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, hope your Tuesday is off to a good start and that you're not dragging too bad after that late hockey start last night. Not a fan of the 8:30 p.m. games, but who is? What a statement by the Blues on the road. Everyone knew Ville Husso deserved the start, but no one knew how he would respond to that first playoff test. Pretty good answer to the test! Let's roll.
    Hey Ben, it was great to see the Blues last night play a vintage Berube style hockey game similar to the 2019 cup year in the sense that they blocked a ton of shots and played one of the best games on the forecheck that they have played all year (then mixed in a little 2022 blues with terrific special teams). Do you think that is something that this team held back on a little during the regular season and has the ability to play that tougher Berube style hockey the rest of the playoffs?
    They showed some flashes during the season of being able to ratchet up the physicality, so we knew they had it in them. At least for spurts. But sure, that was a question -- especially against the Wild. The Blues did a great job of being physical and not letting the Wild push them around. They were pretty good about not responding to some of the invitations to take preventable penalties but they'll need to stay on that. Proving their brand of high-flying, high-scoring hockey can be paired with the kind of defensive commitment and physicality the playoffs tend to require was a box they needed to check. They did that in Game 1. And Husso cleared up some mistakes, too. 
    FWIW: Emily Kaplan of ESPN reported this morning that WIld captain Jared Spuregeron is not going to have a hearing with the department of player safety after what appeared to be an attempt to blow out Pavel Buchnevich's knee. That was as dirty of a development you will see on the ice, and that's saying something. He's probably going to catch a fine, but will not be surprised if he has some response coming his way from the Blues.
    How does mizzou compete with such strong SEC teams with their endless NIL. Another example mizzou is trying to get the 7 5 player from Western Kentucky, Memphis University basketball has FedEx to give NIL and I know they are very interested in him. I hope Mizzou can figure out a way to get good players with smaller NIL money.
    The player you mentioned is Jamarion Sharp, and I can pass along some good news.
    There is optimism coming out of CoMo that he's going to be a Tiger.
    As we have learned with the transfer portal, never count eggs before they hatch.
    But Tigers had been linked to the 7-foot-5 (yes, 7-foot-5) rim protector before he ever entered the portal. He played at John A Logan, the junior college new Tigers assistant Kyle Smithpeters worked at before joining Dennis Gates at Mizzou.
    The best way for Mizzou to compete in NIL era is to get more competitive NIL money.
    That's really it.
    The groups that have launched to help Mizzou are not moving as fast or as big as places like Tennessee and other SEC programs.
    Good morning, Mr. Frederickson. Thank you for your time and the chat. If you were GM for the Cardinals, what would you do about the Offensive Black Hole at shortstop as DeJong's two-year struggle continues? The time to add an impact, free-agent bat at that position has passed, and the trade market really doesn't seem to offer that much. Do you simply hope that the offense picks up enough to carry DeJong's glove at the position? Do you move Edman over to SS and weaken two positions defensively, and hope the resulting boost in offense offsets the reduction in defense? (To me, DeJong is suffering from Matt Carpenter Syndrome: he's saying all the right things about making changes, but the results and the approach still look the same,) Also, at what point do you consider making Gorman the DH instead of Corey Dickerson? I know Gorman strikes out a lot, but he certainly has more power potential than Dickerson. Thank you.
    I would have added a proven and pricy DH entering the season, or upgraded shortstop in a free-agent offseason that revolved around the position. One or the other. This is not hindsight. The Cardinals had two pretty big what-ifs in their lineup -- shortstop and DH -- and they told DeJong he was their guy during the holidays and pledged prospects could fill the DH hole before switching gears late to platoon late adds Albert Pujols and Corey Dickerson. The DH production has been OK, not great, not bad, just OK. Cards rank 15th in MLB at DH OPS. The shortstop production has been abysmal. Cardinals are second-to-last in MLB in SS OPS. Now, what to do now? Cardinals don't seem eager to do anything quite yet. They are changing the public tone about DeJong, from believing he will produce to saying now they need him to or will have to consider alternatives. If there's a team out there that thinks it can fix him, maybe there's a trade to be made that is similar to what the Brewers pulled off for Willy Adames last season? Gorman is a more likely possible answer. He is forcing the issue with his power in Class AAA. I'm not quite buying the big fear the Cardinals have about moving Tommy Edman off of second base, because they were the ones who let Gorman shift to that position after trading for Arenado. It's also worth remembering that the Cardinals let a Gold Glove second baseman walk (Kolten Wong) not knowing that Tommy Edman would be as good as he has been there. With shifting and shading, there are ways that Edman could help Gorman out at second as the shortstop, and ways that Nolan Arenado could help Edman out at shortstop, and so on. I'm just hesitant to go all in on the idea that the Cardinals don't think they can move Edman off second, at least some of the time, if Gorman keeps popping homers in Memphis. Especially because Gorman, as you suggested, could get work at DH too. The Cardinals are slugging .319 against right-handed pitching. While Corey Dickerson has done some good things, but he is slugging -- not averaging, slugging -- .214 against right-handed pitching. Gorman did not have a great spring and the Cardinals seem to be challenging him to prove it longer because of that, but he "kicks the door down" sooner rather than later if he keeps hitting like this. And I'm not saying he won't get up here and struggle. That has been his track record during his rise. Promotion. Struggle. Continued surge. I think the Cardinals want to avoid promoting him as the potential savior of the offense, but this is the position they have created.
    Please tell me there will be a pitch clock next year. It is ridiculous how long it takes some pitchers to throw the ball.
    Fingers crossed. It can't get here soon enough. This story from Daniel Guerrero for STL Pinch Hits did a great job digging into the numbers and how time is being slashed off from games in the minors. As you will see, some opinions are mixed, but it's interesting to me how many like it. No one enjoys marathon games that are long for no reason. 

    League-wide pitch clock and other new rules shorten games in minor leagues

    STL Pinch HitsSince April 15, Memphis's average time of play has shrunk down to two hours and 26 minutes, making it its quickest average time in 10 seasons
    It seems mo is getting impatient with deyong too with his comments from Sunday. Kind of surprised he usually gives players time to get out of funks.
    I interpreted them the same way. Before the season started, Mozeliak was questioning anyone who questioned the team for expecting DeJong to bounce back. Now he's putting pressure on DeJong. A not so subtle change in the direction this is trending at the moment.
    Hello Ben

    Good article today on Jeff Albert and the team's hitting struggles. One thing not mentioned is that the STL team batting the last four years (under Jeff Alberts tutelage) are the four worst STL team batting totals in the last 35 years. He can't blame that on the balls. On top of that we have seen numerous times the last four years where a player has left STL and has flourished. I fear that if DeJong went elsewhere he would bat over .300. Also, I'm sorry, when over half of your starting lineup is hitting under the Mendoza line then that is on the coach. DeJong, Carlson, O'Neil, Dickerson. Donovan, Sosa didn't all just forget how to hit. Albert is pushing them to over-analyze hitting. Shildt went back to basics and the players started hitting well. Albert is screwing them up. (Arenado and Goldschmidt are hitting because they are proven hitting veterans and I doubt listen to anything Albert says.)
    There's only so much space in the paper. I was more focused on this season. I've written about the offensive production, or lack thereof, under Albert at various times over previous seasons. The Cardinals clearly caught their groove last season during the surge. It is that offense that the front office believed this season's one would build off of. So, going back pre-surge is fine to judge Albert's entire of body of work, but perhaps not quite as critical to what is going on this season. What strikes me as most concerning is that the numbers that the Cardinals pointed to when the offense was struggling last season -- high exit velocities, good hard-hit rate, high barrel percentage and so on -- are not good right now. They're actually worse than what the production of the offense indicates. That's not good.
    The Cards opted to not upgrade the shortstop position when alternatives were available. Paul Dejong will likely be dealt at the end of the season, Sosa has proven to be a good backup but not much else, and Edman doesn’t have the arm to play shortstop. While most people want to blame the POBO, put me down for passing this onto the owner who has become accustomed to fielding mediocre teams that have a chance to make wildcard but not much else.
    It wasn't DeWitt who told DeJong over Thanksgiving that he was not going to be traded.
    It was Mozeliak.
    If DeJong surges this season, the Cardinals' commitment to him looks really smart, because they stood by their guy when there were multiple options at the position available on the free-agent market, or in trades on top of that.
    Instead the Cardinals took themselves out of the running before things really got started.
    If DeJong does not pull out of the slide, the front office, to me, looks like it rushed to be on the sideline of the shortstop migration when it did not have to be, and perhaps got burned for it.
    Any thoughts on Gerry Bohanon?
    My SEC source (not at Mizzou) suggested he would be Mizzou's starter on day one if the Tigers can land him. Said he would "greatly" help Mizzou's QB situation. Considering this is the third transfer QB Eli Drinkwitz has welcomed to campus this offseason, it's pretty safe to assume he is not feeling so great about the QB talent he has in hand outside of incoming freshman Sam Horn, who is a baseball draft risk. Bohanon was Baylor's full-time starter when healthy in 21. That team won 10 games. One was a 14-point win against Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl. He can run and pass, which means he can stretch the pocket and do some of the things Connor Bazelak could not, and has some of the proven experience some of the other Mizzou in-house options do not. I like his game more than JT Daniels I think, for what Mizzou is trying to do in a Drinkwitz offense.
    What does the department of player safety in the NHL actually do? Because it isn't disciplining players for egregious attempts to injure.
    No kidding. That was mafia style. If the league isn't going to clean it up, the Blues will, I imagine.
    If you would, please present a counter argument to my cynicism regarding the shortstop position. I believe, given this front office’s penchant for “internal options” to address glaring roster issues, that Mo & Co. want DeJong to continue to start for as long as it is bearable and preferably as close to the trade deadline as possible. Because then it allows Sosa, whose 2021 performance they are seemingly preserving under glass so far this season, to become the “answer” at SS versus having to make a trade for a proven commodity. They will conveniently tell us how Sosa was able to step in during last year’s 17-game win streak for DeJong so he can do it again too.
    I'll pass on that invitation.
    You all know how I felt about the situation before the season started.
    If you're going to bet on DeJong, add a proven bopper at DH.
    If you're not doing to add a proven bopper at DH, look to upgrade shortstop.
    The Cardinals backed DeJong and kind of, sort of made some late additions to help out the DH spot.
    Pujols is working against left-handers, but the DH production against right-handers is not good.
    If the Cardinals believed Sosa could be a starter, we would be seeing more of him now. 
    They think he's a bench guy. He doesn't agree with that, but he's always going to have to prove them wrong, and he's not doing as well at it this season as he did last, at least not through month one.
    Gorman is going to enter the equation at some point if he keeps hitting and the shortstop position keeps struggling in STL. That's where this trends, I think. The Cardinals just don't want to make that big change yet, because they want some more time for DeJong to try to snap out of it, they want some more time for Gorman to keep proving it and sharpening his second base, they want some more time to figure how the defense could work, they want some more time to see if Corey Dickerson can hit for some power, and they want some more time before they admit one of their big offseason pillars -- betting on DeJong -- was a mistake.
    Hello ben, I don’t get the not calling up Nolan Gorman deal? I guess since Paul Dejong is under contract until 2024 they will let him not hit a baseball until then and let Gorman waste away in the minors while our clubs continue to lose ballgames.
    You've been around long enough to know how fast the Cardinals can change a tune.
    Gorman will debut this season.
    They just don't want to do it quite yet.
    Ben, great article this morning and great podcast with Derrick! Let Nolan Gorman know that I will buy the door that you suggested in the podcast. I know the Cardinals want to get Nolan Gorman more reps at second base, but the anemic offense could sure use a power left-handed bat at DH and use Dickerson as a 4th OF. Your thoughts.....
    Thanks, Bob. For those who did not get a chance to listen, I joked that Gorman should have a front door sent to Mozeliak's office with a boot print in the middle. The Cardinals keep challenging him to kick the door down, not knock on it.
    Be wary of buying the team line on Gorman as a sufficient 2B. He's a DH. Every scouting report indicates he lacks a good first step / lateral quickness and doesn't have great hands. Shifting and a strong arm only do so much. Put him as your left handed DH and find a suitable SS.
    I've watched him play second base. For a guy who is still learning it on the fly, that's a pretty rough projection just tagged to him. Could he be a DH long-term? Sure. And if the Cardinals were ready to determine that when he's 21, they could. Instead I think they're a little more interested in finding out what he can be defensively, because they have been encouraged by his progress at second since making the switch after the Arenado addition. If Gorman is up, I don't think he starts every day at second. But he's gonna need to play the field some if the Cardinal care at all about continuing his development on defense, and I think they do. That complicates this somewhat, because of how little Edman has played shortstop in the majors, and how good he is at second base. Suddenly there are these whispers about Edman's arm not being able to handle shortstop. I'd like to see him struggle there at the major league level before I buy that. He played shortstop at the minor league level quite a bit. Some, myself included, did not think Edman would fill Wong's defensive shoes at second, and he did that, and quickly too.
    Spurgeon only got a fine for his meat slicer move on Buchnevich's ankles, btw.
    Yes, mentioned it earlier. He's a marked man I imagine.
    I was worried that Mizzou would not fit in with the other SEC schools because they prioritized education equally with sports. It's good to know that we are starting to fit in with NIL money and fundraising to pay athletes as education is starved for funds.
    I guess you missed some of Mizzou's more noteworthy scandals.
    I can understand the Cards unwillingness to move Edman off 2B, since he is so good there. And DeJong, though there is always hope, is still not hitting much. But DeJong's lack of production would be less noticeable if O'Neill and Carlson were hitting. Though O'Neill is getting some RBIs, Carlson has overall been lousy. So if nothing changes, when the time comes, I would bring up Gorman and use him as the primary DH against righties and play Dickerson (and perhaps Gorman) in the corner outfield spots. Perhaps some time off would lower the pressure on O'Neill and Carlson, and perhaps more steady playing time would get Dickerson going. If the outfield produces more, the Cards could live with DeJong's lack of hitting and good defense. Thoughts?
    Well said about the corner outfielders.
    The Cardinals have MLB's lowest left-field OPS (.514) and its fifth-lowest right-field OPS (.451)
    I'm curious to see if O'Neill goes on one of his surges after this arbitration hearing is over. That is scheduled for this week. He seems to me to be a guy who is putting a lot of pressure on himself this season, and maybe having that dealt with will release some.
    I would not put Gorman in a corner outfield spot without him playing there before.
    He has been a cleats-on-dirt guy so far.
    Dickerson can play out field. Brendan Donovan. Nootbaar still exists. Alec Burleson is hungry for his shot.
    Ben, what in the world did Reds fans do to deserve the team that ownership has provided them this year? This was one time a proud franchise supported by a strong fan base. Crown them now as champion of the terrible tanking teams.
    Giving your fans a lousy team is one thing.
    Giving them a lousy team and then threatening to move the team when fans complain about the lousy team is something else entirely.
    Cincinnati fans deserve better.
    It has been sad to watch it take this turn.
    Who ever thought of the idea of hicks starting should think again. They blocking libatore who is actually a SP instead of a relief pitcher
    With all due respect, come on. Liberatore is not blocked. The Cardinals desperately want him to get to the majors and thrive once he does because it will prove to the world that the Randy Arozarena trade was not as big of a whiff as some have made it seem. Liberatore is pitching well so far this seaosn, and he could debut this season. Similar to Gorman, he did not force himself into a spot during spring training and is now having to do it through his performance in Memphis, and how things play out in the majors in terms of need and performance there. Just because a prospect you want to see had not been called up yet does not mean he's being unfairly blocked. He's not part of the equation -- yet. But he's close, and it's just May 3. Guys fall off. Guys get hurt. Liberatore is helping himself, making his performance hard to ignore. That's exactly what he needs to be doing right now.
    If it’s too early to make big decisions because of a small sample size, than wasn’t last year’s 17-game winning streak too small of a sample size to inform the off-season decisions on the offense this winter?
    Good afternoon, just seen the lineup for tonight game and you have Dejong hitting with a worst average above Carlson who had a double yesterday? There has to be some favoritism to Dejong. I wonder if Carlson, Gorman and Jack doesn’t ask to be traded in the offseason.
    I think this is the first time The Chat has had a problem with the difference between who is hitting eighth and ninth.
    Carlson is a better hitter for the No. 9 spot than DeJong. More speed. Switch hitter. It's your second leadoff spot, basically.
    Lineup construction is the reason, and both are batting at the end of it because they're both struggling.
    Can you snag Marmol’s definition of “elite” next time you are in the clubhouse?
    That label has been tabled for now.
    It could make an appearance after the Cardinals catch a run of softer starting pitching from opponents, but beware.
    At last check there is a lot of good starting pitching in the NL, and teams in the postseason tend to start their best arms. 
    Do you think Woodford should be in the 5th spot, or has his relief appearances been so good, that he is likely to stay there.? He has looked really good for a while now..just needs some innings.!
    It has a lot more to do with Hicks. The Cardinals think they can maximize Hicks in this role, and maximizing Hicks along with having Woodford in the bullpen is better, in their minds, than maximizing Woodford and potentially not having Hicks. It's the short end of the stick for Woodford, who has pitched well. He's only had two multi-inning appearances this season, and just four total despite a 1.29 ERA. Finding a better role for him seems like a must, but I don't see it being in the rotation as long as Hicks is healthy and producing in his unique fifth spot.
Powered by Platform for Live Reporting, Events, and Social Engagement