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.

    Some Blues news from JT: Blues, Buchnevich agree to terms on 4-year deal. It's a $23.2 million deal, worth $5.8 million per year. That leaves the team with about $13.8 million in cap space.
    I was talking with some buddies last night and we all kind of agreed that if Mozeliak does nothing at the trading deadline to add another arm, like Kyle Gibson of the Rangers for instance, then he has signaled to his players his lack of support for them. I understand Mikolas and Flaherty are coming back soon but you can’t really count on them both. O’Neill and Bader are hot now, their trade value will never be higher. We’ve got prospects in Memphis not named Liberatore or Gorman who would be attractive to another team. Get it done Mo!
    Be sure to read Derrick's story about how Wainwright, Shildt and others have come to view the trade deadline over the years. The remarks were telling, and show how a team has, over five years, had to stop expecting upgrades from the front office to be a sign of their chances -- because if they did they would be disappointed. It's pretty clear some warped logic has been accepted to dodge disappointment. Ask teams that get upgrades what they think when they hear the news. Then compare that to what those in the Cardinals clubhouse try to make themselves believe when upgrades don't come. You'll see a big difference.
  • There are rumors that Mighty Max might waive his no trade if an extension is added to his current contract now. If so, do the Cardinals at least kick these tires understanding they could possibly structure a package that has a caveat of securing Scherzer services beyond 2021 season?
    They should, sure. There's also reports out today that he would prefer to go to a West-coast team. So, the Dodgers or Padres. Max has a big say in it. He has a full no trade clause.
    Hey Ben, other than middle infield, catcher, and likely DH, it seems the Cards have their lineup locked in for the next 3-5 years. It surprises me, then, that common wisdom seems to indicate they won't trade *any* top-20 prospects to boost their rotation or bullpen. Is it fair to think that maybe apart from Torres, Walker, Gorman, maybe Baker, and one of Knizner/Herrera, every other offensive prospect should be available to help boost the team's rotation through trade?
    As always, it depends on the trade and the player available. Cards are not going to ship out some of their top prospects for a rental at this point in the season, with their playoff chances still dwindling. If it's a pitcher with control, they might be more willing to deal. I don't think they have much interest in dealing Gorman, Liberatore or Walker. They've dealt their next-up catching prospect before in Carson Kelly, and I've never heard Knizner described as untradeable. Some of that depends on Molina's future.
    What would be an acceptable return for Tarasenko at this point? And with the 10% over the cap allowance during the off-season, does it make sense to hold him until teams have lost out on FA goal scorers and are a little more desperate to add? It’d be nice to have some clarity but the return might be higher 2 weeks from now once Hall, Landeskog, etc. are out of the picture.
    When the Blues made him available for the expansion draft the signaled they were open to the idea of letting him walk for the salary relief. Hard to get much more than that now, I imagine. The money saved, plus the chemistry bonus of not having to deal with a disgruntled player continuing to poison the well.
    At what point does Cards front office have to give the fans more information on the plan moving forward?
    In what way? They have said they are viewing themselves as buyers or holders at the deadline, not sellers. If the season fizzles, and it looks to be heading that way, then there will be comments from all the decision makers about what happened, what has to happen next, and so on. They're not going to call it a lost season until it officially is. At some point DeWitt is going to have to weigh in, and that will be interesting. Mozeliak said the team won't be judged by 2021. I wonder if DeWitt agrees.
    What is your take on the Sterk news, was he forced out. Didn't see eye to eye about the future with Choi and other higher ups? Or was this a 65 year old AD, who just went through Covid, NIL, and now SEC expansion and said the programs are stable, tickets sales are up, and Drink is getting his wish list and it seems like a good time to.step down
  • Sounds like more of the former than the latter. There were some clear signs of stress between Sterk and Mizzou leadership that had not gone away. The flap with Dawn Staley. The failed attempt to beat back the NCAA into scaled-back penalties for the academic misconduct investigation Sterk inherited when he was hired. Sterk's reported potential interest in the same job at UCF under Mizzou's old president, the one who hired him. But the biggest was the chaotic search that led to a good hire in Drinkwitz, who was not on Sterk's initial list until the curators stepped in. I had wrongly assumed that a lot of that had blown over as Drinkwitz got rolling. Apparently all was not forgotten, and with the changes looming ahead for college sports (NIL, expanded playoff, expanded SEC) the powers at Mizzou -- perhaps emboldened by their Drinkwitz influence -- seem to think it's best to strike while the iron is hot. Maybe they can grab an up-and-comer with a more modern view of the changing landscape of college athletics. Maybe they go get Drinkwitz's old AD at App State, Doug Gillin, who has Mizzou ties. Mark Alnutt and Whit Babcock will have big support internally. If Big 12 ADs are looking to jump ship now that Texas and OU are out, maybe there's a home-run hire to be had in West Virginia's Shane Lyons. Wren Baker, who was an assistant under Mack Rhoades and is now at North Texas, is another name believed to be a future major player in that field. He would listen I imagine but could have the OU job in his long-term plans. I liked Sterk and thought he did a good job fundraising. He wasn't everyone's cup of tea. Mizzou became convinced it could do better. Now it has to prove that it can.
    We've recently found out about Molina having neck issues for a while,and then Molina adding about his prolonged sore foot.Why doesn't the manager sit him more if he's breaking down,and should they dare sign him for another year?
    Molina's start to the season made a return for 2022 look smart for both parties.
    The injuries and performance decline that have popped up since muddies the waters some.
    Ironically, there are reasons to believe he and the team might be better off if more of a timeshare took place these days, allowing Andrew Knizner more innings and at-bats while maximizing Molina when he's fresh instead of so stretched. That model has become common across baseball over the years, as Molina has plugged away season after season.
    Do I expect that to happen?
    Not really, no.
    I retired from the play-Molina-less camp a few seasons ago. If he's in the dugout and able to physically catch, he will continue to play. If he's not playing at the level the front office finds suitable for an every-day catcher, and he and Shildt are unwilling to adopt a different approach, then you have to make a change.
    It should be noted here that perhaps the final straw for former manager Mike Matheny was suggesting -- he denied it but he did -- that Molina was getting a day of rest because he looked a little tired behind the plate. Molina fired back on Instagram and the clubhouse made a final shift against the manager.
    Molina is the Cardinals' best catcher available, when he's healthy. I have nothing but admiration for how tough he is, and how he always wants to play, no matter what.
    Where this thing gets sideways is when he tries and is allowed to play while compromised. I do think that happens too often, and it's on the team for allowing the trend to persist when it impacts team performance in a negative way.
    What am I missing on the Sterk story? It seemed to me that Mizzou athletics were generally headed in the right direction.
    Mun Choi and the curators seem to think they can do better, and that now is the time to strike. 
    Sterk had some stumbles, as documented earlier in the chat, and my assumption that he had recovered from them was incorrect, it appears.
    Do I still harbor ill will towards Texas for their Big 12 bullying back when Mizzou was a member? Yes. Do I like to the idea of their coming to the SEC? Yes. Why? Because I think they will be exposed for what they are--a program that has been more hype than substance. Since they played for the national championship 12 years ago, they have won 10 games only once (Mizzou has done it three times) and finished the season ranked three times (same as Mizzou), while playing in a lesser conference. Let's face it--as football programs go, they are well behind Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Florida, and Oklahoma. I think they'll find, too, that in other sports where they have long been dominant in the Big 12 (baseball, women's volleyball, track) will find much more resistance in the SEC. So, the money might look good now, but I wonder how they'll feel about things a few years in when they realize how crazy this conference is in its quality of athletic performance.
    I like your spirit, and your take. They want in? Let them in, and see how they like it. As Eli Drinkwitz said during SEC media days: "Saddle up." Texas will find a conference that is eager to take its recruits, transfers, coaches while gladly splitting revenue equally. The Longhorns have been lacking in substance for a while now when it comes to the best of the best, and could find out in the SEC they're just one of the rest. I certainly won't be shedding any tears if that's the case. And, honestly, I think it will be good for Mizzou. Oklahoma and Texas on the football schedule still means something to Mizzou faithful. Interesting games are good.
    Benfred, Shildt’s contract runs through the end of the 2022 season, as does Girsch’s. Mo’s contract is up at the end of the 2023 season. If the Cardinals play .500 or less from here to the end of the season and wind up in 3rd or 4th place, is it time to start reevaluating the manager and his coaches? If Mo decides not to do that does he then give out extensions (he’s really good at that) to Shildt and then let Shildt decide what coaches come back and which ones don’t? I think if it’s me, I wait until May of next year before I decide to extend Shildt’s contract. I’m sure he’s a nice man but I question a lot of his managerial moves, especially when it comes to pitchers.
    Mozeliak has spent most of the season suggesting the team needs to be playing better, which is an indictment on the manager as much as it is the players. He's rushed to defend Jeff Albert but not so much Shildt. I don't think there's an incredible amount of tension there beyond the norms of the job, but I don't think it suggests an extension for the manager is coming. The Cardinals have been burned by most of their premature extensions. They're probably going to cool it on those for a while. At least they should. I don't see this being an extension-for-all type of offseason, do you?
  • Trade Predictions…..
    Bryant to the Mets
    Scherzer to the Dodgers
    Story to the Yankees
    Rizzo to the Red Sox
    Nobody to the Cardinals
    So what would a Scherzer trade look like?
    A location Scherzer (full no trade clause) wants, and an offer better than the Nationals letting him walk for nothing into free agency after the season ends. The team acquiring him, because of his odd contract, actually wouldn't be on the hook for much. No one is going to give their top prospects for a 37-year-old rental, even a future Hall of Famer. Where Scherzer wants to go, combined with which teams are going for it, could be the deciding factors.
    I would trade Liberatore and a couple of lower level players (not necessarily prospects) think John Gant, etc. for Berrios. He's 27, in control through next year, and is better than Liberatore ever will be (I'm willing to bet). Would you make that deal?
    And the Twins would most likely say thanks, but no thanks. 
    Reported asking price on Berrios earlier this month was one pre-arb player on MLB roster along with two top-100 prospects.
    Someone brought up the chances of Carpenter being back next season and I have to think he’s gonna be back. I don’t think he’s ready to retire and the front office signed him to that extension because they wanted him to end his career as a cardinal. If they don’t bring him back it would be like them admitting they were wrong to extend him in the first place, in my opinion. Obviously he’d have a lower salary and he’d be a bench bat but I can’t imagine the front office will let him sign somewhere else if he doesn’t retire.
    That would be pretty surprising to me. He's not going to hit the vested option mark. Time to move on.
    Some more NHL new: Sounds like Jaden Schwartz is headed to Seattle
  • South City Steve nailed it, Shildt seems to a slightly upgraded 2.0 version of Matheny, complete with the "my guys!" mentality and unnecessarily antagonistic relationship with fans/media. The recent comments about not moving up Bader, a five-year veteran and the team's best hitter right now, in the lineup because he doesn't want to put pressure on him is bonkers. I'm not on the #FireShildt bandwagon, but it's completely reasonable to say he's been a disappointment this year.
    That's a fine opinion to have, I just don't agree with it. That's all.
    But one thing should be corrected. Shildt does not have an antagonistic relationship with media. He answers the questions that are asked, and almost always goes out of his way to understand where they are coming from. The one example of him getting truly red-assed came when he thought a Zoom was over, and then fielded one question that got the scenario wrong and another that implied Oviedo had been given the quick hook when he hadn't. So, yeah, he got hot. It happens. But to suggest he's above explaining his reasoning on things is not correct. In fact he did it in the post-game he got honked off, after he didn't like those two questions. So, I'll push back on that big time.
    Everyone is free to put their own grade on his performance otherwise .That's baseball.
    Reports are out that Schwartz will be signing with the Kraken. Doesn't this increase the likelihood of Hoffman coming back?
    It could, sure. JT and others have reported the talks with Hoffman continue and both sides are open to a return. The Tarasenko situation could be holding things back some, and Hoffman can't be expected to sit around and wait if he gets an offer he likes.
    BenFred what caused the maturation of Harrison Bader?? Can he continue at this pace? I used to scream at the television knowing he was going to strike out by flailing away at sliders low, away and off the plate. It seems like he has mastered that temptation forcing the pitchers to come to him. I personally cannot think of too many centerfielders I would trade him straight up for. Good for him. Good for the Cardinals! Thanks
    He's averaging .362 with a .421 on-base percentage and a .609 slugging percentage since he's been off the injured list.
    Incredible.
    Beyond that his energy has been breathing life into this team that is trying to fight off the birds of prey hovering over its season.
    Can he keep that up? It's asking a lot. We're talking about 69 at-bats. But I do think it's OK to hope he can hold onto some of the thins he's displayed during this surge. Better approach against right-handed pitchers. Better use of his power because he's not wasting swings on stuff he can't hit hard. There is a lot to like. He's barely 27, which seems important to remember. He's making strides.
    Regarding Tarasenko, how much do you think his displeasure is really with the handling of his shoulder vs the way Berube handled him upon his return this year? It's funny that he and his camp never made any public statements about the shoulder operations until this season when Berube played Tarasenko according to his performance and not according to some "most favored nation" status, as he gave Hoffman priority thanks to his consistent scoring in the second half of the season.
    I think it was an excuse, and a low one at that.
    And I was disappointed so many Blues fans took it and ran with it, slamming the team and the doctors without any evidence.
    Tarasenko played great after his first shoulder surgery. No one mentioned that.
    And yes, when elite athletes in a highly physical sport sustain multiple injuries to the same joint, there are chances things don't get back to normal. Doctors are not capable of reversing time.
    Tarasenko's new agent -- he changes them often, if that tells you anything -- is known for trashing teams to get his way. I think it's a shame Tarasenko bought into that approach. And no, I'm not buying what his camp is selling.
    Ben,

    To your point, when you have a front office that has convinced itself that trading in season is too hard, isn't that a huge problem? It will be 10 years since 2011 and that is a big deal for this franchise. Should they bring in an outside voice to add some aggressiveness to this FO?
  • Thanks for bringing up the anniversary. The Cardinals can't put a massive replica of the Commissioner's Trophy in Ballpark Village and get irked when asked why they are not as restless as their fans for another championship. I mean, they can, but they shouldn't. Again, I go back to the top of the team. Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. His desire to get another ring will set the tone for the team, no matter who is in the front office.
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