Join columnist Ben Frederickson for a live STL sports chat at 11 a.m. Tuesday

Join columnist Ben Frederickson for a live STL sports chat at 11 a.m. Tuesday

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

    Greetings, chatters. Hope everyone is having as good of a week as SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, or at least a better week than Team USA basketball coach Gregg Popovich. Who will get traded first, or not at all: Mad Max Scherzer or Sad Vladimir Tarasenko? And how is it possible, as Stu Durando noted this morning on the old Twitter machine, that the biggest news of the Olympics -- Simone Biles withdrawing from the team competition -- while we were fast asleep?! Let's roll.
    The SEC should be wary of accepting Texas into the league. The UT Athletic Department is all 7 Deadly Sins rolled into one, and they were the leading force in the implosion of the SWC, the acrimony that tore apart the original Big XII, and now screwing over the reconfigured Big XII that bent over backwards to accommodate them. I'm sure the SEC thinks they are too big and above it, but look out. No long term good comes from going into business with them.
    Fair points. The SEC is making a deal motivated by the bottom line, the moolah, the dinero. And sure, there could be unintended consequences down the road because of it, as that Texas-sized ego begins to grow. What could save things is the way the SEC has done business for a long time. When it comes time to split the pie, everyone gets an equal split of what the league brings in. The Vanderbilts and the Bamas are all equal when it comes time to split the conference revenue. Texas and Oklahoma don't get to change that math, but they can join it if they like the terms. It sounds like they do. If it so happens that UT (not Tennessee) and OU get or at some point want special treatment, then all bets will be off, and the long-term members of the SEC will be steamed. Your warning is heard here. Good point.
    After seeing Brewers team offensive numbers it shows that pitching and defense are the key. If you compare Brewers and Cardinals position by position the Cardinals are better at most positions, what do you think?
    The Brewers are better in areas that get overlooked. Depth. Flexibility. The built their bench up this offseason in preparation for injuries that could come in the first full season back from last year's 60-game sprint. And they made aggressive moves to help the team along the way. If the Cardinals were serious about helping their bench -- they stopped far short -- and prioritized adding pitching help like the Brewers did in going out and getting Willy Adames for a shortstop problem that had developed, then I think the Cardinals would be a lot closer. Don't overlook that the Brewers also have 12 more quality starts provided by their starters than the Cardinals. That helps keep workload off a really good bullpen.
    Hi, Ben. Thanks for the chat. Loved your column about the trade wishlist. I am not optimistic that the Cardinals will do much, if anything, at the deadline. Here's what I think we'll hear the Cardinals say instead:
    "While we have not had the results we envisioned when the season started, we think the team we have is good enough to win."
    "The players we are getting back from injuries (Mikolas, Flaherty, Poncedeleon) are better than any we felt we could get in a trade."
    "We are not going to give away our future just to make a trade."
    What do you think the odds are that those, or something similar, will be the Cardinals' post-trade comments? Thanks for your time.
    Sprinkle in some, "We're not going to make a trade just to make a trade," and I think you are thinking along the right lines. Maybe a little more, "Would you have given up Nolan Gorman for a rental?" And so on. If the Cardinals do make moves, I think they will be now-and-later stuff. But like you, I'm not betting on a lot at this point. The Cardinals are not being mentioned in much of the national trade chatter. They are usually off the radar a bit more than some teams, but if they were heavy in on something big there might be some smoke signals by now. We'll see.
    Every July , I get excited about the cards upgrading the team. Every August1, I get let down. Why do I keep doing this to myself
    Five years of not doing it would suggest we should all stop expecting it, right?
    This year did seem a bit different -- earlier -- because of the aggressiveness shown in landing Arenado and bringing back Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright.
    The slow-play on helping the pitching suggested a trade-deadline move could come, but the same slow play allowed the season to drift past the point of a true win-now move making a lot of sense. Teams with better chances of making the postseason are in motion already, and the Cardinals continue to wait. If anything, I think it will be a forward-thinking move. Paul DeJong for Trea Turner straight up! Kidding. But that's a name that should be intriguing for the Cardinals if they decide DeJong is not the answer, even if the Nationals are just trying to get a sense of his market this time around.
    With Liberatore who has already disappointed at Memphis as one of the few pitching prospects in the minors, how important is it for the organization to sign Jack Flaherty to a long term deal?
    That's a rough read on Liberatore, I think. Last time out in Memphis he turned in six scoreless innings with more strikeouts (nine) than hits allowed. Sure, he's had some clunky starts, too. But he's figuring it out. He's 21 years old learning what it takes to pitch deep at Class AAA. He will be in the mix for a spot next season, if he doesn't debut this one. That said, yes, I think the Cardinals should attempt to sign Jack Flaherty to a long-term deal if he's open to it. They can't force it on him and he knows his value better than others, and has made a point to position himself on the front lines of the conversation about younger players making more sooner, a fine argument in my eyes. I can't imagine Jack signs an extension before he sees what the next CBA looks like. It should mean more leverage, power and money for younger guys -- if the players' union operates with common sense.
    Ben, I'm pessimistic that the Cards will do anything by July 31. I can foresee the FO saying that getting Mikolas and Flaherty back is the same thing as making a trade. That message is pretty stale at this point. Do you think its worth a shot for them to dab into the Scherzer market then try to extend him if if they are able to land the trade? We've seen them have success with this method in the past. What do you think it would take to land him?
    Oh heck yeah. I've been on the Scherzer bus for a long time. I will admit Derrick Goold was the one who started the bus. I was first man on after that. Potential problem is, Max very much controls where he goes through the no-trade. If he wants to go to a team that has a chance of winning a championship right now, he can muscle his way to one of those teams. The Cardinals admit they made a mistake not signing Max the first time around. That doesn't mean he's determined to make the what-if come true years later. What would you prefer if you were him? Probably a shot at helping a team win in 2021, right? But if he can he had, heck yes. And have the extension ready when he arrives. Wainwright and Scherzer with a healthy Flaherty and Hudson would be an impressive nucleus for a rotation in 2022.

    Can we take a moment to examine the self-fulfilling prophecy that the Cardinals trade deadline has become? The front office failed to properly build the roster to withstand the expected injuries that would occur during the season. Once those injuries inevitably happened, they let the team languish to the point they are 8 games out. Now the narrative will be that it is not worth parting with prospects to improve the team this year, thus fulfilling the prophecy. This will be the 6th deadline in succession that the Cardinals won’t make a move of significance to improve the team (My prediction). When do they break this cycle?
  • I've been hearing this a lot, but I'd actually draw a different line. I thought the Cardinals had decent pitching depth entering the season. I think the problem was they did not react once bad things started happening. The Miles Mikolas injury at spring was a big deal treated like it wasn't. Kim's back tightened up and the front office shrugged. There were free-agent options still available who could have been added with time to get up to speed and the Cards showed no interest. That set the stage, but the curtain dropped when Flaherty got hurt and still the Cardinals did not react. Everyone keeps pointing to what the Cardinals did not do before the season started, but I'd point toward what they did not do during the season, starting at spring training. The Brewers are leading the division because they made a bold move for Adames during the season. Every team that has won the World Series recently has made an aggressive move or more to help their team during the season. The Cardinals have convinced themselves these types of moves are too costly, too hard, or too impossible to make, and it's hurting them annually.
  • Ben,

    Hopefully the Blues can complete a trade of Tarensenko by the opening of FA. It would be a bummer if they miss out on a piece that would improve their team if they cannot get out from the 7.5 mil for 91's cap hit. Do you think a deal gets done?
  • I've got a very hard time believing Doug Armstrong is going to let a soured former star and his bad vibes get a chance to infect this season. He's back on top in terms of the trade leverage, but most seem to think he's going to deal Tarasenko somehow, someway. If you think Tarasenko and the Blues can iron out their differences at this point in time for him to be a plus player for the upcoming season, I'd respectfully disagree. That's not who he is, and now he and Army are in a true standoff. Someone's gotta go, and it wont be Army.
  • Moe’s has given us a 500 team. Many busted free agents and bad contract extensions. What would he have to actually do differently to get fired ,it seems like he’s checked all the boxes but never is any danger?
    Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. would have to decide Mozeliak is no longer the right hand to guide baseball operations. That's it. That's all. Same as it's ever been. He's the only boss Mozeliak answers to, and has been for some time.
    Ben, after watching some of the most hideous umpiring of the season this past weekend in Cinc, what is the league’s protocol for assessing performance and holding a crew accountable?
    Umps get graded and their assignments are affected by those grades. Unfortunately there is also a glaring lack of accountability for the umpires, and a fierce union that works to keep mistakes form being explained. It's a hard job, and I think most fans get that, but some explanation and accountability would be nice. The players and managers have to talk after they screw up. Just one thing to add on Shildt getting tossed after getting mad the umps said he waited too long to request a review: This should not be how it works. The tech exists. Get it right. Don't make it a manager-based challenge. Put an umpire at the stadium with an ability to signal the New York crew to get something figured out. That helps take away some of the element of "protecting" the umpires by not overturning their calls.
    I understand the asks for elite rentals and other attractive players having more time left on their contract like Adam Frazier will be sky high but still...

    It gets frustrating to seemingly have to wait and see again and again, nonetheless.

    So on to my question for you: Is standing pat this trade deadline from a practical perspective the only real thing us fans should better appreciate is really best for the "long haul"?
    I think a move that adds some starting pitching certainty now and for 2022 would be a wise move, and it would indicate the team is no longer going to let what has to be its biggest strength be the element of the team that is keeping it tethered to .500.
    If Andrew Miller is dealt this week which seemingly is very possible, is it your guess to be a money grab for the team to save a little cash vs getting a decent prospect back in return?
    Mozeliak has said the Cards won't be making seller-type moves.
    A Miller-for-cash trade would look a lot like that.
  • Ben.,

    Team STL was given 10 days to provide evidence to include financial records for the remaining owners. Any update on that?
  • Yep, and that window has closed. What comes out of it is, at least for now, TBD. There are a couple of hearings schedule for August that should shed more light on things. We'll be there.

    Thanks for the chat AND the great article this morning! I appreciate the STLPD sportswriters placing public pressure on Mo to improve the roster for both 2021 and beyond.

    Scherzer is the perfect STL fit. He gives STL a 2nd #1 starter NOW and beyond and step into the veteran leadership role that Adam Wainwright will likely be vacating after 2021 or 2022.


    If, Trea Turner came to STL along with Scherzer, would Jordan Walker, Jon Torres, Paul DeJong, and Johan Oviedo be enough to get done? If not, play POBO for a minute and create the package that gets it done.

    I'm afraid your prospect pitch for Turner is likely too low. I think it would take multiple, elite prospects. You don't get Turner and keep your Gormans  and your Liberatores. Turner's not a free agent until 2023 so there is some control there that will be pricy. The Nationals, per the Washington Post, are fielding offers on Turner because they have been unable to lock him up with an extension. They know what he's worth.
    The fact that this team never feels a need to be active at the deadline is an indictment on the front office. The annual “all must go perfect” roster building approach by this team continues to fail and, conveniently, gives them an out at the deadline each year. I’m sick of the “we don’t want to mortgage the future…” rhetoric. Just once try showing up to Spring Training with a World Series competitive roster, then their needs won’t be so great at the deadline.
    Again, I'd actually put more angst on the fact the team has spent what is going on six years deciding they should not attempt to significantly improve the team as the season progresses. It's impossible to know entering spring training what's going to go right and what is not. It's not impossible to monitor needs and address them as the season goes along. Championship teams do that. The Cardinals like to present themselves as one, but for five going on maybe six years they have simply opted out of a pretty important aspect of high-level play -- roster improvement between the start of spring training and the offseason. I think more focus should be on this than offseason moves. Just my two cents.
    Shildt is regressing as a manager. He has become a player pleaser and his “back rubs after bad games” approach has dulled the edge of this team. Even his on-field outbursts seem manufactured. And he has no clout when it comes to forcing Mo’s hand. When he arrived, he kicked players in the ass, now he just covers them.
    When he is positive and upbeat, he's too soft.
    When he's mad and gets ejected, he's manufactured and fake.
    He can't win these days.
    I'd bet the best managers in the game right now might have this team, as constructed, something like two or three games ahead of where the team currently is. Maybe.
    And I'd bet most managers in the game right now would be managing a sub-500 team.
    Shildt's not perfect, but I don't think he's the problem here.
    With Arenado and Goldy salaries do the Cardinals even have room for Scherzer for a few years?
    Max is celebrating his 37th birthday today. His biggest-money years are behind him. Cards have money coming off the books in other areas. If he wanted to finish in STL, the Cards would have more than enough to make it happen.
  • After watching the 3-game series vs the Reds this past weekend, I believe that baseball needs a major change.

    I firmly believe it is time for the umpires to held accountable through the daily publication of their correct strike/ball calls vs their missed calls creating their success/failure average. The same should be implemented for base umpires regarding the number of overturned calls on the bases, again creating an average for each umpire. These statistics should be included in every box score with cumulative statistics published for every umpire on the MLB Website updated daily. It is time the umpires be held publicly accountable for their success/failure rates, just like the players.

    The Union would not like this idea, but if they held their members to a higher standard, none of us would recognize the name of CB Bucknor.
    Yeah, that's not going to happen.
    Baseball wants the umpires to be as little of a part of the viewing process as possible.
    Robot umpires will be installed before the umpire grades appear in the box scores; be careful what you wish for there.
    But the good news is there are some independent outlets that are now making their own independent grades of the umpires available after each game, for those who are interested.
    I just wish the union would do a better job of policing its worst members. Every time there is a dust-up, it's almost always one of a small group of umpires who are bad at their jobs in the middle of it.
    Do the cardinals see Mikolas as a starter or bullpen arm when he returns to big league club?
    He's said he's open to whatever the team needs. "Fluid" is the word being used a lot.
    If I were the new Mizzou AD I would immediately ask for an invite to the Big Ten. Ultimately, that is where Mizzou belongs and would be the most competitive. Their rising academics fit better there too. The SEC is getting too deep and you don't want to be a program who only makes noise when the top teams have down years.
    If that was your plan as the new Mizzou AD, you would not be getting the job.
    The SEC is a money-printing factory and it's about to get a whole lot richer with the additions of Texas and Oklahoma.
    Don't forget that at the heart of college sports, like it or not, is cash.
    Missouri fits in just fine with the SEC. Better than some who have been slow to welcome the change would like to admit, honestly. If you want to be the best, beat the best. It's the same boat Tennessee, South Carolina, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and others are in, and they are not viewed as bad fits for the league.
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