Join Ben Frederickson at 11 a.m. Thursday for a live chat from the Cards opener in Cincinnati

Join Ben Frederickson at 11 a.m. Thursday for a live chat from the Cards opener in Cincinnati

Ben Frederickson answers all of your Cardinals, Blues, St. Louis City, Mizzou and SLU questions in Thursday's 11 a.m. live chat.

    Greetings everybody, and a very happy opening day from Great American Ballpark here in Cincinnati. It's cold and even snowing a bit here, but the lineups are out and the teams are hitting the field for batting practice, and we have Zooms scheduled with Shildt and Mozeliak and Big John Nogowski here shortly. I'll keep the updates coming as we go. We can ride this right up to around first pitch. I've got nowhere else to go. Fire away.
    Moe Has gotten rid of our All-Star second baseman, made many unfortunate trades and put us in the season with no proven outfielder. Does he have any worries about his job security?
    The general nickname for Mozeliak is Mo, not Moe.
    And no, he's not on the hot seat.
    There's a pretty good third baseman he acquired this offseason.
    Perhaps you have heard of him.
    He's hitting third today, right behind the pretty good first baseman he acquired before that.
    Prediction: Fans will eagerly be awaiting the return of Harrison Bader in May, after Carlson appears to be miscast in CF and the Williams/Dean platoon in RF is uneven at the plate and shaky in the field. Is that prediction: Probable, possible or unlikely?
    Possible. I think Carlson is going to be just fine in center field. He likes it there. Has good instincts there. There is a very good chance the Cardinals realize having a CF who can hit AND defend at a high level is better than having one who plays elite defense and struggles at the plate against right-handed pitching. The real question will be is Bader in CF and Carlson in RF a better offensive combo than Carlson in in CF and the mix of Williams/Dean/Thomas in RF. Or, does Nogowski make the Cardinals consider shifting O'Neill to RF so he can be a regular player in left field. This first month or so while Bader heals will determine what kind of opportunity awaits Bader when he's healthy. I know the old saying is you don't lose a job to an injury, but that's not always the case.
    How big of a factor will the weather be today? Going from sunny to south Florida to snow...can’t be great on a body.
    It's a concern, sure. This is the kind of climate that can lead to one of those dreaded early-season oblique strains. Last time something like that happened was with Tommy Pham in Pittsburgh, I think. Batting practice is as much if not more of a risk than the game.
    Any insight on Johan Oviedo? Only got 2 innings in spring training games but pitched well in simulated games? We didn’t want to show other teams his awesomeness?
    Great question. One I asked Mozeliak almost exactly. He downplayed the hiding element and said it was just what worked best for Oviedo's schedule. By all accounts, Mozeliak and Shildt included, he had a great spring. DG and I stalked out one of his backfield appearances and he looked really good. Sharp. He got valuable experience last season. If Gant and/or Ponce struggle, or Kim and/or Mikolas experience delays on their roads to recovery, I think Oviedo could be a part of this rotation sooner rather than later. One scout I spoke with at camp said he has upgraded his opinion of Oviedo to potential No. 3 starter after last season.
    What game will Knizner get his first start? Game 33 is my guess
    My guess? Last game of the Marlins series. It's a day game after the night game. Game before the Cardinals head home for the home opener. The unofficial over-under for Knizner starts this season is 31. I'm taking the under.
    Hey Ben. Is it weird that I am more concerned about this teams pitching than I am about its offense? I mean, we all knew the offense was going to be sketchy at best, right? We were three big bats away, and we added one. Ok, that is how this team rolls; pitching and defense and hope you scratch out a few runs. Fine. But man does this rotation look iffy. The loss of Hudson this season is just.... jarring. He left a Lance Lynn-sized hole in the rotation. I just the innings here. Forget about the quality of innings, I just don't see enough MLB caliber innings from this group. Throwing in a few minor leagurers as "depth" does not really make up for that.
    If we are looking at the snapshot of the team as it starts the season, that's a fair concern. I mean, two of the five members of the starting rotation are not here in Cincinnati. I'm not good at math, but that's like 40 percent, right? Gant would be a starter on a lot of other teams. Ponce? Eh, I'm not so sure about that. Both will be pushed to the bullpen if KK and Mikolas return and pitch well after that. That means the rotation is not at or close to full strength starting out, and there are no guarantees injured pitchers rebound, especially when they are not ready to roll by the season's start. So, yes, totally fair to worry about the rotation. The bullpen is a big strength of this team but it will be dulled if it has to cover a massive amount of innings. Jack Flaherty, Adam Wainwright and Carlos Martinez are bein counted on in major ways. Yes, Carlos Martinez. Did I mention it's fair to be concerned about the rotation where it stands today? The Cardinals have some time to get guys healthy and figure out if they need to add a starter by the trade deadline. Right now that looks like a wise idea. Oviedo could be a bigger part of this than we realize, too.
    I like the lineup excepr for deyong hitting 4th. He works better down in lineup
    It's the risk you take when you move Goldschmidt and Arenado to the 2-3 spots to maximize their at-bats.
    O'Neill could appear there. Or Carlson could climb up to No. 2 eventually and slot Goldy and Arenado down to 3-4.
    But for now, pressure's on DeJong to maximize the benefits of hitting behind two of the National League's most threatening bats.
    With the losses of Tilmon, Mitchell Smith, and Braun, seems like Mizzou will need to add at least one post player who’s game ready. Gordo mentioned Bayron Matos but have you heard any other names in the transfer portal Cuonzo has reached out to? Anybody you’d like to see them pursue?
    Correct. I think they will target a more versatile forward type than the old-school center role Tilmon played. JT could run the court very well but in the half-court setting he didn't have much of a face-the-basket game. I don't have any specific names at this time, in part because I've been pretty heavy on the baseball side of stuff for the past month, but also because the transfer pool just keeps getting deeper by the day. Between the lack of a sit-out year combined with the fact everybody who wants an extra year gets one, there is going to be a flood of both transfers and de-commits as players who were hoping for playing time at a school see that has changed. My advice is to sit tight, no matter what team you are pulling for. These projected rankings that come out as soon as the NCAA Tournament ends are always off, but they will never be more wrong than they will be this season, because of the mass exodus that is taking place across the sport.
    Since the Cardinals won’t even pay Wong $12 million for All-Star performance, how in the world is Pennypinching de wallet going to pay a star player 300+ million dollars Which seems to be the going rate?
    The Cardinals find their level and will continue to do so. Arenado's contract was the biggest in team history, by $80 million. Goldschmidt's extension was the biggest one before that. The Cardinals are not likely to be the team that raises the bar in terms of length of commitment and dollars guaranteed, but they do follow the trends. They have to.
    Opening day is here. Baseball is back. Nothing can ruin this day. Positive thoughts. Instead of thinking carpenter is a lost cause that needs to be cut let’s think that he’s a bench player with a chance to hit his way into a more prominent role and help this team.

    Everyone should be in a great mood. Even if you can’t watch the game, hopefully you can listen on the radio. Baseball is back!
    That's the spirit.
    But I do feel salty about fans who want to see the games not being able to.
    That's a terrible look for a sport that needs more eyes on it, not fewer.
    Grumble. Grumble.
    Saddened to hear of the passing of Kenny Reitz. Best defensive 3rd baseman we've ever had. No offense to Scott Rolen.
    I heard this morning. Tough timing for the team, family and fans. The Reitz family has released a statement through the Cardinals.
    "On behalf of my dad and my family I'd like to thank the Cardinals organization for allowing my father to live out his dream. Also Cardinals fans for the endless support over the years. The only thing my dad loved as much as his family was baseball. He ate, slept, and breathed baseball and truly loved the city of St. Louis and the Cardinals. The loss of 'Grandpa Kenny' as his six grandkids called him is heartbreaking. He will be truly missed."
    Do you see Woodford staying up if performance warrants it? and do they go to 14 pitchers when KK returns.?
    If the rotation is rolling and healthy, I think he will be switched out for Kodi Whitley, who offers more one-inning dominance and less long relief. Whitley had a brilliant spring. The bullpen could use him. The 13-14 mix will likely fluctuate throughout the season depending on health and schedule.
    Happy opening day, Ben! I wasn't able to watch spring training this year, but as the conductor of the Thomas hype train, can you explain what happened to Lane Thomas? I was ready for him to be a starter on opening day, but surprised to see he didn't even make the opening day roster. Hope this question didn't come off as snarky, truly do love the work!
    Totally fair question. No snark detected. I thought he had a great chance this spring to prove he could be a starter. I think the front office felt the same way. And he could still get that chance this season, but he did not prove it this spring. He started hot, then seemed to cool off right about the time it became clear Tyler O'Neill was stepping forward as the clear starter in left field. When Bader went down with the injury, it created a whole new opportunity for Thomas, but simply put he was just not as convincing as Justin Williams. He had something like two hits in his last 10 at-bats. Didn't beat the door down. Williams has an advantage because he's left-handed. Defensively, Thomas has struggled with balls hit over his head in center field. Thomas is on the taxi squad. He's one injury or slump away from being right back in the mix. But yes I think he has to be disappointed with his spring. Ironically he slumped right about the time I said the Cardinals needed to keep open the idea of starting him. My bad.
  • Morning Ben,

    I asked this question to Mr. Goold in a tweet not long ago. I have many ?’s regarding it.

    Do you agree with Goldy/Nado hitting 2/3? Is Goldy that much a better hit by the numbers in the 2 hole? If the argument is “to get more PA/game or more PA/season - then why not hit them 1/2? How often does the #2 hitter hit with a RISP? I’d imagine the % of AB’s with RISP is higher for a #3 hitter. Sure, run the risk of no Nado in first inning, but I have to imagine the % of AB’s the #2 hitter has with RISP (or just a runner on base) is lower than the % of AB’s a #4 hitter has.

    Thanks for the time I’m sure you all those stats at your fingertips ready.
    Now that we have our first regular-season lineup to analyze, I think we can begin to dig into this more. I'm going to crunch some numbers in the comin days. The upside as you said is more at-bats. The advantage of 2-3 instead of 1-2 is the same argument for 3-4. Potentially more runs to drive in. Over the course of the season the numbers prove the higher you are in the order the more at-bats you get, so it makes sense to try to get more not less for your best hitters. But you still need to attempt to maximize the result of those at-bats. I'm going to dig in on this. Look for a blog or column in the near future.
    Great read from you on the hypocrisy of the hitters haven't hit to all fields but Matt Carpenter gets praise almost for a hard hit ball into the shift every time and on the show never addressing the fact that he didn't find Arozarena playing time. Has he been asked directly about these issues?
    Yep. In more than one ways. Multiple times. And, thanks.
    I have a concern that the recent Covid shots will affect player abilities… Any worries there?
    They should be in the clear now. They had access to them as early as Monday night. Most people who have bad side effects are good to go after a 24 to 48-hour window. That was part of the reason they wanted shots in arms here in Cincinnati after flying in from Florida ASAP.
    What is your completely unrealistic prediction for this season?
    That signing Trevor Bauer will be a terrible thing for the Dodgers, and that his corrosiveness will tear apart the team from the inside and play a large role in the Padres winning that division.
  • I heard on the radio the NL could possibly still get the DH at some point this season? That can’t possibly be true, right? I am in favor of DH but to change midseason would be chaos, no?
    Very hard to believe it would happen after the season started. 
    But technically the CBA can be opened at any time for changes and renegotiations.
    Last season was a reminder, when the expanded postseason got rammed through at the last second.
    This season, it is possible but unlikely, that the expansion agreement could come while the season is being played.
    Again, unlikely.
    General rule seems to be that once the first pitch is released, things are set for the season.
    But these are uncertain times.
    I don’t think Carpenter will hit and definitely needs a change of scenery. How do you see this playing out?
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