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.




  • Should a young reliever in the Cards system be worried? Seems Matheny is literally willing to ruin careers with overuse. Seth Maness is obvious example, but there have been so many.....
  • Well let's not be tooooo negative! But here's what I'll say -- Mike Maddux is potentially a game-changer, a thinking-alterer, a fresh new approach to bullpen management. And pitching development. Of course, we'll have to see how much of a magic touch this dude actually has, but when we talk about Cardinals upgrades during the offseason, he needs to be on the same list as Ozuna and Gregerson and the other acquisitions. I also think this season we'll see more bullpen innings by Cards relievers than ever before. A combination of the way the game is shifting (in regards to facing a batting order a third time through), to pitchcounts for the Cards younger pitchers (if they indeed have any) to just the reality that the Cards don't have many horses on their staff means 2018 will be the season of the bullpen, the way - hopefully for STL in a positive way - 2011 was the postseason of the bullpen.
  • Which do you think is more wise for Cuonzo Martin to get a grad transfer point guard, or recruit Ramey from Webster Groves hard? I like grad transfers, but they only have 1 year. Thoughts?
  • Like an old GM used to tell me, when I'd say, "would you be willing to trade Such Andsuch?" ... "Gimme a name!" That's the thing, who exactly would the transfer guard be? But I see what you're asking, more generally, and that's a fair question. We've seen with Kassius Robertson how valuable a battle-tested elder player can be to a team. He just makes savvy decisions (for the most part) and has a presence to him out there. But yes, he's gone. I'd be cool with Ramey, I've heard great things. But would he even truly want to go to Mizzou, which I don't think has been in on him as hard as other schools. I don't think there's a clear-cut answer to your question. I think the best answer is -- BOTH! If you have the scholarships, why not get both? Heck, we never know what'll happen with transferring. I mean, Mizzou had TWO PGs transfer this season already.
  • Good Morning Benjamin!
    Mr Rick Hummel said yesterday that the "ship had sailed" on the Cardinals trying to trade for Christian Yelich. He said the Cardinals have no place for him to play. Mr Hummel also said the Cardinals were still trying to get the one more needed bat. We all agree they need one more power bat!
    MY QUESTION. If we have to many outfield and they are better than Yelich WHERE does this bat fit on the team? We have power bat and good glove Gyorko at third, we have Martinez and Carpenter at first, & you know they will play Carpenter somewhere. Molina, Martinez, Wong, DeJohn, Gyorko, Ozuna, Pham, Fowler, Grichuk as the 4th outfielder and Carpender where? Where does this bat play we have no DH? Thank You Benjamin
  • Yeah, the Cardinals outfield seems to be spoken for, and as BenFred wrote a week or so ago, the Cards outfield is pretty stacked. Tommy Pham, man, he was a rare 300/400/500 guy, with 20 SBs too. It was a remarkable season. As was Ozuna's, of course. It's fair to wonder -- will 2017 be the best season those two guys ever have? It's possible. Again, those were top-15 NL player seasons. But even if their numbers regress, you'd think they'd be stout outfielders. And a healthy Dexter Fowler is a productive Dexter Fowler. No, everything didn't work out swimmingly for Dex. He came to be the leadoff centerfielder for the Cards and now he's the middle-lineup corner outfielder. But he also had some strong stat categories. With Grichuk and Bader, or O'Neill, in the mix too, that could be some important production offensively from the OFs. So -- where would an additional big bat play? It's gotta be first or third, with Carp starting at the other spot.
  • Will you be at the Cardinal's Winter Warmups this weekend?
  • Most definitely. It's a very very exciting weekend. It can get hectic and cramped, but it's a cool environment -- thousands of "Yous." Thousands of Cardinals fans who suffer through the NFL season and other sports, while waiting, yearning, for anything Cardinals to happen, anything Cardinals to experience. And then, suddenly, so much Cardinals at once! Cool opportunities to meet players, make new friends (I mean not with the players but with fellow fans, though I heard Ozuna is a nice guy), buy some merchandise and just talk baseball. I'll be there with the other reporters because the team makes the players available for interviews. We in the media love it because it's our first time to properly interview the guys in the new year. So we can ask Mo and Girsch questions about the roster and ask the players about their offseason and excitement for the season. Clearly, there's a fine line between an interesting offseason story and the typical "Player is in best shape of his life" story, but you'll get the full spectrum from the media this weekend.
  • The sentiment is that if the Cards miss the postseason again Matheny is good as gone. What is the leash for Mozeliak? Say they replace Matheny and miss another 2 years? How hot is his seat?
  • I'd have to think that if the Cardinals miss the playoffs in 2018, they'd have a new manager in 2019 -- unless there are crazy-weird circumstances, like Carlos and Marcell both get injured for most of the year, or something like that. This is a proud organization and a hungry fan base. It would be the first time St. Louis didn't have playoff baseball for three years since 1997-1999. A different century! I've said it a lot before -- the Cards have a lot of frills and history, but if this team misses the playoffs for three-straight seasons, how are they not the Mariners, some average MLB team middling in the 80-win range, while division rivals soar? There is so much on the line for 2018. That's what makes it fun though. New slugger, new reliever (hopefully another big name one), new starters and new roles ... new pitching coach too.
  • Do you see the Cards in on Arrieta if the years are low with a high AAV?
  • To me, it's all about the number of years. I'm totally cool with him or Lance again or even Yu if the years are low. But you're not signing these guys to be an ace, like the were (or almost were) with their other teams; you're signing these guys to give you a sturdy 2ish seasons.
  • I didn't see your autograph for sale this year at WWU, will that be available if I see you moseying around? I might even "donate" $5 for the BenHoch fund.
  • They have me setup to sign autographs at Winter Warm-Up on Saturday from 2:00 to 2:03 pm in the janitor's closet on the fourth floor.
  • Do you think if one of my teammates gets injured in the outfield I will be the immediate replacement? How many dingers can I hit in a pinch hit role? I have to stay in the majors this year because I am out of options. Would they trade me if I do bad?
  • Hello Randal Grichuk, nice to hear from you. You are important to this team. You're a righty but you actually slugged significantly well against RHP last season (.497 compared to .398 against LHP). You have the athleticism to play any of the outfield positions and some speed to shake things up on the basepaths. However, will you even get on the basepaths. Newborns walk more than you do. But your pop and incredible exit velocity makes you a weapon as a fourth outfielder. I think, yes, you're the immediate replacement. But the question everyone asks is -- what's the bar for you? If you go in a slump, but have an occasional homer, and then a slump again, is that the most worthwhile thing for STL? Or is it worth giving Bader or O'Neill (or Garcia) a look? That'll be on Matheny.
  • Will Shake Shack have a booth at the Winter Warm-Up?
  • I doubt it, but here's my public advocating for a Shake Shack AT Busch Stadium. Make it happen. They have one at Citi Field in NY. Get one here! Danny Meyer, the owner, is from STL! And then the Cards should bring back 1974 NL Rookie of the Year "Shake n'" Bake McBride for a promotion thing. It would be glorious.
  • Hey Ben....thanks for keeping on...what is the story with Patrick Wisdom?...young and athletic. Is it strike out to hit ratio?
  • Yeah, it's interesting. In previous decades, we'd all be salivating about a Triple-A player who hit THIRTY-ONE home runs last season. But once we look past the neon flashing 31, you have to look at his other at-bats, and it's tough -- 149 strikeouts last year, 39 walks. A OPS of .817. Is that what you want out of a corner infield position? (Yes Carp was only .835 last year, but don't forget how he's a different because 1. a lot of those at-bats weren't at leadoff, where he shines, and he also walks sooooo much, which is enticing). So the Cards left "Patty Smarts" available for Rule 5, but no one took him, so they'll see if this Randal-like hitter changes some things up in the spring.
  • Rotation opening day with roster as is now?
  • Carlos Martinez. Luke Weaver. Michael Wacha. Miles Mikolas. Adam Wainwright.
  • Mr Benjamin.
    What free agent or free agents do you think the Cardinals my try to sign? Reed, Darvish, Arrieta, Morrison other?
  • I'll just say this -- I'd like at least one more piece. Enhance somewhere. Is it Holland or Reed? A starter with a low amount of years on his contract. A lefty power bat. You only have so many roster spots, I know, but I would feel more comfortable about this team with one more proven weapon. I write a lot about players on the cusp. Piscotty, Grichuk, Diaz were on the cusp. I'd like a guy in his prime to come in and give a couple strong years. Bolster. Bolster. Bolster.
  • Derek Dooley, really? (wow, that one is a head scratcher)
  • I'm with ya. I want to give smart people the benefit of the doubt (smart being Odom, who chose Dooley). But this doesn't look like a situation where Odom "got his guy." How could Dooley have been "his number 1 guy?" I like that he's been a head coach and he's got personality and all that. But he'll bring in this pro style of offense, right? And he's never been an offensive coordinator? And he's no "quarterback whisperer," right? And he failed at Tennessee as a head coach. I think I need to be sold on this hire. I can't remember if it was BenFred or Matter, but one of them used a word I liked -- it's weird that Odom HITCHED his wagon, his career, to this guy.
  • favorite parts of the Bama-GA game??
  • My word. What a night. I just can't imagine everything that Tua went through. He wakes up as a backup QB. He goes to bed as a college football legend. It's bonkers, right? I still think more people should be talking about DeVonta Smith. I thought it was weird that he wasn't interviewed live on ESPN after the game. What a whirlwind of a night. Nick Saban isn't lovable, but I enjoyed watching him take a ride on that roller coaster, earning the thrill of the victory after such frustration with the missed FG and then the first-down sack. So cool. what a night.
  • Could the Cardinals sign Moustakas?
  • I'd consider it for one year. Definitely. A lefty slugging bat at third base? Sure, I'm into it, but a pillow deal only, I wouldn't want to keep him around for much longer. Also, STL would have to give up a draft pick for him. But he's 29, and again, one year. Maximize. And maybe you can do a platoon thing with him and Jedd at third to maximize the at-bats, while moving Matt Carpenter to first base?
  • If Waino can't find his stuff after the surgery, do you think that Mike Matheny will have the fortitude to move him to the pen, or will it be similar to the situation last year with an ailing Carpenter where he believes that 50% of a guy is better than giving anyone else a shot?
  • A great question. I'll admit that I don't have to that. The Cardinals, and even their fans, always tread lightly when it comes to talking about living legends in the lineup (or rotation). Like, if Waino had been a guy the Cards signed last year or two years ago, he'd get the Mike Leake treatment from fans and media. But -- he's WAINO, this piece of Cardinals history, this good guy and all that stuff. He did have some strong starts last year, let's not just dismiss the whole season. But like you said, if he starts out struggling, again, is he bullpen material? A lot of people bring up Allen Craig when talking about Matheny's propensity to keep on playing guys, hoping they'll suddenly return to the guy they used to be. But you would hope/think that if Waino was struggling, truly struggling, that even he would suggest trying the bullpen, especially with the Cards yearning to make the playoffs and with the Flahertys and such waiting in the wings.
  • Whats up with the wacky Blues scheduling? They have played 5 more games than some teams! Will this help in the long run with less games and more days off for the rest of the season?
  • What's up Greg. After tonight's game against the Florida Panthers, the Blues have that mandatory bye period that each team gets. So the games will even out as the team rests for nearly a week.
  • Gut feeling: Does Michael Porter Jr. ever play another minute for Mizzou?
  • My guy says no. It was a business decision for him to get the surgery. It was done specifically to prepare him for the NBA. Unless his Dallas doctor says he's 100 percent good to go in Feb or March, I don't see Michael Porter Jr. "gutting it out" to help the Tigers -- the whole point of the surgery was to prepare him for the draft, so why would they risk it for a team he hasn't played for all season?
  • When all is said and done, which native son has the better NBA career: Bradley Beal or Jayson Tatum?
  • Oh my word, what a great question! It is just an incredible story. A coach at University City HS has a son. Then, an old player of hers has a son after HS. The coach's son goes to Chaminade, becomes the national player of the year, then the No. 3 pick in the NBA Draft. And then, the coach's player's son goes on to play at Chaminade, become the national player of the year and, yep, the No. 3 pick in the NBA Draft. Mind-boggling. As for your question, I'll go with Tatum, and that's no knock against Bradley Beal, who very well could be an All-Star reserve this season. But Tatum is sooooo young (19!) and already playing at a high level for the best team in his dang conference. He dunks with authority and shoots with efficiency. His plus-minus ratings are generally positive. He's active. He's a winner. Shoot, he could be in the NBA finals before he can legally drink. I just look at Tatum's ceiling as higher.
  • OK ladies and gentlemen, I've gotta go downtown. Filming a new 2 Bens with Ben Frederickson... and working on a NEW podcast for the Post-Dispatch. Hoping to launch in a week. Keep an eye on my twitter feed - @hochman -- for announcements: twitter.com
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