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 had a happy Thanksgiving. We've got much to discuss. The Rams settlement, Matz announced, Scherzer to Mets, college football carousel madness, SLU soccer on the cusp of Final Four and MLB likely lockout looming. We will go where you take us, as always. We're gonna hit it hard until about 2 p.m. or so. Fire away.
    Ben, with the lockout deadline looming, and with it the subsequent silence on all MLB matters regarding MLB players, how does this affect any activity with players outside of the MLB umbrella? In particular, the Cardinals were linked with a Nick Martinez that played in Japan-can the Cards still sign him, regardless of the lockout?
    Major league deals won't happen during the lockout. The window to add those players would be frozen and likely pushed back. International talent, specifically amateur international talent, is a significant chunk of the CBA discussions. Owners want an international draft.
    With Jake DeBrusk asking for a change of scenery out of Bean City what, if any, return could they get from the Blues? From what I gather he becomes a unrestricted free agent at the end of the year, had 3.675M contract to begin the year. His numbers aren't tracking friendly, unsure if it's the atmosphere there or something else. What are your first thoughts?
    There was some dot-connecting last season in the hockey rumor mill that wondered if a trade that, among other things, swapped Tarasenko for DeBrusk could be a good fit for both teams. That feels a little more risky now, with how well Tarasenko has played. But, if he's still determined to be traded and the Blues want to maximize his value and don't see a long-term future there, could be best to strike while the iron is hot? Armstrong was in a pickle this offseason as he considered dealing Tarasenko from a low point. Now he's not there anymore, but the idea is perhaps more challenging. The Blues' big move, whether it includes Tarasenko or not, should probably be used to bolster the defense. They need to convert more scoring chances but Tarasenko should help that, not hurt it.
    BenFred,
    Jumping the market to sign Matz was a nice “need” move, but it appears the Cardinals are resigned again to only pursuing mid-tier free agents and shopping in the bargain bin (DFAs and non-tenders). While 2022 appears promising, this team needs more than a back-end starter and relief arm to be a viable championship contender. Do the Cardinals have it in their tool kit and DNA to operate more creatively and expansively in free agency? If not, why not? I am talking much less about mega-contracts and more about smart multiple upgrades, then dealing redundant players and salaries to make incremental upgrades and add high-end prospects to replenish depth, increase talent level and maximize assets. Thanks for considering my question.
    That was a lot of buzz words there. The Cardinals should realize that adding Matz, who is a fine addition and makes sense but isn't going to create a line for season tickets, and retooling the bullpen is going to leave a lot of fans and followers shrugging. Believe it or not, not everyone is obsessed with the "value" of a deal these days. Starting pitching was a cornerstone that crumbled on the team last season, and so far the only addition is a 3-4 starter whose stuff fits the profile of this team, sure, but also one who had a rotten 2020 and is more or less league-average over the course of his career. Let's see where the offseason goes. A lockout is coming and things are going to get weird before the rush to the season once it ends -- assuming both sides are smart enough to not mangle the regular season. Some shortstop is going to get left out in the cold, compared to the others. There could be DH options available on the cheap. The Cardinals can afford to be more aggressive in free agency, yes. They choose to take a more sustainable, restrained approach. Their big-splash moves have come via trades, where they can  control most everything and work toward the contract they know, not one they're competing to win. Matz will be an interesting test case. Recent mid to upper level free agents have flopped, like Fowler and the long list of relievers. And the last rotation piece added to be a pure groundball guy for a defense turned out to be paired with a ragged defense, and things did not end well for Mike Leake.
    Doesn’t Trevor Story make too much sense for the Cardinals? I haven’t seen him play a ton, but he seems to fit the overall build of the team— athletic, solid defensively, good speed and has some pop. I believe his signing would send the right message to Arenado about being committed to him and being committed to winning as well. If a deal similar to the one Semien signed is agreeable, it would be hard to pass up in my eyes.
    The Cardinals seem to disagree. The company line is that Paul DeJong is in for a bounce-back season at shortstop. We'll see if that changes. Story and Carlos Correa have not signed. They're up in the air as the lockout approaches as their agents try to compete with the deal Corey Seager nabbed from the Rangers. As for doing things to prove things to Arenado, that narrative can be let go. Arenado isn't going anywhere. He's said as much.
  • Thanks for your chats and your coverage of the Rams lawsuit.
    I think Mo gets a pass for his incredible blunders. I mean trading rookie of the year!, thinking Dexter Fowler was a great investment worth five years and a draft pick!. Yes he picked up a couple decent pitchers off the scrap heap that doesn’t excuse trading the rookie of the year for help down the road maybe
    Yes he traded for Arenado but I didn’t see us in the World Series this year or the past 10 years
    The Cardinals were in the World Series within the past 10 years. They lost in 2013.
    Mentioning the Paul Goldschmidt trade would be wise.
    Trading Randy Arozarena was a mistake, one the Cardinals have admitted, but the performance of O'Neill, Bader and Carlson last season should have eased the pain a little bit. The Cardinals' 2021 outfield was perhaps its biggest bright spot.
    It's funny that the chat clings to Arozarena so much when the more painful trade very well might have been including Sandy Alcantara in the Marcell Ozuna deal.
    Sandy is a beast, and he's about to get paid. He's one of the best young pitchers in baseball that no one talks about. And what is it the Cardinals are shopping for this offseason? It's not outfielders. It's pitching.
    Counting up the years since the Cardinals WON a World Series (a decade and counting) is more than fair. A team that built a massive replica of the Commissioner's Trophy in BPV is going to have a hard time saying that winning it is not the ultimate goal. Arguing that a decade without a ring is no big deal for the Cardinals is watering down the brand, and I won't do it. The organization can try, but no one has to buy it.
    Where are we with Mizzou football in your opinion? I think everyone has to be excited that they are 6-6 after where the beginning of the season was but probably disappointed compared to where we were to start the year. Are we still firing Wilks?
    The defense seemed to take a step back against Arkansas. Some of the tackling issues that seemed to have been settled reappeared. Not a good sign. if the defense no-shows the bowl game Drinkwitz could have a tough decision on his hands. If I had to bet today I imagine Wilks is back, but I wouldn't bet either way. If Drinkwitz thinks he can get better, he will try. And he should. A win in a bowl game would be nice for morale. A seven-win season in year two combined with the fact the QB has been hurt all year and the encouraging recruiting should be relatively positive moving forward. He has to get the QB situation figured out, and soon. That is supposed to be his bread and butter.
    Cards still got work to do. Need BP help and bench and SS
    Mozeliak hinted at relievers and maybe some DH/bench shopping to come. Team is holding strong, at least for now, on the idea of DeJong being the the guy at shortstop. We'll see if that tune changes based on what happens in that market.
    Do you think some local media outlets and personalities are at fault for peddling the expansion team narrative in the STL/Rams/NFL lawsuit? I get they need to generate clicks/podcast listens but I feel some of my friends drank the kool-aid and were ultimately disappointed in the settlement cash.
    I didn't see too many local folks going out on that irresponsible limb, fortunately. I was disappointed to see some of the national types who were touting it given so much run here locally, though. Not that I care about who people cite as experts, but you could just see the damage coming. People were getting their hopes up and getting distracted by something that was never really an option, and it tainted their reaction to the real outcome. I wasn't trying to be a wet blanket about the expansion talk, but I never had a trustworthy source from the STL side of things telling me it was legitimate. They were telling me the opposite. Now the folks who were spinning it are backpedaling, suggesting that, well it COULD have been the outcome if STL would have pushed harder. Yeah, OK. I would rather have people mad at me for not telling them what they want to hear, than mad at me for telling them something that was not true.
  • How did offense magically disappear as a concern for this team? The offense eeks across 1-run vs the Dodgers in the WC but Mo publicly backs DeJong so we're all good?
    If the Cardinals truly take a pass on this round of shortstop free-agency, they are passing up a chance to get better, a chance to become that World Series contender so many of their fans desperately want to believe they can be in 2022. I wrote that at the beginning of the month and I'll repeat it here again. Their middle-infield production, offensively, left a lot to be desired and assuming it's going to improve based on DeJong, Sosa, Edman and maybe Gorman is asking for a lot of things to go right. My stance on this has been pretty clear.
    I don’t think anyone expected the labor talks this week to lead to an agreement and avoid a lockout. But somehow it’s still disheartening that today’s meeting lasted only 30 minutes.
    Lockout is coming. They all know it. Only real deadline is opening day, and they all know that, too.
    Mizzou Questions:

    1. Connor Bazelak - Reasons for his regression this season, and prognosis for this future
    2. The Defense - What is the path forward..... stay the course with better talent/development; or its just not working.
    Bazelak has not been healthy this season. His mobility is way, way down. I think it's affected his confidence and decision-making to some degree. If he gets healthy, he should be the favorite for the job next season. That said, Drinkwitz shouldn't think twice about opening up the competition and making a winner earn it in the offseason, spring and fall. Incoming freshman QB Sam Horn is going to want to play sooner rather than later. I would guess someone transfers out between Tyler Macon and Brady Cook, knowing that Horn is coming. Just the way things seem to work these days.
    The defense showed a pretty steady line of improvement starting with the Georgia game but there was some regression against Arkansas I thought. My understanding was Drinkwitz was going to use the last half of the season as his decision-making time on DC Steve Wilks, who may have done enough to prove that sticking with him and his contract -- he's the highest paid Mizzou assistant -- is better off than Drinkwitz hiring a third DC entering his third season. Maybe avoid the growing pains of a new DC and focus on upgrading the talent. If I had to guess today, I think Wilks is safe but it's not a slam dunk either way. Drinkwitz can be unpredictable. If he has a coach out there he likes better, nothing would surprise me.
    Hi Ben! When’s Garcia going to sign ? He looked good
    It was reported today that he's nearing a deal with the Padres. He did look good. Good enough to get paid.
  • Angels? Dodgers? Giants? Red Sox? Teams that missed out on Scherzer could go there.
  • Ben

    Any indications that the Cards are speaking to reps for Joe Kelly? Think he would be an excellent addition to the bullpen.

    Secondly, any interest in Colin Moran as a lefty back-up for the bench? Cardinal killer to Cardinal helper.
    Jim Hayes reported the Cardinals and Kelly have been in touch this offseason, so that's one to watch, and I agree a reunion would make sense and also be fun. Hopefully he would bring his old man costume with him.
    Moran was DFA by the Pirates, so he's available for cheap. 
    He can play multiple positions: 3B, 2B, 1B, OF.
    Left-handed bat.
    Has an .837 OPS at Busch Stadium in nearly 100 at-bats there.
    Could be a sneaky good option, I agree.
    Love getting Matz, and at a good price. Won't that leave enough in the kitty to get another mid-impact player? Would you go for a SP, RP, DH or SS and trade Dejong? Thanks for the great chats you put on.
    Bullpen help and maybe some sort of bench bat or DH option seemed to be the tone coming out of the Matz presser this week.
    I still think the Cardinals should be in on shortstops, if nothing else to see who falls for a lower-than-expected deal, as stated earlier.
    Can you boil down the MLB CBA negotiations to the biggest issue(s) for each side? Is this simply a wrestling match over money, or are there other significant disagreements worthy of a lockout? The massive contracts being signed this week make it hard to believe this is just about how to divvy the pie.
    It's almost always about money, and the scar tissue that exists from previous negotiations about it.
    Players want a faster path to free agency. They want more money through arbitration. They want an end to service-time manipulation.
    Owners want to protect their earnings as much as possible. 
    Players are pointing to what has become a drop in average annual salary while revenue has grown. A blitz of free agency deals before the lockout will lead to a lot of fodder but it won't do much to change the tune or tone of the standoff that has been building for years.
    That said, I'm optimistic that both sides have gotten it through their heads that it would cause mutual destruction to both if they let this lockout turn into a mangled 2022 regular season. A shortened spring training, if one comes, really hurts no one. The only real deadline is opening day. And I think they can get to a new deal in time to start by then. If not, they deserve all of the criticism that will come. And more.
    Ben

    What is the proper pronunciation for Matz? I have heard "Matts" but then heard "Motts" on 10 Hochman.
    Matz is pronounced like Mats
  • How can these college football coaches just leave when they have years left on their contracts? isn't that breach of contract?
    The contracts have buyouts that are paid by the hiring school.
    That's how it happens.
    Sometimes there are legal battles over what specifically is owed in the end, but those are rare and don't get enough attention to stop the chaos.
    So, when LSU goes big to play Kelly to hire him from Notre Dame, they are also on top of that paying whatever his Notre Dame contract stated his buyout to be on the date of the LSU poach.
    Handicap the Mizzou BB situation. Seemingly they seem to be stuck in neutral. Do you see a situation where the need to get butts and seats and revenue to the athletic department ends up with Martin being let go?
    I don't get the sense Mizzou is itching to let Martin go, one because of the relationship he has with new AD Desiree Reed-Francois and two because of the $6 million buyout he would be owed if let go before May. And then there's three. He's been to two tournaments after a really rough stretch of basketball before he arrived. This college football season, though, is reminding us a buyout is just one upset and influential booster away from being paid. Is someone that fired up about Mizzou underperforming in the start of Martin's fifth season after an NCAA Tournament appearance the year before? Doubtful. Clearly the team needs to play better and if this is the ceiling with a transfer reboot roster, then that's a big concern because most of these guys are back for at least next season and some. I'm not trying to paint a rosier picture than what exists. Concerns are real. But I am suggesting that some hot seats take a lot longer to heat up than others, and an SEC school that put fewer than 7,000 people in its building for the home opener probably isn't going to operate like Kentucky or Indiana.
    Would love your quick thoughts on the coaching carousel? Riley running from the SEC? Odd move for Kelley to LSU don't you think? Fickel to ND?
    Riley either wanted no piece of the SEC, or really likes beaches. Oklahoma could have and probably would have matched or beaten anything USC could have offered. But he's been recruiting Cali well and the Pac 12 if USC gets back to being dominant will provide a much easier path to the playoff, expanded or not.
    Kelly is a top-five coach and he will have no excuse to not win national championships at LSU. He could not recruit all of the players he wanted at Notre Dame. That barrier simply won't exist at LSU. I don't get the geographical fit but winning cures all. Saban isn't a southerner by birth. Speaking of Nick, he and Kirby Smart are about to get big raises.
    If Notre Dame knows it can get Fickell, and that would probably be my first choice, it can wait. I don't think he will do anything until after Cinci is out of the playoff. And he shouldn't, unlike Kelly.
    A couple of other thoughts . . . 
    Is Texas really going to sit this one out?
    Matt Campbell to Oklahoma maybe?
    Don't be surprised at all if old friend Barry Odom winds up replacing Billy Napier at Louisiana.
    I don't ever want to hear a Power 5 coach whine about transferring players ever again.
    So much for COVID ushering in an era of responsible spending in college sports.
    With LSU and USC both firing coaches way early and appearing to make good hires, prepare for that to become the trend in this copycat sport.
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