Join columnist Ben Frederickson for a live STL sports chat at 10 a.m. Tuesday

Join columnist Ben Frederickson for a live STL sports chat at 10 a.m. Tuesday

Ben Frederickson answers your Cardinals, Blues, St. Louis City, Mizzou and SLU questions in Tuesday's 10 a.m. live chat.

    Good morning, chatters. Hope everyone had a fun Independence Day weekend. If you did not have a fun one, I hope you at least made it through with all of your fingers. I'll have you know I did win the neighborhood Wiffle ball game with a walk off homer, thank you very much. I am not currently taking questions about my choke-job in the home-run derby at this time, however. Cards won a game against a good team last night. Wild what happens when you get steady starting pitching, right? OK, let's roll. Oh, one more thing. Here's the deal today. Because of the holiday we are doing not one but TWO chats today. I'm in the saddle from now until 1 p.m. STL time, and then Hall of Famer Rick Hummel starts his Cards chat then. Don't plan on getting much work done today. OK, NOW let's roll. Fire away.
    9 out in the division and 7.5 out in the Wild Card. I know crazy things can happen, but isn’t this the year to just sell whatever expiring assets they have for something in return and try to strengthen the system for next year? This team isn’t catching the Brewers, Dodgers or Padres
    If the bottom continues to drop out, that argument could be made, sure. The most desirable assets the Cards could flip as true sellers would be pretty painful. Adam Wainwright. Yadier Molina. Those guys have played well this year and there's no reason they could not play well next year, too. Hard to imagine the Cards shipping them out as rentals to better teams, but then again it was hard to imagine the front office sitting back and watching this team sag like it has when it was clear it needed help sooner than the trade deadline. FanGraphs gives the Cardinals a 6.3 percent chance of making the postseason, if you believe the postseason projection math there. How the Cardinals finish the unofficial first half against the Giants and the sinking Cubs could be the deciding factor. Another factor to consider: The Cardinals can't ignore the lack of support they will get from fans at Busch if this team punts on the second half. They're already selling $6 tickets with $6 in stadium credit attached. That's a sign fans are not beating the door down at the moment. What will demand be if the team punts on competing? It would be un-Cardinals-like.
    In 2022 it looks like the only two positions that would change by trade or free agent are shortstop and center field,agree or disagree. Also right now I do not think there are very many general managers that woul take Arozarana over O’Neil.
    I'd add second base in there. Edman can play pretty much anywhere, or slide back to the super utility type if the talent improves. That was kind of where he was supposed to be this season, remember? The rotation could certainly improve via trade as well. As for Arozarena, I've said before that Shildt misplayed that one. He's guilty of underestimating Randy, whether he owns it or not. O'Neill has had a great season. Just has a hard time staying on the field. Hard to prevent getting hit on the hand with a pitch. Headfirst slides, however . . .
    I know Mozeliak has built a quality organization top to bottom, but he also inherited a pretty good one. He doesn’t seem to have a solution anymore. Fans, maybe not ownership, are all over the coaches for the performance of the team but they are given the roster. And Mo has handcuffed the roster with overpaid has-beens for years. I’m not saying they will fire him, because I don’t believe they will, but what would it take for the team to move on from Mo?
    Pretty simple. It would take ownership, as in chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and/or likely future chairman Bill DeWitt III, deciding that Mozeliak is no longer the right baseball operations leader to check the most important box for the Cardinals ownership: sustained success. Being annually competitive and relevant. We've watched over the years how fluid that definition can become -- and that nebulous nature of the goal can be frustrating for fans, totally. Does it mean competing for a World Series, reaching the postseason, or simply having more wins or losses? The Cardinals since Mozeliak took over as the general manager are third in MLB and second in the National League in wins (1,148). They are third and tied for second in the NL in postseason wins (36). That's an impressive body of work, and it matters to ownership. That said 10 years without a World Series championship for the NL leader in rings is no small thing. But during that 10-season championship drought, the Cardinals are still fourth in MLB in wins (795) and tied for third in MLB in postseason wins (25). These numbers are why I refer to Cardinals' problems as "first-world problems." Even now. (I'm ducking because I know heads of cabbage and rotten tomatoes are being thrown my way.) It's not giving Mozeliak a free pass to point out the context. The ownership values the context. The biggest problem for Mozeliak right now beyond the disappointment of this season, and he is feeling the pressure, is that some of the things that have made the Cardinals consistent winners are not in place. Bad trades have been made. Bad contracts have been handed out, including ones that were totally unnecessary. Player development and player projection are areas that can be questioned. The Cardinals have to do these things right to continue to succeed as as a draft-and-development team that never gets the best shots at the draft because they try to win every year. If the ownership sees these trends, looks ahead and does not like the path it leads toward, and is feeling the championship itch on top of it, a change could be made. But I would not assume a firing of Mo is the only option. The Cardinals don't like to handle things like that if they can avoid it. He could pivot to another role. Scale back. Retire. He's 52 and has been doing this a very long time. He could change gears with his head held high, or if he's asked. I don't necessarily think it's imminent, but at this point few things would surprise me. Few things are predictable in baseball especially with the unknown surrounding if there even be a season in 2022.
    Hey Ben,

    The Cards beat a very good Gigantes team yesterday. Miracles do happen.
    I believe the Cardinals are now 23-7 when they get a quality start -- six innings or more with three or fewer runs allowed -- from a starting pitcher.
    Makes you wish they would have been more aggressive in helping the rotation when it hit the skids.
    If the Cards slide continues, and they become sellers at the deadline, what kind of value would guys like Waino, Yadi, and Carlos Martinez have?
    Not as much as people would hope. As in, not top prospects. The sure things -- Wainwright and Molina -- are true rentals with expiring contracts. No one knows that to make of Carlos Martinez, including the team he plays for now, let alone a team that would consider trading for him.
    BenFred: Do you see any chance the Cardinals turn their season around and get back in the NL Central race or should we expect more uninspired, pitiful play under John Mozeliak’s “leadership?”
    I was the Rick Hummel intern in 2011. I headed back to Mizzou after a summer of covering a team that looked lost. Albert Pujols was hurt. My dad asked as my internship ended if the team had a chance. "No chance," I told him. He likes to remind me of that when I think I know a team is toast. The NL Central is not the sturdiest house. The Cardinals right now don't look like they're headed anywhere, and it's fair to wonder if they should pivot toward the future instead of trying to help this bunch, but I'll wait and see until the Cardinals front office decides what it really thinks. It's been trying to do two things at once all season. Bring back Yadi and Waino for one more ride, but don't reinforce the team when injuries rise. Go get Nolan Arenado, but don't help the lacking bench. The trade deadline will be a time for the Cardinals to decide if the emphasis is on this season or the Arenado play was more about having him moving forward. I'm less interested in what is said and more interested in what is done. I think Arenado expects the team to add. Rambling answer, but point is I'm not saying it's over yet. It's bad right now, though. No doubt.
    Does the overall talent in our minor league system make you feel good, concerned or scared? As always thank you for your insight.
    I'm less concerned about the Cards farm system than some others. Gorman and Liberatore are top prospects. Thompson should get things sorted out. Walker is crushing the ball. Perez is exciting and has made strides after looking like a lost cause. When Yadi endorses a catcher like Herrera, you pay attention. As for the losing records of many of the minor leagues teams, the Cardinals have pretty young teams, and many of these young players didn't get a chance to play last season. The uptick in the number of exciting bats is new and something Randy Flores has helped happen. There was not some big shortage of decent pitching, it's just that many were traded away to help supplement the MLB team, some in moves that have not helped much.
    if the cards can get out of the hole they dug by not beating bad teams front office needs to step up and help
    The front office has needed to step up and help Mike Shildt and his team for some time now.
    Cardinals are in a lull, Blues made an early exit. What STL-area team are you most excited about, looking ahead? SLU men's basketball could be good again. Mizzou basketball & football are making recruiting strides. After an injury-rife 2021, the Cardinals' rotation could be pretty good next year, especially if Reyes gets moved into it. Just looking for some positives on the horizon until the Cards get back above .500.
    When Eli Drinkwitz is pulling the top-ranked running back out of Texas and the No. 1 player in the state of Nebraska, it's hard to ignore.
    He's a relentless recruiter.
    He has to turn the verbal commitments into signed scholarship papers, and the talent has to produce on the field, but it's safe to say Mizzou football has the most energy rolling right now.
    This will be dismissed as Cuonzo Martin propaganda, but I'll tell you he's as excited about this transfer-built roster as he has been about any of his teams, period. He's got a bunch of tough, athletic dudes. There's a positive vibe in CoMo at this time.
    Is Bally just being cheap by not sending broadcast crew to road games or is there a legitimate reason? And while I really enjoy Jimmy Ballgame's knowledge I think he talks way too much, often during a play in progress.
    There are the bogus reasons the public is told, and then there is the real reason: $$$.
    Sinclair Broadcast Group, the parent company of Bally's, is saving money by doing it this way.
    The product suffer but the bottom line benefits.
    One camera feed. Fewer bodies and equipment trucks on the road.
    ESPN was flirting with this model for some college sports even before the pandemic, so remember that next time it's blamed on COVID.
    I hate it for my TV pals. They are doing a great job but they're ability to do their best job is being taken away from them.
    Ben, we have heard words like philosophy and high tech when PD sports writers have referred to Jeff Albert's hitting methods. Question: Has anybody thought to ask him just what his philosophy is? And just what is the high tech involving? Gadgets? I don't expect Albert or the Cardinals to go into detail on trade secrets, but is there anything we can gather from his philosophy or just what his high tech involves?
    Yep. Derrick Goold has written multiple stories based on interviews with Albert, the latest an expansive one from spring training, that digs into what he's trying to accomplish.
    Ben,

    Can you think of any reason why Jeff Albert would have a target on his back?? The offense has only improved year over year since he took over. What are these ungrateful Cardinals fans thinking??
    I'm guessing here, but I think what Mo was referencing there was not the performance of the offense during Albert's time with the Cardinals -- Mo knows that's more or less fair game -- but the backlash Albert faced because of the sign-stealing stuff in Houston that came out around the time of his hiring. I think Mo feels like some never gave Albert a fair shot, and perhaps he's right about that. But here's the thing. If Albert had the Cardinals offense hitting like heroes, no one would give a rip about the Houston stuff.
    Can you see the approach from the FO will depend on what happens in the coming days before the break? Or do you feel their mind is already made up at this point? It's a deep hole to climb out of but it can be done.
  • They've indicated they want to find ways to help the team -- at the right price.
    So, same as always, pretty much.
    I don't think there will be a selloff unless the team just falls apart before the deadline.
    6-4 in last 10 is not that.
    0-10, like the Cubs, might be.
    Ben, Thank you for the chat today!

    The Cardinals do not have a prototypical leadoff man. Edman has some leadoff skills, but has become far less selective, which has resulted in fewer hits and fewer walks. Carlson, by default, has been assigned that role as of late. His swing is somewhat lengthy and his pitch recognitions skills need time and experience. He is getting some walks, but has not hit well or driven the ball well in the leadoff role.

    Since there does not seem to be an obvious leadoff candidate, what if Mike Shildt gave Tyler
    O’Neill an opportunity in that role. I believe it could accomplish 3 things:
    1) Put the team’s fastest player in the leadoff spot. More Infield hits, SBs, runs scored, etc.
    2) It puts Tyler in a position where he would have to learn to be more selective, which would lead to more hits and more walks.
    3) Increase his HR total due to increased selectivity. This young man does have to swing hard to hit HRs.

    Perhaps starting out using Tyler in leadoff spot against RH pitching and using Tommy Edman in that spot against LH pitchers? Your thoughts……………………….
    Stranger things have been attempted.
    But . . . Carlson's got a .354 on-base percentage since he's slotted up to leadoff.
    He's a switch hitter with speed.
    I'd rather leave him there and let him grow into the role. 
    He could be there a long time.
    I'd prefer O'Neill's homers to have a better chance of driving in some runs.
    With all of the success that the Cardinals had with dumpster diving for pitching closer to the start of the century, why are they so risk averse to it now? Do the stats that they use to measure performance weigh in more heavily when deciding to take a chance on a guy?
    They're doing it now. And finding some success. LeBlanc counts, no? Why they did not do it earlier this season, I don't know. They complain about the price of starting pitching now but more or less turned up their nose at the free agents before the season, during spring training and after Jack Flaherty got hurt. They went a month without showing much urgency, and it cost them. I don't think they sounded the alarm soon enough.
    You mentioned the 2011 team. Can you name same similiarities this current team has to give us some hope?
    Not really, no.
    Well, one.
    One of baseball's best players is on the team.
    Cards still haven't really had a run where Goldschmidt and Arenado caught fire at once.
    That could change some things.
    The point about the 2011 team was a lesson I learned about writing teams off as done before the math said they were.
    Tell Dave matter we miss him !
    He is getting some much-deserved downtime. I'll let him know.
  • Wouldn't Yadi and Waino want to be traded to a contender for another shot at a title? They both at least listened to offers in the offseason.
    It would be hard to blame them if they did.
    Predictions for Mizzous football
    Record? Who leads in receiving yards and rushing yards. ?
    Eight wins.
    Sleeper pick on RB: Elijah Young (Drinkwitz has been talking him up.)
    Receiving: Mookie Cooper
    Switching the conversation to the NHL, given how well the Lightning have played the Canadians, yes they lost last night but played well enough to win, it seems the Eastern conference is better than it’s counterpart in the West. I believe the islanders and the Hurricanes could beat the Habs. Do you agree?

    Thanks for the chat.
    I'm not so sure. Vegas, Colorado and Tampa were pretty much the only three picks to win the Cup this year. I think there were three top teams this season, and Montreal -- credit to the Canadiens -- scrambled the plans before reality hit.
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