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.

    BenFred, the second half of last season Tyler O’Neill looked very much like he was ready to take his place among the game’s elite. The lamenting over the loss of Margo Gonzalez came to a screeching halt. This year (so far at least) he looks like the Tyler of old. The one who walks to the plate already behind in the count 0-2 and everyone including himself knowing he will soon be trudging back to the dugout.
    My question is: If the Cardinals believe him to be an important piece going forward shouldn’t they settle his contract so he can quit obsessing about it and just go play baseball?? I am not a sports psychologist but it’s fairly obvious to me it is weighing on him. That is not a knock on O’Neill as it’s human nature to feel that way. I am not suggesting the Cardinals throw stupid money at him but pay him a bridge “prove it” contract. Thanks and I look forward to your comment.
    The arbitration hearing goes down this week, so it will be off his plate soon.
    What's confusing about O'Neill's struggle is that he's walking at a career-high rate (10.1 percent) and striking out a career-low percentage (25.8).
    He's just not making as hard of contact has he did last season.
    His hard-hit percentage (35.1) is down more than 15 percent from last season's season-long percentage.
    He's barreling 8 percent fewer of the balls he hits.
    He's pulling more and going to opposite field less often.
    I think it's a combination of pressing, of perhaps expanding too much -- not necessarily the strike zone but swinging at pitches he can't do as much damage with -- and just the pressure of trying to replicate last season's impressive results.
    And, sure, the contract situation weighs on that. 
    What do you see as the specific issue with Albert? After all these years I still don’t have a clear sense of what his message is and how it might not be a good fit for different players. Nor what his other strengths or weaknesses might be. There was some info last summer, e.g. Edman’s complaints about game prep or Shildt talking about not being one dimensional. But I still don’t have any clear sense of what the problems might be, other than that the results haven’t been good.
    The results seem like a fair thing to look at four seasons in, and the most important thing.
    I really enjoy the minor league content on STL pinchhits. It sure looks like we have a future hitting instructor still playing right now. Maybe if Redmond doesn't advance as the team hopes, they can move him on over to the minor league hitting instructor team.
    Ha! Good one. That was a great story by Daniel. Cool to see young guys benefitting from talking ball.
    What did David Perron eat before game one? Holy smokes!
    Wheaties, I guess. He hits another level in the playoffs. Sure, he might make you pull some hair out with a penalty or two, but he's playing the long game, and crawling beneath opponents' skin, and oh yeah, he scored three goals. And an assist. Remember, the Blues didn't have Perron on board due to a quarantine when they were swept out of last season's playoffs. Perron could be the Blues' X-factor in this series against Marc-Andre Fleury. They were teammates in Las Vegas. They're still pals. But if anyone knows how to go at the future Hall of Famer, it's the salty veteran. 
    Can we agree it's not NIL...Name, image and likeness..money. It's basically which school, coach, boosters can pay the most. Has nothing to do with 'name, image or likeness'. And schools and coaches aren't supposed to be involved, but they are. NCAA won't look into any of that any more. It's the Wild West now!
    It's both. Some of the deals are truly about pairing an athlete and a business for the purpose of a two-way business deal. A lot of the endorsements women's athletes have received fall into that category. Gymnasts partnering with a gymnastics brand, for example. And then there's the other end of the spectrum, where a booster who wants his team to play well at Miami is trying to shovel money to every scholarship football player, seeking nothing more than the wins and the recognition for helping provide it. Is that bad? Doesn't really matter. It is, and these types of NIL deals are just new in that they are being talked about. Players have been getting paid for years and years and years, just under the table. So I tend to be a realist on this. At least now there's less of a chance of the money getting intercepted by someone who is not the player, which happened often in the past due to runners and rogue agents. Now athletes can negotiate for themselves, and have agents they picked. Is it amateurism? No. The NCAA doesn't want to enforce it, but its refusal to get out in front of the tectonic shift in sports led to this. It'll either find a balance, or collapse, but college sports and the fandom that fuels it is not going anywhere whether the NCAA is around or not. And in some ways -- like a fringe NBA player coming back for another college season -- this could help the sport keep some of its talent around a little longer. I'll also add this. We have talked more about college sports in The Chat this year than any other year, probably. People are certainly interested.
    Did I watch a different game from everyone else last night? I thought the Blues played just OK, got good goaltending, more than their fair share of luck, and capitalized on their opportunities. I thought the Wild were the better team. If the Blues play like they did last night the rest of the way, they lose this series. They can (and will need to) play better. I thought ROR's interview after the 1st period was telling.
    Tough grader. The untested young goalie looked more than capable in the playoff fire. They were up 2-0 in the first and added on. They committed too many penalties but killed off each one of the Wild's six power plays. Matched the more physical wild in hits and nearly doubled their blocked shots. Would have liked for the power play to be sharper, but I don't see much to complain about. They went into a really tough place to win and took a game in lopsided fashion. No one was expecting a sweep. At least not that I heard from.
    What is the reason for Hicks learning how to be starter at this level when he could be at AAA and someone who could possibly complete 5 or 6 innings could be pitching here???
    Because they think he has good enough stuff that him using at Class AAA would be a waste of it.
    Any concern with Waino? Though not horrible, he hasn't been very sharp since his first outing. Would put the Birds in a pickle if he deteriorates more, since obviously the Cards are going to get he and Yadi the record.
    Not too much here. He's not always going to have it, but he's usually going to give you a chance to win when he doesn't. He did that last time out. Quality start despite control problems. Cardinals could not turn into a win, at home. He can't go walking guys. If that becomes a trend for him I'll be more worried.
    How would you rate Marmol’s first month on the job? It seems he’s comfortable in the role and that it’s been a seamless transition for him.
    The Cardinals are a game and a half back behind the Brewers after a month as the others fall behind what was expected to be a two-team race. Nothing surprising on the good or bad end there.
    He seems up for the role and his willingness to explain why he makes decisions is certainly appreciated here.
    His job is going to get harder if his team's hitting continues to lack power and production.
    The best part of Spurgeon's cheap shot was when Buchnevich got up and gave him that annoyed look and kept playing. Lucky that didn't turn out a lot worse though.
    The response was pretty good. But I don't think I'm being a whiner to point out that it looked like the Wild C was trying to do some serious damage there. That wasn't a, hey, smell my stinky glove. It was, hey I'm going to try to snap your Achilles when I don't think anyone is looking. It was something you would see in a bad movie.
    Has there been any update on Flaherty? In your opinion what are the odds that we see him at full strength this season?
    A mid-May return to the majors is the Cardinals' hope for Flaherty.
    No point in guessing how it goes. Prove it time.
    Why isn’t Knizner used as the DH when Yadi catches? His numbers support him over the others, less Albert. I get the situation if Yadi gets hurt and he becomes the catcher, but the Cards have been managing pitchers batting and this is a one game situation. That’s the only reason a numbers driven team wouldn’t use him as a DH, and that doesn’t make since. That is if we really are a numbers driven team.
    I'm sure The Chat would handle it well if something went poorly and Edmundo Sosa was suiting up to catch.
    I think Marmol would be more open to popping a catcher in there for a late appearance if the splits/projections call for it more so than penciling in the catcher as DH to start the game.
    It's one of those things -- like not trending toward a traditional closer -- that is easy to say and harder to do.
    The media truly is the enemy of the people.
    And yet, you show up every week, Jon. Thanks for the chat everybody. Same time and place next week. Cheers.
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