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 1 p.m. Tuesday.




  • Lets say Stanton does not wave his No-Trade clause to the Cardinals.He wants to go somewhere else.
    Could the Cardinals try to trade for Nolan Arenado or/and Charlie Blackmon from the Rockies? How would the players be different in a Stanton trade vs a Arenado trade? Thanks Big Benjamin
  • What's up Brian, let's do this chat thing. I think Arenado is one of the five most-exciting players in baseball. I got to cover him briefly during my time as a columnist for The Denver Post. He made plays that seemed to defy physics. His fielding was so good, I called Brooks Robinson and he told me how much he liked Arenado. But I'll tell you, I haven't seen or heard anything yet that the Rockies would trade either or those gentlemen. The reason Stanton is even available is because of the rare situation of the Marlins getting new ownership, which wants to start over financially, and they currently have Stanton for $295 million on the books. The Rockies, meanwhile, probably think they can contend for the World Series next year.
  • Let’s talk Stanton, odds he could be convinced to change his mind about coming to the Midwest?
  • I'm sure we'll talk a lot today about The Slugger Formerly Known As Mike. It is fascinating that there's all these swirling talks about him, yet we don't even know if he'd agree to the trade. One thing that isn't said often is -- hey, maybe the Marlins will just keep him for this season and try to get more for him at the trade deadline or even next winter. But of course, Stanton's stock has never been higher. He'll likely either win the MVP or come in second. In an era in which slugging is so prominent -- the top-eight slugging teams in baseball made the playoffs last season -- Stanton led the league in that stat category. He'd hit homers during the national anthem. He is a superstar's superstar. So, the odds on him being convinced to change his mind about the midwest? Clearly it's hard to say, but you'd think the Cards could make a nice little sales pitch to him: Large fan base in a city where baseball is the No. 1 sport. A franchise that has in the playoffs this decade more times than not. And an organization with some of the top young pitching -- and a young ace in Carlos -- and an offense that's pretty good, but needs the missing piece to make the playoffs (and Giancarlo, you are the missing piece).
  • Am I as bad as Joe Buck at broadcasting or is he worse than me? I'm not sure.
  • I don't care if I'm in the majority or minority -- Buck and McCarver are both fantastic broadcasters and we're lucky to have them in this generation.
  • I don't understand ANY of this trade talk. I ALREADY play for the Cardinals...
  • hahaha I'm sure numerous people have been fooled by tweets about the "Cardinals" and "Stanton" in regards to the QB
  • Can't Marlins tell Stanton "It's STL or you're stuck here in loserville again." ?
  • hahaha... Loserville.
  • There are "rumors" about Stanton vetoing a trade to St. Louis or Boston... How much stock can we put in rumors? Besides not being born there it is hard to believe Stanton would dislike St. Louis that much, or even Boston for that matter as both Boston and St. Louis win, and have a rich history of baseball in their towns.
  • See, this is the one that scares me. I'm just basing it off history, but I wonder/worry that our fair town will lose out to Boston, yet again. No, there hasn't been any breaking news yet about Boston making a strong offer to Miami for Stanton, but I would just worry about it, like you said, because Boston is a heck of a desirable destination. If you're Stanton, why wouldn't you want to go to Boston? A 90-plus win team with absurd pitching and some young talented key position players? And you could help win a title in a town that cares so much about baseball? And you could be Goliath vs. Goliath in a rivalry with Aaron Judge for years to come? You know which towns have nice weather in the summer? All of them. This isn't like you're an NHL superstar and you're choosing between winters in Miami or Edmonton. Stanton could play in Boston (just like he could play in STL) and still spend his winters in the hottest locales on our planet. Anyway, if Stanton does go to Boston, it would just fall in line with developments over the last two decades: David Price, the '13 World Series, the '04 World Series, the first Tom Brady Super Bowl. But to end this answer, I'll refer to the first thing you mentioned: rumors. It's a tricky time. Ball writers have sources all over baseball, so look for who is reporting the rumor.
  • Do you think the Cardinals aggressively pursue another impact bat if Stanton can't handle the Midwest?! What creative options are out there? (Machado is an easy one)
  • It's not an "if" the Cards would pursue a different bat, it's "when" and the "when" is before Opening Day against the Metropolitans. Machado would be sensational, short-term or long-term, but I haven't heard anything yet about his availability. Our paper's beat writer Derrick Goold has mentioned that the JD Martinez contract would probably be too big for St. Louis to desire (By the way, always come by our site for reporting from Derrick and Rick Hummel from the GM Meetings this week). Josh Donaldson on the short-term would clearly be desirable, but while the Cards might have interest in acquiring him, I haven't seen definitively that the Toronto Blue Jays are willing to part ways. There are other bats though. Christian Yelich has a sweet swing, a great glove and a high upside. Ozuna from Miami also puts up big numbers, but it's fair to look at them and wonder if he's peaked (as opposed to Yelich who, the optimist says, is still peaking). Eric Hosmer can be a masher, too. I could go on and on, but I think the reality is, as I've written before, the Cards at this state don't need an acceptable slugger, they need an exceptional one, and that's Stanton.
  • Blues play in last 3 games... fluke? or expect more? they looked like a last place team last night. ugly.
  • To quote Brian Madison after watching Principal Anderson admit on the news that Billy Madison bribed him: "What a mess." These past two games have clearly been uncharacteristic for the St. Louis Blues. Yes, the Blues entered the week with a high PDA, which advanced stats site suggests that the Blues might've been getting a little lucky. But the fact is, heading into these recent games, the Blues were stout, getting so much production from essentially any human whose last name begins with S. You said fluke, and I want to think that's the case, but I'll change that word up a little to describe Jake Allen: flakey. A couple weird turns-of-events with him in these games, but look (look!) the reality is the turnovers/giveaways are killing this team. Dumb decisions. Maybe it's what the team needed -- they were riding high, and the recent mistakes will keep them humbled and grounded? Still, with all the bad, can we talk about the scoring prowess of Schwartz and Tarasenko? And perhaps the coolest play by all of them was that crazy shot in the first period by Jaden that didn't score. Anyway, hopefully the boys will regroup in their fortnight in Edmonton and come out strong and smart in the next game against the Oilers.
  • In your humble opinion, would the Cardinals be better off with Stanton blocking a trade to them and instead picking up Ozuna or Yelich? This would allow much more financial flexibility to pursue more pitching (bullpen or starters) and a first and/or third base upgrade. Something I've been thinking about through all of the rumors.
  • I think you bring up a good point here, one that we don't talk about as often as we should: If St. Louis does get Giancarlo Stanton, what does that mean they WON'T get? Like, they'll still need to get a closer, right? They'll still need to get another start to help eat the innings, right? And if they do get Stanton, that means the Cards could then go with Carp at third and Jose Martinez or Luke Voit at first. My guess is, if they get Stanton, they'll still go after all their regular targets at those other spots. I also read that the Cards would rather trade for a starting pitcher than sign one. Again, it's pretty understandable that the Cards will move at least one of their minor league outfield prospects this winter.
  • If Stanton comes, do you think it would be better to bat him 3rd or clean up? I would say clean up, as you could put 3 OBP monsters ahead of him--Pham, Carp, Fowler--that would make up for any at-bats he lost over a season....
  • Why not second? Have Dex or a high-OBP guy get on, and Stanton can drive him in with a double or homer. And yes, of course, having him third or fourth means more of the OBP monsters can potentially get on in front of him, but having him second also guarantees him more at-bats overall. And, as we know, later in games the ninth spot is normally a key reserve hitting.
  • What is your "go-to" frozen pizza? Are you a solely based on going with what's on sale? I'm personally of the opinion that mama lucias is best when on sale and when I'm splurging Lena's 4 meat pizza is amazing!!
  • I actually don't eat frozen pizza -- when we were a kid, my parents would get Tombstone Pizza and I always remember it as being "not that bad." One time in Denver, there was a place that fancied itself for it's St. Louis style pizza. I said to my cousin JB, a STL native who lived there, that the pizza was "just as good as Imo's." Irate, he ordered frozen Imo's to be shipped on dry ice from STL to Denver. It cost him approximately one zillion dollars. But I was wrong and he was right. Anyway, everyone lemme know their "Go-to" frozen pizza and I'll share it with the chatters....
  • Ben, are you starting to get worried the MPJ's injury is worse than expected (or we were led to believe)? It is just such a bummer for this to happen - although the team does still look good. Do you think this will be an ongoing thing or will he get over it and be back for good? I mean we only have him for a year anyway, right? MIZ
  • Well, of course, it would be the most Mizzou thing ever for the Tigers to finally get the No. 1 player ... and he gets hurt in the first game. When I was in Columbia last weekend, the buzz would be that he wouldn't play in the Wagner game but try to be ready for the Utah game on Thurs. By the way, the Tigers look fantastic. And Utah is filled with veterans. The St. Louis Men's Dinner is Thursday so I'll have to DVR the game, but here's guessing that it'll be the toughest test this season so far (not counting kU). Also, I love how the Kansas coach says that the Mizzou game didn't matter to the Kansas fans. It sure as heck matter to the players -- Graham played one of his greatest games ever, hustling all over the floor. And the fans there sure cared. And the however many Kansas fans on Twitter seemed to care. Remember when Twitter switched to 280 characters last week? One of the prominent KU fan sites just tweeted an expletive about Mizzou, over and over, for 280 characters. But they don't care about Mizzou. Apparently, from reading between the lines, some of Kansas' top donors don't care about Mizzou. You know what Kansas' top donors should care about -- fielding a football team that deserves to be in a major conference. Anyway, these chats are a wonderful way for me to type up a stream of consciousness (or as I used to think it was, "conscience"). I don't think the Porter injury is that bad. I wished he had sat on the bench with the team. BUT, when we found out he wasn't going on the bench because it hurt his leg, I wished they had told THE MEDIA AT THE ACTUAL GAME the reason why he wasn't on the bench (and that includes the ESPN broadcaster OF the game!). Because speculation is infuriating.
  • If the Cardinals were looking to trade Stephen Piscotty, and he wasn't included in a hypothetical Stanton trade, how do you assess his trade value after a down year, and which teams do you think would be interested in a player like him? Do you think he could anchor a trade for a top reliever, like Toronto’s Roberto Osuna, San Diego’s Brad Hand, or the Yankee’s Dellin Betances?
  • A very fair question. What is Piscotty's value right now? A year ago, he was a blossoming right fielder at age 25, with 22 homers and upside. A year later, he's 26 with a question mark. Last season was of course affected by both injuries and the unfathomable news that his mother was suffering from ALS. So as we look at Piscotty this coming season, it's very fair to wonder which Stephen we'll see next season. He had a 0.6 WAR, while Brad Hand, who you mentioned, was 2.8. I struggle with the Piscotty thing because I've always been so big on him. Obviously, if you get Stanton, then you move Pisco (perhaps Grichuk is that versatile fourth outfielder). But what if you go with Donaldson or Hosmer. Is it Pisco in right? The Cards will and should clearly look into everything they can get for Piscotty. Because they know that if he starts off terribly in right field, there are like 3-5 minor league outfielders who could vie for that spot ASAP in their system.
  • Now it's impossible even to hate-watch the Rams.They're too good. And don't tell me to watch the Chiefs. They represent a town that's filthy with Jayhawks. What's an NFL fan in the STL supposed to do?
  • The Rams last season were the perfect hate-watch team because everything was going so embarrassingly, conspicuously bad. You're right, the only thing "fun" about watching the Rams right now is knowing that LA STILL isn't fully behind them, even though they'll make the playoffs. How about picking up the Atlanta Falcons for the rest of the year? They're 5-4 so nothing's guaranteed and they're clawing for a playoff spot. And Adrian Clayborn is from St. Louis -- he had a historic six-sack game last weekend in the win against the Dallas Cowboys (he went to Webster Groves High School... then to Iowa). And the Falcons are kind of this lovable-loser team after their embarrassment in the Super Bowl last year. Jump on board the redemption bandwagon, in which you can dance the dirty bird or even the 2 Legit 2 Quit Dance in your Hammer pants and Brian Jordan football jersey.
  • Have the Tigers done enough during this winning streak for Odom to warrant another year? Or does he have to get to 6 wins and make a bowl game? it has been a impressive turnaround, regardless of the opponents.
  • I'll have to stick with what I said to start the season. Bowl -- Odom stays. No bowl -- new coach. There is clearly a lot of excitement and momentum about Mizzou right now. I recall a tweet that said Mizzou's run performance against Tenn was the best in the SEC this season. And to think, Crockett didn't play! But the other backs are exciting, with Ish Witter bouncing off tacklers and playing with senior pride, and Larry Rountree enticing his mom to drive up to games and watch her son play college football. But think about it though -- if Mizzou isn't bowl eligble that means they would have lost this weekend at very-bad Vanderbilt AND next week at very-average Arkansas. At that point, there's no happy faces because they beat Florida and Tennessee.
  • Let me preface by saying I am a MISS State alum and I remember back when they were in the College World Series back in 2013, they did something I thought peculiar at the time with their pitching structure. They would allow the starter to go the first 2 or 3 innings no matter the outcome within reason, then they had what I would say their most effective pitcher pitch the middle 3 innings or so, then a couple of other BP guys to finish out the game. This seemed to be very effective hence competing for the CWS, so do you see that as a possibility with MLB staffs in the future? I know this would definitely affect salaries, the way guys would be groomed in the Minors, different regimens, etc., but there seems to be so much emphasis on relievers these days I'm just wondering if starting (in the traditional sense) may become a lost art.
  • The fascinated baseball thinker Brian Kenny has suggested this on MLB Network and other forums. It would be revolutionary for baseball. And clearly there are stats that show a starting pitcher's decent begins when the batting order flips and he has to face the same fellows a second or (as we saw with Michael Wacha) third time in the same game. But look, how often do we see modern managers (locally and nationally) talk about the importance of the win stat, or the save stat? How it's meaningful to the players. How it's part of the game's structure. It's an antiquated notion, but it's hard to just shake up a whole game. I'd wonder if a forward-thinking team would start this by doing it in their minor leagues? Or, the MLB team to try it would have to be a really bad team that has little to lose. I love the creativity. I also wonder about the pitchers' fatigue in the games that go awry.
  • Ben, Chad Jennings of the Boston Herald is now reporting Stanton will indeed block a trade to both Boston & STL. Does this constitute as a rumor? Obviously we don't know who his source is, but if that's the case, and Miami knew all along that they wouldn't be able to trade Stanton to either, were they simply still having 'conversations' with both to drive up the price with other teams?? Or are they hoping to convince Stanton to change his mind? I know.. loaded question.
  • No, I'd say that's news. Chad is a respectable reporter (Mizzou Journalism, too) and his article today says that a source says Stanton will not accept a trade to either the Red Sox or the Cardinals. Chad also writes: "Perhaps there's some flexibility in that stance, but Stanton's preference is a factor." The thing, of course, is that things change. I believe Chad, that's the news. So we'll have to see what happens in private. Do the Marlins say to Stanton -- we have no other "beach" city options for you, so can we talk again about STL or BOS? Or maybe STL gets to Stanton's people and makes a salespitch of a lifetime. But yes, Chad's report in the Boston Herald is news.
  • Why does your partner in crime have to be condescending?
  • BenFred is delightful! What are you talking about!? Also, we're in talks for a new 2 Bens this week.
  • Ben, I'm originally from Edwardsville but had to relocate to N. Texas. I still love Imo's pizza and will do all I can to get my hands on it when I am back. I've been trying to clear out room in the freezer so I can order Imo's frozen pizzas. In the mean time I have found Home Run Inn frozen pizza's - so good! I am even told they have actual sit down restaurants in the Chicago area. When I'm in Chicago I have to stop at Gino's but I am going to be tempted to look for a Home Run Inn as well. Now I"m hungry...
  • Thank you for the frozen pizza update!
  • Shakespeare's Pizza from Columbia. Now in freezers in Kansas City area. Wonderful.
  • If the Cards don't get Stanton, I would like to see them go after Meyers and Hand from SD. Then they could sign Reed, Shaw or morrow and consider if they have the assets to go for Donaldson. What would you think?
  • Hand is fantastic. Wil Myers? I dunno. He was low in all three slashing stats. I know he hit 30 homers and did so in that big ballpark, but I wouldn't go ga-ga over him. Oooooh, Addison Reed, I like his numbers. He seldom walks dudes. And Morrow of course was a key player on a key team. As for Donaldson, of course most folks here in St. Louis would see that as a fantastic move, but again, I just don't know if TOR is willing to move him in the first place.
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