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.

    Hey gang, thanks for swinging by the Tuesday discussion/debate. Hope you enjoyed opening day. Blues are hot, hot, hot shipping up to Boston. Travis Ford and Dennis Gates are 'cruitin' . . . We will go where you take us, as always. Fire away.
    Anything you’ve seen so far that moves the needle on your expectations for Mizzou’s 22-23 season? Do Diarra and Shaw look like significant upgrades over what we lost in Brazille and Picket? The new guards both seem more like role players. I’m sure they can contribute in some capacity, but a lot is riding on who Gates is able to bring in to run the point. Do you see anything yet to suggest this team can be competitive?
    Getting Aidan Shaw to come back to Mizzou after re-opening his commitment was big. I think he's going to be a good player, and I don't quite know how it happened where the highest-ranked non-Porter commitment since Jeremiah Tilmon was described as something close to not a loss if he wound up going elsewhere after the coaching change. He can help, and it's a good early win for Gates that he got him to buy back in.
    Mohamed Diarra was the top-ranked junior college prospect. That's a big add. Hopefully projections for him were correct.
    I'm less impressed with bringing players along from Cleveland State and pulling players out of places like Milwaukee, but we will see how they pan out. I'm not expecting Mizzou to be a world-beater next season. That would be unfair to Gates. He needs some time to put his stamp on things. There are growing pains that come with a coaching change, especially when the hire is a young, promising coach instead of a proven one.
    Would you agree that if Schldt had play Arozarena and he was our left fielder that O’Neil would possibly not be a Cardinal now because he would not have any playing time to go through the growing pains he went through.
    O'Neill can play multiple outfield positions. So can Arozarena. There is as good of a chance it would have been an outfield mix of O'Neill, Arozarena and Carlson, with Harrison Bader being the one who was left out. Didn't play out that way, but assuming O'Neill or Arzozarena was the only hypothetical is not entirely accurate.
    Matz is Moe’s great free agent pickup? 4 years?
    A disappointing first start, but hard to read too much beyond that. Two things to watch. Blisters. They have bothered Matz in the past and affected his workload at times. He has one and it affected his feel for pitches in that problematic third inning. Does it stick around and become an early-season storyline? Hopefully not. The other thing: The knock on Matz in New York was that games could come undone on him in a hurry. He could spinout and not get back on track, bad could turn to worse, avalanche-style. His first start here was kind of an example. That's something to keep an eye on moving forward.
    How else to explain the front office hints other than a wink and a nod that this is most likely Waino's last season before retiring?
  • The front office doesn't make that decision though.
    Wainwright does.
    The front office can decide it's Wainwright's last season pitching for the Cardinals, but not that it's his last season pitching.
    He said very clearly at spring training that he is going to have a hard time walking away when he's feeling this good and having this much fun.
    He looked like he was feeling good and having fun in the home opener.
    Wainwright has said that he likely retires as the end of the year, and he has suggested he would be very likely to walk away if the Cardinals win it all this season, but he is not being coy for no reason. He hasn't made up his mind -- even as the team promotes the "last ride" idea for Pujols, Molina and Wainwright.
    The crack of the ball of Jordan Walker's bat on his first HR of the season was a sweet, sweet sound.
    He's made some stellar plays at third base, too. And not gonna lie, I liked the fire he showed after getting hit with one too many pitches, too. He's got a presence, even at 19, that is clear despite playing up at Class AA. Impressive player.
    Kind of sad that Marmol/Schumacher didn't put Albert in the game over the weekend. Come on! One at bat can't hurt.
    That's . . . not how this is going to work, though. Opening day was opening day. Oliver Marmol was not going to snap that streak of 22 consecutive opening-day starts. After that, it's about winning games, and using Pujols when he can help you do that. I mean this respectfully. If you are going to games in person or watching only to see Pujols, you will be best off studying the upcoming opponents and buying tickets and/or tuning in when there is a left-handed starter on the mound for the opposing team. If not, there is a good chance you are going to be disappointed. That's the plan at the start. Prioritize Pujols against left-handed pitching and use the Corey Dickerson and Lars Nootbaar combination for right-handed starters. Performance can change things. Say Pujols gets hot, or Dickerson slumps. There are right-handed pitchers the Cardinals like Pujols against, and he will get some starts against them. But right now the Cardinals are sticking to their plan, and that plan was never advertised as Pujols being an every-day guy. Don't kill the messenger :)
    What kind of contract locks O’Neill up?
    He seemed upbeat leaving camp that there had been some productive talks on that front. I think I said it last week, but to me a deal similar to Bader in structure -- not necessarily price -- that gets O'Neill through his arbitration years should be within reach for both sides. It's the free agency years that get trickier. I would be hesitant to give O'Neill a long offer because I'd like to see him stay healthy for the majority of the season one more time. If he can put his injury issues behind him for two seasons in a row, it will be time to pay the man.
    I am pro-labor from also can understand why it is worth playing it out with O'Neil given his track record and the fact they have him under club control through the 2024 season when he will be entering his age-30 season.
    Yep. Cardinals have most of the leverage here. No need to give it away.
  • Agree completely with your assessment of Arozarena and the outfield situation. The lack of playing time given him when it was obvious he needed to be in the lineup is on Shildt. The trade will neutralize to a wash if Libertore has 40 quality starts in the next 3 years.
    You're telling me you don't think the front office, especially this one, has any influence on who plays and who does not?
    The term "all in" has been used a lot by fans and media, and even by DeWitt this spring. He made it clear that this franchise does not operate like that, but can we get a working definition of "all in"? The Marcel Ozuna trade profiles as example of what a lot of fans would like to see this club do at the deadline, trading the #6, #9, and #14 prospect for two years of control over an All-Star player. A move like that is also probably necessary for this team if they are serious about chasing a chip. And since they have done this once before it must not be an "all in" move because they don't go "all in." So we can expect a trade that may include the likes of a Yepez, Thompson, and Rondon this summer, yes?
    DeWitt has never said "all in" to my knowledge.
    He did stress that he didn't bring back Pujols to go on a nostalgia tour, and mentioned wanting to push for a "potential championship."
    That's about as bold as you're going to hear him get, which is something to take note of, but it wasn't an all-in claim.
    He does not believe in blowing up future success to chase bigger success now.
    He believes in sustained success and thinks that's the best chance to win it all most often.
    Sure, there are ways to tweak that model without abandoning it, and this would be a year to tweak it to aggressive mode.
    But view it within the context of what matters most to the team.
    The Cardinals have bee adamant about not trading Gorman, Liberatore, and Walker.
    Those would be trade chips that would have to be moved in an all-in mode.
    I'm not advocating for it. But those are the top prospects, and all-in teams usually ship out top prospects for certainty now.
    How aggressive the Cardinals will be during the season is for them to prove, not for me to guess. They have a pretty lackluster recent track record of trying to improve the team at or before the trade deadline, most recently because the team has not looked like a legitimate threat come that time. It should this season, in this division. If not, the front office didn't do enough this offseason. 
    Also, complicating any negotiations with O'Neill is this one little note...Agents: Boras Corporation
    Boras is everybody's favorite baseball punching bag, but players flock to him for a reason. He's a counter-balance to the owners.
    Hi Ben. I 'm really enjoying the Pinch Hits site so far and Daniel is doing great work. Any thoughts of him hosting a weekly chat?
    Thanks for checking it out and reporting back. Really excited to have Daniel on our team. I think he's going to be producing a lot more multimedia and interactive pieces -- perhaps a chat in there -- as he builds up his expertise on the farm system. Stay tuned.
    Any update on what STL has done with the NFL lawsuit money? Also, any updates on what the NFL owners reaction to Kroenke is now? Is he still seeking money from them, or is he bucking up?
  • At last check, the money is in a trust while the parties decide how to divide it and use it, and others are claiming it's unfair that there aren't clearer answers about how it's going to be split and used. So, nothing unpredictable. Everybody will want their cut. Everybody who doesn't get what they want will claim they were wronged. It's politics now. Hopefully they come up a use that makes sense years from now. That's my only hope, that it doesn't get squandered away. I've given up on the notion of everybody agreeing with how it gets used/invested. That's an impossible ask.
    The fight about how the money sent to STL region is divvied up remains ongoing. Not that this is STL's problem. The money is in the bank. How the league settles it on its own end after reportedly taking out a credit line to pay STL is up to the league. Ultimately it will be decided by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. There are owners who think Kroenke is being cheap and a bad business partner (shocker), and there are owners, Kroenke and powerful Jerry Jones among them, who think everybody should chip in to help Kroenke cover the cost because he spearheaded the Los Angeles expansion and because there were some obstacles put in his path by owners. There's a committee assigned to make a call, but let's not kid ourselves. Goodell will decide, eventually. Not that it affects STL much either way. 
    BenFred, I was sad to learn of Pujol’s divorce. Did he really have to announce it in a press conference, though? You guys don’t go around digging into players personal lives, anyway, right?
    He didn't announce it in a press conference. He released a statement through his agent. To the paper and national media outlets. No one asked him for it, to my knowledge. This is a pretty common way to do it. Especially if a person or couple feels like the news is going to come out in a way they don't want it to. Like TMZ, perhaps. When Pujols was with the Cardinals while Deidre was in surgery, questions started. The optics were off. The statement answered questions and requested privacy between the two moving forward. I think he handled it the best way he could, statement-wise. Timing, not ideal. Obviously. Flip a coin. That's the divorce rate in America these days. If this is Pujols' worst off-field story of a two-plus decade career, he's done a pretty good job of not winding up in the tabloids.
    Any relevant news on the XFL front? I think everyone was expecting teams to finally be announced last week when they just came out with their new branding that has only been met with yawns and cease usage orders from I can see. Isn't their plan to be playing games at this point next year? Kind of hard to do without teams.
    Sorry, I've got nothing. I don't think they are doing a very good job of building excitement. The video released lately showed the STL team. As I've said before, they have been in communication with The Dome about what a return would look like, and they would be crazy to not have a team here based on the success it had. Most of their news releases have been word salad without any details on specifics.
    BenFred, I'm saying DeWitt claimed they DO NOT operate "all in" ever. But If the Ozuna trade happened once before it can happen again, right? That was my point.
    No one should want the Ozuna trade to happen again.
    Sandy Alcantara is a Marlin because of it, and he's an absolute stud starter, one of the must underrated in baseball.
    I do think the Cardinals can and should be in position to make aggressive upgrades during this season, though. We can agree on that! 
    Busch Stadium is rocking. The Pujols-Palooza is printing money. Look around. Not every stadium and team can say the same. The Cardinals have wiggle room in payroll, and there will before too long be teams looking to sell off and cut their losses. The Cardinals could be in position to take on good players -- like a starting pitcher -- with a hefty salary that minimizes the prospect ask.
    That's how I see this shaping up. Take on salary to keep from giving away promising prospects.
    Assuming the team means no disrespect to Waino to include him in their sentimental journey campaign of Yadi and Albert, is there really much downside in showing Adam a little extra love and gratitude this season even if it turns out he ultimately decides to play on?
    Nothing wrong with it at all.
    I just wouldn't -- and won't -- phrase it as one last ride for all three, because only two have said it is the last ride.
  • Do you think the Cardinals would operate different if they were in a division like the NL East where at least 3 teams always seem to be pretty active and aggressive? Do you think they'd survive with their "conservative" approach?
    The Cardinals are aware of what goes on around them and in their division, as much as they insist they only focus on their shop. Right now they are seeing a NL Central that is not as competitive as it once was.
    Best bet for wins and quality starts in fantasy baseball: Hudson, Mikolas or Matz?
    You guys know me by now. I'm always higher on Hudson than most.
    Awesome seeing Tiger out there last weekend. The sport is better when he is out there. But I found it strange that his return was covered as if he overcame some sort of disease or tragedy? Also, at no point did he acknowledge that everything he is dealing with and working through was self-inflicted. He should be commended for his work ethic, his grit, and his commitment to greatness, but also take a second to remind people not to do the same dumb thing he did.
    It was a one-car crash the authorities deemed an accident. Lighten up, Tack. Plenty of reasons to bash on Wood, if that's your thing. This one feels like a bit of a reach. If every person whose bad driving got them into a wreck became a spokesperson against dumb driving, we would have more spokespeople than drivers.
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