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 all is well. Wanted to start today by sending comforting thoughts to all of those in our region affected by this past weekend's deadly storms. Thank you to those who rushed to help, to check in on loved ones and friends, to support first responders and so on. I would also like to thank my P-D news colleague for their stellar coverage. I work with some fearless reporters, photographers and editors. Thank you for supporting the Post-Dispatch and its coverage of all things, not just sports. Without you all, readers and subscribers, the paper can't be there at times when the public needs it most. OK, back to the chat. I'm all yours until 2:30 or so. Fire away.
  • Ben, assuming the baseball strife is settled next spring, which requires a major leap of faith, I fear we are in for the biggest ticket price increases seen in recent years. The owners will want to recoup their losses from the past two years, expect the fans to share in what surely will result in higher player salaries from a labor agreement, and capitalize on an inflationary environment that gouges consumers for everything. Do you see it the same way?
  • You have probably answered your own question.
    If the price of everything is going up, I would not expect the price of baseball to move in the opposite direction.
    Whether it will be a gradual increase -- it usually is -- or a sudden jump, I don't know.
    The optics of big increases after a contentious lockout would be less than ideal. 
    Something to watch when those numbers start rolling out, for sure.
  • Please explain Martin's contract. It is confusing. All I really understand is there is a 6 million dollar buy out.
  • He signed a seven-year, $21 million deal when he was hired entering the 2017-18 season. The buyout of the contract, if fired before May, is $6 million. That's because he has been to an NCAA Tournament since he was hired; he's been to two, in fact. If he had not been to an NCAA Tournament yet -- he's been to two -- and if he had not yet coached a Mizzou team that won 20 games -- his first one did -- then the buyout would be $3 million instead of the $6 million. But it's $6 instead of $3 because of the success he had over his first four seasons, due to the protection clause that was included because the team was such a disaster when he was hired. That last part -- the team being a disaster when he was hired -- is the part those calling for Martin to be fired are conveniently forgetting. Mizzou has a .538 winning percentage under Martin. It was .284 in the three years before Martin was hired. The state of the program was reflected in the contract, so it's going to cost a big chunk ($6 mill) to move on before May.
  • Merry Christmas sir. i read all of the PD chats every week, and it amazes me how so many want to tar & feather Mozielak for players like Arozarena, Voit, et. al. not getting to play here in StL, yet they are the first ones calling for the Cards to sign Schwarber or Moran for the expected DH position in the upcoming year, when young players like Yepez and Gorman are ready, for prime time, with that DH position open. Now MO seems to want to give a young player his shot but that crowd that blasts him for Randy A not getting a shot wants a player signed to block those younger players..Do you shake your head sometimes at the hypocrisy of baseball fans? Have a wonderful holidays Ben, always love your work.
  • It's easy to not trust the prospects until they thrive elsewhere, right? Then it's more painful to see that then not getting the free agent on your wish list. The Cardinals made a public commitment after seeing Arozarena flourish in Tampa to stop letting prospects pop elsewhere after not getting much of a chance here in St. Louis. They recommitted to their process, and have touched on that multiple times. That said, part of the job is knowing who can you can live without and knowing who can answer a need and more. It's not realistic that every prospect is going to get a season in the bigs to sink or swim. Awarding the opportunities to the right players -- and minimizing chances for the wrong ones -- is a critical part of the job, and the Cardinals recently have allowed questions to be raised about if they know what they have and what they don't. They have to get that right as a draft-and-develop team. They've said as much.
  • Maybe I am just being to negative but I see no way Mizzou basketball gets much better this year. We have no post presence, we dont have a legitimate shooter, our team ball handling is average at best. I just struggle to understand how SLUH gets the better players out of Missouri high schools. Their point guard from st. Mary's good player from sikeston Thames from pattonville is going to SLUH. Also one of Georgetown best players is from Greenwood mo. If Mizzou does make a change they must get a coach that can recruit SEC type players . Plus were does Mizzou get the 6 million buy out money.
  • Your last line is the big question. None of the angst about the current state of Mizzou basketball means much unless there's someone with the juice willing to cut a big check. Maybe there is. Maybe a new coach would be better off trying to solve the Mizzou hoops puzzle. Mizzou fans can't figure out what they want for their hoops team these days, it seems to me. The support is not great -- even when the team has played well. That's what we are watching now. Minimal to mediocre support when team is decent to better than decent. Massive frustration and disgust when team is playing terribly. It's a hard problem to solve. Maybe there is an up-and-coming coach out there who has an answer through recruiting or coaching or a combination of both, but the truth is the field will be limited by the amount of money that can be paid -- especially if Martin is bought out -- and the coach who solves it will be ripe for poaching by other programs if he does.
  • People in marriage trouble often opt for a counselor. Everyone here in the union and ownership also understand that ultimately parting ways via a formal divorce decree is not ever to going to happen either. That probably leaves this dispute in the hands of lawyer types and mediator's to (eventually) sort out. Besides that do you believe there is much hope left to get a collective bargaining agreement done any other way? Very frustrating for especially us fans indeed. The word "apathy" sadly comes to mind more and more, despite many of us remaining die hard...
  • My advice has not changed. Find a good book to read. Binge watch some series. Do some puzzles. Sweating over the standoff now is not worth it. The real deadline is the start of the regular season. Players need three weeks or a month to get ready. Baseball loves a deadline, and that's the only real deadline here. Plan accordingly.
  • Great article on "THE Skipper's" new job. What a dirty deal our Owner and GM gave him. Shame on Them! Yesterday in Commish's chat he asked for names for "Where Are They Now" to perhaps write about during this shutdown. It was late in the chat when I saw it and began compiling my list which I never was able to get back to him. So, if possible, give him these names: Todd Zeile...Dal Maxvill...Ray Washburn...Ronnie Belliard...Colby Rasmus...Mitchell Boggs...Edgar Renteria...So Taguchi...Hector Luna...Steve Kline...Julian Tavaras...J.D. Drew. At this point after years of this type of behavior, the biggest thing our administration can do during the Lockout is get some badly needed public relations schooling. That move goes very high on their lengthening list of indications that they care little about the people who put money in their pockets. Enjoy your work Ben!!!!!
  • Thanks.
    I'll pass along your suggestions to The Commish.
    Here's the thing that confuses me the most about the Shildt thing still to this day.
    The Cardinals often point to their track record of success to attempt to soften criticism of recent swings and misses.
    Shildt certainly was not given the same treatment.
  • Nice article on Mike Schildt. It still angers me that Mo and the Cardinals couldn’t even acknowledge and thank him for his years with the organization. Very classless.
  • Comparing the Matheny wording and phrasing to the Shildt wording and phrasing was really something, wasn't it? Clear example of the bad blood that boiled over.
  • What do you think of leaving power hitter BAKER off the 40 man roster and subject to the draft? Why would you want to do that?
    Second question. Now that Arozarena is rookie of the year to the Cardinals still think they got the best of the trade? Seems to me they got fleeced
  • Can't keep them all. Those are the rules.
    There seems to be some overlap between Juan Yepez and Luken Baker, and it's clear the Cardinals are prioritizing Yepez as the right-handed DH option who could get a crack at securing that role this season.
    Seeing what becomes of Matthew Liberatore would be a good idea before issuing the final call on the Randy A trade.
    The Cardinals did underestimate him.
    They've admitted that.
    That horse is dead, but beat on. 
  • Ben,

    Tremendous Mike Shildt article this AM. Personality conflict, huh, shocking…….

    I cannot imagine what Mike could have been upset about.

    But let’s not get amnesia.

    Fans may forget that Mo decides who is placed on the 26-man roster. Below are 17 players he “stuck” Mike Shildt with in 2021:Justin Williams, Austin Dean, John Nagowski, Scott Hurst, Seth Elledge, Brandon Waddell, Johan Oviedo, Jake Woodford, Max Moroff, Roel Ramirez, Angel Rondon, Brandon Dickson, Tyler Webb, Daniel Poncedeleon, Bernardo Flores, Jr., Lane Thomas, and Matt Carpenter-(KEPT ALL SEASON-Mind Blowing).

    Only Jake Woodford (in the 2nd half) performed at a major league acceptable level.

    Mo is very good at holding people accountable, except the man in his mirror.

    He's been able absolve himself from the $150M + worth of “Mo-stakes”; Carpenter, Martinez, Fowler, Cecil, Andrew Miller, Holland, Gregerson, Leake, Wiggington, etc. but he couldn’t let Mike Shildt vent?
  • I think the front office viewed Shildt as getting outside of his lane at times when it came to wanting certain upgrades, including upgrades from the outside. Hard to blame him for that, but there's always a way to go about and and a way not to, and he did not apparently have as much leverage as he thought he did. Another thing that has become clear is that he and general manager Michael Girsch did not always see eye to eye. The friction with Jeff Albert was well known, too. Shildt's refusal to always toe the company line when it came to pointing out the team needed help rocked the boat I believe. But here's the thing. There is always some level of friction within a functioning front office that expects to win. What exactly made the front office, and it was Mozeliak's decision with chairman Bill DeWitt's approval, move to eject a successful manager is still not crystal clear. Maybe one day it is. We'll see. Hearing both sides and comparing one to the other would be quite fascinating, no?
  • Ben, any colleges looking for a football coach? The charming Urban Meyer might be interested as his days at Jacksonville are surely numbered. Would you agree?
  • The NFL can be a humbling place for college coaches. Ask Nick Saban. I point that out because some will assume Meyer could not come back to college and win again. I don't assume that. I do wonder if he's wiling, able and capable to do anything consistently for more than a season though. He's a lightning rode and it's hard for lighting rods to last even through a full football team's recruiting cycle these days, meaning from recruitment to on-field performance of multiple full recruiting classes. I'm not convinced he's stable enough these days. The bar video would hurt him in some college searches; not all.
  • Does Cuonzo make it to next year? One knock on Frank Haith was he was doing everything with transfer players so the community didn't get to know the players and therefore wouldn't come out to support the team. This team is largely built on transfer players but maybe that's just how college sports work nowdays?
  • If Mizzou decides to fire him, I'm not sure why it would do it now compared to late in the season or after it. There's not an assistant coach on the staff who you want to test out as the head guy, or something like that. I don't think the transfer thing is in play here. If the transfers were thriving, the heat would not be so hot. They have underperformed. The biggest problem I see is Coleman. He needed to be a scorer. He's struggling. I'd keep playing the young guys together, because steps forward for them would bode well for the future.
  • Hi Ben. Whishing you and your family a healthy and happy Christmas and New Year. After the lockout and the season begins what do you think will be different compared to last year ?
  • In terms of the game we see and not how the money is split up, right? I hope most if not all of Commissioner Manfred's silly rules go away. I hope the universal DH is in play (ducks). I would not be surprised if he regular season is shortened some and the postseason is expanded.
  • Hi Ben. Since he might not be too busy these days in a lockout, I wanted to put the following into the universe:

    If Mo is reading: How can you be all in without getting a bat like Kyle Schwarber?

    Ben agrees, right Ben?
  • I'm unaware of the Cardinals saying they are "all in"
  • Morning Ben,

    Not sure how many folks remember, but early last season the Blues had a similar rash of injuries/Covid cases and had several call up players and they grinded out points similar to now. Once they started getting healthy they hit a bit of a lull until they righted the ship at the end of the season and squeaked into the playoffs. What can Berube and the boys do this go around to avoid a similar fate?
  • They can't worry about the post-COVID-crush what-ifs now. Right now they're just trying to white-knuckle it through to the other side. They're damn near scraping the bottom of the barrel. The NHL should be embarrassed by how this season is playing out. I know it's easy to say that when you don't have a say in the process, but compared to the other leagues that are up and running, the league screwed this up with its protocols and not figuring out a way to stop punishing teams via salary cap restrictions to back up players who are out due to the protocols. Big whiff. Ideally, you have a team that is deeper than it should have been in the end, one where everyone has a role and belief he can contribute. And then you have good problems, like who to keep and who to turn to if injury strikes. The Blues during their championship run figured it out, flexing their depth all the way to the Cup. That's how you do it. You get healthier, but you stay just as hungry. Easier said than done.
  • Has Jack Flaherty given any indication that he WANTS to be a Cardinal long term?
  • The indications he's given about his future are a) that he's not pleased with a system that he feels doesn't pay young impactful players what they should be owed and b) that his belief is a system-wide one not specific to the Cardinals. If the Cardinals wanted to lock Flaherty up at a price he and his representation viewed as worth sacrificing free agency and the financial leverage it offers, I bet he would be interested. Who wouldn't? Saying you want to be a Cardinal long term is just fluff unless the numbers add up. Kolten Wong wanted to be a Cardinal long term. Numbers didn't add up for the Cardinals. It's business.
  • Ben,

    Any PD writers ready to suite up for the Blues? JT might have to invest in some gear…
    So many injuries. When will we see a fully healthy team? Do you think they could have a hiccup like they did last year when the team got healthy?
  • Tom T is long and lanky, kind of like the Blues' preferred build for defenseman.
    JT is willing to get greasy in the corners, hound the puck.
    Gordo is the grizzled veteran, one unafraid to snap a stick over the knee and let a rookie know what's what.
    They're all ready if called upon.
    Me? I'll be the guy who tosses the pucks onto the ice.
    I believe the earliest David Perron can be back is December 21, and that's best-case scenario, so let's see what the COVID carousel looks like then.
  • How does the Mizzou situation get better from here with Martin still here? It feels like there is only one way this can end at this point.
  • I think there is one way a lot of people want it to end, but that's certainly not the only way it can end.
    The Tigers went 8-24 in Kim Anderson's last season.
    They went 20-13 the next season, Martin's first, and made the tournament.
    Big basketball turnarounds happen often. Martin pulled one off already at Mizzou. Not saying that's in the cards this time -- he may not get the chance -- but I'm not sure why firing him should be viewed as the only option. And remember, MPJ didn't do zilch for the Tigers that season.
    There's no sugarcoating this season. It's been very bad. But to use that as a reason to eject him now, I'm not for it. The team was ranked 10th in the nation at one point last season. Two tournaments made in four seasons before it. After it was at rock bottom when he was hired.
    Mizzou, at last check, is not a national power in hoops in the modern times. No Final Four banners are hanging in CoMo. The coach before Martin could not win. The coach before Kim Anderson cheated and bolted for Tulsa. The coach before Frank Haith bolted for Arkansas. The coach before Mike Anderson was Quin Snyder, who crashed spectacularly.
    Martin doesn't cheat. He does things the right way. He is the kind of coach you would want your kids playing for, if they were blessed enough to play college basketball. If the needle is pointing straight down at the end of the season, there would need to be reason in recruiting to believe this season was a blip. If not, there's a hard conversation to be had about how things got here, what has to change and if a change in coach is the only answer. That's how I would handle it. But that's not going to make the chat happy.
  • Shildt took the Cards to the post season 3 of 4 seasons, was a finalist for manager of the year multiple times, and won manager of the year once. He was handed a team that was abysmal at fielding, base running, and other fundamentals and made them play with the grace of an olympic figure skater. This winter *three* would-be contending teams were looking for a new manager, but only one seriously considered him. Pretty obvious that his abrupt firing and Mo's press conference poisoned his prospects with any team. Taking what must be a less lucrative job with MLB confirms this. Hard to conclude anything but the FO did Shildt real dirty. Agree?
  • I think you are connecting a lot of dots that are not necessarily there. He wanted the Padres job. They hired a great manager in Bob Melvin. Not sure what Shildt's interest level was in A's and or Mets. The A's are selling off and the Mets are a disaster.
  • Rockies Dick Manafort is Chairman in regards to negotiations? The same guy that agreed to send Arenado plus $50 mil to StL for a low return is one of the chief negotiators in this labor strife? That is not the best optic in the world.
  • I think it was DG who first said the players should ask for everything they want, plus $50 million, and the lockout could end today. The optics of putting an owner who is not held in high regard in such a forward-facing position is . . . woof. Then again the talking point for the owners, at one point echoed by Bill DeWitt Jr., is that owning a baseball team is not very financially rewarding. Reading the room is not something the owners do very well very often.
  • How does Shildt's new position at MLB affect any monies owed to him by the Cardinals? Do you think Shildt has managed his last game in MLB?
  • Not sure what the contract details are on that and his new one with the league. At last check he was not officially hired yet and in the process of that, so could be determined soon enough. I do think Shildt will manage again if he wants to. I could also see him falling for this kind of role. He has a real passion for the game and how it should be played. He might change gears and not look back. I don't know.
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