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, happy Tuesday. Lots to get into this week so no need to waste time on the intro. Cardinals in Miami. White-hot Blues vs. Boston with Husso in net tonight. SLU feeling down side of transfer portal with Yuri Collins news. Mizzou decision-makers in STL tonight for an event. Plenty to dig into. Let's roll.
    Why does Mo always have to insist he’s the smartest person in baseball.
    This guy from Japan will be just as good as anybody else.
    I know PDJ will come back and be better than ever.
    Hicks gonna be a two inning starter it’ll be great.
    The youngest least experienced manager in baseball great!
    I could go on
    I'm unaware of him saying that. Would be something if he did. Bold claim. The Cardinals are far from the only front office that seems to take pride in trying to prove its model is correct. Could that plan be tweaked to add more certainty? You bet. I've been calling for that for a long time. But having a model, a plan and conviction is not something to shrug off. See what has happened with the Reds. They point in a different direction every year, and the losing continues. Starting pitching, shortstop and the managerial change are the areas the front office was most bullish on their way being better than what anyone else thought. And those are key elements to how this season will play out, and how the front office should be judged. Fair?
    BenFred,
    The next 6 weeks will be a critical period for the Cardinals with the potential for putting a lot of stress on the pitching staff. Hoping for the best from pitchers recovering from injuries and on pitch limitations is risky and another quality starter may be needed sooner, not later. Supposedly, the front office learned lessons about burnout last season. Will the front office will be more proactive in acquiring a difference-maker or two this year if/when the pitching staff is over exposed? Thanks.
    They should be if they are serious about not repeating last year's mistakes. Walks will really hurt this team, just like last season. The walk-a-thon can't return. Period. The Cardinals have the benefit of the extended roster until May begins. Flaherty is progressing through his program. The Cardinals will want to get a sense of where he's at and what he can provide before they make a big move, I'd imagine.
    Every company has an organizational chart showing where each position is located and who they report to. For the Cardinals, it appears Jeff Albert reports directly to the front office, bypassing the Manager, and existing outside the rest of the coaching chain. Is that true? And if so, is that common in other teams as well?
    Albert is the team's hitting coach, listed under the manager and coaches section of the Cardinals chart.
    At least, officially.
    Is that the best way to define his role?
    It does not seem so.
    The Cardinals have made it clear that Albert was hired to do more than just focus on the guys in the dugout. He has been tasked with ushering what the Cardinals feel is the future of hitting, and installing the processes that will make sure future Cardinals are on line with the plan, familiar with the technology the team will be using, and so on. The front office really, really wants Albert to succeed. One because it thought he was the right guy for this task. And two because it has double down on him multiple times as the transition has taken longer than anyone could have hoped. Albert seems to finally have a really good-fitting assistant in Turner Ward, and the communication problems that the team noticed and discussed seems to have improved. Some of the performance of younger hitters in the Albert-led overhaul have been encouraging. This season, to me, needs to be the one that feels like an organization-wide breakthrough. If the Cardinals overcame a bunch of speed bumps to figure out the right role for Albert and how the staff needs to be structured around him to make sure major league hitters have the right mix of analytics, advanced tech and boots-on-the-ground advice, this could work. If not, there is no one else to blame for going against Albert's grain. Marmol is on board with his plan. Hitting coaches who have clashed have been shipped out. There should be no more communication issues.
    Binnington seems to be getting into a groove at the right time and Husso' s game has leveled off. Do you think the Chief will continue to rotate both goalies in the playoffs or pick one and ride that horse till it drops?
    I think he will play both unless one clearly takes the job away from the other, through excellent performance or a lack thereof from the challenger. Especially leading up to the playoffs, give both a fair shake. See if someone emerges ahead or if it's best to attempt to rotate throughout the run. If the Blues keep scoring a million goals per game it takes pressure off the situation, but that's going to be hard to keep up during the playoffs.
    Eight games, eighty games, I think we see where this is heading with DeJong. Two full seasons suggest a pattern of futility with an occasional interlude of power, followed by more futility. But if Mo wants to run this ship into the ground before he yells “uncle” so be it. My fear is that if the team keeps winning then the organization will take the attitude of “he’s doing enough for us.” But that approach, as with any roster weakness in the recent past, is what gets the team exposed annually in October and puts the Cards back at home before the divisional series.
    If you are calling a season after 24 at-bats, you are seeing what you want to see.
    Being skeptical about DeJong is fair. He was a big topic this offseason because of that. He had a good spring, which was encouraging. If he continues to provide below-average production at the minimized role of the No. 6 spot, then those who bailed on him early are going to be able to take their victory lap. And the Cardinals are going to look bad for not upgrading the position in the offseason of the shortstop. I want to see more before deciding that's what is happening here. I think I said at spring that it's a good season for DeJong if he produces above-average production for his primary lineup spot while keeping up his underrated defense. So far he's got an OPS of .619 while the MLB average OPS for No. 6 hitters reads .643. Did I mention it's early? 
    Ben, of course no one knows how the season is going to play out. That's the beauty and the mystique of it. But...the add-ons from the offseason. Who's dat? Aaron Brooks. Drew Ver Hagen. Nick Wittgren. Corey Dickerson. We had money coming off the books. We had so much momentum from last year. We considered ourselves close to World Series contention. And we add those guys? They pitched well in Japan. Oh yeah. Japan. Why did they go to Japan? Because they couldn't get anybody out in America!!! Is that the best you could do Mo?
    You're talking to the guy who begged for Max Scherzer :)
    What would you see as the best case scenario for the Blues goalie situation this offseason?
    Best case for the Blues?
    That would be Jordan Binnington finding his groove and reminding everyone of the Cup-winning performance he had when the Blues won it all.
    He's got the contract and the commitment.
    That would lessen the blow of Husso departing after the season, which seems to be inevitable as he has proven to the league that he might be worth a shot at becoming someone's No. 1.
    If Husso takes command in the playoffs, the Blues are in a pickle. A deep run with the backup goalie would make it very hard to go back to Binnington, and to let Husso go.
    What happened to Goldy? He was HOT in the spring. Now he is Matt Carpenter 2. Is there a Mo directive that says Arenado and Goldy shouldn't play well at the same time?
    He broke out that new bat too soon! The numbers -- which are very risky to analyze this early -- show he's pulling everything and not barreling much. More fly balls than line drives. Getting pumped a lot of sliders. But the biggest thing? He's not seeing a lot of strikes. I'd like to see him jump some first-pitch offering to see if that can kickstart him.
    What kind of contract is Vladimir Tarasenko likely to command assuming another year of similar production in 2023?
  • Good question. Don't know. He's wrapping up his age-30 season, which works against him, but he has proven he can still be an elite scorer and has added distance from the injury discussion. The hardest part in predicting something like this is .... an unpredictable player, and an unpredictable agent. If Tarasenko has decided he wants to stay in St. Louis after all of the trade drama, he has to have a different view of an extension than if he wants to maximize top dollars on a team that isn't trying to be as competitive. It's about what he wants, how he views his value, and how much he factors in what kind of team he wants to play on moving forward.
  • I saw Tennessee listed as a potential landing spot for Collins, which would be a nice step up (sorry) for Yuri. I know you are aware of SEC rules because of covering/attending Mizzou, but do turnovers not count in SEC league play? Collins was #3... in the country in turnovers per game this year.
    Tennessee is high on Collins and likes its chance of landing him. New Vols assistant coach Rod Clark has ties with Collins and they appear to be strong. What Tennessee is thinking, I was told yesterday, is that Collins could/should have fewer turnovers surrounded by a higher talent. The risk factor I see is that the SEC is a bigger, more physical league than the A-10, and it's officiated differently. Collin's court vision plays at any level. If he can continue to develop his 3-point shot, he is impossible to guard, because you have to get up on him to stop the shot, and when you do that, he's gone by you and his team now has an advantage. I'm not blown away with the options Tennessee has in the forward department to maximize Collins in pick-and-roll situations. French and Okoro benefited from Collins but they also helped him stack up those assists. With the team Collins had coming back at SLU, I'm not 100 percent convinced this is the best move for him, but I understand why it's appealing, especially with the NIL money Tennessee throws around.
    Is Buchnevich the Blues best player? Making Army look like an absolute trade wizard.
    I'd argue Vladimir Tarasenko, but a case can be made.
    Buschnevich is the only player in the team's top-three in each of the following categories: goals (27, second); assists (42, third); points (69, third); and plus-minus (30, second).
    He has the fourth-most even-strength goals (18), the third-most power-play goals (seven), and is tied for Robert Thomas with the team lead in short-handed goals (two).
    Army, take a victory lap.
    Ben, has St. Louis received its monetary reward from the NFL yet and if so, what is the status of the money and who is the trusty over it?
    It has. It's in a trust as the powers at be decide how to split it and invest/use it between the groups that pursued the lawsuit together.
    Hypothetically, let's say Army signs Husso to a three year $3.5m deal in the off season. Can the Blues afford to carry $9.5m on their payroll just for goalies?
    The Blues have been one of the teams that have trended away from spending a big chunk of their payroll on two goalies. I don't predict them going back in that direction. I think they want Binnington to prove their confidence correct, and if so they are OK with Husso moving on. But if that doesn't happen and Husso leads a run, things could get interesting. Armstrong denied shopping Binnington before the trade deadline, but that doesn't mean discussions were not had.
    Seems Cards are close to being a complete team ready to compete with Dodgers, Giants, Mets, etc, even if not able to compete with their payrolls. However, they neglected to address the two obvious needs from the offseason in SS and Starters. Just blindly stating PDJ is our SS does not make it so. He continues to struggle and reinforce the notion that his 30 HR year was the outlier. Bravo for adding Matz, but anyone who watched last year realized we needed 2-3 starters who could stabilize the rotation to avoid the troubles from last year, which have unsurprisingly resurfaced from the onset of this year. Looks like a 90-92 win season, first round exit again, but at least there will be full houses so organization will continue to pat themselves on the back.
    As Marcus Denmon once said after Mizzou was bounced from the NCAA Tournament . . . "Is that a question?"
    Is DeJong going to me this year's version of Carpenter in the chats?
    And here I was assuming it was going to be Corey Dickerson!
    What do the Cardinals do with all of these pro-ready minor leaguers that may not have star power but have outgrown AAA ball? Luken Baker, Juan Yepez, Brendan Donovan etc.?
    I'm not putting Luken Baker in that group just yet.
    He's played 10 games at Class AAA.
    Yepez has played 100-plus.
    Both profile best as designated hitters in the majors, if they stick.
    Yepez is closer to getting that shot with the Cardinals than Baker, based on the Cardinals' decision-making with the roster and spring messaging before the Pujols return.
    Donovan has so many other ways he can break through and stick. He can play pretty much every single position and is a left-handed bat, making him way more versatile than Baker and Yepez.
    I think we will see Donovan this season at some point. He's one injury away at lots of positions.
    It's a harder path for Yepez and Baker, and the Cardinals added Corey Dickerson and Albert Pujols in their way.
    I think Yepez gets here. Baker could be a trade candidate for a DH-needy team?
    What about this trade proposal. When Flaherty gets his rehab done and makes a start or 2, trade Flaherty for Frankie Montas straight up. Both have same contract and arb years left. Montas is older but more reliable, Flaherty is not durable but has higher upside. He's not signing here. Oakland could flip him in the winter and get some quality pieces back. Cards could extend Montas or wait,but more importantly need a reliable #2/3 right now. Like now.
    You've heard from Jack that he'll never sign long-term with the Cardinals?
    That would be news.
    Sosa beat out DeJong fair and square last year. DeJong's numbers have regressed every season, and yet Sosa can't buy his way into a game this year. The Cardinals still owe DeJong a minimum of $17M on his contract (22, 23 + a buyout). That is why he is playing... contract politics. What actual evidence exists to prove this wrong?
    That's certainly one way to look at it. There's also the confidence the Cardinals have in DeJong that motivated them to give him that deal. They think his upside is higher than Sosa's, clearly, and they are trying to give him, once again, a chance to prove that true. If Sosa wins the job again with his performance compared to DeJong's, and that should absolutely be his goal, then the Cardinals probably should have upgraded their shortstop spot. That is very much one of the big themes of this season. Because it wasn't just DeJong or Sosa. It was Dejong, or Sosa, or a shortstop on the free-agent market who could turn out to be better than both. Multiple were available.
    Time at the scholarship max is short for Mizzou. Gates has tweeted out his "bat signal" again which generally means signing news is coming. I was thinking Roche, but I thought he had another visit planned for this weekend. Anyway, looks as though another fringe player from last year will be going off scholarship or leaving.
    I would pay zero attention to scholarship limits at this time.
    Guys have until May 1 to enter the transfer portal and play immediately elsewhere.
    Everything is in pencil until then, everywhere.
    Any chance Albert will get a start at 1st with his hot start and Goldy struggling?
  • Pujols is going to make some first-base starts when Goldy takes a turn at DH or gets a rare full day off, sure. It won't be because Goldschmidt is struggling. It will be because they're trying to bake in some more rest for their regulars because they think it will help over the long haul.
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