoarding (and via the Fowler deal). They had so many OFs in AAA and creeping toward AAA that there was a logjam, and Mercado was going to have to be put on the 40 man in the winter or expose him (which means lose him), and since they were carrying the dead weight of Dexter, already had Bader in the majors, and JMart and Ozuna, they saw no room, and so they moved him to get a younger prospect and another that that wasn't nearing 40 man status. It was stupid and a function of bad asset management.
  • Right.
    You made my point.
    If you're going to collect prospects, you better make sure you collect the right ones.
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