STL sports chat Ben Frederickson

STL sports chat Ben Frederickson

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. Thanks for jumping in today. Lots to discuss. Mizzou bounces back. Blues open up training camp this weekend. Cards are four games up on the rival Cubs. Let's roll.
    If Theo Epstein doesn’t steal Nick Castellanos from Det at the trading deadline for nearly nothing, the Cubs are 10 games back of the Cards, not 4. Since the Cards have no intent of engaging in a likely overpay for Ozuna, why not pursue a less expensive Castellenos buying a year or two for Carson? None of the other outfielders you mention in your article are difference makers including the oft injured O’Neil who has not impressed when healthy.
    The Castellanos addition for the Cubs has been huge. After his latest home run last night, he is averaging .347/.373/.707. Yes. he's slugging .707. He has 14 home runs in 150 at-bats. Crazy.
     
    Castellanos, thanks to his performance and his lack of draft pick compensation due to his trade from Detroit, has likely made himself a lot more money if he reaches free agency.
     
    Not sure if there's a fit there with the Cardinals, although his previous experience at third base might be interesting -- depending on the plan with Matt Carpenter moving forward. More importantly, if the Cards do let Ozuna walk -- or offer him the qualifying offer knowing he's going to leave for a multi-year deal elsewhere, then they are doing it in part because they feel Dylan Carlson, whom you mentioned, will be a factor in the starting outfield next season. If you're going to add someone in front of Carlson, just keep Ozuna, right?
    Not a question but while I'm here . . . to hell with the Cubs!

    That's it, please carry on BenFred.
    Now, now.
    This is how it should be -- Cards and Cubs battling it out as the division winds down.
    Makes things interesting.
    And don't count out the Brewers just yet.
     
    Concerned about the Cubs being able to catch us. They have a much easier schedule compared to Cards, and the brutal week of Nationals and four at Wrigley is awaiting. I expect this final push to be an "all out" war! How do you think the final weeks will play out?
    And there is more to be concerned about.
    Like, the Cardinals being 0-6 at Wrigley Field so far this season.
    For what it's worth, the postseason projections from FanGraphs like the Cardinals' chances of finishing this out.
    They have the Birds at a 78.5 percent chance to win the Central, compared to the Cub's 18.5 percent chance.
    The big question, for me, will be the pitching.
    The Cardinals have three of the most-used relievers in the National League.
    They've got a question mark every time they go with Wacha and the opener-ish plan.
    If the other four starters can finish strong, then the Cardinals should win, and then shift to a four-man rotation during the postseason.
     
    I know its still a little early to talk about this, but what would be your current Cardinals postseason rotation? Obviously Flaherty is the Game 1 starter
    Flaherty
    Hudson
    Mikolas
    Wainwright
     
    Do everything possible to line Wainwright up at home, no matter what
     
  • Why all the handwringing about resigning Ozuna - aren’t left fielders who can hit a relatively easy commodity to replace?

    Secondly, why didn’t the Cardinals go After Zac Gallen at the deadline - AZ got him for an underperforming top prospect and he’s a real deal in terms of young, controllable pitchers
    I would stop short of saying Ozuna is easy to replace. He's the current team leader in RBIs (81) and OPS (.830). He only trails Paul Goldschmidt (29) in home runs (26). And despite the occasional odd play in left field, he has ranked in the top half of left fielders in terms of Fielding Bible Defensive Runs Saved during both of his seasons in St. Louis. That kind of production doesn't grow on trees. Last season, a lot of these chats revolved around the discussion that the Cardinals did not have the kind of lineup that offered two big bats, like some of the other contending teams. Well, know the Cardinals have two big bats. They haven't always hit together, but when they have, it's been pretty helpful. So, letting one of those walk is a calculated risk. You better get some solid production from the young player or players you are clearing space for. The Cardinals' bets on young outfielders have had mixed results to this point. But they might feel more confident betting on Carlson than they have any of the others. Ozuna isn't gone yet, either. His comments, the latest to Commish, make it clear he would like to stay. But at what cost? He's 28 coming off a good season. If he's going to max his money, this is the time.
  • You're talking to the guy who wrote the column that said Mizzou should start 8-0.
    I got shelled for that one after the Wyoming loss.
    Fair.
    Thing is, they really should have started 8-0.
    Look at what they did to West Virginia.
    Look at the schedule, especially now.
    Wyoming labored against Texas State after knocking off the Tigers.
    Florida labored against a Miami team that lost to North Carolina.
    South Carolina lost to North Carolina, then lost its starting QB for the season.
    Kentucky is also without its starting QB for the rest of the season.
    Vanderbilt and Tennessee are both 0-2.
    This is the easiest division Mizzou could ask for.
    It's Georgia, and then wide open.
    And the Tigers shot themselves in the foot against the Cowboys.
    It's not taking credit away from Wyoming to point out that the mistakes that turned that game were all self-imposed from Mizzou.
    It boiled down to three big turnovers, and two blown plays defensively.
    That's the game.
    For Odom's team to re-earn the hype it had created this offseason, it has to show it can respond favorably when something bad happens on the field.
    Five times, his team has lost after leading by multiple possessions.
    Kentucky last season, South Carolina last season, and now Wyoming have made fans cautious, have made fans question the coaching. All fair.
    We know the Tigers can thump teams. We don't know if they can take a punch and respond to win a game. Especially against a decent opponent.
    This season is not lost. It did begin with a flat tire, for sure.
    Until proven otherwise, it's a team that is not as good as it should be.
    That's what to make of it at this point.
    Plenty of games to change that label.
  • BenFred, pretty sure that Mozeliak is thinking of putting the Ozuna extension money into a good starter instead of resigning our left fielder. Whether the front office actually bucks up to pay for a top shelf starter is debatable however.
  • Sure. Money not spent on one player does tend to lead to money spent on another player or players. But again, I'll pump the brakes about the Cardinals signing the top available starter and position player until we see reason to believe that is an approach that the organization feels is compatible with its plan to contend annually. Anthony Rendon (third base) and Gerrit Cole (starter) would both make sense for the Cardinals, but but seem on track to command the kind of deals the Cardinals have refrained from.
  • Thoughts on the NFL/Kroenke trying to move their lawsuit to the Supreme Court (I like to think the Supreme court has better stuff to litigate). The NFL seems desperate. I wonder what they'd be willing to do to avoid going to trial. I think an expansion franchise will be offered.
  • This should not be a surprise. Kroenke and the NFL share the same playbook. Delay. Delay. Delay. And if the legal opponent does not back down, find a way to settle and sweep under the rug. Avoid court. Avoid dirt getting out from beneath the rug. The idea of an expansion franchise is interesting. I'm one person and won't pretend to speak for everyone, but I do wonder if St. Louis would feel like welcoming the NFL back. Would be interested to hear thoughts on that. By continuing to pursue a trial, there is a chance to get something back from the rigged process that led to the relocation and also become an example that kept the NFL from abusing its powers down the line. I think that could be as rewarding as having a team, now that we have seen how this league operates behind the curtain. The NFL made it quite clear how it felt about St. Louis. I don't think St. Louis should want another team.
  • Disagree.
    What MLB could and should do is take action to eliminate tanking teams, so regular-season games are more compelling.
    I turned on the Brewers at Marlins game last night, a big game for the Brewers, and the stands in Miami were so empty fans were taking turns chanting echos through the venue.
    It was terrible.
    That's what you get when you have teams that are actively trying to lose.
    That's a bad product, one that should be fixed by the league. It should acknowledge tanking is bad for the game at large instead of protecting the owners who do it.
    That would be a better fix for more eyes on baseball, not making changes to avoid the NFL.
  • BenFred, at least Mizzou has a bright outlook to this season. Look at Arkansas, great school, rich history, and it's been clear that Chad Morris can recruit like crazy however it's pretty clear that he can't coach his way out of a paper sack. I like what Mizzou's coach can offer, middling recruits but success on the field much more often than not.
  • Mizzou is in better shape than Arkansas, yes.
    And if that's the comparison you prefer to make, then things are good.
    But Arkansas is also in a rebuild that is drastically shifting styles of play from the previous regime, and it knew what it signed up for when making that hire.
    As for recruiting, it's worth mentioning Mizzou beat our Arkansas for Kelly Bryant despite his previous relationship with that coaching staff.
    I'm not worried about Odom's recruiting much. Not anymore.
    He worked to improve things in-state.
    I am more worried about his coaching, and his team's tendency to go into tailspins when adversity strikes on the field.
    Right now, that's what is holding Odom back from winning everyone over.
    His passion is obvious. His leadership is strong. Recruiting and development is just fine. It's the on-field stuff.
     
  • Best ways to fix tanking: 1) 30 team lottery for each of the first 3 rounds, each team with an equal chance. 2) Eliminate the draft, each team has an equal pool of money to sign however many amateur free agents they want. Boom! Problem Solved!
    The problem isn't coming up with potential scenarios to fix the draft.
    The problem is owners not realizing and/or admitting that tanking has become a detriment to the game.
    Owners stick together, and they all get paid, so they don't want to single one another out. 
    Until that changes, nothing changes.
    Is Matt Carpenter going to be a bench player the rest of the season and postseason? Would Edman have to cool off for Carp to get back in the starting lineup? Carp seems to be hitting better lately
    Since Kolten Wong returned to his regular starting position at second base after bouncing back from a foul ball off his foot, Carpenter has started five of 12 games.
    During that time, Wong is hitting .381/.435/.667 through 11 starts.
    He (Wong) needs to play every single game, as long as he's healthy, and it looks like he is.
    Meanwhile Tommy Edman is hitting .273/.289/.532 through 11 starts during that span.
    Carpenter is hitting .400/.478/.550 through his five starts during that span.
    So, yeah, you could make a case that Carpenter is hitting his way back toward more playing time.
    Edman can also play outfield.
    I think you're going to continue to see a mix, based off match-ups and who is hot.
    Carpenter has chipped away at getting more opportunities.
     
     
     
     
    Is a very early exit from postseason probably still likely enough to circumvent more radical changes among coaches and higher ranking front office personnel?
    After reading chairman Bill DeWitt's comments like the rest of you, I did not get the sense that major changes are being considered. Of course, things can change. But his comments were certainly more of a defense of the process, not a message that it could be changing.
    FYI: Some of the your responses are posting without the questions that prompted them.
    Shoot. Sorry about that. All is right on my screen here. I have stopped using the response bubbles that we tried out a few chats ago, because folks told me that made it harder to read. The answers should be appearing staggered with the questions. If there is one specific one that is missing an answer or a question, let me know. Thanks!
    Momentum may be swinging Zo's way on Love. How big would be that for the program and its perception in STL?
  • A couple of things on this ....
     
    First, it's going to feel that way, because Mizzou was Caleb Love's first official visit. First of five. So, when he makes his other trips, and gets photographed on the sidelines of those football games, and tweets out pictures of himself in those uniforms, then it will feel like momentum is swinging that way. That's just recruiting. 
     
    Second, it sounds like it was a good trip to Mizzou. And Mizzou should be encouraged that a) it was his first official; sometimes that means something and b) that it was an official visit in the first place. Meaning, it's good for Mizzou that they got one of his officials. Sometimes, kids from St. Louis prefer to visit Mizzou on an unofficial visit, meaning they pay their own way and elect for less than the full experience because of the proximity between CoMo and STL. That can be a minus for Mizzou, to some degree, because they don't get to roll out the red carpet like they would if the visit was official. Make sense? So, the kid ends up comparing his official visit at School X to his unofficial visit at Mizzou, and that's not a comparison you want a kid making, no matter the schools.
     
    Martin said his goal was to make Mizzou an intriguing place for the top talent in the state. He's done that. He's doing that. Eventually, he will land another big fish after the MPJ splash.  Love might be the one. 
    Responses missing questions: the one where you note that you were one who predicted Mizzou would start 8-0. The one where you disagreed about something regarding tanking in MLB.
    OK, thanks.
    I went and found those questions.
    They did come through on my end.
    I'm reposing them here, hoping that helps.
    Again, these were the questions asked by chatters that received those answers.
     
    = = = = = = == 
     
    Q: So, year four of the BO era. What do you make of this start? I admit to drinking the Kool-Aid and buying into the possibility of an 8-0 start. But how does that performance at Wyoming happen? How are we in year 4 and the season starts the same way with sloppy tackling, a horrid defensive performance and an inability to make key adjustments? And then the turnaround against WVU. I'm lost as to what Mizzou is as a football program.
     
    Q:Hot Take - the MLB should shave two months from their regular season and end their playoffs right before the NFL regular season. The NFL regular season is more important in America than the MLB playoffs so I think the MLB should avoid competing with it.
    I know we need to get there first, but the Cards can absolutely beat the Braves in a 5 game series...
    It's possible, yes. The Cardinals went 2-4 against the Braves this season with a wide variety of results. They had a 14-3 win on the road, a 4-0 loss on the road, a 10-2 loss on the road, a 5-2 loss at home, a 6-3 win at home, and a 4-3 loss at home. Flaherty and Hudson started in both of the wins. One of the losses included Flaherty pitching 6 scoreless innings. Wainwright has not pitched against the Braves at home this season. 
     
     
     
    Is Andrew Miller's performance to date as envisioned (for the most part) when the Cardinals signed him on?
  • I think the Cardinals had a range of expectations.
    At the top end of that range was Andrew Miller being the guy who redefined fireman, Swiss Army knife relief, a totally versatile lefty who could come in and get one out if needed, close if needed or go for multiple innings if needed.
    At the bottom end of that range was Andrew Miller being the best left-handed reliever the Cardinals could turn to when they needed that matchup, because that matchup is needed a lot in this division.
    Miller has pitched more than one inning in an outing just five times this season, and just twice after July.
    As the Cardinals made him more of a one-inning and matchup-based pitcher, his results improved. His numbers became sharper by the month from March through July. Things have been a bit shakier over the past month. If he can lock back in and finish strong, I think the Cardinals will be pleased with their first season of Andrew Miller. He hasn't been the force he once was. He has been better than what the Cardinals had before.
     
  • Is old friend Tony LaRussa very likely looking for a new employer in the near term with his boss being let go by the Red Sox?
  • Reading the coverage out of Boston, it makes it sound like TLR was on the Dombrowski side of the divide in the front office. When the boss on your side is let go, it often does not bode well for others on that side. But nothing official that I've come across has updated La Russa's status or standing. These are the kind of things that happen at a press conference, something the Red Sox cowardly avoided by throwing their manager under the buss on Tuesday.
  • Do you believe Wong’s success this year is tied entirely to him playing with confidence knowing he has maximum latitude with the manager? If so, could the team have tapped into this potential earlier in his career if they had taken notice?
  • It's not entirely that, but that is a part of it.
    I don't know if maximum latitude is the right phrase.
    Wong is no different than any other player in that if he does not do his job, does not prepare and go about things the right way, then he can deal with the same consequences.
    But what has happened is Shildt made it clear in his messaging and his managing that Wong is valued and will play every day without having to look over his shoulder if his defense remains elite, which it is, even if his bat has ups and downs, which it will. But his offense has been a lot more up than down lately, and the cries for him to be moved for an offense-first second baseman have faded. He's on track to play a career-high amount of innings while leading the league in defensive runs saved at his position and also ranking among the top second basemen in OPS.
    He's having a career year, and part of it is because of the relationship he has with Shildt.
    Not all of it.
    As for the question about if the team could have tapped into it earlier, I think it could have, yes.
    Matheny's management of Wong was never going to get the best Wong possible.
    Some of that's on Wong. Some of that's on Matheny. You have to know how to get the best out of each player. Matheny never got the best out of Wong.
     
  • Ben, I agree with you on the NFL. St Louis should do nothing to welcome the league back. The NFL won’t even exist in 50 years or certainly nothing resembling the current product unless you have an infatuation for flag football.
    I'm not sure about your timeline, but I do think the NFL is walking down a long path toward becoming less relevant.
    Maybe it doesn't happen in my lifetime, but consider the forces at play.
    The NFL is a tree that is drying up at the roots and losing branches at the top.
    Youth leagues can point to lack of participation due to concussion concerns.
    Top young starts at the pro level are walking away earlier than before citing the need to preserve their physical and mental health.
    The tree is big and strong, but it does seem to have more challenges by the day.
    Perhaps I'm being too stubborn about my view on a potential expansion team.
    It just bothers me, the thought of being lied to and embarrassed, then being happy with a ticket back to the NFL as the apology?
    It's OK to say no.
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