Ben Frederickson Live from the Winter Meetings

Ben Frederickson Live from the Winter Meetings

Bring your Cardinals and Hot Stove League questions, plus any questions about STL sports, and talk to Post-Dispatch columnist Ben Frederickson in a live chat from Las Vegas starting at 11 a.m. Tuesday.




    History suggests they will be somewhere in between, with the needle pointing heavily toward contender compared to pretender.
    An 88-win team in 2018 added one of the National League's best hitters, period.
    That's  a big step in the contender direction.
    A lockdown bullpen might push them over the edge.
    Is there any reason why fowler cant attend winter warmp but can attend q cubs autographs session?
    He wasn't on the initial schedule sent out for WWU.
    That could change by the time it rolls around.
    Girsch was asked about him not being on the initial schedule, and did not have an answer as to why he wasn't.
    I'm not sure of the specific signing you mention, but I doubt it's Cubs-specific, as in connected to the Cubs in any official fashion.
    If Fowler does do fan interaction stuff in or near Chicago, he's going to be presented as World Series champion Dexter Fowler, part of the curse-breaking Cubs ... (who later became a Cardinal.)
    He's always going to be revered there. That happens when you help snap a drought like that.
    My suggestion to him, though I'm sure he does not give a rip what I think, would be to consider avoiding stuff like this, for this exact reason.
     
    Scott Rolen's my favorite Cardinal of all time but after watching the Goldschmidt press conference and reading what all his former coaches and teammates have said about him, Scotty may have competition soon.
    I really think fans are gonna fall in love with Goldschmidt.
    Especially if he is around for more than a year.
    Maybe I have missed something or misinterpreted some things, but in the past I thought the front office did not talk about specific players that were subject to trade rumors, because they did not want to have hurt feelings if the trade was not completed. It sure seems like they are specifically using JMarts name and talking about trading him. Am I missing something?
    You are not missing anything.
    Jose Martinez is being shopped as hard as the Cardinals tend to shop a guy.
    They continue to say they will be happy to have him if he is not traded, and continue to rave about his offense and his positive vibe and clubhouse presence, but the overpowering drumbeat that drowns this out is the continued description of how he's not a great fit roster-wise and that his chances for ABs were decreased by the Goldschmidt addition.
    You're reading this correctly, I think.
    Is Goldschmidt the best first baseman in the Central? Also, cant the cards sign another big-time hitter (Harper) and then see who they want to sign next year based upon performance, Goldschmidt, Ozuna, Gyrko, Arenado?
  • Close call between him and Votto, but yes they are the two best. Rizzo third.
    I'd probably rank 1) Votto, 2) Goldschmidt, 3) Rizzo right now.
    But let the record show that Goldschmidt is the best against the Cubs and Brewers, and that matters.
    He's crushed those two teams since 2012. Highest OPS against both among regular opponents of those two teams. Second place? Votto.
     
    They could take that approach, yes. Will they? Their stance on Harper has been made clear below and in today's column. Arenado is of interest to Cardinals, for sure. It is fair to ask if they would be willing to give him the contract it would take to land him if he becomes a FA.
     

    BenFred: Cardinals maintain quiet stance on Harper as they depart chilly winter meetings

    stltoday.comOnce again there is little big action at baseball's offseason gathering as teams refuse to overpay early on free-agent market
     
     
     
  • If Goldy signs an extension during the season do he Cards pick up Carps option?
    One does not automatically mean the other.
    Quickly, it will be interesting to see how Goldschmidt plays extension talks. Does he not entertain the idea midseason? Some guys don't like to talk about that stuff while playing. The Cardinals must take their cues from him. There's no other option. If he's willing to talk early, I think that would be a good sign, right?
    For Carpenter, an extension of Goldschmidt would not mean anything for Carpenter. The Cardinals are OK with him at third base. If they were to go after Arenado, or have a hard-charging third-base prospect surge ahead to the majors ahead of schedule, they could always move Carpenter to left field if Ozuna departs during FA.
    Is there any talk of who the back up catcher will be because Pena leaves something to be desired. Any chance they may sign an older LH hitting catcher for pinch hitting since Yadi plays most of the time. Seems like a win win we get a LH bat on the bench and still have a backup. ImI thinking Matt Wieters. Your thoughts on this? Thanks for the chats.
    The perfect scenario would be a LH-hitting backup catcher with power.
    You nailed it.
    But here's the problem.
    The Cardinals are the opposite of the perfect team for any backup catcher who a) has a say in where he goes and b) actually wants to play.
    If I had to guess today, I would say bet on a return to Franciso Pena. He's familiar. Endorsed by Molina. That matters, perhaps more than it should.
    This is a tough spot for the Cardinals to fill. Always has been.
    I am beyond flustered. I once again believed the front office when they said they were going "All-in." Goldschmidt made me think that to be true, and doing so before the major free agents signed made me think of the possibility that the Cards could once again be in those talks to be a favorite in the World Series. Since that point, they have removed their name from the major free agent bat and seemed to pivot toward a more conservative approach. I am very happy with the acquisition of Paul Goldschmidt, and that does improve the chances to make it back to the postseason, I just cant for the life of me understand why the FO takes the next step and pushes this team to that level. The money is there, so why the hesitation? I realize it is early still, but all indications point to this is the lineup we will have on opening day, and personally that is going to fight for a WC playoff or sneak into the division.
    Cardinals never said they were going "all-in."
    They did say the Goldschmidt move showed "2019 matters."
    Here are Mozeliak's direct quotes to colleague Derrick Goold the day Goldschmidt was introduced:
     
    "Got to do something different. You’re right, I’ve always been one bigger picture, longer decision making, but we’re trying to win now."
     
    He also said ...
     
    "We’re not going to get so irrational that we throw it all in."
     
    The first part is exciting. The second part reminds you the Cardinals' definition of emphasis on 2019 might not match some their fans'. No surprise there.
     
     
     
     
     
    The Cards will be fine with Carp at 3rd base until he starts throwing wounded ducks across the diamond and halfway decent speed start beating out his throws. He's an American League player.
    I talked to both Girsch and Shildt about that yesterday. Will have more in tomorrow's paper.
    Why is everyone upset? We've acquired the best player so far in the off season, its December and the market is still slow. I want Ruth, Mantle and Cobb too but come on. This team won 88 games.
    Compared to other teams, the Cardinals have had one of the most aggressive offseasons.
    No one has signed Harper or Machado, last time I checked.
    And Cardinals are very much in the mix for high-end LH relief market.
    The Harper stuff has skewed things. 
    I thought the Cards wanted a lefty on the bench with pop? If they trade Jose, how bad is the bench going to look?
    They're still interested in that.
    I asked Girsch about this just a few minutes ago.
    I asked, specifically, how the addition of Drew Robinson should be viewed as a LH-hitting utility man: as an option, or as the answer?
    He said Robinson is a potential answer but that there's a better than 50/50 chance they add another LH bat.
    So, there you go.
    Did Girsch say anything else about Shelby Miller or Descalso?
    No.
    The Cardinals, as discussed here often, are the opposite of the Yankees when it comes to discussing free agents in specifics.
    They refuse.
    The Yankees, led by Cashman, talk about it freely.
    Just this morning on MLB Network Cashman broke news about a player they have had discussions with an agent about.
    Different worlds.
    Same rules, though, somehow?
    The Cardinals insist they are just following the rules.
    Inquiring minds want to know how Cashman is so casual about breaking them.
    My opinion? The Cardinals, like other teams, decide to treat the rules like law because it keeps them from answering questions they don't want to answer.
    No one seems to be cracking down on Cashman.
    Just looking at some bad contracts. Several to choose from. Pujols is a shell of his former self and still owed $97 million. Tulo was paid $60 million by the Jays and didn't produce much, and is still owed $38 million.

    The Cards have had some misses, but never on the scale of these mega deals. It's mind boggling. As much as I like Harper and see the fit, it's crazy to ignore the gigantic costs on the back end of these deals.
    I'm pro Harper.
    Have been.
    Will continue to be.
    Never thought it was realistic that Cards would add both Harper and Goldschmidt, so I have tabled the crusade, but I still think Harper is a transformational player. 
    Time will tell.
    That said, you are correct to point out the misses. The Stanton deal is starting to look a bit scary. The NL Central has five nine-figure contracts as of today: Ryan Braun, Joey Votto, Jon Lester, Yu Darvish and Jason Heyward.
    Some of those are .... ouch.
     
    If you could play GM, what would your extension offer be to Goldschmidt. 6 years seem right?
  • Five and an option if he would consider.
    Pay him more over a shorter amount  of time.
    Some have speculated he would not consider less than six years, but some of this can change as the two teams get to know�� one another.
  • If the Cards go w the theory that they need a left bat, then why not find someone who can hit righties? Robinson can’t hit a lick regardless of pitcher.
    Robinson is not necessarily the answer for the LH bat.
    Scroll down.
    We hit on that below in the chat.
    He did slash .303/.379/.569 in 211 Class AAA at-bats in 2018.
    That seemed to mean more to the Cardinals than his .204/.301/.366 batting line in a combined 216 major league at bats since 2017.
    He's 26 and versatile defensively. He was swapped for a player not in the Cardinals' plans. He could be replaced before he even gets a chance to secure a role.
    It was an OK trade.
    How do the Blue Jays dump Tulo and his 35 million and yet the Cards cant find a taker for Fowler at 49.5 million. If they cant find a team willing to take him at 5 million per year, that says a lot. Yet Cards FO wants him to be the starting RF. Head shake
    You realize what you just said, right?
    A team ate $38 million because it could not move a player, and you are wondering why the Cardinals can't move a player with a full no-trade clause who is owed nearly $50 million?
    Head shake.
     
    I would love to Nolan Arenado in a Cards uniform. My question is, at this point which do you think the FO will think is more "affordable": the prospects in trade to get him now, or the mountain of cash (assuming he wants to play in StL, of course) it will take next offseason?
    The Rockies have no interest in trading Arenado at this moment.
    They are planning on winning this season.
    If that plan falls apart during the season, and I doubt it will, they might look to trade him then.
    The Cardinals would know if the Rockies were open to trading Arenado before the season begins, and there was no indication that was a possibility.
     
    Ben I'm going to have to politely disagree about Stanton's contract looking scary at the moment. Other than his MVP season and the season before he signed the extension, this past year was a good one. He hit 38 home runs, had a .343 OBP, slugged over .500, had an OPS of .852, an OPS+ of 126, and had a 4 WAR season. He was still an elite bat last year. You obviously couldn't expect the same kind of year he had before when he was 1 HR away from 60. Signing a guy like Harper to a 10 year deal should not be on the same level as signing say Pujols to a 10 year deal. Harper is 26 while Pujols was 31 when he signed his new contract with the Angels. I'd understand the Cardinals being weary of signing Goldschmidt to a 10 year deal, but Harper is 6 years younger than Pujols was at the start of the 2012 season. That has to account for something don't you think?
    Of course.
    Guys, I have been on Harper since day one.
    You all know this.
    It's been discussed here and in everything I've written about Harper.
    I like Harper. Would love if the Cardinals went over the top and got him. 
    But I'm rooted in reality, and I don't think they will unless something drastically changes.
    You don't have to convince me on the plus-side of Harper.
    I'm with you.
    I'm also aware of the risk, and how a free agent (Stanton was basically one) who looks like he can do no wrong can look different one year later. Yes, Stanton had a very good year last year. But he didn't have the MVP year he had in Miami last season. He also had some leg issues that raised concerns. He nearly led all of baseball in strikeouts. Folks who cover the Yankees are wondering how this is going to age. 
    It was chapter one for Stanton in New York. Where the story goes, who knows. But my point was, there is a chance any star free agent, Harper included, could wind up not living up to the massive contract. That is often forget at this point of the year. And I write that from the pro-Harper camp.
    Imagine saying Pujols wasn't worth that much money back then.
    It would have been scoffed at by most fans.
    It also would have been right.
  • Ben - To what extend to you believe Fowler blames last season's results (prior to his injury) on Matheney?
    It's a significant piece of the pie chart in Fowler's opinion, for sure.
    If the Cards fix the bullpen they have done enough to get me to come back to the ball park, but I think passing on Harper is a big mistake. If this team doesn’t make it past the wildcard, and they could have made a huge addition and didn’t, I won’t be giving them my money in 2020. I know that spending money doesn’t guarantee success. I can live with loosing if they are doing everything they can to win, but I have other things to spend my time/money on if they don’t want to really commit to winning. How many people do you feel have thoughts that are at least similar to mine? Past success does buy you leeway, but for me at least they have just about used up that goodwill.
    I don't think the Cardinals are hurting too much.
    Some more no-shows have been noticeable late in recent non-postseason years, but that doesn't mean those tickets were not purchased.
    If anything, the three consecutive postseason misses have shown there will be someone else who jumps at a chance to show up if a frustrated fan walks away.
    Business remains good.
    Because Matheny made him hit .160? He is a pro he needs to act like one
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