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.

  • I do not dislike Fowler but he seems like he doesnt fit here and he is not a good centerfielder anymore no offense is there any chance of a trade and if so what would the cards have to eat on his contract. I do not have a problem with him in the lf spot just saying, thanks
  • On June 9th, Fowler was hitting .227. There was much frustration. He had a .317 on-base percentage, and that was even more frustrating, considering there was so much excitement about his OBP, one of the two Post-Dispatch Bens rewrote lyrics to OPP to "You down wit OBP?" That point, do this day, was half the games Fowler played so far this season. I will first share these stats -- beginning June 10th to this day, 60 games, Fowler has slashed .310/.412/.557 with a nice .969 OPS. That is superb. I know you can take a lot of people's numbers and slice them up to find some happiness, but the reality is -- Dex's "second half" offensively has been what they paid him for. His fielding? Yikes. He should be in left field next year. Is he happy here? He clearly isn't as consistently jovial as he was in spring training (who is?). But he's an investment and I think he'll be good -- in left, not center.
  • Trade DeJong while his value is high this offseason and sign Zack Cozart?
  • But wait, isn't DeJong basically a Cozart to begin with? Here's a quote from Mike Matheny from earlier this month “Early on, we were trying to figure out what type of player he could be,” Matheny said. “I remember as he just started at shortstop, saying that he could be a Cozart-style player, a guy that's going to be in there every day and probably sneak up on you with a lot of power. He'll play above-average defense, and I think we're seeing that and even more. That was one name I remember coming up, and that was before he even developed as a shortstop.
    “I wouldn't just stick him in a classification and expect him to stay there, because we're still trying to figure out who he's going to be. Counting the power he showed at triple-A, that's pretty rare – 33, 34 home runs from the shortstop position, playing a good defense and getting better? I'm excited to watch how he progresses.”
    As for DeJong, no question, he's not hitting the ball as hard and as consistently has he had in previous months. The references to "insurance" by "Rodney" DeJong have been less and less. But he's only 23. Cozart is 32!!
  • Who is the likeliest person, in your mind, to get traded this coming offseason?
  • A fair question, and a tricky one, because there are so many options. Of course, the reality is, a lot of this will be determined by who the player is they're trading for -- and which Cardinal that team wants. But the way I look at it now, the two guys (in my opinion) why will be in the OF next year are Fowler and Pham. And hopefully they'll swap spots in the field. If the Cards cane nab a Christian Yelich, who turns 26 in December, then maybe he can play right? So what I'm getting at is, of course, Randal or Stephen Piscotty are two guys that make a lot of sense to move, if it leads to upgrades in production. I still want to believe that Piscotty has greatness in him, and that this was just an emotionally taxing and overwhelming year, but but Grichuk, more and more, just looks to me like the standard 2017-type ballplayer, who homers an strikeouts a lot.
  • Why is everybody giving up? I know it looks bleak, but if the Cubs clinch tonight they might rest up for a couple days. If the Cards could just win a couple of games against them, I'm not convinced the Rockies can finish off this 2nd Wild Card.
  • Optimism! It's fun to hear! Carlos-Wacha-Lynn next three! Why not, right? More sentences with exclamation points: The Rockies are falling apart! They lost another close one last night! And the Cards final three games are in Busch against the Brewers! OK. Now that it's out of the system, it's just super-unlikely. As of today, per ESPN stats, the Cards have an 8.4 percent chance of making the playoffs (SO YOU'RE SAYIN THERE'S A CHANCE!!). I want to be excited, but here's the thing -- this would mean that, suddenly, they'd have to play brilliant, CONSISTENT baseball for six games against TALENTED teams. They showed they can can string games together against bad teams (the Padres and Giants back when there was hope), but this just seems so daunting. But again, a week from today, this (this!) could be the chat answer we refer to as the one that called it. So hopefully, for STL's sake, for story-telling sake, your hope is accurate.
  • Has there been any update on Yadi Molina, obviously he won't play today but is he done for the season? I don't know that I have ever seen a player get sick on the field like that.
  • That was very scary. The Cards clubhouse is open today to media at 3:30, so there will likely be an update this afternoon.
  • The rhetoric surrounding this team has to change this winter, starting with the manager. The whole "nobody believed in us" shtick is worn out and doesn't fit the results on the field. As far as the front office, Mo can project "cool and calm" but it is time to see some urgency, some creativity and to wake up from this two-year slumber. This team comes off as soft and apathetic.
  • Well, right away, I believe No. 22 will be back next season. But I also agree with you -- this must be the offseason of urgency. Two seasons in a row with playoff expectations, two seasons in a row of disappointment. Even if they do make some dramatic run this week, they need to bolster the lineup for next season. Missing the playoffs for three straight seasons is the Cardinals version if unacceptable. The team right now is ordinary. The team right now, for so many stretches, has been uninspiring. Yes, there's some excitement about DeJong and Weaver and Alex Reyes and maybe a Bader or Sierra (and Kolten had a nice year), but goodness gracious, this is the St. Louis Cardinals we're talking about, a franchise that from 2000-2015 missed the playoffs just four times. And of all teams -- of all teams! -- the Chicago Cubs have become the driving force? And they'll celebrate in the next couple days AT Busch with a division title? There must be some sort of resuscitation. And it's going to be costly in some regard (free agency or trade) but something must be done, because Albert Pujols is not walking through that door, Jim Edmonds is not walking through that door (OK Edmonds might, just because he's a broadcaster for the team, but you know what I mean).
  • Hey Ben, I was really excited to hear that the Blues submitted a bid to host an All Star game in either 2020 or 2021. However, in the back of my mind I can't help but think about the possibility of a lockout in one those seasons and us getting screwed out of hosting our All Star game.... That just kind of seems like our luck....
  • Yeah I was talking to my man Jeff Jones of "We Are Live" about the lockout yesterday at Blues practice. Could you imagine a fourth work stoppage under Gary Bettman's reign? As we say down at Protzel's Deli, when my buddy tries to order pastrami on white bread, "oy vey!" Anyway, yeah, I too was fired up when I saw that progressive, proactive news about trying to bring an All-Star Game here. And I too agree with you, that it would indeed be our luck that there's a work-stoppage that year, and that they then re-give (that's a word) us an All-Star Game in like 2024, and somehow that year like six all-stars are from Kroenke's Colorado Avalanche and they steal the show in St. Louis.
  • FBI please don't look at Mizzou. Give us at least 1 year of good basketball
  • Do you still have confidence in Mozeliak and the talent acquirers for this team to do an overhaul in the offseason and get us back on top? I think Mo has done a great job over the years, but the approach has gotten stale. This team needs bold action and I'm not sure that fits his nature.
  • Is it fair to say "yes" to the faith in Mozeliak/Girsch but also say "I agree" with the "has gotten stale and needs bold action" lines?
  • Why give tons of money to a free agent starting pitcher when we can re-sign Lance Lynn? He has helped this team win time after time from the day he started. I think he is the most unappreciated player on the team.
  • His last start was a little rocky (just a tad), and the Dexter defense didn't help, but I think the Cards should (and probably will) take a strong look at the future of Lynn here. Next year, they've got Carlos, Wacha ... and then Weaver, Reyes, Flaherty, Waino? Can those guys fill three spots and eat up the innings needed (let alone make those efficient innings?)? I know there seems to be a lot of attitude coming from Lance Lynn these days, the "I just work here" stuff and all that. But I also have seen this in sports a lot, where a few weeks away from each other kinda of calms and resets everything. Maybe they can work something out with him. Heck, maybe (this seems like a longshot) he takes the qualifying option and they've got Lance for one more year, as they groom Weaverreyesflaherty into a big innings monster for the future. And maybe they sit down and Lance and Girsch and Mo realize that they need each other. That this is the best situation. So much speculation at this point, with the season still going on, and with the market yet to be set. But it's at least fun to talk it all out. Lance can be spicy. I don't like how he took out frustration on a reporter after his last loss. But I love his bulldog-ness on the mound.
  • I am not in area so do not get sports radio, blogs, etc. I may be wrong but I feel Lilliquist seems to get a pass on comments or criticism. Would not he have gotten indications from Weavers warm up that their may be problems--or at least early in the first inning? I'm old so relate to Duncan days. Always being quoted, got good results etc. Lilliquist may just avoid the attention. I just do not He or MM are good enough at handling the staff.
  • You're right, Lilli doesn't get talked about too often in the media. I think it's for these reasons: 1. He established himself as such a guru after leading his staff through a historic statistical 2015 season (I also wonder what happens in that postseason if Lynn and Carlos were healthy). 2. When the bullpen struggles, here's the general pecking order of blame from fans and some media, myself Included to a degree: A. Matheny, for his decision-making B. The pitcher himself, for stinking that day C. The front office, for making this guy one of the key options in the pen to begin with. And then to the third reason, 3. The starting staff has been above average this season. The Cards as a whole are fourth in the NL in ERA and opponents OBP. So yeah, as we look back at the mosaic that is the 2017 season, this streaming together of memories and tweets and articles and stuff, maybe there could've been a little more Lilli criticism, but I think it's all been pretty fair. And as for the Weaver stuff, don't forget, the guy catching him in the bullpen before the game is also a master eye. Also, a fun side note -- do you know what uniform number Lilliquist wears? He's always in the red jacket thing, we never see it. I was taken aback yesterday in the clubhouse. I saw the players autographing a jersey, probably for a charity, and it was No. 34, and I was like "who the heck is 34, Felix Jose? Jarrett Hoffpauir? Turns out, it was a Lilliquist jersey.
  • Do you know of any high school internships the P-D will have this year, in sports or otherwise?
  • Hi Adam, I know that we have the annual Rick Hummel Internship, which is given to an experienced college student. This year's Hummel intern was Mitchell Forde from Mizzou (you may recall the byline). Every year of the Hummel internship, there seems to be a fine, up-and-coming sportswriter, 2011 notwithstanding (that summer they went with some Ben Frederickson guy). Anyway, I'm not sure when they'll announce the internship, but keep Google-ing and asking.
  • So, I know it's all Cardinals so far ... but, what about the Blues? Any reason for concern with all the injuries?
  • I was worried yesterday, going to Blues practice, that I might hurt one of my writing hands just by being in the building. Or during a key interview with Mike Yeo, my left wrist would give and I'd drop my recorder. I'm with you, obviously the injuries are staggering (though the Steen one wasn't a standard sports injury). The Fabbri one, in particular, catches my eye, because I'm so high on Fabbri, was so excited about how he played in the playoffs two seasons ago and was pumped up about him infiltrating one of the top-two lines and providing some jolts. And the fact that he re-injured what had been injured makes me a little nervous. I'm not a doctor (though I once told a lady at Bar Napoli that I was), but re-injuring an injury doesn't sound ideal.
  • DeJong I believe is a -1 DAR and I think the league has adjusted to him. Last 33 games is hitting .212. The drops are dramatic. SLG the last 3 months; .638, .508, .422. Same with the OPS; .985, .844, .726. He will and projects to be a average player both on the offense and defensive side.
  • It is true, DeJong's luster has dropped off some since the summer. He did, to be fair, have some important at-bats during the winning streak earlier this month. But yes, no one can hide from that. Moreover, he has 121 strikeouts and only 20 walks. That's such a crazy disparity. I know that Aledmys, a season ago, struggled from that as well. And another Aledmys-y guy, Randal Grichuk, has dropped off too, and has a low OBP (he's got 26 walks and 127 strikeouts, and I bet 117 of those strikeouts were on some outside breaking ball). The thing about DeJong is, in his shorter professional career, he's never been a big walker. In the minors this year, 9 walks and 46 Ks. In 16, 43 walks and 165 Ks. And in that first year of 15, 29 walks and 52 Ks. A lot of times, that's who a guy is. But if he's going to be an important top-5 guy in the lineup, he's gotta walk more. And slug more consistently, like you pointed out.
  • Ben, wondering if you can answer me truthfully whether you feel that there is a double standard when it comes to politics in sports. It seems like ESPN and others are all fine with reporters or athletes bashing Republicans or conservative ideals (and even tend to encourage it), but if an athlete or anchor or journalist comes out and says something even remotely conservative, they get canned. Why the double standard??
  • I'll end the chat on this one (I gotta go film 2 Bens downtown with BenFred) ... It is a tricky line, no doubt. I struggle with how much or how little to tweet about and write about. I wanted to share this video from a war veteran and sports journalist. It's 2 minutes and 12 seconds. That's it. Can, for 2 minutes and 12 seconds, everyone watch this with a complete and open mind? Thanks! -
  • Dale Hansen been keeping it 💯 for years

  • And thank you all for chatting! Seee you next Tues at 11.
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