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's week is off to a great start. Some news here at the jump. The Rams/NFL latest attempt to get a venue change in the relocation lawsuit was denied the Missouri Court of Appeals. Next stop, if NFL/Rams want to pursue it, would be supreme court. They have not had any luck there either. Another step toward there being no other options but for the trial to happen in STL -- unless there is a settlement that stops the January trial from getting off the ground. Not huge news, but another loss for the Rams/NFL. Let's roll.
    SLU, MIZZOU AND ILLINI: Is it tourney for bust for huge let down for every team?
    Illinois certainly seems, on paper, to be more prepared for a tournament run this time around. SLU just lost its leading scorer for the season before game one. Mizzou is a completely new-look team full of transfers with various eligibility remaining, and with only two significant contributors back in Brown and Pickett. Illinois not making the tournament would be a huge letdown. The other two, not so much. But they're certainly shooting for it.
    If SLU misses the tourney does Ford’s seat begin to get hot or does his recruiting keep him around a long time?
    Not after the unfortunate injury to Javonte Perkins, I don't think. SLU seems pretty happy with Ford, and vice versa.
    any hope we compete with Georgia in 3 years.
    In order to compete with Georgia, you have to have some players on your team that could play at Georgia. Not all. But some. Eli Drinkwitiz is recruiting at that kind of a level, and just got a commitment (Luther Burden) that Georgia really wanted. So, that's the hope Drinkwitz is selling. Easier said than done, but recruiting -- as Smart will tell you -- is as important if not more important than the coaching. Drinkwitz and Smart agree on that front, and Drinkwitz is recruiting at a level Mizzou has not witnessed in some time. It has to pay off on the field, eventually, in a closing of the gap between the Tigers and the top of the SEC East.
    Was getting in the SEC. a huge mistake
  • No. Check out the current state and direction of the Big 12. Mizzou got out before the real fire started.
  • Hi, Ben. thanks for the chat. I'm cringing at the thought of my severely overmatched alma mater taking on Georgia on Saturday. Which do you think is most likely: Georgia scores more than 60 points, Missouri scores fewer than 10, or Badie rushes for fewer than 50 yards? Missouri's porous defense and tepid offensive line are no match for the Bulldogs. I think Georgia could rest its starters the entire second half and the game still would be a blowout. Am I being too harsh on Coach Drink and the Tigers?
  • No, it's going to be as bad as Georgia decides to make it. The Bulldogs are still playing for style points in the eyes of the College Football Playoff Committee and Drinkwitz just beat Smart for Burden. You are right to fear the worst. If the defense could not decent after a bye week and against Vanderbilt . . .
    Ben Fred,
    While some wild card teams have won the World Series (the Braves are trying to become the 8th in 26 years), here’s some analytics: Since 1995 (26 years), World Series champion teams have averaged a .592 winning percentage, good for 96 regular season wins. The Cardinals, during Mo’s tenure (14 years), have averaged .549, which averages 89 wins. Despite the tradition and talk of the Cardinals being special it does not appear the front office and ownership group are willing to do the work needed to build elite teams that would annually be seven wins better and more reasonably equipped to win world championships. Oli says championships are the goal, but recent past performance says this front office “model” is not geared for that. They changed the manager, but should fans expect anything different from the front office? If so, what? Thanks for your thoughts.
    I would not expect something different until you see reasons to believe something will be different. The Cardinals might have been guilty in the past of hiding their formula, or saying one thing while doing another. Not anymore. When you celebrate a wild-card loss after the 10th season without a championship, there are not mixed messages. The Cardinals want to win championships, yes, but they want to win them their way, and continue to believe they can. And yes, they don't really like suggestions that their way needs a little more emphasis on the win-now side of things.
    Any rumblings that the Cardinals front office may decisively act this month announcing a bigger trade or free agent signing before the current collective bargaining agreement lapses?
    They've yet to offer an outlook (at least one that I'm aware of) on what offseason plans they are planning on pursuing. Part of that could be the CBA limbo all teams and agents and players are going to find themselves in as soon as the World Series ends. Historically, the Cardinals don't like to act before they know what the market is, and before they know what the upcoming season is going to look like. I would imagine they take the same route here, waiting to see if there's going to be a lockout and to get a sense of what the financial landscape looks like for 2022 before they do their big-game shopping, if that comes. If they have a player in mind and a deal they would feel good about no matter what happens during negotiations, pre-CBA expiration could be a good time to act to fend off competition. We'll see.
    With Melvin signed on as manager of the Padres, is the chance that Skip Schumaker's next gig being here with the Cardinals enhanced or what?
    That's a possibility, yes. Cardinals initially hoped to have staff plans settled by the time the World Series ended. That's soon. Jobel Jiminez is out as assistant hitting coach, joining the lengthening list of Cardinals coaches who have departed since Jeff Albert came aboard. There is real interest in Skip as an elevated bench coach alongside Marmol in the dugout.
  • Ben, thank you for the thoughtful answers you give during the chats. I have a “what if “idea that I would appreciate your opinion on.

    It was reported several times this season that the reason that some former Cardinal prospects found success with other clubs was that they received consistent playing time. It is also mentioned that newer players often have trouble adjusting to the grind of a 162 game schedule. I wonder if a team would be more successful in the long run if it prioritized playing time for select reserves. For example, a fourth outfielder could easily start three times a week. A fourth outfielder operating near his best should be at least as productive as a weary teammate at 85%. A player such as Yepez could play one game in the field and 3 more as DH, maintaining his proficiency and having time to relax and reflect as he becomes acclimated to the Major Leagues. With the DH as many as 4 reserves could get 3 to 4 starts a week while all starters would receive one day off or DH. The goal would be to give starters rest before they need it and for reserves to develop before an injury demands it. To win todays game a team needs to play the best 9, but perhaps for a successful season, considering the inevitable injuries, some consideration should be given to playing time for reserves. Your thoughts?
    It makes sense.
    Also it's easier said than done.
    Certain guys need to play more than others.
    Certain guys get paid more to play more than others.
    An 85 percent Nolan Arenado is probably better than a fully rested and roaring reserve.
    But, yes, it's a long season and the key is finding the right balance.
    Some guys need more breaks and breathers than others. Few iron men left, though there are some and the Cardinals have some of them. Molina is a good example of a player who will play on fumes, but would be better at this point in his career giving some more time to the backup, and that's something we saw last season.
    I'd expect to see a more fluid lineup under Marmol. One of the things he's stressed in early interviews is a willingness to platoon, a willingness to play matchups, a willingness to change the lineup order every day to get the best fit for that day's game.
    Some players will be on board with that from the jump. Others will need  to be sold on it, because they like stability and punching the clock every day knowing they're in the lineup and where. We've heard the Cardinals talk before about maximizing platoons and getting weird with the traditional rotation, but the follow through has not as often been there. Maybe that changes now. The best way to get players and fans on board is to do it and win doing it. Winning is a great recruiter to a different way of doing things.
    Another loss for StanK. He is going to fight like hell to get out of his agreement with the NFL to indemnify them from the lawsuit. What are you rooting for in that fight? On one hand, it would be great to see Stan lose another fight, on the other, can you imagine the ire towards him if he sues them to get out of the signed document??
    There is some real irony in NFL owners learning how Stan does business -- constantly on the search for loopholes and trapdoors to exploit whenever the tide between him and his business partners starts to turn. Long is the list of business partners and even friends who have wounds in their backs from his way of doing business. So, yes, I would imagine he will fight like crazy to get off the hook for what the NFL seems to believe is the full freight of the financial tab from this lawsuit. I have no clue how lucky he will be in that attempt. I have not read the indemnification agreement in full, so not sure if things are as airtight as the other NFL owners would like it to seem, based off that recent ESPN piece. I just know this: infighting between the NFL and Kroenke strengthens the STL case. It's always better to fight an opponent when there is division in the ranks. Some have speculated that Kroenke wiggling out of the full indemnification agreement could result in the league being more likely to present STL a settlement idea that includes an expansion team. I've still heard nothing beyond speculation at this time, in terms of something like that being a reality the STL side could or would entertain.
    Mr. Ben,

    Thanks for today’s chat. Great article on Manfred!

    The deluge of Mozeliak-Shildt comments/questions continued yesterday on Mr. Hummel’s chat. The last one was nasty and very critical of Rick.

    Cardinal Fans will continue to speculate as to what happened until the facts are revealed.

    When I talk to friends back home STL, the one I hear most is “Shildt probably felt the end of season meetings were safe-space events to clear the air so mistakes were not repeated (poor roster construction, slow response to pitching injuries, Jeff Albert, and an unproductive Carpenter keeping better players off the roster), and Mo got his feelings hurt.

    One STL buddy said “Cardinal Fans feel like kids in a family where the parents are divorcing and not being told why”.

    Others said,

    “Mo has made many mistakes but is too arrogant to take any responsibility, therefore cannot be trusted

    “We may have disagreed with some of Mike’s game decisions, but he is seen as loyal, humble, and worthy of trust.
    The wait for the full truth and nothing but the truth continues, indeed.
    Jobel Jimenez former assistant hitting instructor, turns down minor league roving position. So much for the Cardinals wanting to retain the entire coaching staff. Never let a fact get in the way of spin.
    They wanted to keep everyone who stayed. Everyone who leaves, they are ok with losing.
    Kind of like the college AD when he steps to the microphone after a coaching search and says, "We got our first choice" when everyone knows the guy hired was option No. 6.
    What approach do you think the Cardinals will take with the DH? platoon player, fill from within, make a splash and get a free agent (Schwarber type)?
  • Juan Yepez seems to be in their plans to some degree. And he should be. Wish he would have gotten a chance last season.
    How do the Cards make a play for a significant starter if they are forward with free agents about starters only facing lineups twice and the possibility of a six man rotation? Wouldn't guys want to be able to maximize their earning potential and try to pitch as much as possible?
    I think you answered your own question. Starters who have proven their ability to pitch deep into games are not going to be excited about taking a deal from a team that does not allow that. The Cardinals, I don't think, are out of the business of letting locked in pitchers pitch. Especially if they pay them for that. Not every starter gets the same set of limits.
    Do you think DeJong is fixable? Think McFarland and Garcia will be resigned quickly?
    I think DeJong is a better hitter than what he has become, but I have questions about if he's going to be able to prove that with the Cardinals. Something is not working. His adjusted OPS has fallen every season since his debut.
    2017: 121
    2018: 102
    2019: 99
    2020: 87
    2021: 86
    That's more than 1,000 at-bats over the last three seasons in which DeJong as been a below-average MLB hitter. In his defense, he was one of the Cardinals players knocked around by COVID and he had a broken rib in May. These are not things that should just be shrugged off. If the Cardinals do move on from him now, they would be trading him at a low. If they keep him, perhaps he's part of a middle-infield mix that passes around playing time at shortstop and second? 
    McFarland looks like a keeper. Garcia, too, but he could find a nice free-agent market as a closer.
    Ben, thanks for your excellent coverage of the Rams lawsuit saga. I wanted to ask for your thoughts regarding something I feel the media has left unsaid since Seth Wickersham's article last week. To quote you, "The colorful recap of this week’s NFL in-person owners’ meetings reads like Wickersham was gifted an audio recording of the dysfunction." And you're absolutely correct. His details went way beyond the normal recollections of an inside source's recounting of events. Most notably, Mr. Wickersham detailed for us exactly who was left in the room for all of these events, narrowing the suspect pool for "The Source" to a handful of very important people. Then he not-so-casually mentions that Mark Davis suspects Goodell of leaking the Gruden emails.

    So, here are my questions for you, the journalist among us. Who do you think leaked this information (Goodell? An owner with an ax to grind?), and why? Do you think this was an intentionally planted story by the league to paint Kroenke into a corner and try to force a settlement? Can you think of some other nefarious scheme I'm not even considering? Did Mr. Wickersham pull a Jeff Goldblum and literally become a fly on the wall? I've got to go pop some more popcorn and wait for your answer...
    I'm not going to guess about Seth's sources. I know him and consider him a friend, and I congratulated him on getting a hell of a scoop. He has figured out NFL owners love to talk, to gossip, especially when they are mad at one another. That's what's happening right now with this lawsuit. He's not going to give up his sources, but I am going to ask him about his reporting process for a story like this in a video conversation I'm shooting with him tomorrow for STLToday. So, be sure to check that out. How's that for a tease?
    Hi Ben – thanks for the forum!
    Place me firmly in the camp of taking the cash settlement if Team STL wins. Why on earth would anyone in STL want to get in bed with the organization that had absolutely no problem kicking us out of their club, with Kroenke trashing us on his way out, embarrassing us on a national stage and essentially burning any bridge that would have led to an expansion team - if not for this case? You cannot convince me that the NFL wouldn’t do everything they could to make life difficult for a STL franchise after being forced to give it away. Do folks really think Goodell would show up all smiles and handshakes to our first St. Louis Stallions home game saying “all is forgiven”?
    Welcome to the club. Prepare to be labeled everything from anti-sports to anti-STL. It's pretty simple for me, really. You get to choose who you do business with. After what the NFL has done and continues to do, I would not want to be in business with it. I've never pretended to be a complex man. Everything else -- the money, the fun of games, etc. -- overshadows that part of the gut that does not feel good when the idea of an expansion team is stirred up. As for the idea that STL needs an expansion team to prove something to the world? No thanks. Not selling that false logic here. If it does become a potential reality, a lot of questions are going to have to be answered. Who owns the team? What stops that owner from moving the team? Where does the team play? Who pays for the new stadium or renovations to the Dome? How is the league going to win back the community support and business sponsorships it lost? The Governor said last week he would be willing to talk about an expansion team, but he doesn't really have a dog in this hunt. The state could benefit from receiving its share of the punitive damages but it is not a plaintiff in this suit.
  • Now Clifford is COVID protocols as well? Sure seems like a lot of breakthrough cases relatively close together for a team that is supposed to be 100% vaccinated. Hopefully this cycle ends soon and everyone gets back on the ice.
    Indeed. Better to not go through it at all, but I suppose it's better to go through it now than closer to the season's crunch time.
    Hola Ben. It’s almost hot stove season, let’s hope for some luck with a new CBA. A lot was made of Arenado coming out and saying he wasn’t going to opt out. He’s a good player and I appreciate his commitment. However, 6 years and 179 million left on his contract seems better than what he could do on the open market going into his age 31 season with his best years likely behind him. What’s your thoughts?
    He's more than good. Top-10 in NL in homers and doubles. Top-five in NL in RBIs. While playing elite third base. If he's just good, is anyone great? If Arenado was going to opt out, and it was always a significant if, the perception was that it would be less about the money and more about wanting a chance to win. Or a desire to play for the Dodgers, who could be shopping for 3B. That's why his commitment was newsworthy. It meant he sees a future with the Cardinals, which he made clear when he was traded here. Of course, he also once saw a future with the Rockies, so that's why him saying he didn't care about the opt out and him showing it to be true were treated differently.
    Do you think that the Cardinals have squandered any momentum they had created with the way they handled everything in the past couple of weeks? They were riding high after the win streak and making the playoffs and then decide to shift their philosophy and manager on the eve of a possible work stoppage.
    I don't think they have shifted their philosophy much beyond deciding they could not get along with Shildt.
    Marmol's philosophy is pretty close to Shildt's.
    Maybe a bit more "modernized" but it's not like a massive pivot.
    They certainly changed the discussion surrounding the offseason, but I'm not sure a team's vibe (positive or negative) really starts to form until spring training.
    Who shows up? Who doesn't? How does the team look? How does Marmol set his own tone while carrying over the good things he inherited? How do the new coaches blend? All of those topics remain to be sorted out in Jupiter. Hopefully it gets started on time with CBA uncertainty looming. It doesn't have to be a bad thing, but there are more unknowns that could go bad.
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