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 a great week. If you were one of the attendees at the Jason Motte Foundation's annual cornhole challenge last night, thanks for being there. We had a good time at the brewery. Also some sad news to report. For those of you who head down to spring training and frequent Crux Coffee near Roger Dean Stadium, I'm sad to share that Dan Rudden, the owner, passed away. His wife, Victoria, is going to keep the shop going. If you're down that way and like coffee, give them some business. They're good people. OK, let's roll.
    I cannot believe it was mentioned in yesterday’s paper that Paul Djoug could be considered for DH and back up infielder next year, Cardinal fans would revolt more than they already have.
    You all know where I stand on this one. I didn't write for yesterday's paper but I've made it clear here that I'm not sure the Cardinals' best move is to simply cut bait on DeJong. They could upgrade middle infield for offense and keep him around to be a contributing player and lower-order hitter. He's not a cleanup hitter, clearly. But good teams have players down in the lineup and sometimes on the bench who can do damage, and DeJong can when he's right. The answer doesn't have to be either cleanup hitter and every day starter at shortstop or traded. Maybe he could thrive in a scaled back role. The either-or thinking is the kind of thing that gets the Cardinals overexposed starters (like Tommy Edman this season) and a completely lacking bench.
    Watching Bader’s latest slump makes me think he is not a starting outfielder. Too many cold streaks, too many strikeouts and the other night he found a way to get himself out and a guy stealing second which was a microcosm of the Cardinal season. Good defense is great but you Gotta have some hitting in a premium position like that.Let’s see what noot can do For the rest of the season
    Ah, The Chat has turned on Bader once more. He was "fixed" just a little bit ago and we were fielding questions about the remarkable comeback he's made. I suggested waiting until the at-bats added up. Now they are adding up, and it's a familiar spot he's in. We are left wondering a) how good his defense has to be to cover up some of his offensive flaws, and more importantly b) how much offense the corner outfielders have to provide to make up for a defense-first center fielder. Nootbaar is making a solid case to have a shot to be this team's fourth outfielder but I think Bader needs to play the rest of the way to get as much of a sample size on the books for this season as he can. If it ends the way it's going now, I don't think the Cardinals can assume they have their starting outfield locked in for 2022. If the Cards were legitimate wild-card contenders, you go with the hot hand. They're not. Not really. And they've already signaled they are worrying about 2022 and beyond at least as much as they're worrying about 2021.
    Is there any sentiment for a pitch clock? It is frustrating how long so many pitchers take to throw the ball.
    Anything that's used in the minors seems to be a trial for the majors, and pitch clock are used there. In the Olympics I think they used them when runners were not on base. I don't hate the idea. I get just as frustrated by hitters taking a century to get situated in the box and by umpires granting times to hitters once a pitcher is in motion toward the plate. Speeding up hitters and stopping umpires from granting time once a pitcher is set would be a good way to go too.
    Ben,

    You and your colleagues are greatly appreciated for the frank and honest Cardinal coverage each of you provide!

    I would really like to see Tommy Edman hit RH full-time or "most-of-the-time". He is much shorter to ball and has more power RH. SO ratio is close to the same RH vs LH, but far more weak contact and less selective when hitting LH. BB rate has been low from both sides of the plate. Perhaps platooning with Nolan Gorman at 2B in 2022 benignly addresses the issue.

    Your thoughts, please…….
  • He's been flirting more and more with taking a more nuanced approach to which side he swings from depending on not just a pitcher's handedness but his splits against that pitcher and how he's feeling that day. I like that. It should be an informed decision, not a blanket one. Telling him to only hit one way would be the opposite of that, and it would give opposing teams the benefit of knowing what is coming instead of having to wonder. If a guy can hit both ways, you don't declare he's not going to anymore. You don't give up a threat even if it's jut the idea of one.
  • Ben,

    Do you think Alex Reyes, with his max-effort/short-armed delivery, can have a “lengthy career” as a starter? If so, who would you like to see close games for the Cardinals in 2022? Cabrera, Gallegos, Garcia, or someone via FA/trade?

    I think Ian Kennedy (FA-to-be/now with PHI) would be a good fit in the STL-BP and would not break the budget. Garcia is also intriguing. Cabrera has really matured as a pitcher in the 2nd half of the season.
    I'm pretty against buying closers in the offseason. Upgrade that at the trade deadline if you need one. A couple good ones are always available.
    The Cardinals have had a good amount of success letting closer sort itself out between talented young arms. Reyes is an example. Hicks has been one. Could be Cabrera, sure.
    I don't assume Reyes would be max effort as a starter. Viewing how he goes about high-leverage job of closer as how he would go about it as a starter is a dot-connection I'm not ready to make. He came up as a starter. He has the pitch mix that would play well as a starter. The team's former great closer turned great starter, Adam Wainwright, constantly tells us the kid should be a starter. If his walk rate doesn't drop, he won't be efficient enough to get deep into games, but I think we would Reyes make the transition from throwing as a closer to pitching as a starter. If he gets the chance. I hope he does.
    Arozarena 3.0 WAR in 110 games
    Adolis Garcia 3.1 WAR in 113 games
    O’Neill 4.1 WAR in 100 games
    Bader 1.9 WAR in 64 games
    Carlson 1.5 WAR in 112 games

    I think it’s time to let go of the “outfielders that got away.” O’Neill is outperforming both of them in fewer games. Bader missed a lot of time otherwise he’d likely be right up there with them in WAR. And I doubt rational cardinals fans would trade Carlson for Garcia or arozarena. The questions about the front office’s player evaluations remain. But the outfielders here now are not the problem and I don’t think the other two would significantly change this team.
    Bader's really struggled here lately, so that one will get push-back.
    O'Neill has been the pleasant surprise of the season for me. He's managed to keep his slumps from turning into total spinouts and he's become a more diverse hitter, which is great to see. I finally see what the Cardinals were so thrilled about in him. Credit to them for their patience.
    Carlson is by far the youngest and people forget that when these comparisons are made. I think it's going to be a non-question when he's the age as some of the others on this list.
    As for the others, there is no rule the Cardinals had to only use three of these outfielders. I think a lot of the frustration stems from the Cardinals not seeming to have a very good read on some of their own prospects. So, while the noise level should fade some as O'Neill and Carlson continue to make strides, there is still a legitimate question about why the Cardinals misread their own. Can't happen in draft-and-develop model, at least not very often if you want to contend. We'll see about Bader. He needs to stop this current slide.
    Whatever happened to Mark Budaska,and why was he fired after being in our orginization for so long? Why does it seem that the Cardinals go through so many hitting coaches? Do other clubs go through them this way?
    Budaska was not picking up what Jeff Albert was putting down, and did not start picking it up after he was told he needed to or risk losing his job. So, he lost it. Judging by the performance of the offense under Albert, one could argue maybe he was right to resist. But that won't bring him back. The Cardinals have hinted that Albert could be changing gears after this season. I don't think it's going to be a firing but I would not be surprised if he swaps the dugout for an office and does more big-picture offense instruction. If he's still in the dugout I imagine he will be joined by someone with some real-world MLB experience in hitting. Ryan Ludwick's time around the team and praise received from players has been a likely sign.
    BenFred, don’t you think the Cards should be more aggressive on the bases? There have been two instances in the past two weeks where we were down a run in the 9th and had a runner on first with less than two outs and we did not try to steal second. I think it was Edman both times. We never seem able to manufacture a run when we need it. Why can’t they work on that? Winning teams are able to do it.
    The Cardinals' situational hitting during this homestand was rather abysmal. 
    Lots and lots of men left on base. Fifty-five in six games to be exact. No wonder they went 2-4.
    They had been better at it since manager Mike Shildt intervened in the offense approach and said the hitters needed to stop being so one-dimensional -- which was yet another ding on the Jeff Albert experiment -- but whatever was working went missing during the homestand.
    Yadier Molina is about the only Cardinal who consistently adjusts his at-bats to take advantage of what is on the bases. It doesn't always work, but he's pretty good at it. People wonder why he's hitting fifth so often. It's because he's leading the team in game-winning RBIs while trailing only Nolan Arenado in go-ahead RBIs while slashing .255/.340/.421 with runners in scoring position. His 
  • If Waino comes back next year, he and Yadi will almost certainly break the all time record for most starts by a single battery. I would love for them to have this together as a tribute to their tenures in this cherished era of the franchise. Is this on their radar/do they care about it?
  • Yes, they are aware of where they stand and what it means. For sure.
    If you had to blindly (or not blindly?) take a stab at the free agent class of Shortstops and the Cardinals interest in them, how would you rank them in terms of fit for the Cardinals?
    Let's not ignore what we know, right? The Cardinals were kicking around the idea of a Trevor Story trade before the trade deadline. Often in the past they have revisited the idea of adding a player they are interested in at a time or cost that was more convenient. Story could fit that mold, and he probably won't be at the top of the robust shortstop market. The Cardinals have not had great success when it comes to convincing the top free agent in a class to pick their offer over others in a wide open free-agent market, for various reasons, one of which tends to be their reluctance for the length of deals (10+ years) and accompanying financial commitments that win those races. So, my guess would be Story. For now.
    I wish the Cardinals management would come to the realization that this is not a playoff caliber team. We’re going to finish in 3rd place. Not good enough to catch the Reds and not bad enough for the Cubs to catch us. Earlier the argument for keeping Carpenter on the roster was that you were paying him all this money. Well that contract is almost over so why not just release him and bring up a player from AAA that is more deserving of a chance. I’d like to see this kid Yepez or get a third catcher on the bench and bring up Sanchez. I’m not sure why Austin Dean and Justin Williams are still on the 40-man roster? Gorman is batting .268 and has 8 home runs, give him a taste of the major leagues. He’s going to be here eventually. Carpenter is not in our long-term plans as is Dean. The Brewers are in 1st place because Sterns knows how to put a bench together.
    They're plenty aware. You saw the moves made at the trade deadline. They did not suggest a front office was convinced a surge was coming. They were moves made to protect younger players like Johan Oviedo from getting their confidence shredded and maybe just maybe help the chances of a wild-card appearance. And it really wasn't spun as anything else. Rushing Gorman to STL before he's mastering Class AAA pitching won't do anyone any good, the team or him. He's made some good strides in Memphis but he hasn't dominated enough to make it a no-brainer. And I say that as someone who would love to see him. But he's gotta be ready. The Cards are not going to cut Matt Carpenter in late August from a team that probably isn't going anywhere. They stuck with him this long and will let him ride it out. He won't be back in STL after this season. And I imagine fans will give him a nice sendoff in his final home game. I'm with you on Austin Dean. I don't see whatever the Cardinals see there. I'd love for Yepez to get the call soon. He's earned it. He'll need to be put on the 40-man for it to happen. 
    When Carlson returns from the IL, has Nootbar done enough to push a struggling Bader out of the lineup? Maybe just against RHP?
    Maybe I'm misreading it but I think the Cardinals want Bader to play and make up for the time he missed. If he can't stop his current slide then it could and should impact some thinking/planning for 2022. Bader only has 228 at-bats this season due to the injuries that slowed his start. Cards need to know if that hot, delayed start was just a mirage, or what.
    Will Schilt continue batting Tyler between Goldy and renado after Dylan returns to the lineup or pyt Dylan in the 3 spot? How much of a derease in playng time will Noot see/ Thanks for taing my questions
  • Nootbaar has done some good things but I don't see him forcing one of the starting three to the bench when the outfield is healthy. Cards do need to find him some spots when that happens, though. No debate there.
  • I’m not one who thinks Shildt is a bad manager. But what areas do you think he could improve as well as the entire coaching staff?
    I think he needs to get more comfortable and confident in pushing the front office for what he thinks his team needs. He's made a series of comments over the course of the season that suggest his team has been short-handed at times, and it has been. But he's stopped short of going all the way out on the limb to stress his point. There is risk there, because the front office likes the line the manager to manage the players on the roster not weigh in on the roster, but it's no secret the last manager who made a habit of it was the manager who had the best teams. That would be La Russa, Tony.
    It's far from new ground but the dugout probably needs someone on the hitting side of things who has been a major league hitter. That call is growing and has been for a while. Maybe Jeff Albert knows hitting as well as the Cardinals front office thinks he does, but he doesn't seem to be the  best at communicating it to players. At least not every player.
    Are the post-game press conferences that are currently being held as zoom calls, is this mandated by the league or is this something the Cardinals are doing? If we’ve gone back to full capacity, I’m not sure why we don’t go back to in person post-game press conferences. If everyone is fully vaccinated, then there should be no problem. If writers still have concerns, they can mask up.
    The writers would prefer in-person everything and we have been vaccinated.
    It's a requirement for being on the field for pregame interviews, which have been happening in person for a while now.
    Zooms are no friend of ours. We do the best we can with the opportunities that are presented. 
    Ben, does it really matter how the Cardinals finish the season in regard to whether or not any sweeping changes will be made? It’s unlikely we will catch the Reds, unless they have a total collapse like San Diego and it’s unlikely, we’ll finish behind Chicago unless they go on a crazy tear. We ARE going to be a 3rd place team. The question now is will we be over .500 or under .500 on October 4th. Does it matter if we are over or under .500 for significant changes to occur?
    The idea that a missed postseason will result in massive change is not one the Cardinals have ever suggested.
    It's one fans have hope for, but that doesn't guarantee anything.
    I'd point to the line Mozeliak offered a while back about not being judged on 2021.
    Don't shoot the messenger.
    Seems to me that Corey Seager would be a nice fit in the 3 hole between Goldy and Arenado. Is he a target for the Cards? He might be more affordable than Story and he is a LH bat.
    I think Seager will cost more on free-agent market than Story. Better hitter over course of his career and he's younger by close to two years. And don't forget who reps Seager. Boras.
  • Ben, I don't see a "kiss and make up" in the cards between Tarasenko and the Blues. I think everyone might have to put on a good face in the short term. All Army can hope for now is that during training camp another team loses one of their top scorers to injury and must come groveling to Army asking for Tarasenko. That's when he will be at his most value, and not until then.
    Same here. I can't imagine Army is going to enter a season with Tarasenko's cloud hanging over games that count. And he better be careful letting it loom over camp. I don't think Tarasenko is capable of burying his bitterness at this point, and I don't think Craig Berube is the kind of coach who is going to be great in handling a player he knows does not want to play for him. This has the makings of a disaster, and I think Army has to know that and act accordingly. If the Blues are going to be able to be at full capacity, they should want to enter the season with an excitement, not a sense of drama.
    If the Yankees resign Rizzo and the DH comes to the NL, could Luke Voit be a fit for the Cardinals next year?
    He's not going to be a free agent for a while so it would have to be a trade.
    I don't see it happening.
    He's made some somewhat-critical remarks about the Cardinals view of him since he has found traction in the Big Apple.
    Hard to blame him.
    Is there any indication to when/how DeWitt is going to speak on the status of his organization? I am curious to see if him being hit in the pocketbook from fan apathy is going to cause any adjustment to his business.
    When the outcome of this season is determined, I'd imagine. As many opportunities as the Cardinals gave away this homestand they are still just 4.5 games back from the second wild card.
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