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 all of your Cardinals, Blues, St. Louis City, Mizzou and SLU questions in Tuesday's 11 a.m. live chat.

    Greetings, chatters. What a week, huh? The Cardinals went from hibernating to surpassing expectations and they don't seem to be done yet. Mizzou and Illini are ranked sixth and tenth. The Billikens rebounded in a major way. The Blues? They've got Coyote problems. Let's roll.
    It seems to me that if the Cards want to run with the Dodgers and Padres, they will need a little more. LH power is still missing, and I’d like to see it be Gregory Polanco of the Pirates. A talent who must be tired of losing, I’d imagine the change of scenery would bring out the best in his game. And I’d imagine he could be had for O’Neill, Dean and a pitcher, with the quality of pitcher determining how much salary relief comes back from the Bucs. Does this seem both desirable and realistic to you?
    Finding a little more power for the Cardinals makes a lot of sense, but this trade specifically doesn't seem all that realistic to me for a few reasons. One, the latest we are hearing from the league regarding this year's safety protocols agreed upon between players and owners is that a universal DH will not be included. That means one less spot for an offense-only upgrade, and one less spot for the Cardinals to get their outfielders at-bats if they do add at that position. Second is the Cardinals seem genuinely concerned about shipping out one of their young outfielders too soon and having him blossom somewhere else in a way that could have happened here, just with a little more patience. Third would be the inter-division trading that is pretty rare these days. Teams usually tend to avoid it. Especially with O'Neill, I think if the Cardinals are going to trade him, it will be to a team outside of the division.
    If the Cardinals make another significant external move before opening day, what fielding position do you believe this player likely will primarily occupy?
    They're still looking at at least one starting pitcher, Highland native Jake Odorizzi,who is a free agent, and have shown some interest in bulking up their middle infield depth a bit, but that would likely not be a major name. And if the DH really is going to be held off -- that could change -- then Carpenter can serve as some middle-infield depth as well. Not shortstop. But certainly second. Edman could play some short if needed. Edmundo Sosa as well. But another name in that mix would not hurt.
    Will not the Fowler signing go down in Cardinals history as one of the worst? A lot of money for not a whole lot of performance.
    Right there with Moe ‘s astute signing of Broken down relief pitchers and over the hill journeymen
    It's up there in terms of combination of financial commitment and performance, sure. There have certainly been wore free-agent performers, like Brett Cecil, one of those reliever whiffs you mentioned. I think the biggest problem with Fowler was not his fault, but the situation he entered in general. The Cardinals kind of oversold the player he was, and fans had perhaps unfair expectations. The other element was the fact the Cardinals had multiple outfield prospects knocking on the door of the majors, ready to prove they could be better than Fowler. That was not the case in his first season, but it was usually the case after. Internal options would have been just as good if not better. But, hindsight is a dangerous thing. If the Cardinals would have pledged a turn toward unproven internal options instead of singing Fowler, most would not have approved of that. He was coming off an All-Star season. He was supposed to steal some of the Cubs' thunder. And he did, to some degree. The Cubs have not had a reliable leadoff option since he left. It was a regrettable contract. There have certainly been worse in baseball. The Cardinals just don't have all that many on their ledger. Surprisingly few, compared to the good.
    Molina signed a one year deal with no options for anything further. Does that mean we can expect Molina to retire after this season, or does that mean he'll be seeking just one year only contracts, ala Wainwright, or is the door open for further discussion for a second year like he wanted at the beginning of all of this? Don't get me wrong, I love that he is back, ecstatic even, but does a one year 9 million dollar contract sound like a legacy contract to you BenFred? Or are there more complexities to this deal that have not been announced?
    It's a one-year deal, straight up. If he wants to keep playing and the Cardinals want him back, they can do the same thing again next season. It's the Wainwright plan. It's the best for all involved. It's what I suggested back in November of 2019. It's simply acknowledging that Molina is of more value to the Cardinals than any other team, but that the Cardinals are not going to get bullied into a longer-term deal because of that. Here's what I wrote back then.

    BenFred's 5: No reason for Cardinals to rush Molina contract extension

    STLtoday.comDoes anyone really think Molina would go elsewhere? Does anyone really think the Cards would let him? If the answer to both is no, and it is, then a multi-year
  • With yadi back he must share time with kizner
    I don’t normally pay attention to the projections for records but I saw DG tweet the recent PECOTA projections and had some thoughts.

    1. How does a division with the pirates not have at least one team projected with 90 wins?

    2. The Cubs have been average the last 2 seasons, and they just lost several players without replacing them with upgrades. How does that project them to have a .525 winning percentage?

    3. How does the team with the best pitching, starting and bullpen, in the division finish third and under .500? Do these projections assume there will be major injuries on the cardinals team or something?
    PECOTA is always down on the Redbirds for some reason.
    I don't think it does a very good job of factoring defense and pitching into its math.
    It tends to downplay the things the Cardinals tend to be really good at.
    If the Cardinals finish third in the division without some massive injury issues, I'll buy you a burger, USMC.
    I do think the Brewers are better than people think, though. Don't sleep on Milwaukee.
    Were you surprised that ozuna’s AAV dropped after having a monster year? I have to think teams are still hesitant to give him big time money no matter how well he hits.
    He got four years. That's probably more than I would have signed off on. A $65 million payday during pandemic uncertainty is a pretty good deal, all things considered. Shows the Braves are betting on the DH arriving in the NL in 2022 at the latest, too, because Ozuna's outfield defense is not good and not going to age well.
    Ben,

    Sure does seem like a good week to get some XFL information...

    Do you think if the pandemic didn't shut down the league last year that they would be starting their second season this weekend?
    If the league was waiting on the Super Bowl to get off the main stage, now would be a good time to send out some things to get excited about. I agree with you there. Other than the league having a small staff and doing some small moves that suggest a relaunch is coming, there have been no official announcements of plans or a return date, specifically. It's hard to say what would have happened long-term with Vince McMahon running the show, but the pandemic certainly threw a wrench in things. I do think the league would have gotten through at least a couple of seasons, based on how well things were going in the return season.
  • Benfred,

    Have you seen the updates in the STL lawsuit in the biz journal? Any thoughts on what the NFL is trying to do in the case?
    Indeed. Jacob Kirn's reporting seems to suggest the different moments that are important to both sides. For the Rams, the 2013 Dome arbitration is big. For St. Louis, Kroenke's motives as he built stake in the team are important, along with the later plans to pivot to a riverfront stadium that never gained traction. Depositions completed, per the report, include NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Rams COO Kevin Demoff and Rams owner Stan Kroenke.
    On his radio show today, Danny mac made a point that if Carlson is gonna hit in front of goldy and arenado he has to be more aggressive early in counts. I agree, but i would also add that all of the hitters need to be more aggressive. They watch too many fastballs down the middle on the first pitch. In that San Diego series when they were actually having success at the plate, they were attacking and not just laying back in wait.
    I'd be on board with Carlson being a little more aggressive no matter where he hits. The Cardinals not a free-swinging team under Jeff Albert, and I don't see a massive change coming, but Carlson is an example of a player who could benefit from being a little less patient. For a young player, he doesn't get a lot of strikes. Last season Carlson only saw 42.1 percent of pitches inside the strike zone, yet he swung at just 59.4 percent of those pitches that were inside of the strike zone. On first pitches, he saw a strike 57.1 percent of the time. Seems like he could benefit from letting it rip a little more often on first pitches.
    Seems like the Cardinals' middle infield depth is pretty shallow. How should they improve it?
    That's not a premier position. Adding some depth there should be relatively easy via minor trade or grabbing someone who is awaiting a job as free agent. It won't be a blockbuster deal if it happens.
    If Tom Brady is the GOAT because he has the most rings, why is Michael Jordan the GOAT instead of Bill Russell?
    Some argue Russell is the basketball GOAT. That's why these debates are both impossible to answer definitively and fun as heck. I'm no Brady fan, but hard to argue against him being the greatest football player ever. But please, spare me the talk about him being the greatest American athlete ever. He's in that room, but that's a big, big room.
    Before the Arenado trade, the Cardinals reportedly had an offer to Joc Pederson. If this deal would've happened Pederson most likely would've been part of a platoon in the outfield. Are the Cardinals still looking for that kind of righty/lefty platoon for LF or CF? If so, who are the best candidates for this type of role? Harrison Bader obviously comes to mind, is there anyone already on the team who could platoon with him. or would that have to come from the outside?
  • That Pederson report is interesting. I think it was Greg Amsinger who mentioned it on MLB Network, but I haven't heard or read it anywhere else. It came before the Arenado trade, and before the Fowler trade, and the only thing Mozeliak is saying is that he's still interested in seeing what is out there. We know the Cardinals are shopping for starting pitching, specifically with some interest in Odorizzi, but could they be doing outfield browsing as well? I suppose. It would be a pivot from what they indicated after the Fowler trade, though. That move was made with the idea to free up more time for current outfielders, not clear a space for an outside one. If the Cardinals are determined to add a little more pop to their lineup, and they are convinced the DH is not going to arrive, an outfield addition of some kind might be the only way. A Fowler/Bader platoon might have worked nicely. Bader has crushed lefties pretty consistently, so he could pair up with anyone who hammers righties. Problem would be you're removing his defense in games started by righties, which most are. It's hard to read too deep into the splits of Lane Thomas and Justin Williams. They have not played enough at the major league level. Neither has screamed splits-hitter off their minor league resume. As for O'Neill, he has shown more power (.445 SLG compared to .329) against righties than lefties. Small sample sizes, still, but maybe there's something with him and Bader there?
    Were you surprised by the Cubs move to sign Pederson? Are they rebuilding or not? Did the fact that the Cardinals had an offer out to Pederson have any influence on the Cubs decision?
    It seemed kind of odd to me to let Schwarber walk and then sign Pederson, yeah.
    I don't think the Cubs are making moves based on the Cardinals. 
    They're making moves to try to cut costs.
    The Pederson for Schwarber swap saved them about $3 million depending on how the options play out. 
    Hey Ben,

    Does Arenado see Fowler signing off on leaving the Cardinals as a red flag? Here he comes to a team that a veteran wanted to be traded away from. Or does he see it as a personal decision on Dex’s part to get more playing time, nothing more nothing less?
    I'm not sure why he would draw a red-flag conclusion, considering Fowler dropped his no-trade to join a team that has been to the playoffs one time since 2010. A veteran who has become a league-average player, at best, with problems staying healthy deciding to move to a less competitive environment for more guaranteed playing time should not be a bad sign to a guy who says he's desperate to win.
    Who is your St. Louis sports mount rushmore?

    Mine is Stan Musial, Bob Pettit, Brett Hull, and Marshall Faulk
    Carve out some room for Jackie Joyner-Kersee
    PECOTA says the Cardinals are an 84 win team. I don’t see it. What do you think? PECOTA seems to always do this to the Cards though.
  • As discussed below, PECOTA seems to underrate defense and pitching, in my opinion. Especially pitching depth. Cards have a lot of arms. I don't think there's any way Cards finish third in division, unless injuries happen.
  • Does Arenado opt out at the end of this season or next, so he can join the Dodgers? He and Flaherty may be teammates there too.
    Optimistic bunch here today. I've got no reason to think Arenado opts out. That's my stance until he gives me one. If he starts barking about the Cardinals' trade-deadline decisions or something, I'll adjust my stance. Until then I'm going to believe him when he says he came here to stay here.
    I'm wondering if it gets down the the fact that Clark and Manfred can no longer communicate civilly would the owners and players consider a mediator to replace them? I gotta believe if two individuals get so contentious with each other that at some point it about personalities and not about fair negotiations.
    I think both sides would benefit from two new voices in the room -- at least when these two actually get into a room.
    But both sides seem happy with their leaders, and that's an indication both sides are to blame, not just the leaders.
    Manfred has made it quite clear he works for the owners, and that the overall well being of baseball comes after that.
    If the owners tell him that he in no way, shape or form can let their be a work stoppage, there won't be one.
    I hope that he's getting that message from the owners.
    Didn't watch cause I'm a self respecting St. Louisan, but I heard that Kansas City was whining about some calls. Really? I don't think they will EVER earn the right to whine about a call in a championship game.
    31-9. Refs did not decide the game.
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