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.




  • Why was the trade value of Mike Leake so much lower than Quintana? They have extremely similar statistics before they were traded.
    Leake: 7-12, 4.21 era, 1.32 whip, 154 IP, 102 ERA+
    Quintana 4-8, 4.49 era, 1.32 whip, 104 IP 96 ERA+
    Why such a difference in what the Cardinals and the White Sox received?
  • A fair question. Two thoughts right off the bat... Quintana was trending in the right direction -- his ERA was 2.43 in the five starts before the trade. Leake was, well, you remember.. And while both dudes were under contract for a couple years, Quintana was more affordable, enticing to the Cubs to give up more to get his contract (than the Mariners for Leake)
  • Ben, I can't figure out whether I want to be excited or disappointed about this finish the Cardinals are having. It's great to see what the future holds and that the young guys can be successful, but I'm worried that the FO will use this as an excuse to not make the upgrades that are needed in the off season. I'm afraid we'll get, "I think when you think in terms of upgrades to this team, we really like our depth"...Help me out Ben
  • I love this question, because I feel it's how many folks around town feel the same way. As we saw in 2006, the Cards won it all and then invested in some of the dudes that got them there -- but they weren't the smartest investments. In 17, we're in a situation in which many of the guys that "got them here" are cheaper and under contract for a while. I think the Cards front office is currently smart enough to appreciate the fun run and also look at the numbers, look at the scouting reports and get a feel for how a lot of these guys will play out, for better or worse. For instance, I have optimism about Paul DeJong. I love his approach, his swing, his attitude. He's a starter next season on the left side of that infield. But where does a Bader fit in? He's been a nice contributor, a lotta speedy plays and smart defensive plays. Let's say he becomes a September star -- does that mean he's suddenly a starter in 18? No. So it's not apples-and-apples to 06, but it's the same idea of -- it's best to appreciate a playoff push and then step away and look at it for what it was. And that's a month of brilliant baseball -- not four seasons worth. Last thing, the Cards need another offensive thwacker in the offseason. Need.
  • Sounds like the FO doesn't really have a set plan on dealing it's outfield, they are going to cast a wide net with all their players and see who gives the best return for that asset.. makes sense sure. But when teams know you need to trade an outfielder, don't we completely lose leverage? Are we going to see some lackluster returns for Grichuk or Pham, only to turn around and spend big money on a FA OF?
  • The flip side is -- those teams know you're also dealing with other teams, so they don't want to "miss out" on the opportunity to nab some of the Cards top prospects by playing "hard to get" (I never understood "playing hard to get" in real life. I was like "don't you want to be got???). I think the Cards will get something good for Grich. I strangely remain high on him -- I guess his 20-homer seasons validate that.
  • It also leads to the Tommy Pham situation ... and I'll type more on that right now..
  • You look at his numbers -- STUD NUMBERS this year -- and it's like, how can he not be a All-Star, let alone a starter, in 2018 if healthy? I've always said, Tommy's tremendous 2017 season will help the Cards in 18 in some regard -- either they keep him and he plays well, or the deal him and get something good for him. His season has been special. 19 HRs and 19 SBs. Slashing .306/.406/.509!!!! Good golly! And I love his passion. He takes umbrage to any reference to him being a "fourth outfielder" next season -- if I was slashing 3/4/5, I would too!
  • Let's not complicate things. Cards need: 1, a big bat in the middle, which will make all of the rookies, near-stars, and journeymen better. 2, fix up the bullpen. Starting pitching fine. Simple, really. Got get the menacing bat in the middle.
  • Jean for GM! Exactly. It's all about that bat. And that's why the Marlins situation is so fascinating. You've got THREE big bats, each at different price points, in that outfield. You've got a team that won't make the playoffs, and a brand new ownership looking to start over. Clearly it would be fun to have Stanton, but we have to keep thinking not about the Cards' affordability of the contract but the VALUE of it. I loved the wording that The Post's Derrick Goold made in his chat yesterday. He said that a majority of teams can afford Giancarlo Stanton's contract, sure. But ALL of the teams want value and flexibility -- that's the real currency. So yes, if the Cards acquired any of the three outfielders from the Marlins, unless they had to trade Reyes-Weaver-AND-organist Dwayne Hilton, I'd probably be OK for the deal.
  • What are your thoughts on the new NHL rule regarding offsides challenges? For people that don't now when you challenge a play as being offsides if you lose the challenge you are charged with minor penalty. I mean obviously this going to result in reduction of challenges to be sure. I think this gets the league closer to what they had originally anticipated with this challenge system. Correcting the no brainer/obvious mistakes and not the 1/4 of inch offsides that can barely be judged even with replay.
  • Oh nice, I totally like this. Well-explained. Yes, the no-brainer ones are infuriating. If there's a quick fix for it, with the challenge and the risk of the penalty, I'm for it. Some fans will hate it because it slows down the game. But I can't wait for the next important game that helps a fans team and to see if any fans are like "I'm glad we got the call reversed, but dang it, that 75 seconds really took the air out of the game."
  • do you think going into 2018 management will ask fowler to move to a corner OF? and if he doesn't like the idea, maybe waives his no trade to play CF elsewhere? I like the dude and would be a great complementary piece and clubhouse guy, but we can't be seriously considering him starting CF in 2018. plus the corner OF may help him avoid injuries and wear
  • This. This right here is a huge question for the Cards. Fowler ranks 13th in baseball in CF UZR on fangraphs. And BenFred from our paper wrote this on Sept. 1: "Fielding Bible's Runs Saved attempts to calculate the number of runs a player saved or allowed, compared to an average player at his position. This season Fowler is at 13 runs below average. That ranks 33rd among center fielders." In addition, the eye test shows Fowler missing some catchable balls. These aren't cans of corn, but you know on some of those recent ones you're like "DANG IT, EVEN RICKIE FOWLER COULDA CAUGHT THAT ONE!" Dexter is a proud person, and rightfully so. Guys, again, he was the starting centerfielder for the World Champions. And then, he got paid $90 MILLION to come play centerfield here. I understand why he would be skeptical to admit he should play Not Centerfield. But yes, next year they should consider moving him to left field.
  • Would you support a rule in the NFL, that if an NFL team and a major College team play in the same stadium, and that college team draws a larger crows than the NFL team, the NFL team ust move to St. Louis next season?
  • hahhaha! I got such a childish thrill looking at the stands at the Rams game the other day. They'll win the end game. A billion dollar stadium and all that. But it's fun to watch the shortterm
  • Thanks for taking the time to do these chats. So many parts to move around this off-season. Please give me your take and who you think will be moved, and what holes can realistically be filled through trading them.
  • Hi Alan, thanks for writing from Creve Coeur, my favorite Coeur. Who will be moved is so tricky because 1. we don't know exactly who the other team covets 2. just how good is the player the other team is giving up. But, I think it's fair to look at the outfielders and ask -- who will be moved? They have a bunch of them. And while Pham is clearly having the best season of all of them, it is STILL fair to ask questions about him, because of his age. Again, you're not just looking at 17 or 18. You're looking at 19 and 20. You want to maximize every asset. MAXIMIZE every asset. Do the front offices feel Pham will be a productive MLB outfielder at age 32? I've interviewed Tommy about it, and not only is he confident, but he spoke about different ways to approach his offseason training, to work on his speed. And his contract status is welcoming to the team. Anyway, at this point, my cop-out answer is also I think the fair answer -- if one of the three Marlins outfielders is available, it's fair to consider any of the Cardinals OFs as a possible trade chip. I doubt Miami would take Fowler's contract. But if they'd want an affordable Pham, and you can get young Yelich? Something to consider (obviously there would be other players in the deal). I suppose my true answer to your question is -- my take is no one is untouchable, and the holes that will be filled will be in the middle of the lineup, not necessarily in the OF.
  • maybe it's because i don't live in st. louis anymore, but why are fans so fixated on what the birds will do in the off-season or next year? we're two games back in the central in september. shouldn't we be feeling the excitement? i mean, we'll have four months to discuss 2018 in a month or so. i think the birds fans need to feel the mojo now and worry about 2018 in 2018.
  • sorry had a phone call...
  • Back to Al's question. I hear ya man! It's so interesting. As sports fans and media, we're always focused on the what's-next. It's out nature. It's getting ahead of the ball or the curve or whatever cliche you've got. Is it possible that we can be simultaneously content with the current performance but also truly nervous/curious about what'll happen in the future? Or, are people actually not content with simply "being in it," and unless a team is 120-42, the team is flawed in some regard heading into the next season? Your question was one of fan psychology, which fascinates me, but we also don't have all the answers. But like I said in my Post-Dispatch column the other day, this is such a fun run to be a part of. The 2017 Cardinals are, inexplicably, in it. Like I wrote, they're like a 3-point shot that is attempted to be a swish and instead banks off the backboard and goes in -- it didn't go the way they planned, but hey, the results are still acceptable! So be sure to enjoy this next few weeks. But it's fair to also wonder about the next 55 weeks.
  • Also, my favorite Als: 1. Al Czervik 2. Al "Red" Schoendienst 3. Al Arbour 4. Al from Happy Days 5. Al Pedrique 6. Alan From Creve Coeur
  • What are your thoughts surrounding the hypocrisy from certain media groups with the Rams attendance? St. Louis was bashed for poor attendance after 10+ years of bad football. Year two in LA and the Rams still don't draw, and there is a pass because "LA doesn't support losing products".
  • So, one of my favorite friends in journalism is actually a reporter in LA. On Sunday during the Rams-Colts game, in which the attendance number was the year Columbus sailed the ocean blue, he tweeted: "L.A. loves football. They've sold out 90,000-seat stadiums for football. They just aren't going to pack the house for a 4-12 or 5-11 team." That is fair. BUT... BUT... the STL fans were ripped for not selling out Rams games by a lot of LA people. But LA people are OK for not going to the games, in only the team's second season, because of a bad product on the field. People forget HOW MANY bad years in a row the Rams had here. SO MANY. Like, I think "The Office" came on the air and went off the air without the Rams making the playoffs once. Anyway, it also prompted this thought from me: You know what's a good football town? Any town that has a team that wins. Find me a city that doesn't support a winning team. That's news.
  • Hey Hoch - not that we need any extra motivation (I mean, there's the Rally Cat, right?), but just in case we do, I say . . . "Let's win this one for the Slyman Brothers!"
  • RIP Bob and Harry. STL commercial icons.
  • God, we had the best commercials in the 80s and 90s.
  • AND -- how about the "renaissance" of one of them -- "Think young! Paul DeJong!"
  • why am I pessimistic about the cardinals this year? i believe someone showed me that they are 12 games under .500 against teams that are at .500 or above. that's not good.
  • Well, here's the thing -- what matters is how the current cast of characters does against the Brewers and Cubs. And the Luke Weaver aspect is key -- his starts haven't been against those above-.500 teams, so we'll see what he's got. And once you get in the postseason tournament? Man, to quote my 17th-favorite broadway musical, "Anything Goes."
  • Pennant/WC Race and Larry David coming back?? What a great world!
  • My wife wants to throw a party for the season premiere of Curb Your Enthusiasm, but it's Oct. 1, so I'll be in the press box writing after the Cards final regular season game! I mean, I suppose she can have the party even if I'm not there, but ain't no party like a Benjamin-cackling-during-Curb-Your-Enthusiasm Party.
  • Just happy to be on the radar.
  • would you rather see waino return to the rotation or the bullpen? with the nicasio situation, i feel like waino will be closing games if we find our way into october. maybe let flaherty get a couple of refills on his cup of coffee and get waino get ready for a post season roll.
  • In a weird, nostalgic and storytelling way -- but also in a "makes sense" sort of way -- what if Adam Wainwright became the postseason closer? Makes sense because Nicasio won't be on the postseason roster. And then it doesn't change up the roles of the other dudes. And Waino's curveball out of the pen in a small sample size? And his motivation to contribute to this team? And he's always said he "needs another moment" in reference to his 06 strikeout of Beltran (and closing out the World Series). How fitting would the full circle be if his next moment is the same as his original moment? I know, I know, they gotta get to the playoffs firsr.
  • Is this weeknd a must win for Barry Odom? How many times can you say it's your fault as the coach that your team was ready to play? I get he's taking accountability, but after awhile when the talent is there but the play is not, it ends up with someone losing their job, I guess Cross was the first to go.
  • It's as close to a must-win as there can be in this regard: If Mizzou doesn't beat Purdue and win all its other non-conference games, then they'll need more than 2 wins in SEC play to secure a bowl. They MUST go to a bowl. That means money, exposure, extra practices, optimism, and is a step in the right direction. Five or fewer wins, and I need someone smarter than I am to explain why Odom should remain as coach. Athletic director Jim Sterk didn't hire Odom. Athletic director Jim Sterk is working his butt off at raising millions to revamp the facilities. And because enrollment is down, and some of the negative effects of the protests from 15 still linger, this team needs some positive stuff to happen right now, in 2017, this autumn. So yeah, they need to beat Purdue. Or if they don't, they need to find a way to make a bowl. And that's an uphill climb with that defense.
  • how in the world are they going to let waino pitch again? he should become a bench coach
  • The key would be getting him into action in September in some regard.
  • Is today the day the 2018 schedule is released?
  • Yup -

    St. Louis Cardinals Schedule

    MLB.comThe Official schedule of the Cardinals, including home and away schedule and promotions.
  • Best episode of Seinfeld? Cardinals biggest need this offseason? Best lunch spot in Clayton?
  • The Contest ... Ozuna or Yelich ... Protzel's Deli!!!!
  • OK I've gotta run.. 2 Bens in a Jaguar/Land Rover filming... see you next Tuessssssss
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