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.




  • hellllllloooooooooooo!
  • How are you ... please send in Qs!
  • A recent EPSN article named the Cardinals as one of six teams "in" on Yu Darvish. Do you have any information on how serious they are?
  • Let's talk about Yu. It doesn't make much sense to me to overspend on a 31-year-old starting pitcher, when what the Cards need, in my opinion, is a "bridge" of a starting pitcher, a proven guy who will give you two years, as opposed to goodness knows how many years Yu Darvish will command. Starting pitching is wildly important, we all know that, and the Cards have innings to gobble -- we just can't be certain how much STL will get out of Reyes, Weaver, Jack Flaherty and heck even Waino this season. But it's clear that by 2018, the Cards should have a heck of a sturdy young staff. So you don't want to gobble up a starter's spot with Darvish. Moreover, they should/could look at acquiring someone younger if they're going to go all-in on a starter this offseason. Clearly, Tampa's Chris Archer is appealing; clearly Chris Archer has connections to the pitching coach and manager on the Cubs.
  • Could the Cardinals expand any trade with the Marlins to include Justin Bour the power hitting first baseman? Stanton and Bour would be GREAT!! Stanton, Yelich and Bour would be the best!!
    What do you think sir?
  • I mean, sure, yea, all three of those guys would be awesome with the Cards -- but what's the price? I can't imagine the demanded haul for basically the middle of a lineup. I think realistically is the Cards get one of the three guys. And I hate to say this, because we all are enamored by Stanton, but I bet the Cards see a lot of good in Yelich. It's an investment in your next years. He turns 26 on December 5, he was in the .800 OPS range the past two season, he's a lauded fielder And for his career he's hit .290 and OBP'd a nice .369. No, he's not a big bat -- but his a big piece, if that makes sense.
  • Greetings! Enjoyed the piece on Schenn. Schwarschenko works for me. Regarding the Cardinals, what is your take on the ideal targets for the 7th, 8th and 9th innings? Also, your best guess for who the Cards might bring in for the rotation - do they go big or look for a bridge to Reyes returning to full strength?
  • There are, of course, numerous ways to go with those 7 and 8 and 9th innings, and the Cards blew many games last year in those innings. And as we know, with Matheny running a bullpen, the Cards are best when you can lock in a closer and then work backwards. We also know that Mike Maddux will have a lot of power and sway this season in regards to said bullpen. Look, we talk about the importance of starting pitching, but that doesn't thus negate the importance of relief pitching. And as we've seen in the modern game, bullpens are getting used more early and more often, as teams fear that daunting third go-through of a lineup for a starter. The 28 year old righty Addison Reed is enticing because, well, he doesn't walk batters. 15 walks last year. And 76 strikeouts. And a 1.05 WHIP. And pitched in big moments after being acquired by Boston last fall. Of course, there's a soft spot in many of our hearts for Pat Neshek, and the dude is still studly. If they can bring back Nicasio, that would be great because his stuff is filthy. And honestly, I haven't always loved the idea of overpaying/trading for a closer, but that Colome kid from Tampa is so young and talented.
  • I agree that Yelich would be an extremely valuable player for this team moving forward. The front office has already admitted they need a big bat in this lineup. My question would be, who is the big bat? Do we then go after Donaldson or someone else? Yelich is great but he is not the transformative piece the front office has admitted we need.
  • That's the thing. For me, just Yelich isn't enough. They need another upgrade. But that doesn't necessarily have to be another "big bat." Like, Hosmer is out there, but I'm not all giddy about Hosmer. He's a good ballplayer and a very good glove, but he's not a transformative piece. Maybe the second upgrade is an acquisition of the closest thing our game has to Ozzie, Andrelton Simmons, and boost the heck out of shortstop defense, then moving DeJong to third? Yes, is Josh Donaldson is available, go get that man. Stanton is surreal. Martinez will gobble up too much payroll at his age. But after that, yeah, maybe it's getting creative and not just getting one big bat, but a bat and a huge impact somewhere else on the field too. But they also need multiple relievers in my opinion.
  • I'm back! Sorry for getting my song stuck in your head. What would you think about this Cardinal lineup next year:
    1. Jose Altuve, 2B
    2. Corey Seager, SS
    3. Mike Trout, CF
    4. Giancarlo Stanton, LF
    5. Bryce Harper, RF
    6. Joey Votto, 1B
    7. Nolan Arenado, 3B
    8. Buster Posey, C
    P1. Clayton Kershaw
    P2. Max Scherzer
    P3. Corey Kluber
    P4. Chris Sale
    P5. Stephen Strasburg
    CL. Kenley Jansen
    If MO doesn't make it happen he should be fired.
  • I like it, but I think you have Seager too high. I'd put Votto second and just have him walk a bunch or double in Altuve a bunch.
  • Good Day Mr Hochman,
    Why have the Cardinals not signed Juan Nicasio? I though the Cards and Nicasio wanted him back as a Cardinal?
    I do not see how this would have any bearing on any trade? So what is the hold up?
    Same question with Tyler Chatwood?
  • I don't neccesarily think they're purposely trying to blow any deal. I don't know of a hold-up per se, but I just think one thing we have to remember is, just because the Cardinals have (or perhaps HAD) this aura, it doesn't mean dudes are dying to wear the birds on the bat. The business of baseball is business. All these free agents (AND AGENTS) are trying to maximize, and the clubs aren
    t
  • 't' trying to do something rushed.
  • Bennie Hoch: Has there ever been a season harder to evaluate than this Mizzou football season? I mean, what exactly have we learned? They start out 1-5 and look like possibly the worst team in a power 5 conference. Their coach gives a bizarre speech which had all the hallmarks of the infamous Dennis Green/Jim Mora meltdowns. They can't stop anyone, can't catch passes, and avoid brutal penalties and turnovers. Then they win 6 in a row, which seems great, but each opponent falls somewhere on the spectrum of awful to horrid. The offense seems better, but the drops continue, the locked-in-on-one-target interceptions continue, and while the defense seems better, it gets torched for huge plays again and again by a left-for-dead, coach-is-about-to-be-fire Arkansas team. So, what gives? What is this program as of today? How big is the upcoming bowl game in terms of understanding whether Odom has fixed many of the problems or just been able to paint over them via a fortunate second-half schedule?
  • Well, I'll tell ya Dave G -- you summed it all up quite nicely. I suppose a question back at you, or at all of us, is: OK, Mizzou is apparently much stronger right now -- do the "November 28th Tigers" definitely beat Kentucky? What about ... South Carolina? Maybe, right? But GA or Auburn? Harder to say yeah. So the funny thing is, most of us, me included, said this was a 7-5 team, and darn it if they're not a 7-5 team. BUT, clearly, they got to that record in the weirdest way. You're right, Mizzou can't do anything about it's schedule. It can't help that Tenn, Florida and Ark all had big-name coaches ready to be fired (or already fired). So that's the reality, but the Tigers whooped up on two of those three, and beat all three (I supposed they categorically "whooped up" on Arkansas, too, but the Razorbacks definitely reciprocated the whooping on Mizzou's defense). At the end of the day, what we have is this -- an above .500 Mizzou team with a juggernaut-y offense, a sturdy offensive line, some crazy excitement with it's offensive skill position players and question marks on defense, Terry Beckner Jr. notwithstanding. In other words, kind of what we predicted in August.
  • Benjamin your answer to Bryan's question about expanding a trade with the Marlins.
    You said"all three of those guys would be awesome with the Cards--but whats the price?
    I thought it was the job of the minor leagues to help get the Cardinals/any MLB club the chance to win in the MLB. Call up or trade. Why not trade minor leaguers or anyone else to get what you need? Those three at the cost of 6 to 8 minor league players or with Penscotty, Pham, or Grichuk.
    I see a win for the Cardinals? Would you agree?
  • I see what you're getting at, but a thought: just how much better are all those three guys than what you have. A lot, sure. But is it worth giving up pieces that will help you supplant those guys in the coming years? The last thing you want is to be the Angels with a couple studs and then a bunch of duds. In other words, trading too many of the wrong guys for those Marlins could, possibly, someday turn you back into the Marlins. But yes, I'm with you -- there is middle ground for all of this. THIS is the offseason for St. Louis to gamble and try to boost its roster, possibly giving up something they cherish.
  • In a recent article you mentioned how the 2017 Cards had relied, offensively, on several players on the “cusp” and those players failed to take the necessary step forward. If you add in Peralta, who the team was relying upon despite him being clearly physically compromised by injuries and age, couldn’t you argue that the team is doing the same thing with the starting pitching staff in ’18? With Waino in the Peralta role. Are they ignoring the need for an “impact arm” in ’18 the way they ignored the need for an “impact bat” in ’17?
  • Very astute points, and that's why I definitely think it's important for them to bring in one more new starter -- someone who they can trade for for a couple years, someone who is proven. Obviously, they're not going to get Koufax '63 for two years, but man, like a Tyler Chatwood (3.49 ERA in road starts away from Coors) is something that catches my eye/ear/nose?
  • Benjamin - Is it me or does the momentum for a Stanton deal appear to be heading west, as in Dodgers or Giants?
  • Hello Jock, hope things are going well at Southfork. Please tell Theresa hello. Yeah, I mean, if we follow which way the wind blows, and what inside information is leaked by certain execs/agents to which particular reporters, than, yes, there's some Dodgers stuff out there. And clearly, we all know that LA is likely more enticing for Stanton than the LA of Missouri. But I don't think that guarantees anything. There are so many aspects to this, and I wouldn't say STL is out until we know that definitively.
  • It appears that all of the division winners from 2017 had two starting pitchers who would have been #1 starters on most other teams. I don't see the Cards having that next year. Why aren't the Cards more concerned about getting a solid #1a starter if they are serious about catching the Cubs? (or are they truly serious?)
  • Fair question. But how about this one -- the top eight teams in slugging percentage last season all made the playoffs. So why not try to boost that aspect of the whole thing? The Cards will have Carlos who, ideally, will pitch at an All-Star level, and yeah, some other questions otherwise. But I don't think you go crazy with a free agent starter right now. Also, I mean, whos out there? Early 30s dudes? Not ideal.
  • Thanks for your time, Ben!! And if I ever make it back to St Louis - I'll pop into Protzel's and try your sandwich! I understand the reasoning behind the Marlins wanting to get rid of Stanton's contract - but I can't figure out why they'd be interested in trading Yelich (unless they think they can get a huge haul in return for him). Any help on understanding would be appreciated!
  • Yes, please let me know if you're ever in STL. The Benjamin Hochman sandwich at Protzel's is, per this reporter, the greatest sandwich in the history of sandwiches. A potato knish inside a pastrami sandwich? Genius. (I'm ridiculous, I know). And yeah, I hear ya with Yelich, if he's cost controlled, and still younger, why not hold on to him and grow with him. And I'm sure Jeter and the fellows consider that. But at the end of the day, if you're going do a rebuild, the key is finding prospects that can peak around the same time -- and financial flexibility. So Yelich can probably get you some stuff that helps you build -- even if it means losing out on his peak years. It comes down to this, as we saw with the Stros and Cubs: "If you're doing it, you're doing it."
  • And by "Koufax '63" you meant Gibson '68. Fixed it for you.
  • Which of these relievers are most likely to be Cardinals when the 2018 season starts? More than 1? Mike Minor, Juan Nicasio, Brandon Morrow, Tyler Chatwood, Andrew Cashner, Bryan Shaw?
  • Good question, and I forgot about Morrow earlier when I was gushing about relief pitchers. I mean, he was the modern World Series' Darold Knowles!! I'll go with Nicasio and Chatwood.
  • I was listening to MLB Network radio and they mentioned a trade involving Gyorko, Piscotty or Gritchuk, and a young pitcher for Machado. I don't see it happening. Is there a chance that Baltimore trades Machado?
  • I'd be cool with that. Doubt it happens, as of now.
  • When does Shake Shack open in STL?
  • I'm not sure, however....spies have told my stomach that they are getting the counters and kitchen all locked in... so maybe it'll be a Hanukkah present for the ages??
  • Can Mizzou basketball crack the top 25 without Porter Jr? They should have beat WVU.
  • I'm actually in the Mizzou media room right now, about to go to the press conference/media availability. I don't know if they crack it or not, but the reality is 1. They should've won that dang game vs. WVU 2. They've got enough talent to compete in the SEC... but maybe not as much to get 20-22 wins.
  • So yes, I apologize, but I've gotta go to this press conference... MIZ players about to come in... please follow on twitter: www.twitter.com/hochman ... or @hochman
  • Thanks for all the Qs as always@
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