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.

    Hey gang, hope everyone is having a good week so far.
    Vladimir Tarasekno is still a Blue, somewhat surprisingly.
    Jon Lester is a Cardinal, somewhat surprisingly.
    Mizzou football opens camp this week in CoMo.
    Much to discuss. 
    Let's ride.
    Have you ever seen a baseball head revered and scorned in the same season as much as John Mozaliak? He pulls off the heist of the century in the Arenado trade and then either misses or blatantly ignores cracks in the pitching staff from spring training through the train wreck that evolves several months into the season.
    Few baseball execs get as much attention, good or bad, as Mozeliak. That's the good and bad of leading the Cardinals. Lots of attention, all the time. Even when the national conversation passes the Cardinals by, the local spotlight never stops shining. When the Arenado deal went down, it seemed -- and the Cardinals sure made it seemed -- like it was a statement about their intention to return to the contending ranks in 2021. As the season played out, and needs were not addressed, that tune changed. At the deadline another note was played altogether. The Cardinals decided to protect their future. They know Arenado is going to be a part of that; he's not going anywhere, he says. But there will be no guarantees he's better in the future than he was this season. That's the risk. Same for Wainwright and Molina.
    Ben, the Ivy League geniuses that direct MLB’s front offices with their data metrics have negatively impacted the game. That is, unless you like watching 10 pitch at bats that end in a walk, strikeout, or an occasional ball put in play. The game has never been slower and more boring to watch. Do you believe MLB will approach the entertainment value of the game in the upcoming labor discussions or is this going to be all about who can extract the most money from the other side?
    I think you answered your own question.
    Players have a say in that entertainment value, too.
    No coach is stopping a guy from using the opposite field when his pull side is swamped in a shift.
    I've never seen a player get benched for getting on base.
    Thanks for your chats. It’s greatly appreciated
    So we traded Randy a top 30 fantasy Baseball player for a struggling AAA pitcher who might be good in a few years. This is why the front office needs to be cleaned out. Randy a would look pretty good at the top of the order right now
    Not to mention García who we gave away for nothing and wisdom Also for nothing. We trade two players under control for a left-hander with a bloated Era
    This is One reason why attendance is down. I personally don’t plan on going until mo is gone
    For what it's worth, Tyler O'Neill has better numbers this season than Randy Arozarena.
    And Adolis Garcia at age 28 is having a comparable season to Dylan Carlson, age 22.
    Part of the reasons the outfielders you mentioned were traded was because the Cardinals had committed to the outfield of O'Neill, Bader and Carlson.
    This was the make-or-break season for that group, it felt like, and production has been pretty good when they've all been there together.
    I spent a lot of time talking about the Cardinals offense entering the season, and as the current group got healthy, but when it did it's suggested the Cardinals have decent guys there. So, that should be factored into the Arozarena/Garcia conversation. And the Arozarena/Garcia conversation is not identical. The Cardinals appeared to underestimate Arozarena. Garcia was once passed through waivers as a Ranger and did not get picked up. All teams saw the same thing, which was not a lot. It's a credit to him for defying those lowered expectations.
    Wisdom was in the same trap as Luke Voit and John Nogowski, the one where the Cardinals like the player but can't find a way to use him. That should change when the DH comes to the NL. Those guys can get more chances then.
    As far as attendance, yep, I do think the growing apathy toward the team has contributed to that. For sure. 
    Hi, Ben. Thanks for the chat. I know I should not have been surprised, but I still was disappointed that all the Cardinals did on one of the busiest Trade Deadline days ever was acquire a couple of 38-year-old pitchers. Are the Cardinals building a Beer League team? For Cardinal fans it was like the socially awkward teen sitting at home knowing the cool kids were having a great party somewhere. My question: Do the Cardinals overvalue their prospects? Seem like teams with worse farm systems, like Milwaukee, can pull off trades that the Cardinals can't. Thanks for your time.
    Hey, I tried to warn you. For some of the teams that went big at the trade deadline and won't win a World Series, there could be a hangover from that party. No, I don't expect that to make you feel much better. The Cardinals would have been swinging at a bad pitch to try to go big at this deadline for a true rental, like Scherzer, unless they knew they could and wanted to extend the player. When you have a 5 percent chance or worse to make the postseason, those moves don't make a ton of sense. The teams that made splash deals like that had played their way into the position that justified trying to strap on a rocket booster. The Cardinals are still looking for sustained liftoff. The Cardinals sometimes overvalue their prospects, and perhaps more now than ever before. See the previous question about guys who found success after being traded away -- Arozarena, Garcia, Wisdom -- as an example of why. The Cardinals are in recent years a reactionary team. They get burned by veteran relievers so they stop signing them. They get burned by castaway outfielders so they give more time to the current ones. Not misreading your own prospects key for a draft-and-develop team, and the Cards have let some good ones go, so they are more determined now than ever before to make sure that doesn't keep happening. That's the sense I get.
    I am constantly bullish on the Cardinals' future, so take with a grain of salt my optimism about next year's rotation, but I'm wondering if you agree.

    Next year's available starting pitching figures to include Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas, Kwang Hyun Kim, Adam Wainwright, Dakota Hudson, Alex Reyes, and Johan Oviedo.

    That's pretty good, right? A couple things have to go right there--Mikolas and Hudson recovering, the organization giving Reyes a shot at starting--but it looks like a surfeit of middle-rotation starters with Flaherty leading the way at the top and Reyes providing some notable potential upside.

    Am I missing anything?
    Kim's contract allows him to become a free agent after the season; no guarantee as of now he's back next year.
    Liberatore could and should be in the mix.
    Flaherty, Mikolas, Hudson would all be coming off injury-compromised seasons. That's the big risk. 
    BenFred:The Cardinals’ “wait until next year” approach makes them sound more and more like a loser (see Chicago Cubs). Now that another trade deadline has ended weakly for the Cardinals, I’m wondering: Does Mo realize how out-of-touch the front office appears? Is there concern their hyper-cautious “sustained success” model (or is it “sustained mediocrity”?) is behind the curve and is hurting the Cardinal brand? Loyalty can only go so far for so long when on-field performance lags and management does not inspire confidence or hope for improvement. Thank you for considering this question.
    The Cardinals are concerned about fan engagement, sure. It's one of the many things they track. But they care more, as any business would about money made, tickets sold, rears in seats than they do about online frustrations expressed. Mozeliak just did a Q&A with fans after a game this week. He fielded tough questions but no one booed or tossed rotten lettuce at him that I'm aware of. That would have been news. If the Cardinals want to explain away some of the signs of fans disconnecting as reasons other than disinterest due to the team's play, then they have a big one in the pandemic and how it affected last season (no fans) and encouraged some to stay away from big gatherings this season. The one person Mozeliak answers to is chairman Bill DeWitt. But fans can influence ownership in ways that affect the bottom line. For every Cardinals fan who is fed up and not going to games, there is usually another who's happy to grab the promotional item and enjoy the game. That's not a knock on the fans, either. Just the way it is. Cardinals problems, even now, first-world problems. And for those tapping their foot waiting on another championship, that can make a seeming lack of urgency hard to swallow at times.
    Have you ever seen the cardinals promote a position player as aggressively as burleson? Maybe pujols, but I was young and didn’t really pay attention to the minors back then. Do you think they want to see what he can do when rosters expand? He just continues to impress, that’s for sure.
    High A to Triple-A in one summer, your first as a major leaguer, is pretty impressive and rare. Averaging .288 and slugging .503 will speed things up for you. He's a college kid so he's more seasoned. And he's taking advantage. I'd like to see what he does in Memphis before he gets to St. Louis. And there is an outfielder currently playing very well in Memphis who I would think deserves a look before Burleson. Conner Capel. The rosters only expand to 28 these days but hopefully now that the Cardinals have admitted they have the future on the mind they will give some of these guys a shot. Capel is one. Juan Yepez is another. Both have done good things at Memphis this year and are in that spot where they will get hopped over if they don't get a chance they have earned. If you're committed to not letting prospects get away and thrive elsewhere, you have to find out if ones playing well in Memphis can surprise you before promoting someone over them.
    Do you think the former Rockies playing in both St Louis and Denver plays much into Trevor Story decision making on where to ultimately sign on with?
  • The Cardinals kicking the tires on him leading up to the deadline suggested they could have some interest in his free agency.
    He should have as good of a scouting report on STL as possible from Nolan Arenado.
    That could help.
    Ultimately it will be about the contract, more than anything.
    He has not played all that well since the start of the 2020 season, which should not be overlooked.
    Maybe he doesn't command the money most assumed he would. If so, the Cardinals could have a better chance. Their track record on true free agents has not been good when that free agent is the standout of his class. Story has slipped a bit. 
  • Assuming Mighty Max will stay on the West Coast to finish his wonderful career, what other BIG names do you for see will be on the Cardinals short list to target acquiring or signing as a free agent this off season?
    I'm not assuming Max is going to retire a Dodger.
    He's ring chasing now.
    Free agency should follow.
    Story is the other name we know now, because the Cardinals were showing some interest in a potential trade-deadline deal there.
    At some point, the fact that Mo annually withdraws at the trade deadline has to beg the question of why he hasn't been able to assemble a roster that is worthy of re-investment at the deadline?
    This season, I think the better question is why didn't he step in to add some help before the deadline, so the team could be in a better spot to get better at the deadline?
    It's impossible to predict injuries.
    It's not impossible to add depth that can help them.
    The Cardinals didn't entering the season, so that means you have to act, fast, if trouble strikes.
    It did, and the Cardinals didn't act. It cost them.
    The front office has been taking an approach to seasons that just does not work.
    It's become the parent that buys the kid a bike, straps on the helmet and gives the fist push -- then just watches as things fall apart.
    The parent has to run behind the kid, steadying wobbles here and there, to prevent disaster.
    Sometimes a crash still happens, sure, but it's a lot less likely.
    The parent who pushed and watched can't shrug and say, well, you can't predict crashes.
    You can if you don't help.
    The cards have to do something in the off-season. Blank check to Trevor story. Might keep arenado from opting out. For the third year in a row this offense ranks in bottom of every category. Time for some changes
    As much as the Arenado opt-out leverage is used by fans to push for upgrades, it does not seem to be getting use from the player who can actually use the leverage. Arenado has said he's not going anywhere. Multiple times. As for changes, how the Cardinals handle hitting coach Jeff Albert this offseason will be pretty interesting. Maybe a reassignment of roles? Maybe a new assistant hitting coach who can bring some MLB real-world experience to the conversation? Some of the minor leaguers have seemed to respond well to the way Albert is teaching for the organization, and that should not be entirely tossed out. That said the main job for the hitting coach is to help the major league team score runs, and this season -- Albert's third -- has not proven he's the perfect guy for that goal. Perhaps he needs some help who can better relate to players.
    What do you think of signing one of the free agent shortstops, moving dejong to second, and moving edman to the super utility role. Story would probably be the cheapest but seager fits more of a need being a lefty power bat. Dejong is still a solid defender but also offers power when he’s right. And edman probably fits better as a player who gets 400 AB’s instead of 550 to 600.
    DeJong has been better at shortstop defensively than Seager the past four years or so. Pretty significantly, too. Pauly D's defense doesn't get enough love. He's plus-32 in defensive runs saved since 2018. Seager is minus-7, with elbow issues. So you would be making your defense worse by having those two on the same team and making DeJong play second instead of Seager, if that matters to you.
    Story, however has been a plus-36 at shortstop since 2018. He's been a hair better than DeJong (about the same) and a lot better than Seager.
    Story might be the better fit, potentially, is my point.
    Both would help this team. And yes, I do think Edman has been a bit overexposed this season. He is the perfect type of player, skill set and mentality wise, to be a Zobrist swiss army knife.
    Hey BenFred, I was a bit shocked the Cubs (aka the Scrubs now) tore down the team so quickly. Same for the Nats. I thought the Cubs could have at least resigned Rizzo or Baez. Do you think the pandemic and loss of revenue accelerated the rebuild for these teams?
  • Cubs ops boss Jed Hoyer kind of suggested in a recent interview that some of the traded-away cornerstones were unrealistic in their request for extensions, and that there might have been a more sustained approach if they were willing to compromise some.
    So, the players had something to do with that sell-of, whether you agreed with their stance on their value or not.
    Some of those guys turned down deals before things reached this point.
    I don't think the pandemic was in play for Chicago. That group has won it all after a tank-and-rebuild. That's their approach. It's what they know, and what they looked for reasons to repeat.
    Turner seemed to be the key to the Nats. They wanted to sign him long-term but could not agree to a deal so figured it would be best to get as much as possible for him along with Scherzer now to try to retool in time to take advantage of Juan Soto. They would have sold Soto off in a true rebuild. They didn't. They should be decent again soon. Much sooner than the Cubs.
    Ben, I really enjoyed your column yesterday regarding the futures of Gorman, Liberatore, Capel and Yepez. I hope Mo reads the paper. I think we can all agree 2021 is a lost season. Carpenter, Williams, Dean and Hurst are not part of our future. All need to be removed from the 40-man roster and replaced with the aforementioned players. This team needs an injection of youth, some excitement. We’re all tired of seeing Carpenter striking out 2-3 times a game when he starts. This is a boring team to watch. Even though Gorman and Liberatore haven’t earned promotions, they will be here eventually so why not now? Maybe they can be lightning in a bottle. Even if they stay at the pace they are playing at today, they are at least getting valuable experience, although Mo would rather impede their clock from starting.
    Thanks.
    I don't think you want to bring up Gorman and Liberatore before they are ready, because that can do more harm than good.
    See Johan Oviedo's season for evidence. That didn't help him much, or the team.
    If Gorman and Liberatore were lighting it up, I'd be beating the drum.
    But instead, I think the Cardinals should use this window to find some chances for the guys who are lighting it up in Memphis to prove themselves.
    Especially guys like Capel, who are at risk of being hopped over by younger climbing prospects if the Cardinals don't find out what they have, or don't have in him.
    The Brewers were 8-9 in July versus teams not named the Pirates. They have 5 games remaining with them this month but the Cards play the Pirates 10 times in August. I'm not saying that is 10 guaranteed wins but if this team plans to be a factor in the wild card race, let alone the division, they need to take care of business against the Bucs.
    They're 6-3 against them so far this season, and 1-3 in the last four games against them. Are you encouraged? Some of it will depend on how the acquired veterans do or don't stabilize the starting pitching. If the Cardinals can get a quality start out of a starter, they tend to win.
    How realistic is it that Mo and Co will add a pitcher and another bat in the offseason? With the loss in revenue from the pandemic, plus the need to sign Flaherty long term, they are not going to commit to another big contract. Are they hoping that Gorman and Liberatore are ready to fill those holes? Should we expect another boring offseason?
    The last offseason wasn't boring, was it? I thought the Arenado deal was pretty significant. The Cardinals have been much more willing to get aggressive in the offseason than at the trade deadline. Some of their starter urgency could depend on what they see from Mikolas, Flaherty and even Hudson as this season winds down. Good signs there -- or bad -- could influence the starter search, if there is one. After touching the bottom of the depth this season, overloading there seems wise. The Cards do seem interested in middle-infield additions. Checking in on Story proved that. So, that's an area to watch. I don't think they will be shopping for outfielders as they have liked what they have observed from this group, when healthy. Molina and Wainwright decisions will impact things, per usual.
    Ben,

    Thank you for the chat today and thank you holding the Cardinal front office accountable for failing to address the obvious weaknesses most fans saw way back in Spring Training.

    The remainder of 2021 should be fun to watch with Lester and Happ. We need some magic!

    I would like to see Mike Shildt play with lineup. The Cardinals lack a prototypical leadoff hitter. O”Neill is not getting it done in the 4 spot. He is trying to do too much. It may further his development as a hitter (pressure to be more selective on breakings balls off the plate) to put him in the leadoff spot and move Carlson/Arenado to 3-4. O’Neill is the fastest player on the roster and he is “close” to becoming a very good hitter.
    If Kyle Schwarber can unlock his swing at leadoff, maybe Tyler O'Neill could too.
    I don't hate the idea.
    Bader could be a fit there too -- kind of in the Kolten Wong mode of a guy who maybe tried to be the leadoff hitter before he was ready but is actually a better fit now that he's just doing what he does naturally. 
  • I can't remember a season where so many Cardinals players who got significant spring training coverage/hype (print and airwaves) just flat out failed. Ponce and Gant were supposedly knocking on the door of the rotation but there wasn't room because Martinez was serious about starting. Lane Thomas was going to carve out his niche in the outfield after being slowed by Covid. Carpenter was wearing batting gloves and using all fields. These 5 players collectively did almost nothing to contribute to the team except for short bursts of replacement level production.
    I will eat my crow for being high on Lane Thomas.
    My apologies.
    He had been injured and or sick right as opportunities came his way the past two seasons, and I thought he was going to be ready for the opportunities this time. He got them, but he didn't take advantage. I was wrong. We will see if he can benefit from a fresh start with the Nationals.
    I don't think I offered too much spin on any of the others.
    I remember pointing out how odd it was that Carlos Martinez went from being challenged to earn a rotation spot to being celebrated for all he had done to earn one, when all he did was show up at camp.
    I've been a Matt Carpenter realist for some time now.
    As for Gant and Ponce, I was the one writing from spring training that Alex Reyes should not be shoehorned into closer duties as the rotation red lights were flashing for Mikolas and Kim's back.
    So, can I get, like, half-credit? 
    Good morning Ben, let's change gears for a minute. Instead of talking about bad baseball let's talk about good soccer. Did you see the USMNT performance in the Gold Cup. And that is there B team! Bodes well for world cup qualifying don't you think.
    All of the folks ripping U.S. soccer and its ability to prepare us for the highest level of competition have to take a lap.
    Sure seems like things are moving in the right direction as America works to make up ground in the world's game.
    Ben, will Cards be able to trade DeJong in the off season?
    If they want to I'm sure they could. His value would not be what it once was. Another way to go about it would be to add a shortstop, shift DeJong to second, and make Tommy Edman a utility weapon. That would help create some bench depth that has been lacking. Or yes, the Cardinals could send out their shortstop, take a hit on the return and go shopping in the free agency waters. Some of that could depend on how they see Gorman's timeline, and if they feel comfortable with him at second this soon. Going to be an interesting offseason for the middle-infield's future.
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