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 your week is off to a good start. Cards are in the mix. Are they teasing us, or are you all feeling the wild-card fever? The NL opponents' opening of the door has been something else. Do yourself a favor and don't check out the stats on Mizzou's defense. Jeepers. Good thing it's a tune-up week for the Tigers with SEMO. They've got work to do. Bozak is back wit the Blues on a one-year deal and it was announced this morning that Wayne and Janet Gretzky will receive the 2021 Stan Musial Lifetime Achievement Award For Sportsmanship at the the Nov. 20 Musial Awards, so congrats to them on all of the fine work they have done outside of hockey. Programming note: We are going to chat it up until 1p.m. and then I need to get to court for another round of Rams relocation saga. Nothing major today, but you never know what's going to come out of the hearings. This one is about the STL side trying to nudge along the handing over of financial documents for potential punitive damages. Kroenke is hoping the Missouri Supreme Court cuts it off. Let's roll.
    Watching one of the greatest hitters w the bases loaded feebly strike out in that situation last night made me think at .169 and 0 last 29 it's time to DFA and give Schilt and the Cards literally any LH bat in the system and hopefully a hot one a chance to help the team down the stretch when any one AB or win could decide whether the Cards are in or out of the last playoff spot.
    The numbers speak for themselves. This season's numbers. The past two seasons' numbers. There's nothing very encouraging to point to when it comes to the logic that Matt Carpenter is going to suddenly snap out of it. He won't go without a hit forever and maybe he comes up with some big ones but that's just hope at this point. That said the Cardinals seem committed to letting it play out until the end of the season. He has said he hopes to keep playing beyond this season. The Cardinals would be crazy to do that. And yes, you are correct, there's plenty of recent evidence that it should be someone else getting these chances now. Do I expect that? No, not really.
    Place Wainwright's 39-40 yo season in the proper context of MLB history.
    First off, it has to be placed in the proper context regardless of his age.
    There has been so much obsession about his age I think his dominance is being lost or downgraded.
    He's not beating his age group.
    He's beating everyone.
    After last night, Wainwright has a 2.95 ERA since the start of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and ranks either first or second in all of baseball in wins (21), innings pitched (256) and quality starts (27).
    When baseball was at its most unpredictable, he was one of the most reliable. Not for his age. For all of baseball.
    Of the free agent shortstops this offseason, does it make sense for the Cardinals to prioritize Marcus Semien over Story or Correa? The other two seem primed to get more attention, and since Semien is a little older, he may be open to a shorter deal with a higher AAV. Semien is having an incredible season and sure would look good in red.
    You don't have to squint too hard to see a potential fit, right? He helped his stock for free agency by betting on himself with the one year deal and Toronto got a straight steal for it. What he lacks in name brand compared to some of the free-agent position peers he's going to be competing with, he's made up in offensive performance. He's been a bit unpredictable in the past when it comes to the bat but he's now got two very strong years in his last three. I think his name has to be considered when the Cardinals have their offseason of middle-infield reckoning.
    Carp isn’t bringing anything to the team right now in terms of production. If they were to DFA him no one will claim him and he would most likely stay in the organization because if he elects FA then he is giving up the $2M buyout. Am I correct with that assessment? If so, do you think it would be wise for the team to give him a send off this weekend while his old teammates are in town (he did have a cup of coffee in 2011 and got a WS ring)?
    I think that falls under the category of wishful thinking. I don't think the Cardinals carried Carpenter along this far to drop him now. If you read DG's recent notebook, Carpenter sure doesn't sound like a player who is ready to hang it up. Again, the Cardinals would be crazy to bring him back after this season, but we have observed nothing from them that they are ready to address the issue by nudging him out before the contract ends. They seem willing to live with the contract until it's gone, out of respect to Carpenter and his legacy. People will not like it. I get it. But the Cardinals do have a way of handling these things with players they deem legacy guys, and this falls under that umbrella.
    Not sure if you read that absolute fluff piece in the LA times about SoFi stadium, I couldn't even make it through it. Just more evidence for team STL. Can the NFL really be that arrogant? How much do you think the NFL paid Sam Farmer for that article?
    It was both humorous and predictable that the article didn't spend much time or any at all mentioning things like . . . the cost overruns, the repeated delays, the COVID issues at the work site, the accidents that led to a death during construction, the horrible feedback that has come out about parking and the bad concessions. But I'm not surprised. The Rams know where they can get the kind of coverage they like.
    do you think cards will go after story or seager in off season?
    They should be involved with both, and probably more options as well.
    It's pretty obvious they need to come up with a plan to improve the middle infield.
    Some of their thinking will probably be connected to how they view Nolan Gorman at second base and his timeline at that position or elsewhere.
    There's a track record with story. They checked in on him at the trade deadline. 
    Cards' track record on landing the top free agents who are in position and at age to command big, long deals has not been great.
    They've had much better luck with trades, like Goldschmidt and Arenado, where they know the contract and can build an offer around it -- instead of adjusting on the fly and winning an open auction. I'm hesitant to predict or expect that to change until the Cardinals show some idea of being comfortable with the 10-plus-year contracts those players are now commanding. So far they have not been, and have reasons to believe that approach is wise. We'll see.
    Missouri football will go 5-7. Change my mind on that.
    If the defense doesn't get better as the season goes along that prediction could come true.
    I do think the D can and should improve from what we have watched to start through the end, though.
     Some young guys should get better. Wilks, if he's as good as advertised, should be able to shore things up some as he gets an idea of strengths and weaknesses.
    I'm higher on Kentucky than most, and predicted the Tigers would lose that game.
    For some reason some continue to ignore/underestimate how solid UK has been under Stoops.
    A Mizzou coach has not won a football game in Lexington since Pinkel.
    SEMO and North Texas are must-wins and should-wins.
    Tennessee, Vanderbilt and South Carolina are all down and building up with first-year coaches.
    Win those and that's a ho-hum six wins.
    Gradual improvement of the defense is a must.
    BenFred, if you ran a company and you had a sales manager who was good at acquiring small and medium accounts but could never land the big accounts, would you stop pursuing big accounts or find a new sales manager? Saying the Cards haven't had success with big free agents sounds like a personnel problem, not an excuse not to land one.
    I wasn't making excuses. Just pointing to a pretty clear trend. And the Cards' hesitancy of 10-plus-year contracts for top-dollar free agents is not a by product of the sales manager, in this analogy. It's an ownership stance. Again, with plenty of examples -- none bigger than Pujols -- to justify the thinking.
  • Great news on the Bozak signing. Blues now covered if Robert Thomas doesn’t report due to contract issues.
    Don't assume that just yet. There are ways to get a deal done with Robert Thomas and I imagine it will happen soon enough. They can adjust the number of players on the roster or move someone like Oskar Sunqvist to long-term injured reserve. He's not expected to be ready for the opener, at last check. Thomas is now the only unsigned player left, meaning he's the priority. And don't rule out the possibility of Doug Armstrong having a Vladimir Tarasenko card to play still. I don't think bringing him into this season is a good idea. Have said it. Will continue to say it.
    Next years starting 5:Waino,Flaherty,Hudson.Micholas,and Reyes;Would you be ok with that?
    The Cardinals need to add at least one starter to that group you mentioned. Maybe two. Maybe it's bringing back Lester or Happ if they're willing to compete for a spot. An addition with more tread left on the tire would probably be better. Between Wainwright's age-related unpredictability and the injury issues and unknown surrounding each of the others, some more depth is needed. This year should be a lesson that proves that.
    What’s up with Carlos Martinez? I see him posting pictures on social media like he’s constantly on vacation. It doesn’t seem like he is taking recovery or being a team member very seriously.
    Does anyone ever really know what's up with C-Mart? He's done for the season, and done for the Cardinals after this season. No team would pick up his option. Too many performance and health relates flags, on top of his clear disdain for being a reliever, where he is most valuable these days.
    2021 needs to get the ongoing "legacy treatment" for this generation of Cardinal players. That doesn't mean not honoring their achievements but batting Molina in the middle of the order every night, having Carpenter start in a crucial L.A. series and batting him in the middle of the order or having him as the first bat off the bench every night, etc.. If Shildt can't manage with his head instead of his heart than maybe he's not the man for the job. And that should be factored into an Pujols pursuit this winter too.
    Shildt didn't give Matt Carpenter the extension, and he's not the one who constructed a bench that is really lacking. That's the front office.
    Molina is averaging .303 with a .361 on-base percentage and a .636 slugging percentage so far this month, and he's tied with Nolan Arenado for the team lead in go-ahead RBIs (14) so far this season. Molina with runners on base this season is slashing .309/.342/.451.
    Two pretty different situations there, and again, consider the alternatives.
    BenFred will the promising young Justin Hicks and his blazing fastball ever be a contributing member of the Cardinals pitching staff? Please correct me if I am wrong but wasn’t his surgery in 2019, skipped 2020 for Covid and missed all this year as well. Where does he go from here? Thanks
  • Jordan, not Justin. He was very much a contributing member when be debuted in 2018. Got hurt in 2019 and again this season. He opted out during the 2020 season in part because of where he was in his recovery, and in part because he was at a higher risk of complications because he's a diabetic. The Cardinals have had discussions about what role will best maximize his value while keeping his arm able to pitch, and there has been some talk of if a starter role would make more sense. He's not going to pitch in the majors this season and is in Jupiter getting ready for spring training, when his role will be determined for 2021. He's kind of entered that Alex Reyes category where first and foremost he's going to need to prove he can stay healthy.
    Hey Ben, I’m not a Flaherty hater by an means, but what would you do with him? And I’m not saying right at this moment but in the future? Let’s say he plays out the next couple years as a Cardinal and he’s pitching about the same as he is now. I won’t even add the injuries because that can happen to anyone. But to me he doesn’t seem to be in that elite category that, if I were GM, would break the bank for. If he excels then great but as it stands right now I wouldn’t bottleneck by payroll for him. What do you think?
    You see what the landscape looks like after the upcoming negotiations that will (hopefully) determine a new collective bargaining agreement, then go from there. Flaherty could be more open to the security an extension offers after experiencing some of the injury-related adversity that is common for his position. If he's determined to be a free agent and determined to bet on himself that he can get the biggest money that way, from the Cardinals or another team, then you just let it play out. There are worse things in the world than letting a very good young player max out his talents on whatever he can earn through arbitration. I think the Cardinals would like to extend him but it takes two to tango. I can't imagine Flaherty or many in his spot will be accepting extensions before the new CBA is in place, because that CBA is likely to shorten the path to free agency and make sure younger players make more.
    Why can Mizzou never get over the hump? Never win a big game? Every team has injuries, turnover and obstacles to overcome but they always seem to lag behind. Even Arkansas won a big game.
    Drinkwitz had a pretty significant win against defending champion LSU last season.
    Beat Arkansas, too.
    Remember?
    Ben,

    To continue on that Kroenke times...err I mean LA times story...and I know you aren't a legal expert but, did you see anything in there that team STL could use during the upcoming trial?
    I don't think so.
    The lawyers are not relying on news articles very much.
    They have depositions and documents galore.
    By now the Rams seem to have learned to stop letting Demoff say things publicly that are going to immediately blow up in his face.
    Do you give Mikolas the Leake treatment this winter and try and find a team willing to take him with the Cards paying some of the freight?
    I think the Cardinals would rather try to get some of the value they saw in him out of him.
    Leake was not a fit with the team on top of his struggles, and the situation was not trending in a great direction.
    Mikolas' issues have been mostly injury related.
  • How much of an edge is it for the the Cardinals rooster to have now a plethora of healthy elite talent at this juncture of the stretch run and seemingly more than all the other teams competing for this coveted last post season spot?
    Better to be adding than losing.
    Sosa dodged a scare. Hudson is on track and maybe Flaherty becomes an X-factor.
    We're still talking about an offense that is fourth to last in the National League in runs/game.
    The Cardinals, if they do get in, could be the postseason team with the lowest regular-season slugging percentage for the third consecutive season.
    That's a lot for a club to overcome to go deep in the postseason.
    Nick Castellanos continues to prove he can hit at Busch, if he opts out and the DH is implemented in the NL, is there any chance the Cardinals go after him?
    Why must you disrespect Jake Woodford like this?
    Cincinnati should find a way to keep him.
    He's become a big part of their culture and their swagger.
    Can you expand on your "Leake was not a fit with the team" comment? What were the issues?
    The ground has been covered before, often. He was a groundball pitcher and the defense had become quite bad. On top of that, he and Molina never seemed to get on the same wavelength to the point Leake mostly wound up paired with the backup. If you're a Cardinals starter who can't get synced up with the Hall of Famer catcher, something's off.
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