Benjamin Hochman Live

Bring your Cardinals, Blues, Mizzou and STL sports questions, and talk to Post-Dispatch columnist Benjamin Hochman in a live chat starting at 11 a.m. Tuesday.




  • SPORTS!!!!! Miss that intro. So what are your thoughts on the Cards making a play for Stanton? With the team for sale, removing that salary from the books ought to be enticing. Would a package of Piscotty, Weaver, Hicks/Alcantara (or another high ceiling arm) plus Mercado/Bader/Adolis start the convo? My projected OF would be Fowler, Sierra, and Stanton. And then go extra crazy after the Bringer of Rain up in Toronto? Maybe Grichuk, Gyrko, and a few young arms not in the Stanton trade?
  • Even though the radio show The Writers Block is no longer, I still scream SPORTS! every day at noon, be it at home, the coffeeshop, the office, the Cardinals clubhouse, the dentist. I like your thinking -- the Cardinals must do something if they want to try to contend in this 2017 season. This will surely be the first of numerous what-ifs we jump into. I just think with Stanton, two things -- 1. that contact scares me. I believe it's until 3003. And honestly, I think that's the one guy Miami will want to build around. Also, let's not forget, I think we (people who spend their days following or reading about the Cardinals) maybe think more highly about the players than outsiders. They don't have many top-100 prospects to deal.
  • Hello!! Are the Cardinals ready to admit they need to be sellers? They have a worse record than the Braves and are tied with the White Sox...
  • A very fair question. But here's my answer -- even if today, June 20th, 11:07 am Central time, they admit their sellers ... what does it matter? Realistically, no other team is going to pull a trigger on a deal until July anyway. So the Cards will need to see through that window of 4-6 weeks, which Mo talked about before the first Philadelphia series (and yes, if the Cards somehow lose two of three in these games at Philly, then man, these are sellers-in-waiting ha). But clearly, the most disconcerting thing about the Cardinals, and there are many, is the starting pitching beyond Carlos Martinez. Two months ago, it was like -- it didn't matter who was starting, we were just confident in the hurler to throw a quality start. Now it's like 'OH LORD, SOMEONE BESIDES CARLOS IS PITCHING!!??"
  • Hi Ben! Again, thank you for all the great work you do. LOVED your piece Sunday about Augie Donatelli. Knew the name sounded familiar; he was the one who gave ex-Cardinal Nippy Jones first base over "shoe shine" ball in 1957 World Series!

    Now to business. :) Jack Flaherty: rotation help, bullpen help, or key piece for slugger? The dude's been spectacular!
  • Thanks! Yes, right away - shameless plug, this was one of my most-favorite stories to write for the Post-Dispatch:

    Hochman: How Javier’s cap became a piece of Cardinals’ lore

    stltoday.comThe story begins in Boston, 50 years ago at Fenway, on the head of Julian Javier.
  • And now to your question...
  • Yes, Jack Flaherty, who played at that famed Harvard-Westlake High School (Harvard and Stansbury were my two safety schools before staying in-state for Mizzou), has been a sensation in '17. Just so much excitement from the righty. And you make a strong point -- his existence will surely effect the 2017 Cardinals -- acknowledging that he'll be a key player in the 2018 major leagues. Yes, if the Cards make a trade for an established Major Leaguer -- and the Miami mashers Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna make sense -- Jack would be a name the other team desires. By the way, just how good has Ozuna been this month, holy moly? And this season, he's putting up numbers that are surely All-Star worthy, and possibly top-10 MVP too -- .327 average, .395 slugging, 18 homers. Put the birds on the bat on that guy! So yes, he and Yelly are enticing (I'm not sure if people actually call Yelich Yelly, or if they do, if they spell it Yellie?) But before Jack is in another organization, I'd want STL to give him a shot with the big club, maybe even filling in for a Waino or Wacha start soon.
  • Ben, Where do you think Tatum will land in the draft? Also, how do you see his NBA career playing out? Maybe it was because he was a local guy, but there was some crazy hype a year ago and now he seems to be left out of the "top tier" of the draft. Did his stock drop at all?
  • It's funny -- from a national standpoint, there has been a lot of hype about the upcoming NBA draft, but due to circumstance, the hype is swirling around the top three players an the top three picks. Of course, Philly made the possibly historic trade to get the number 1 pick Fultz, the guard who will complement all the young low-post studs the 76ers have acquired. (Funny, no matter how good Fultz is, the fact that his college team's season directly effected the Mizzou Tigers forever. Washington missed the tourney, coach Lorenzo Romar was fired and so Michael Porter Sr was unemployed and wooed to come back to Columbia and be an assistant -- and his two sons are coming to Mizzou too). Anyway, with three historic franchises involved in the top three picks -- Lakers, Celtics and the aforementioned Philadelphia -- not much talk is out there about 4. Phoenix and 5. Sacramento. But you know what, Jayson Tatum from STL could very well end up in one of those spots. The Suns, with another Mizzou connection (Melvin Booker's son) have some nice young players and the Kings, new arena and all, haven't made a good draft pick since Waymon Tisdale. But yes, Jayson Tatum has some hype and will be a top pick Thurs
  • You once saw Lee Smith at the Galleria. I once saw Ray King at the Country Club Plaza in KC. Better story, me or you?
  • Yes, but did you awkwardly ask him for his autograph on a pizza-grease-stained Galleria food court tray sheet??
  • I totally agree with BenFred's article today about bringing up some youngsters. Look around baseball and the youth revolution. For example, the following Cub players are playing in their first full season...Schwarber, Baez, Almora, Edwards, Contreras and Happ.
  • Yes, coincidentally right after this chat I'm hopping into a ride from Jaguar Land Rover St. Louis with Ben Fred to film "Rovin' With The Bens." Ol' Benny F makes some sharp points in his piece, no doubt. And the reality is, the Cardinals have a 5.33 ERA in June. That's counting Carlos. And that's starters and bullepen'r's. (weird apostrophe situation there... maybe I shouldn't be inventing words.) The only two teams with worse ERAs in June in the NL -- the lowly Giants and Padres. Yes, there is something going on with Wacha, and though we all love him, it's hard to watch him hurl and think he can go all year like this. So yes, FREE LUKE. FREE JACK. Let them join the big club.
  • But Ben...did Lee Smith sign it? BTW I saw Torry Holt at Toys R Us when I worked there and asked him to sign a TRU ad that was lying around...and he did.
  • Love it. And yes, big Lee signed it. Also, in 1992 (3) (4?) (gotta look it up) something happened where the Cardinals ended up hosting Sept games that were supposed to be played in Montreal. And Michael Slonim's dad got me and David Larson seats behind home plate. Big Lee Smith got his NL record save in that game, so if you rewatch the 1992 (3) (4) "This Year In Baseball" VHS, you can see us cheering on my Galleria friend in the background -- look for David Larson in a Hypercolor T-shirt.
  • Best song on Juvenile's album 400 Degreez?
  • Back That (glutious maximus) Up. Or, Solja Rag.
  • Do you see the Cards making any major deals before the trade deadline?
  • They got to do something. If the Cardinals and Mo and DeWitt decide, in eaarly-mid-July that this team still has a chance in the National League Central, then of course it's worth it. But here's the thing -- when we started this "add a slugger" talk, the Cardinals starting pitching was sublime. Now it's like - even if they added Mickey Mantle 1961 (before the late-season injury), would it matter? The Cardinals pitching is such a question mark. Even guys like Lynn and Leaker, mainstays and steady this season, have had some awful starts. Incidentally, why was Lynn kept in that horrendous inning against Baltimore that previous night? Every batted ball was crushed. I know there are a thousand things to get mad about these days, but MM should have gone to the pen much sooner in that situation. But yes, back to the main point -- would even one quality bat be enough? They need some quality starts (literally and figuratively). And that's why, frighteningly, I wonder if the season comes down to -- just how effective can Luke or Jack be, and how quickly?
  • Good Morning! How do you think Tilmon's recent arrest will play out in Columbia? It's definitely a big disappointment. Do you think Cuonzo will put the hammer down on him? In my opinion, Tilmon is not only crucial to the team but his success (on and off the court) is crucial for Mizzou to continue to get recruits from STL and IL, right?
  • I think because of the timing of this -- so far from the season beginning, that it'll be water under the bridge. Maybe, in a good way, the fact that it happend so fast now gives Cuonzo a chance to put a hammer down with some credence. Not just blindly being a jerk, but saying -- "Look, it's not even July, you haven't even started the fall semester yet, and a player has gotten in trouble. You all must learn from this and prevent this from happening again, and when the season starts." Also, I don't want to turn this arrest into a huge narrative about Jeremiah Tilmon being a "bad guy" or a "problem." College kids do stupid things. They're not going to suddenly stop. It's all about learning from experience and making sure the low-level stupid act doesn't become routine or blatant or a gateway to something bad. But yes, Tilmon's success and happiness at Mizzou is important, going forward, because you hear a lot of murmurs about Mizzou's relationship, pre-Cuonzo, with ESL.
  • I'm still waiting for someone to wake me up from the bad dream of having Berglund for 5 more years... One of the reasons people are defending Perron being exposed in the expansion draft is his playoff performance. Berglund didnt exactly light up this year. They are both very streaky players. They get hot for a few weeks then are quiet (almost invisible if you ask me) the rest of year. We will regret the berglund extension. Now people are expecting Barbashev to probably play on line higher than he should b/c we have bergy blocking him at the 3rd line center role.
  • Some good points, sure. I'm in the minority -- I understandably admit it -- but I think the Bergie signing made sense because it wasn't a huge financial risk. I remember writing when the recent extension happened -- the money he was getting was worthy of a player producing less than Berglund was producing. Yes, we say "he was playing for a contract" and all that stuff. Indeed, like Perron, Berglund didn't have a great postseason. But I think it's going to play out well in the short-term and you can possibly try to move him in the future.
  • Does 85 wins, win the central? #math - Cards need to play 570 baseball the rest of the way to win 85. 94 games left. Need 54 wins to get to 85.
  • I like your mathiness, but I just think the Cubs will catapult at some point. No, they wont win 103 games like last season, but I forsee them acquiring a big arm around the trade deadline. And the Cubs are third in the whole league in slugging percentage this month. If St. Louis is going to try to win the division, they'll have to keep up with the Cubs, and I ain't talking about the current .500 Cubs.
  • The Cards are only 5 games back not bad for June, but the bigger problem is three teams in front of them, the Cards to get hot and count on the remaining teams continuing the season trends. 5 games isnt bad if only one team to beat.
  • An astute point, because not many of us saw Milwaukee's Brewers looming in the race this long. Their offense really is good. That Thames fellow is the latest Cardinal Killer, a la Bud Norris or Pedro Alvarez. And the Brewers do have a favorable schedule in the next few weeks, playing (naturally) some of the same teams the Cards have -- the Pirates, Reds, Orioles, and also some Marlins and Braves in there. So by the All-Star Break, the Brewers will still be in it too. I just don't see them in it in September (as every Brewers fan suddenly screenshots this paragraph to rub it in my face during the playoffs this season, when Milwaukee sweeps the NLDS)
  • Hi Ben. Don't you find it odd that the fans far and wide realized the need for a power bat this off-season and yet nothing. I know its a business but in this business wins and losses define you. Thanks for the chat!
  • What's up Ken C.! I've got a good buddy Ken B.! One thing we can't forget is -- this isn't fantasy baseball. Any move has a direct effect on 1. other player's playing time 2. the farm system as a whole. Like, Edwin Encarnacion is pretty good, right? 16 homers, a buncha walks, a .379 OBP and a .496 slugging percentage. But where was the DH going to play in St. Louis? And also, the big theme of the offseason was defense and athleticism -- even if you wedge him at first or in a corner outfield spot, how good would he have been? Also, at the time, you had Matt Carpenter at first coming off another amazing statistical season. Where was he going to play? Would you move him back to third base, where you have two other dudes? And if you got Edwin, would you play him in the outfield? The whole point (at the time) was to bank on the growing young bats of Grichuk and Piscotty. And shoot, the Cards had another bat at the time they wanted to try so desperately, they wedged it in left field -- Matt Adams. I'm not saying that you, Ken C., were the one screaming for Encarnacion, but that's an example of "reality" vs "fantasy."
  • Hey Hoch Cards put a lot of eggs in Matt Carpenter basket led to trade of Adams he can't hit third, might it be time to reassess that faith and exploring trading him
  • If Carp hadn't been rejuvenated at the No. 1 spot, man, I think there would've had to be an admission in failure for him this season. But again, that word -- season. You're judged on the journey. And Carp, for whatever reason, has taken this journey, and he's been an absolute monster the past couple weeks. And I'm getting a lot of questions in here about Matt Adams, and rightfully so. But I'll just say -- they liked Adams bat so much out of spring training that they played him in LEFT FIELD for a while. But since he wasn't hitting well, and made those two botched plays, the experiment was over. Yes, the biggest aspect of the storyline is -- the Cards just got Juan Yepes for Adams, who is now raking for Atlanta. The Cards could've kept him and had him off the bench, and all that. But part of what was said was -- they Cards were trying to be honest to Adams, saying "look, we don't see a spot for you here, ever. We can replenish what you do off the bench (though that backfired), so we'll give you a chance to play some games in ATL in the shortterm, until Freddie Freeman comes back."
  • Recently, the Cards came home after losing 7 in a row and drew 130,000 fans to a 3-game series against the worst team in baseball. If I were ownership, I wouldn't make any major investments, either! Can you blame them?
  • At some point, the business of baseball has to be different than the business in business. Knowing the current ownership and how much they care, I would think that the play on the field and the 2018 monies from TV will increase the payroll going forward. And they need to go up a few notches in the NL list of teams.
  • Ben it's time to blow it up Baby, keep CMart and offer the other 24
  • Wait, are you Dickie Thon, the former Astros infielder and father of current Cardinal minor-leaguer Dickie Joe Thon?? Is this your plot to get your son to the big club? I'm on to you, Dickie Thon!!!!
  • Hey Ben who is safer Mo or Matheny?
  • My guess -- no one's getting fired this season. But long term, clearly Mo is safer.
  • OK I gotta go film 2 Bens. I'm on vacation the next two weeks, but continue to associate me with 11 am on Tuesday
  • I apologize, I didn't even answer your question. No, I don't think they should blow it up, so to speak. Carlos Martinez and Alex Reyes are studs that most teams would dream of having. I'm cool with making trades, but knowing that you have two stars that you need to try to win with immediately.
  • OK thanks everyone!!
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