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. Hope everyone is off to the start of a great week, or at least having a better week than Mark Budaska. Kelly Bryant looked a little shaky in scrimmage one. The Cardinals are across the state ready to gobble up the Royals like Oklahoma Joe's. The Pat Maroon countdown continues to tick, tick, tick. Plenty to discuss. We will go where you lead us. Let's roll.
    St. Louis is known for baseball passion. Do you think this is accurate? Also, could St. Louis support a second MLB team if we are so passionate about the sport?
    Do you have any insight on the XFL team name in St. Louis or in any other market? Do you know when it will be announced?
    I know some have jokingly started calling them the unicorns, because it's taken so long to find out the name.
    That was supposed to be announced recently, but it got pushed back.
    There doesn't seem to be a hard timeline on much of this stuff, and it has been pretty fluid so far.
    Initially the plan was for all teams to reveal at once, and that could still be the plan, but the date has been pushed back at least once.
    Thank you for the chat, appreciate your time. I have not understood the trades that Mo has been making, seems like he under estimates his players and over estimates what he is getting back. I guess it is a tougher job than most of us realize! That being said their must be some AL team in need of a DH (Jose Martinez), he does not need to be playing defense! Will he bring in a good prospect?
    It is a tougher job than most realize. That's the truth. For example, you can find other criticism that the Cardinals have been too high on their own prospects, and not willing enough to make trades. The Cardinals had a long run of smart, successful trades but the results have not been as great as of late. Some -- like Gallegos and Shreve for Voit -- have aged better than initially thought, thanks to Gallegos. That's the thing about trades. The grades fluctuate, up and down, back and forth, depending on the outcome over time. As for Jose Martinez, we've been down this road often. The Cardinals have shopped him in the past. They never found a trade partner that was willing to give up the kind of swap they felt like was worth losing Martinez, who has been one of the team's most reliable hitters for some time now. Jose is a very nice weapon to have on the bench. He can step in and make starts when his bat is demanding playing time. He's a plus pinch-hitter. His defense, whether at first base or outfield, is always going to make it hard for him to be an every-day starter, but he's a team-first guy who understands his role. He's not a player you give away, and none of those AL teams have been willing -- at least in the Cardinals eyes -- to give the Cardinals enough to get him.
    I am really concerned with MO and his talent evaluators for last few years. They have developed many players that they considered top end prospects. Now not many have turned out to be a star quality player. I mean look at Braves, Padres, Astros etc. Who ever Yankees turn to seems have turn out to be great performers. Now prospects are just that prospects till they turn into stars in the majors. MO and front office must figured out what they are doing wrong when it comes to evaluating talents. Why they have turn one or two into star quality. Your thoughts please
    My thoughts . . . 
    Is it talent evaluation, or talent development that has slowed down the Cardinals?
    Perhaps some of both?
    I agree that these are questions the organization needs to answer, ASAP.
    The Cardinals' model is one of development. Fill from within. Give young talent a chance before seeking help outside.
    That has worked for a long time, so much so that other teams have modeled themselves after the Cardinals.
    But when you have a flurry of young players who pop at the major league level, then fall back, it's fair to ask why. It's smart to ask why
    Randal Grichuk, Aledmys Diaz, Tyler O'Neill, Harrison Bader are examples of some young players who looked ready, then regressed.
    Growth at the MLB level is not linear. And it's hard as heck. But the Cardinals should be concerned -- they are -- about how players go from reaching the majors to staying in the majors.
    Paul DeJong has done it. It can be done.
    Another thing: When comparing how the Cardinals' prospects pan out against other teams', you also have to look at where the Cardinals drafted compared to those other teams.
    That's not an excuse.
    It's a legitimate difference.
    Teams that tanked, like the Astros, have been rewarded with prime draft picks.
    Teams that attempt to compete annually, like the Cardinals, are punished by the current draft system
    Kund of weird timing that they fire assistant hitting coach this late in the season.
    You think?
    Also kind of weird that the stated reason was that the hitting coach and the assistant hitting coach were not meshing on philosophies.
    You would think that would have been figured out before there were fewer than 50 games left in the regular season.
    When Jeff Albert was hired, there were questions about how his modern approach would mix with Mark Budaska's more old-school ways.
    The hope was that it would become a yin and yang for hitters.
    More like oil and water, it appears.
    There was some foreshadowing.
    Some of the comments about Harrison Bader's struggles at the plate this season were attributed by at least one coach to "a lot of voices in his ear."
    If those voices were giving him different advice, you can see how that could scramble a young hitter.
    The Cardinals made it clear which path they're taking. Albert's way is their way now.
    Wacha at Cinc. No better options?
    Nothing guaranteed to be better. The fifth spot is going to be a hold-your-breath, cross-your-fingers spot from this point forward. The Cardinals committed to that when they didn't add rotation help at the trade deadline.
  • I am excited to see Arozarena play in the majors, but was wondering why he was brought up over Bader, who apparently is raking now.
  • I don't know if I would say Bader is raking. He has been hitting better lately. He's got a five-game hit streak going, with three home runs during that span. He's now slashing .271/.375/.479 since he was sent back to Memphis. He's only had 48 at-bats there since his demotion, though.
     
    Meanwhile Arozarena has slashed .368/.442/.562 at Memphis this season, over 201 at-bats.
     
    The Cardinals need offense. Bader left the door open for a crowd of outfield candidates eager to prove they are ready. Arozarena is coming through the door.
  • How about some MLS info? Is progress being made? Any idea when announcement may come?
  • Great questions. No answers at the moment. There has been speculation something could happen this week, but let's be honest, there has been speculation something could happen this week, for weeks. I don't have anything new other than the usual -- the people close to it are confident it will happen, and the people one step removed from it but closer than most are confident saying it will get done. Stay tuned.
  • Do you think Antonio Brown has CTE?
  • I'm no doctor.
    I might have CTE for all I know.
    Clearly, something seems off with Mr. Brown. This helmet thing is odd. But he's had a bunch of odd instances in his career.
    What's interesting to me is that we are now having this discussion about his brain health in real time, instead of just assuming he's a look-at-me diva receiver.
    That's new, it seems.
     
     
  • If the Cards have so many promising young outfielders (Thomas, Arozarena, Carlson) coming up, why did they not trade Bader or O'Neill for Wheeler? They would have had a chance to extend him.
    That potential deal was not just a one-for-one. It was not Bader for Wheeler, or O'Neill for Wheeler. Per P-D colleague Derrick Goold's reporting, it was O'Neill (and prospects) for Wheeler, or Bader (and prospects) for Wheeler. What the additional prospects were, we don't know. That makes a difference. If they were minor names, and they probably were due to the headliner of the potential package being Bader or O'Neill, then some will argue they should have made the move anyway. Personally, I thought the Cardinals should have aimed bigger than Wheeler. He had not been all that good before the trade deadline, and he had not been healthy, either. And he was a rental, headed for free agency unless the team that traded for him convinced him to sign an extension. Now that Wheeler has not given up a run in back-to-back starts, my opinion on Wheeler looks a bit low, doesn't it? The Cardinals clearly though he could help, enough so that they found out what it would take to get him. But they balked on the cost of the rental. This is the box the Cardinals have placed themselves in. They wanted to help their team at the trade deadline, but not enough to make a trade that had risk for the present and hurt for the future. Hard to make trades that way, especially when you add in the lack of interest in trading top prospects and the lack of interest in trading from the major league roster. Not many moves to make.
    Do you think the NBA can coexist with the NHL in our market?
    The NBA would thrive here.
    I really do believe that.
    But the NBA has shown no interest in coming, and the area has shown no sign of an investor who has the desire and cash to change the NBA's mind.
    Best bet is Memphis.
    Affordable tickets.
    Short drive.
    Good time.
    Ben, Wacha has to be happy that the Cards didn't get anyone. He at least gets a opportunity going into his FA. His price can not be high, any reason to bring him back?
    I think it's time for the Cardinals to turn the Wacha page.
    Good teammate.
    Good man.
    But if the affordability is the strongest selling point, move on.
    What will the cards do with reyes? Always hurt . Lost years.
  • It's tough. His body continues to betray him, and this season his control issues really subtracted from his performance when he was healthy. He's not going to cost much to keep around, and his potential is still sky high. Some are ready to give up on him, cut ties. I think you try again. It would be a killer to see him finally break through somewhere else, after all that was invested. He's still just 24 years old.
    Happy Tuesday BenFred.

    How long does Barby have to accept the Blues’ offer? When can the Blues walk away from their offer to Ivan and sign another player?

    I appreciate this weekly chat. Thanks.
    A player in Barbashev's situation has until December 1 to return or be blocked from playing during the season.
    Armstrong told me it's a "one phone call away" issue and that the sides are not far apart.
    But when he started comparing Barbashev to Vladimir Sobotka, and mentioning the potential of Barbashev spending his season elsewhere (KHL), it didn't sound exactly like one phone call away stuff.
     
    Nobody whines about ball/strike calls more than Carpenter. Do you think some umpires, maybe intentionally, hold that against him and make most close calls go against him?
    There's a human element to the umpire-hitter relationship, right?
    Guys who don't complain much tend to make more of a statement when they do.
    Guys who complain on every pitch they don't like tend to get ignored.
    But do they get umpired against?
    That would be unprofessional, but we have lots of instances of umpires not being as professional as they should be.
    I have no proof that it hurts him because he argues, but there have been stats in the past that show Carpenter has received more strikes called on pitches outside of the zone than many of his peers.
    Put it this way: The complaining -- especially when the ball is actually a strike -- probably doesn't help him much.
    There are times when Carpenter can work a count deep, take a called third strike, then return to the dugout, watch the replay and see that the third strike should have been a ball.
    It's not like he gets to then jog  out to first base.
    Being right is not as good as being on base.
    Ben - The future of the outfield seems cloudier than ever. Is there one player on the current 40 man that is a lock to be a starting outfielder next year? Two players?
    This question, or a version of it, has been asked a lot today, but the truth is it's a moving target.
    We are finding out in real time.
    Arozarena is up.
    Lane Thomas is finally getting some action.
    Don't we want to see how these guys look before deciding anything about 2020?
    The Cardinals would like to.
    The Cardinals are trying to decide which outfield to start today.
     
    I don't get the sense the Cardinals have dismissed the notion of Bader as their starting center fielder in the future. Fowler might be more move-able now that he's hitting better, but he has the full no-trade clause and a contract few teams will be rushing to add, unless the Cardinals pay a portion. Ozuna is likely gone via free agency unless the Cardinals show some sign of wanting to re-sign him; we haven't seen any signs of that yet. Arozarena, O'Neill, Carlson, Thomas are all going to want a spot. The logjam is real.
     
    In the paper this morning it talks about how Carpenter really does well against Kansas City as well as a number of other AL teams. Sounds like he'd be a great DH for someone?
    Perhaps.
    Although those AL teams are also aware of how Carpenter has hit since last September.
    Over his last 400-plus at-bats since last season's surge, he has slashed .206/.320/.339.
    In more than 50 at-bat against AL teams during that span, he's slashed .192/.259/.327.
    Those don't scream DH to me, especially not for $18.5 million per year through the 2021 season.
     
     
    I read Derrick's article with David Freese. Freese talked about how the Dodgers do such a great job preparing their players from the minor leagues to the major league roster. I came away from the article wondering why the Cardinals weren't advanced this way since Mo is supposed to be so analytical. Thoughts?
    I think if David Freese is telling you the Dodgers are the best organization he's played for, you should believe him.
  • I know it's been hashed in here but I just don't get the Carpenter extension? Is this a situation where ownership pushed the FO into doing it? Because analytically it just didn't make any sense. If that's the case are we putting too much blame on the FO? But this extension and Molina's were both way above what either would get on the open market...
    DAVID, WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME?
    We have dissected this thing into a trillion pieces.
    It was a bad extension.
    It was an extension that seemed, more than anything, unnecessary.
    The selling point at the time was that it would keep Carpenter in Cardinals uniform through the end of his career, but Carpenter's previous contract had an $18.5 million option for 2020. So, the Cardinals could have been in a place where they were debating paying Carpenter 18.5 million to bounce back in 2020, or preparing for his departure through free agency. Instead, they gave him $39 million guranteed and a vested option for 2022.
    It was unnecessary and out of line with the current approach with 30-plus players across baseball, and it's played out poorly for the Cardinals.
     
    They fired the wrong guy. Budaska has a long, fine resume. Albert has theories about a hitting "process." The results, from the first day of spring training, have been awful. Hitters look completely confused and it's not getting better. Whatever happened to the tried and true "See the ball, hit the ball?" Albert seems like a mistake and his wonderful a new toy theory the Cardinals should junk.
    You're right about Budaska's body of work. It's strong.
    So is Albert's in Houston.
    What isn't strong is two philosophies that don't mix, which is apparently what the Cardinals discovered they had here.
    What took them so long to figure that out? Great question.
    The optics of this were always going to be a challenge.
    Multiple players on the current roster credit Budaska with really helping them.
    He was brought up from Memphis in part for that reason.
    Then you add to the mix a new hitting coach, Budaska's superior, and hope everything goes smoothly in the new hire's direction.
    The Cardinals made it clear their pick, so common sense would suggest that things should improve moving forward if they made the right decisions and if the ejection of Budaska clears confusion about the path forward for the offense.
    If it doesn't?
    Then it's not that crazy to imagine Albert winding up in Budaska's shoes.
Powered by ScribbleLive Content Marketing Software Platform