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.

    Greeting, chatters. Hope your week is off to a great start. Plenty to discuss, so I won't kill time with a lengthy intro. Cards done. Blues starting. Mizzou . . . I don't even know. Rams case making headlines with another hearing coming tomorrow. STL City launching some cool projects. Crazy to say it, but college hoops will be here soon. Let's roll.
    What effect could the Jon Gruden email situation have on the Rams suit. I wouldn't think some of the owners would potentially want their personal emails read in open court. As one who has covered this story in depth, what do you think? Thanks
    I don't see much of a correlation at the moment. The bulk of the discovery on the relocation case has been completed for some time now, and the Team STL lawyers did get access to a ton of emails and documents that the league and the owners did not want getting out. Some of them already have in hearings leading up to the January trial, like the one where Jerry Richardson made it clear his belief that the owners were ignoring the relocation guidelines along with his belief Eric Grubman had an unfair bias in moving the Rams. Those are already in the bag. And remember, the depositions are done, including Roger Goodell emphasizing the relocation guidelines under oath, and Jerry Jones saying he didn't give a damn about them and never read them or had them read to him. A lot of the hay is in the barn. Gruden is a separate, embarrassing issue for the league. It's funny what comes out when the league is not interested in destroying evidence. The league protects owners as best it can; there's a reason the Washington "investigation" never went public but Gruden's emails did. Gruden trashed Goodell. That's a no-no. One more thought on that. If the league is going to start leaking emails of people it wants to get rid of, I would bet Kevin Demoff is sweating. He's the smoking gun for a lot of the fraud charges in the relocation case, and he was tight with Bruce Allen from their time together in Tampa.
    Do we know enough about gorman’s defense to even consider moving edman out of that spot? Obviously Gorman’s bat has much more potential, but this team won 90 games because it’s defense was so good. It’s not likely that Gorman will take off at the major league level with his bat. And I’d hate to possibly put a crack in the defense for the hope of a better bat. If it was a guarantee that Gorman would excel at the plate next year, I think you take the drop off on defense, but not for hope.
    He hasn't spent all that much time at second base, and there is no guarantee a guy is going to click immediately when he's promoted. I don't see the need to make a decision that seals anyone's fate one way or the other. The DH can help you juggle the scenario. Same for Edman's flexibility. He can play some shortstop. Gorman, if his bat plays, can DH. Edman does not have to be locked into second base. Neither does Gorman. The idea that a player can only play one position is outdated.
    Howdy Ben! Can you explain some of baseball's TV issues to me? I live out of town and have the MLB Package on DirctTV, so I can see all of the games, Cardinals included. I keep hearing about black out rules and other carrier issues close to home. How does that play out for Cardinals fans in the STL region?
    There are multiple issues.
    MLB's blackout areas are wide-ranging.
    Too many streaming and satellite options don't have a deal with the regional sports networks, in this case Ballys, due to contract disputes.
    And MLBTV is not an answer if you are in the black out zone, which for some people includes one city being blacked out from as many as six teams.
    MLB has acknowledged it is a big issue -- you think?! -- and seems motivated to fix it. It's already taken too long.
    Mr. Ben Fred,

    Thank you for today’s chat!

    Yesterday, MLB Trade Rumors projected the salaries for the 8 Cardinals who are arbitration eligible (Bader-3.7M, Flaherty-5.1M, O’Neill-3.5M, Reyes-3.3M, Gallegos-2.8M, Hicks-1M, Hudson-1.7M, and J. Miller-.900M).

    When the above salaries are added to the Spotrac numbers, it brings the 2022 payroll total to $142M. How much more do believe the DeWitt Family will be willing to spend on top of the projected $142M?
    That would be a good question for the front office when the end-of-season press conference happens. It's when the org turns its attention to the upcoming season for the first time, publicly. Before most teams decide what will be spent, I think  they're going to want a sense of the tone of the offseason. The collective bargaining agreement expires in December. Getting some kind of read on if there is going to be a normal-ish season would be desirable, I imagine, before committing to a budget.
    Are you as shocked as I am that Jake Neighbours is getting playing time just 1 year after he was drafted? He didn't seem like a top-tier prospect ready to make an immediate impact when we drafted him. What does Berube see in him and should fans expect the typical 9-game run then not see him again until 2022?
    Very impressive. And I love that he showed up in STL early, on his own dime, to get a head start on the camp he crushed to earn the chance. Berube makes it sound like he's got a place on the team. Let's see how he plays. If he doesn't carve out a role or shows signs of understandable struggles, the Blues can send him out and stop the clock from ticking toward the start of his entry level deal. He's 19 and far ahead of schedule. Even if there is a reality check in the few games, he's impressed and seems to have shortened his timeline considerably. And maybe that reality check never comes?

    Would it benefit the Cardinals more next season to make several upgrades rather than spend $250 million on a shortstop? I think a #3 starting pitcher, relief pitcher, and a quality power-hitting DH would mean more wins.
    The assumption the Cardinals are going to win a bidding war for a top free agent shortstop in the offseason of free agents is one I'm not going to make. There will be other ways to upgrade that position if the Cardinals do decide to move on from Paul DeJong and project Edmundo Sosa as a bench guy. It's not Seager or bust. Someone is going to have to settle for less. Story, maybe? But yes, rotation and DH are other ways to improve the roster.
    A quick update; Bellinger, who hit .165 in the regular season but the Cardinals pitched like he was the second coming of 2013 World Series David Ortiz, is 1-for-7 with 5k’s in the NLDS. Maybe next year the Cards can scout their opponent a little tighter in the playoffs.
    I never really sensed that the Cardinals were afraid of Bellinger in the wild-card game.
    Wainwright walked him once in an inning that did not lead to a Dodgers run.
    Wainwright struck him out.
    Garcia gave up a single to him in a scoreless inning.
    McFarland walked him in the ninth on accident. Had him down 0-1 and and 2-2 and couldn't throw strikes.  That seemed like pitcher error as much as anything, not staying away from him. Bellinger did a good job of not getting himself out.
    We know what happened next.
    Looking at the Cardinals rotation going into the season, I'd love to see the Front office approach their plans with more reasonable expectations than they did last year. Sure, we had 9 possible starters, but ALL of them outside of Flaherty and maybe Kim were shaky at best. Waino ended up working out despite his age and that was a beautiful thing, but we need to learn from our mistakes. Relying completely on a bunch of unproven guys, 40+ year olds, or guys that have been plagued by massive injuries in the very recent past is a recipe for disaster.

    Flaherty - safe bet, ace potential.

    Waino - 40+ years old, hope he can keep doing it at the high level he did last season, but father time is undefeated

    Mikolas - pitched 45 innings last year, has had 2ish seasons of above average MLB baseball in his 9 year career

    Hudson - pitched 8 innings last year, 40 innings the year before then got hurt, but showed promise in the first two years of his career

    Reyes - pitched 70 innings last year. Confidence obviously shot. Durability concerns, but great stuff

    Woodford - 66 innings last year, slow start, but strong finish to the season.

    Liberatore - not ready - 4.0 era in AAA last year. Can't expect him to be a productive starter in 2021 at the MLB level

    Oviedo - showed last year he is not ready

    Looking at this rotation its tough to find confidence that we'll be able to beat the Dodgers many aces, or the Brewers 3 cy young contenders in a 7 game series. Sure, Waino may rise to the occasion like he did this past year and give us near-ace quality. Maybe even Mikolas or Hudson have injury free years and pitch to their potential, but you can't EXPECT that.

    To really contend with the top staffs in the MLB we need two top of the rotation starters, and let the rest of the rotation form itself with those who step up. The rest can give us one of the strongest bullpens in the MLB until injuries inevitably occur. Fair?
    I think you will be disappointed if you are hoping for two marquee arms this offseason.
    The case is there, and it's a strong one, for one.
    I could also see the Cardinals stockpiling some guys entering spring training like they did entering the trade deadline to see if they can hit gold with some more rehab projects like the next version of Happ and Lester -- or simplify it by bringing back Happ or Lester.
    Scherzer looms, if he would consider joining the team that should have signed him long ago.
    He has to know Shildt would not pull him early from a wild-card start, at least.
  • As you stated in your article over the weekend, it is time to turn the page on Matt Carpenter. But Hochman’s article this morning, which the headline starts with the words “If This is Goodbye…” is concerning. Because “if” this team is considering bringing Carpenter back it had better be as a coach or roving instructor. No team that is serious about winning a world series would bring a player, no matter who he is, back after the last three seasons of output.
    I wouldn't read too much into one word in a headline.
    The Cardinals would be crazy to bring back Carpenter.
    The ship has sailed.
    The extension was bad and the team regrets it, though it won't say that publicly.
    If he's going to keep playing it can't be here.
    What, if any, changes do you anticipate for the defense Sat. ?
    We saw some productive tweaks against North Texas. The new starters played well. Defensive line seemed more fired up and engaged. Tougher ask to do that against Texas A&M than North Texas, though. I like the scrapping of the depth chart. Earn it in practice. No one on the defense is good enough to not have to earn a spot every week. Took some onions to bench the graduate transfer linebacker who was recruited to be the leader of the defense, but he wasn't playing well enough to keep playing, unfortunately.
    Ben, your coverage of the case has been nothing short of phenomenal. Give us your prediction for the end result of the STL vs. Rams/NFL case.
    I think it goes to trial in January, and I imagine the league goes hard to appeal whatever outcome is rewarded there. An attempt to claw back some of what is won might work but I think STL is in good shape with the case and plans to see it through to the end.
    As of Monday afternoon there were no substantial talks about a settlement, monetary or otherwise. I know there have been a lot of headlines lately about a potential expansion team but no one on the STL side is hearing that or saying that. It's either being floated by the league or coming out of thin air, but it's not being discussed here in STL at this time. Could things change? Sure. But I'm far beyond trusting stories tied to "league circles" by now. Everyone should be.
    Even if an expansion team was offered, there is no guarantee the region would want to take that route. Many burned bridges between the league and the region, and the pivot away from the NFL has happened since relocation. Even some of the totally unofficial social media votes asking STL area folks if they want the return of the NFL have been mixed. I get it. Few things are more foolish than going back to a toxic relationship hoping for something better this time around. Memories are short for some. Not as much those who got burned.
    As a follower of the NHL and European soccer but never MLS, what does expansion look like in this league? Do we expect expansion teams to compete immediately like they do in the MLS? Or is it a slower build up than that?
    It's been a mixed bag with the competitiveness of expansion teams. Some have found their footing quickly than others. Some have really struggled. St. Louis is going to, I think, take the approach of building a team for the long haul instead of going for sizzle that might not age well. Big names are great but if they can't play, you are not competitive and won't be in the future. Younger talent with upside seems to be the right play starting out, and getting players that fit the culture of what the team hopes to be. Same for shopping for international players. Substance over sizzle. Just as important as the expansion draft -- where teams are limited to five picks -- will be the success of the staggered academy teams the team hopes produces talent that can feed to the pro team. Similar to baseball, the farm system will be important in the long run.
    I was done with the NFL after Kronke took the Rams to LA. However if we ended up getting a NFL franchise free of charge, and maybe a kick in on a new stadium I would consider coming back. St. Louis has never had a football team born, and raised here, and never had true local ownership. I think the NFL can still work in St. Louis, if done right.
  • The problem at the moment is there is nothing in reality that suggests this could be an option.
    It's wishcasting, and it's been running rampant this week.
    And even if that did come to pass, what evidence is there to trust the NFL?
    The inability to do just that is what got STL here in the first place.
    I say get the money.
    I know it's not an opinion shared by all.
    All good.
    What's your gut on SS next year? Sosa comes in as starter w Dejong backup? Dejong traded? A free agent signed? And if so is Story the most likely?
    It would be a bummer if the Cardinals didn't throw a line in the shortstop pool this offseason to see what could be out there. It's the offseason of the shortstop and some good ones are going to be on the move. We know they have at least some interest in Story because they checked in on him at the deadline. It was telling that Sosa started over DeJong in the wild-card. Not surprising. But telling. He's no longer a starter in the manager's eyes, it seems. Sosa's play in the wild-card suggested he might not be a reliable one in big pressure moments as well. Shortstop, starter and DH are all clear areas the Cardinals should examine improving at. I'd imagine they are going to be active in all of those areas, but can't tell you what will come out of it.
    I was so hoping Shildt would script the WC game with Waino going about 5 or 6 IP, then inserting (in no particular order) Jack Flaherty for one (possibly 2) IP and then Dakota Hudson for as many as 3 innings. Clean innings, too. That would make the Dodgers beat the three best pitchers in our organization, and if they did that, then, well, tip the cap. Not using them in the most important game of the year baffles me. The team got them ready for the postseason in the final weeks. For what? I know the 0-for-11 with runners on base was possibly more key than that, but Reyes in the ninth inning was just dumb. What say you?
    Questioning Shildt's trust in Reyes is fair.
    The plan that led to it was more than fine, though.
    It worked. The Cardinals allowed one of baseball's highest scoring team's a single run until there was one out and two strikes to go in the ninth.
    I liked the idea of using Hudson instead of Reyes in the ninth because he has recent experience as a reliever and pitched well entering the playoffs.
    Flaherty entering as a reliever after some not so encouraging outings recently, with a guy on base, not so much upon further review. I'm sure Shildt would have been crushed for that decision if it didn't work out. And it very well might not have.
    Cabrera, more than anything, not pitching in the game was strange to me.
    If Wainwright got rocked then Flaherty and Hudson and maybe Mikolas would have been ready to hustle in. But he wasn't.
    Every pitcher did his job up until Reyes with two strikes to go.
    And yes, the inability to turn runners in scoring position into runs was the bigger problem in the game.
    Ben, how confident are you that one of America’s greatest dysfunctional cities would put any NFL payout to good use? I have my doubts after all the checks to the lawyers and political fighting that would certainly ensue.
    You can only spend so much on the Loop Trolly before some of the money finds a good use. I'm not as cynical as some. I have more faith in the region to find some good use for the money than I do the region giving the NFL more money.
    Which free agent SS are you most high on?
    Seager seems to be far and away the best candidate. Just not convinced the Cardinals will spend big enough and give him enough years to be competitive with all that may come after him.
  • I know Bama is really good, you know Bama is really good, but they need to drop more than 4 spots in the polls when they lose as a 17.5-pt favorite to a mediocre A&M team. The one thing that college football lacks right now is parody. Propping up the super powers instead of punishing them is not helping that cause.
    Don't sweat the polls too much. The CFP ranking is what matters now and it doesn't debut until after Week 9. A one-loss Bama team is still going to get a lot of love.
    Your way to early local CBB rankings and a comment about what to watch for…
    At Mizzou, how does Cuonzo build team chemistry with a group of guys who have not played together much before? I know they've been playing a lot of five-on-five to try to build those on-court bonds.
    At SLU, how does Javonte Perkins handle the increase in attention from defenses now that Goodwin and French are gone? It's one thing to pile up the points when scouting reports are focused on multiple players. Now those scouting reports are going to be focused primarily on Perkins. He's gotta rise to the occasion, and also help his other teammates benefit from teams keying in on him, like Goodwin and French did for him.
    At Illinois, it should be the season of Andre Curbelo. I think he's just kind of scratching the surface of how good he can be and that should be on display more now that volume shooter Ayo has entered the NBA.
    Assuming the NFL does everything in its power to push an expansion team on STL instead of paying out a settlement or the full extent of the lawsuit. It seems to make sense from the NFL's point of view - they get a revenue generator instead of a multi-billion dollar invoice. But the problem I see is that it seems to be logistically impossible to pull off right? And even if they could pull it off, it would likely be every bit as expensive as the lawsuit would be right?

    First they'd need a team owner. Does this owner have to work or live in STL? What legal commitment would he need to make to keep the team here? What financial commitment does that person need to make to the NFL or to the City?

    Then they'd need a stadium and practice facility. Does St. Louis pay for it? Does the NFL?

    And then the biggest one - who of the STL contingent accepts a team that may not benefit them at all over a multi billion dollar windfall?

    Are you seeing the same thing? any other obvious logistical hurdles you see? Who would even own this team? Do we do a Green Bay style ownership structure?
    First off, I wouldn't make that assumption.
    The idea that STL and the NFL are going to kiss and make up with an expansion team as proof is not something I've seen much evidence for covering this lawsuit.
    You named many of the reasons it doesn't make a lot of sense in theory, a lot of them tracing back to the fundamental issue -- the lack of trust and good will that exists between the two sides.
    There's a difference, and a big one, between not being able to support an NFL team and not wanting to.
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