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 from Jupiter. The Cardinals are about to take the field against the Marlins. Back on the home turf, Dennis Gates is being introduced as Mizzou's new coach. Nick Leddy is a Blue. Lots to discuss. I'm here at the laptop in the press box until I have to head back to the clubhouse for some interviews as players start leaving the game. Fire away.
    We know the Wainwright kids are pushing for a dog. Will they get one in the Winter of 2022 or 2023? I have to believe that ending 2022 at 192-199 wins means a lot of reasons for one more year.
    I'm operating under the assumption that this is the final ride for Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright until one of them says differently, but it's safe to assume Wainwright could have more to think about than Molina, who reiterated again here yesterday that this indeed will be his last spring training. Wainwright has left things more vague. He does not like the Tom Brady (and others) way of "retiring" only to return. He wants to be sure. That means he's not totally sure at this time.
    Good morning Ben, I was thinking why the Cardinals wouldn’t bring back Pujols if nothing else just for the ticket sales and good PR in Waino Yadi and Albert last year it would produce as he chase 700 home runs. If we are not going to make a legitimate chance at trying for the playoffs give the fans something positive to watch.
    You don't think the Cardinals are going to make the playoffs? Take a look at the state of the National League Central. There's a good debate to be had about if they're built (as of now) to get deep into the postseason, where they haven't been in too long, but they're a playoff team, especially in this watered-down Central combined with the expanded postseason. Pujols would move fire up some fans and sell ticks and merchandise, but I don't think the Cardinals see the idea making much baseball sense. Juan Yepez is pushing for the team lead in Grapefruit League at-bats so far. The Cardinals are convinced he's ready to be a part of the DH solution from the right side. If Pujols was left-handed, it would have made more sense. He could have been the Dickerson addition, if that was the cases. Alas, he's not. As for the Yadi/Waino/Pujols reunion narrative, I think I have a differing opinion on that than some. One of those guys left. The other two stayed. Should the one who left get to rejoin in time for the going away party?
    BenFred what is you’re opinion of the trade for Nick Leddy? Is he just a more seasoned version of Jake Walman or is he more than that? I put my trust in DA that he knows what he is doing. Thanks!
    It's not an Army jaw-dropper that some hoped for, but it could help. A respectable defenseman with a left lean was a must if this team is serious about giving this postseason a go. Prices were high for rentals. Army tried to threat the needle, balancing the now and later, which makes sense considering the encouraging signs that we have observed from the young players on this team -- window is not going to slam shut soon -- and also the fluid place the Blues are in the standings. They're a playoff team, but they're not exactly playing like a championship-caliber team as of late, and the difference is not going to be determined by a depth defenseman. So, don't sell the future to get a guy who won't solve the team's bigger issues alone. Get a guy who can help, if the team figures stuff out. Everyone raves about his ability to move the puck and how that can help. I like his postseason experience. He's been deep into the playoffs. That's valuable.
    Knee jerk reaction to Dennis Gates?
    The basketball community likes the fit and upside more than the fan response, is my first impression.
    Time will tell who is right.
    If he doesn't get fan support through attendance, ticket sales and NIL action, it's going to be a tougher road than it has to be.
    I couldn't help but chuckle when Mizzou paid $6 million to fire Cuonzo Martin to hire a former coach at Cal who idolizes Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton and prides himself in prioritizing toughness over talent, not to mention one whose biggest attribute so far is that he stepped into a mess of a program and improved it quickly.
    Sound familiar?
    I wish Gates the best. He's no more of a wait-and-see hire than any of the other SEC schools have made for their hoops opening this round, except for Mike White jumping from Florida to Georgia. The class of Gates (MU), Golden (Florida), Jans (Mississippi State) and McMahon (LSU) and Paris (South Carolina) are going to be compared and contrasted for seasons to come -- unless some get fired before that.
    My biggest advice to him would be to avoid very bad seasons. Especially after the first couple of seasons. Linear growth is tolerated at Mizzou, but down seasons after a coach gets settled don't go over well. 
  • Is Mo seriously going to start the season with a 40 year old anchor pitcher, two Formerly injured pitchers a number 4 starter for the Mets and a bunch of hope?
    If that's the way you're choosing to view it, yes.
    Cardinals are not advertising or hinting at any starter-type additions from the outside at this time.
    They're confident it'll work out better than leaning on internal options after last season's spring turbulence caused a ripple effect of starting pitching issues.
    We'll see.
    Nick Leddy is not good defensively, has an expiring contract, and was not what was needed for the left side. A second round pick, sunny and Walman was too much. Leddy is a smaller and older Walman. I’m sure most fans would have rather the blues did nothing, rather than this trade. Sure seems like dog was under pressure to do something, anything, aka Leddy
    He signed a five-year extension less than a year ago.
    I don't think he made the move for hot-seat reasons.
    I think he made it because he thinks it can help this team now, and potentially turn into an extension if the fit works, or some much-needed cap space if he moves on. I know everybody loves Sundqvist, but the injuries raised some question about how he ages out long-term, and his contract was going to get harder to manage with the cap. Don't forget the cap. It makes it impossible to keep every fan favorite forever.
    It sounded like Dylan Carlson has a little more pop in his bat this season this year. If he can stays healthy what are good expectations of him this year.
    He hit the snot out of that home run the other day in Port St. Lucie.
    The team believes he's going to grow into his power at this level.
    That's what I'd like to see more of this year. More thump, without hunting it. It's in there.
    Ben,

    DG doesn't think the Cardinals have enough pitching depth. Even with a weak NL central, are we going to see a repeat of last season with an innings crises in June? If the quantity the Cardinals have bet on doesn't turn into quality, how soon will they react?
    That's the fear, and it's rooted in the reality of last season.
    I can understand the Cardinals wanting to give their depth a test.
    I understood that last season.
    But if it doesn't work, you can't then shrug and say there's no move to make. You have to fix the mistake, if this turns into a mistake.
    One thing to mention that is different from last season is the emphasis on strike-throwers. The guys who jacked up the walk rate last season during the spiral are mostly gone. I think only one of the top seven starting pitchers in terms of walk rate from last season are back, and that's Johan Oviedo, who is at least for now on the outside looking in on the rotation competition.
    Strikes paired with this defense will work, as long as the ball doesn't leave the park.
    Walks won't be tolerated very well.
    I think that approach has changed, even if the relying-on-depth approach has not.
    As disciplined as our FO is with total salary dollars, could we be on a small budget for any additional signings after all the arbitration hearings? How much of a raise do you think Bader, TO, and Jack get?... I think extending those three and Hudson and Edman and.... could really push our budget
  • Flaherty and the Cardinals have settled for $5 million this season, avoiding arbitration. TBD on the others but we will know soon enough if there's been an agreement or if arbitration hearings are the route. O'Neill's going to be really interesting. He's got power, speed, awards (Gold Gloves and MVP consideration) and metrics on his side. He's the most interesting extension candidate to me, but I'd like to see him prove this season that he can stay healthy before I'd give him that kind of deal, if it was up to me. I wouldn't expect the Cardinals' payroll position changing drastically in terms of where it ranks among other teams, under this leadership. They're going to be upper-tier but not top. If that payroll can be dominated by contracts to performing drafted-and-developed guys, the Cardinals would be big fans  of that. That's their whole model, more or less.
    I think El Hombre was the greatest of my generation. However, I don't understand why anyone would pine for him to be on the roster. Smacks of giving M. Carpenter an extension for absolutely no reason and all he got besides $ 40M was grief.
    Albert would not be getting that kind of money. Matt Carpenter made $18.5 million last season. That's more than Paul DeJong will make this season and next, combined, before the Cardinals can cut ties via the team option if they like. The money matters.
    Where does SLU look for a new Women's BB coach - a successful JC program? My choice would be Incarnate Word high school coach. Watching his teams play epitomizes defense and offensive explosiveness. However, I doubt he would leave his successful development program.
    Normally, I'd be against the notion of assuming a high school coach could make that jump without some serious risk involved. And there would be some risk, but Rolfes runs a high school program as much like a college program as you probably can, and he's got a track record of developing players who go play at powerhouses nationwide. So, yes, I would consider it. Strongly.
    Not that I care that much, but does Dickerson give the Cards $4 million more in value than Moran? I bet if we had paid Moran a bit more than the $1 million he would have played here.
    He could, yes.
    Moran has never hit more than 13 home runs. He's never slugged more than .429 in a full season.
    Dickerson has three 20-plus homer seasons and a career .488 slugging percentage.
    Dickerson has talked about how he thinks he can get his swing and approach back to how he was hitting in Tampa, when he was powering up.
    If he can do that, he has a ceiling that Moran can't match offensively.
    Tyler O Neil, 40 HRs—over or under?
  • Under. If he stays off the injured list all season, I could be wrong.
  • Should the Cardinals take advantage of the Yankees' catching situation and trade Kniz there for a decent reliever? I think Ali Sanchez is good enough to be a backup
    Probably not a good idea considering current context. Molina reported to camp a week delayed, admitted he's not in catching shape yet and said he's going to need four or five days to have his timing synced up at the plate. Knizner is ready to start now and would be the No. 1 starter on multiple MLB teams, if he was not playing behind a future Hall of Famer. He's going to play more this season than previous Molina seasons, I think. Perhaps quite a bit more.
    Do you think that U of I donors can create enough NIL resources to keep Kofi in college next year?
    They will try. There's some big money in that fanbase. And he got, what, something around $1 million this year. As the kids say, yesterday's price is not today's price. Inflation is real.
    Any other names out there the Cardinals could trade for or sign via FA?
    After picking up Dickerson, I don't expect any big splashes before start of the season.
    DeWitt indicated team is pretty much set, back when he was asked about Albert Pujols speculation.
    Kudos to the Mizzou staff for not letting five angry voices on the internet pick the next coach. Any feedback on why they went this direction.? What made him stand apart.
    Matter and Hochman are there in CoMo for the introductory press conference, where Mizzou athletics director Desiree Reed-Francois and system president Mun Choi discussed why Gates was the hire for the first time. So, look for those interviews at the site soon. They have to be impressed by what he did at Cleveland State. That place was in terrible shape when he showed up, and he was hired there late in the season. He stabilized things then made a huge jump the next season and mostly sustained it without big dips. His recruiting background at Florida State, which Leonard Hamilton has turned into a quiet NBA launching pad, helped. Chicago ties should help recruiting in midwest. Everyone I know who has interacted with him is impressed with his ability to communicate and coach. I do think other SEC programs wanted him along with Mizzou, if that matters.
    BenFred, to take off of what Gary was saying most sites only has the Cardinals as a 38% chance of making the playoffs right now. National reporters outside of the st.louis media see this teams major flaws and don’t understand why the team hasn’t spent to upgrade. As for Yepez from what I seen so far from him this spring he looks like he needs another year in the minors. So I understand why fans would say we might as well have a final goodbye year to Albert,Yadi, and Waino if we are not contending this year.
  • Don't get it twisted.
    I'm not telling Cardinals fans they shouldn't want more, expect more, demand more, etc. 
    When playoffs expand, getting in and immediately getting bounced is not much of an accomplishment, especially when that World Series wait is adding up.
    I'm just having a hard time realistically not seeing the Cardinals as a playoff team, knowing the state of the division and the increased size of the postseason.
    I was excited when Cuonzo came to MU and I guess I was wrong about how good he would be. I'm looking at Dennis Gates and wondering how he's going to be any better than Cuonzo; they look incredibly similar on paper though I like Cuonzo's background more. What should a casual fan look for from Gates that is going to make his tenure at MU end differently than Cuonzo's? Does he crush the NIL game? Better at Xs and Os? Play an uptempo, fun to watch, style of basketball? Here's to hoping I'm as wrong about Gates as I was about Cuonzo.
    Creating some sustainable and high-level recruiting of high school talent is a must. Things too often got sideways on Martin there. When his worst season arrived, the talent lined up for the future, other than Aidan Shaw who is now back on the market, didn't discourage those eager to make a change. NIL goes hand in hand with that. For whatever reasons -- some blame Martin, some blame those who could have helped Martin -- the NIL traction that Mizzou has developed for the football team was not there for Martin's basketball team. I know you guys get tired of he harping about NIL, but a coach in the SEC is going to be fighting uphill without something going there. Whether you like the idea or not, players are asking what they're going to make at schools.
    Seeing some positive comments from Marmol on Gorman's hitting. What's your take on his chances at breaking in with the club to start the year? Mo had previously cautioned with being careful with his development. Does 2-3 starts at DH, 1 at 2B and a few pinch-hit opportunities a week cross him into the "enough action" category, in your opinion?
    I expect Gorman to start the season in Memphis, with Dickerson/Yepez/Nootbaar/Sosa canvassing the DH chances along with the half-off days the Cardinals are going to be baking into the DH role for guys like Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt.
    If Gorman starts tearing it up in Memphis, or there is a lack of DH production, things could change pretty fast.
    Gorman got praised a lot by Marmol the other day because he beat the shift.  I think Marmol wanted to specifically praise him for doing that. A good reminder that guys can do it, and should. Cardinals are increasingly done with the pretend belief that the only thing you can do against the shift is hit into its teeth. Thankfully.
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