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 everybody is pumped for the tip-off of the college hoops season. MLB Awards season continues and we are getting some signs of current plans for the Cardinals' offseason from GM meetings in Cali, where DG is reporting from. Lots of talk about bullpen help. Nothing about shortstops. That could change, but that's the tone from the start. Let's roll.
    when do you think an honest assestment of Drink is fair, if he is the right coach
    His biggest win so far has been his promising recruiting.
    Giving him a chance to get a team fully stocked with those encouraging recruiting classes would seem wise, no?
    Seasons three and four should be telling.
    Also consider his buyout.
    Like Cuonzo Martin, Drinkwitz got a contract that was in part a statement about the trust and patience he was being given.
    That is baked into both of their contract lengths, and their buyouts.
    Do you agree Martin should be evaluated on the progress of the team this year and wins next year.
    There's not much else to evaluate a coach on? At the end of the day, it's about wins. Martin has won enough to make fans want more. That's progress. When he got the job there was a staggering amount of apathy around a program that was one of the least competitive in Power 5 hoops. Mizzou fans won't be happy with first-round exits, though, and Martin took a risk by overhauling his teams with transfers. He's under pressure, sure. I don't think he's on the hot seat as much as some insist he should be, though.
    So now the philosophical differences have morphed into personality differences between Shildt and the quirky John Mozaliak. Safe to say Mozaliak didn’t like Shildt making public comments requesting pitching help in June. La Russa would not only ask for help, he would demand it. I believe Mozaliak was intimidated by TL which is why he has followed with three younger organizational managers that he could easily reign in. Thoughts?
    You all know my thoughts on the matter by now.
    The Cardinals' "philosophical differences" line never made sense from the start and that was appropriately called out at the time.
    If you cross Mozeliak's line as a Cardinals employee, or do it more than once, you won't be around for long. That includes managers.
    Shildt helped the Cardinals to a historic 17-game winning streak. He pulled 90 wins out of a team that nearly hit rock bottom in pitching during the season. He is a manager of the year finalist this season, and has either won it or received votes in each of his full seasons as a Cardinals manager. His team just set a MLB record by winning five Gold Gloves.
    So, yes, the Cardinals were wise to stress it was not on-field problems that got Shildt fired.
    But they were misguided in thinking people were going to buy the philosophical differences line.
    Shildt has been given a chance to tell his side of the story. If he wants something cleared up on his end, he can. Right now he's hunting another job.
    Ben, the NFL officiating again this year is appalling. The Bears/Steelers game last night was just dreadful. Are these guys ever held accountable for their incompetency?
    Leagues do grade and coach their officials, but they prefer to do it behind closed doors. They don't agree in the idea of public accountability, which is often understandably frustrating. The idea is the officials are not supposed to be part of the game -- sometimes the word doesn't seem to reach the officials. I'd be a phony if I addressed NFL officiating specifically. I think I've watched a half of NFL football since the Rams left, and it was when my dad was in town visiting and wanted to watch the Chiefs.
    It seems that signing a stud shortstop and leaving the DH open to Gorman and Yepez who could fill in at other positions makes more sense than signing a DH. By signing a DH you are taking a lot of bats from 2 of your best prospects. Your thoughts.
    Perhaps.
    If Gorman and Yepez move the needle in their rookie seasons, it looks great. If they struggle -- and chances are they would at times -- then it could result in a defense-first team using the one spot that does not have to consider defense not to create game-changing offense, but to spread reps to rookies.
    If the Cardinals take that route, and I can understand why they would, then, yes, it would make even more sense to add proven offense at shortstop.
    Using rookies as your DH and handling shortstop with DeJong/Sosa/Edman would mean a whole lot of hope baked into the lineup.
    Thanks for your great work on the Cardinals and Rams lawsuit.
    Manager of the year votes and multiple golden gloves. Doesn’t it say a lot about Moe’s mismanagement of the team?
    Thanks.
    Mozeliak and the front office get some credit for the awards, too.
    The front office traded for Goldschmidt and Arenado. It let Wong walk and bet on Edman covering the gap at second base. It stayed patient with O'Neill and Bader. And it picked Shildt to replace Matheny, back before things soured.
    Simply saying it was one (Shildt) or the other (Mozeliak and front office) is inaccurate.
    The worst mismanagement of the team this season was letting the pitching flounder to the point it did. It cost the Cardinals a chance to win the division, and left them with a one-game wild-card coinflip.
    The moves made after that worked. They should have come sooner, despite the front office opinion that the moves would have been to hard to make at the time.
    Can you explain their thinking behind the nick plummer move? Because I don’t really get it.
    Pretty simple.
    They either had other players they wanted to protect more, or they like their chances of being able to get him back.
    That's the only way to interpret it.
    Does ozuna get a World Series ring?
    Doubt it. Probably very quietly if so. He's got bigger issues to worry about.
  • Are there any game changes being discussed in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement to significantly speed up games or create more action? I’m rapidly losing interest in this version of baseball.
    One of the few things both sides (players and owners) seem to agree about is that game time needs to shorten. Average length of game in 2021 was, per New York Daily News, up to 3 hours, 11 minutes. That's the longest it's been and the trend continues to move in the wrong direction. Manfred has stated an idea target of 2 hours, 40 minutes. Now, the hard part. How to shorten the games? Without rules that turn off traditional fans? With ideas that don't turn off players? That's the rub.
    Seems like Jon Gray might be on the Cardinals short list to pursue. Can you please give us the scoop of what probably intrigues the front office most about him? Also, just curious how it really works in practice as it relates to timing. For example, does the front office typically solicit input from players acquired like Nolan Arenado to get an insider perspective early on or much later in the process?
    The front office has not said Jon Gray is on the list, and does not talk about free-agent targets, so exactly what may interest them, not sure. But it's not hard to connect dots that could interest them. Gray gets ground balls and does not struggle with walks. He's been really good on the road, when freed from Coors Field's hitter-friendly confines.
    As for polling a former teammate about a player, it's no different than how things would work if your company was considering hiring a former colleague of yours elsewhere. You, the current colleague, probably won't make or break whether the offer comes or not, but your bosses would be wise to ask you what you think about the person. If they don't, it would be a sign they don't much value that opinion!
    Too bad for Yadi, but a Pirates fan of mine told me Stallings had exactly ZERO passed balls this year and was very deserving too. Any idea if the vote here was even close?
    Stallings defensive numbers were off the charts. It should not be surprising. Jack Flaherty defended his catcher. All good. But this was no robbery.
    Can you please break down the fielding stats of the 3 finalists for NL 2B this year. Seems like it was very close and they all had a decent shot at winning the award.
    Everybody has their favorite defensive metric, but I gravitate toward Fielding Bible's Defensive Runs Saved. It had Edman and Wong tied at 6 defensive runs saved at second base, but Edman played more innings there. Wong was hurt a few times throughout the season. I'm surprised Adam Frazier was not a finalist over Ozzie Albies (+1) because he was a +7 and played more innings at second than all of the finalists.
    Please correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't Paul De Long already a finalist for gold glove at shortstop previously? If so, how did he fare stat wise this year? For example, was their slippage or what not to make it into the top 3 again.
  • You're correct. His defense was good again this season. +6 per Fielding Bible. Same as winner Crawford, but with fewer innings played. Edmundo Sosa was good too (+7) for the time he spent at shortstop. DeJong's problem was not his defense. It was his bat, as you know. Struggles at the plate limited his innings.
    Mr. Ben,

    Thank you for the great articles and today’s chat!

    So, it was really a personality clash and not philosophical differences. “I'm shocked ”. Cardinal Fans are not stupid!

    As a retired CEO who holds a PHD in Administration this is my guess as to what occurred: After a season-saving 17 game win streak, the year ends with a Chris Taylor HR and the “wrap/prep meetings occur shortly thereafter.

    When it came to the “what could we have done better in 2021” open discussion, I would bet $100,000, Mo failed to take responsibility for the poor roster construction coming out of Spring Training, his failure to address the pitching injuries in a timely fashion, the Carpenter fiasco, and the 4 months of negative Jeff Albert results. I believe Shildt felt he could speak openly and honestly about all issues and spoke his mind. At some point, “Johnny Bowtie” got his feelings hurt and ran to DeWitt who should have said “This organization needs you both, work it out or you both will be invited to work elsewhere”.

    The culture Mo has fostered is not a healthy one and Dewitt has been complicit. Strong leaders take responsibility for their mistakes and have “thick skin”.
    I'm not sure what to tell you all at this point.
    The Cardinals saying philosophical differences does not mean you had to buy it.
    I didn't. I wasn't the only one. It was not exactly hard to see through it. It was the reason we asked so many questions about it during the presser, trying to get a better answer, a real answer.
    I've shared what I know about what happened. There could be more to come, depending on who decides to talk, and when. We'll see. What can be confirmed has been reported. Speculation and guesses aren't helpful for anyone.
    Interesting that all six MVP award finalists from both league between them have not even one from a team that made it to the postseason this year. Not sure that has ever happened before? Anyway, AL is quite clear in Ohtani, but the NL figures to be a bit closer. I predict Soto, how about you?
    Harper would be my guess. I didn't have a vote for NL MVP so I can guess, right? I would have voted for Brandon Crawford, if I had one. And taken the arrows for it. Don't care. To me making the postseason matters in MVP consideration.
    Good Morning Ben, I've been trying to wrap my head around Plumber not being added to the 40 man. For a team in need of LH bats this just feels out of character. and different from how the Cardinals have operated in the past. There must be something cooking in a back room somewhere. 6 openings on 40 man. I expect them to go to 38/39 and leave room for moves. I suppose the question is what don't we know?
    It's as complicated or as simple as you'd like to make it.
    They have a bunch of players that needed to be protected, and not room to protect them all.
    They either valued other players more, or think they have a chance of getting him back.
    Outfield depth is once again a good problem to have for the Cardinals. And this decision hinted at that logjam.
    Ben, I think the Cardinals are in an enviable position right now with the players they currently have on their 40 man roster. If I were GM for the day I think I would focus on bringing in two left handed starting pitchers. Eduardo Rodriguez of the Red Sox would fit in great here. He’ll strike a lot of guys out but also pitches to contact. With this 5 Gold Glove defense it should help him a lot. Fenway did him no favors. Robbie Ray and Carlos Rondon would fit in nicely here too and they won’t break the bank. Your thoughts?
    Groundball-getting strike-throwers are a fit for this team.
    Happ and Lester could be potential return candidates.
    DG mentioned again today the interest in Happ.
    Wade Miley would have made sense before Cubs grabbed him.
    One name I like as a potential that has not been discussed much is Sean Manaea.
    Oakland is selling and he's about to become more expensive.
    Could be moved.
    Lefty. Good groundball rate. And walked only 2.06 batters per nine last season.
    Really impressive last season. Career high nearly 180 innings. Two complete games.

  • there is no doubt but that dejong has to go or we will end up playing the Matt Carpenter games all over again. My concern, however, is that tight pursestrings that might persist in regard to getting a free agent. Are there any trade possibilities that would upgrade the Cardinals, especially if you could trade off Dejong and a non-top tier prospect of two? Maybe pick up some of Dejong's salary if we have to.
    There will be ample opportunities this offseason to add a shortstop via free agency, or swap with teams that are looking to add or offload. Opportunities abound. At all price points. What remains cloudy at the moment is the Cardinals interest and appetite in altering shortstop plans. I would not sleep on the Trevor Story connection. The Cardinals have a long history of turning long-held interest in a player into acquiring that player at some point. Happened with Goldschmidt and Arenado in the past.
    It looks like possible the trend for selecting a DH is going to be evolving. Whereas before you had guys that could hit but were liabilities defensively were your DH. Now it seems, at least the Cardinals anyway, are going to look for a DH who can hit as well play above average defensively in the field. Players like Yepez, Nootbaar, Gorman and possibly Burleson and Plummer. If other MLB teams go in that direction is that going to be the nail in the coffin for guys that are basically one dimensional players?
    I think some teams are going to be just fine having a big bopper who almost guaranteed to produce 30-plus homers in that spot.
    Nelson Cruz is 41 and has not had too hard of a time finding work.
    Thanks as always for taking the time. With Oklahoma and Texas joining the SEC, has there been talk of realignment with moving Mizzou to the West and Alabama and Auburn to the East?
    Nothing official from the league. Just speculative predictions from media members, which are of course fun and might not be too far off from what eventually happens. The best one I've come across was Mitchell Forde's proposal. You all remember Mitchell. He was a P-D intern. Now he writes for Power Mizzou. He suggested SEC East and West include two pods each. Mizzou would be in SEC West pod of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Mizzou. Other West pod would be Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Texas A&M and LSU. Nine-game SEC schedule where you play your pod opponents annually and other pod opponents every other year. One problem would be you probably have to have Texas and Texas A&M play each other every season, because as much as they don't like one another they are going to want the interest and money from that game. It's fun to kick around but SEC commissioner Greg Sankey has not tipped his hand just yet. He's busy influencing the expansion of the College Football Playoff at the moment.
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