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 week is off to a good start. I'm here in the chat saddle for a few hours. We'll go until about 2 p.m. Congrats to Albert Pujols on taking down Kyle Schwarber in the HR derby. Some cool moments out there in LA. Mizzou made the rounds at SEC media days, and Drinkwitz was more subdued than normal, though his bromance with Paul Finebaum is as strong as ever. What's on your mind? Fire away.
    Any talk of interest in Martin Perez?
    None that I've heard, but I can see why you would be interested. I imagine lots of teams would. He's on a bargain of a one-year, $4 million contract and is outperforming it by a lot. Some reports have suggested a) that the Rangers are not looking to move him and also b) that there could be mutual interest in him signing an extension there. Of course, that could all change. Texas lost five of six games headed into the All-Star break. Rangers are 41-49 with less than a 1 percent chance of making the playoffs, per FanGraphs calculations.
    While it would be nice to get soto we need pitching. We don't need verhagen or McFarland who need to go
    The Cardinals would be a legitimate World Series contender if they got Juan Soto. They have the farm system to get it done, which is something not every team can say. Those are facts. Now, is it realistic? Nothing about the way the Cardinals do business suggests so. They are a draft-and-develop team. They are as fired up as ever about this crop of talent they have, one that just put seven prospects in Baseball America's top-100. Giving up a big chunk of cost-controlled seasons for players they think are close to helping a lot at the major league level for one player who would probably not be realistic to sign long-term unless they are going to give a record contract to a Scott Boras client doesn't sound like the Cardinals. They tend to avoid record deals in terms of length, and that strategy has proven to be pretty smart. See how Pujols worked out as an example. The Cardinals' big trades for Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt tapped into the farm but not the favorite prospects, and they acquired payers who were in the back halves of their careers on contracts they were comfortable taking on, not ones that were going to have the biggest bidders trying to beat in free agency if an extension was not worked out. On top of it all, the Cardinals are getting OK -- not great just OK -- production from their outfield and think it could be better when O'Neill and Bader get back with Carlson, something that seems set up for the second half. I'm not trying to be a wet blanket. Soto is an elite player and is very young. He's awesome. Just being realistic. Yes, I think pitching is the focus. If the Cardinals are going to make a stunner of a deal that is very un-Cardinals like, wouldn't Shohei Ohtani be a better target? He would help two areas and Marmol would use him right.
    Having been at the fifth down game. Watched the immaculate reception, Norman conquest and some pretty bad football do you think things are really looking up?
    I think this season for the Tigers could be rough with big questions at QB.
    I think Drinkwitz's fourth season could be pretty good if they get an answer at QB sorted out this year.
    I can be convinced that every other position on the field has improved, but QB uncertainty means season uncertainty. 
    The good news is, the lower Sam Horn falls in the MLB Draft, the more likely it is he sticks at Mizzou as a two-sport athlete.
    Maybe he emerges as the starter sooner rather than later despite being a true freshman.
    Brady Cook and/or Jack Abraham will probably get first crack at it because of their experience.
    We'll see if Tyler Macon can squeeze in or have some sort of role.
    How Drinkwitz manages his QBs -- gotta play the right one and make a switch at the right time if there is going to be one or multiple changes -- is a big factor.
    That uncertainty should be ironed out by year four, or he might be feeling some real heat from an AD who did not hire him.
    I think I’m reasonable in thinking that the FO shouldn’t trade away future stars like walker, Wynn, or even pitchers like hence and mcgreevy. But there needs to be a significant upgrade made to the rotation. When the deadline comes, Mo can’t tell everybody that getting flaherty back in mid august sets this team up well for an October run. They should act as if flaherty won’t be back at all. That way anything positive they get from him is just the cherry on top. It’s time to make a push for a championship.
    You have to give up something to get something noteworthy.
    That can be prospect darlings.
    It can be payroll relief, too. 
    Or a combination.
    The Cardinals should be well positioned to take on salary. Some teams are looking to dump cash. The Cardinals got an ATM in Pujols on a steal of a deal. Why not put that money back into his last team?
    That's why I like the MadBum idea. I think it's realistic, and I think he could help. At the worst, he's similar to the guys that helped last season in Happ and Lester. Maybe he can do more, and I'd have no doubts about pitching him in the playoffs.
    German Marquez is another name worth mentioning. His home splits in Colorado are rough but he's been better on the road. His pitches do the kinds of things the Cardinals have been high on since Marmol took over, movement wise. Maybe a change of scenery would do him good. He would cost, but not a titanic trade package.
    The Cards should be able to acquire some bullpen help and maybe a starter at the deadline.

    The real question is where is their next ace coming from - you know the kind they need to compete in the playoffs.

    They typically don’t sign high end free agents, so in the offseason who do they package for a good starter/potential ace…O’Neill still has value, Bader, Oviedo, Woodford.

    Secondly, why didn’t we see Burleson for a few games hitting?…instead we see Capel who does seem to be a real prospect
    There was a lot of hollering from me about the need for Max Scherzer this offseason and spring training. Check the clips. 
    On Burleson, the Cardinals have been referring to him as an MLB ready hitter for a while now. He's just waiting on his shot. The Cardinals could have created one for him but instead slow-played things on Bader and O'Neill injuries. Why? One reason is he's not on the 40-man and they tend to treat getting guys on and off there like it is advanced physics. The other? Could be the trade deadline. He could be a nice chip. Or, if he's not, then Lars Nootbaar could be. They are different players but there is probably a spot for just one of them at the major league level in the present and near future.
    Why has the PD not covered the incident with Yadi kicking the basketball? The lack of transparency between the Cardinals, Molina, and the fans with regards to his situation is concerning. Obviously he has a right to privacy, but you cannot ask others to respect your privacy while you're out causing a public spectacle. At this point, the fans deserve an explanation.
    There seems to be a disconnect here between the information fans are getting and the information fans want to hear.
    The team wants Molina back. He's not back yet. There is a plan for him to return for a rehab assignment in the minors in late June, and that was good-to-go according to manager Oliver Marmol as of the last game before the All-Star break. Mozeliak granted Molina's wish to be in Puerto Rico when he was away from the team. What has been classified as knee pain is not the entire story. He's also frustrated with how he was playing, and that is factoring into this. Some of it goes back to spring training, when he showed up late  and not in his normal shape and was pretty candid about his plan to play less and try to get ready on the fly. Left unsaid is to what degree the personal issues that were cited in that late arrival could be factoring into those things. He has not elaborated on those and I'm not going to guess. Regardless, it's clear the Cardinals and Molina's teammates thought he would have returned by now and were hoping he would be back before he will be. 
    The basketball-kicking doesn't have much to do with the situation, other than it's not a very good look for Molina to be hanging with his basketball team when his baseball team needs him around, at least from this vantage point.
    I've written about the team needing him back.
    Didn't see much point in writing the same column over again because he kicked a ball.
    I just saw a national report that stated that a fair trade between the Cards and Washington would be Carlson, Walker and Winn for Soto. It stated that the Cards would be getting the greater trade value. Would you make that trade?
    I would not.
    That's too much control of very promising talent to part with for the gamble of trying to keep Soto long-term.
    Also, Carlson has the third-highest OPS on this team among players with 250-plus at-bats.
    Trading a player who is helping your major league team for another who would help only improves you as much as the difference between the two. 
    That's not saying Carlson is Soto, but the benefit of trading for Soto -- for me - would be adding him to a team like a rocket booster as long as he's around.
    I think people forget Carlson is just 23, same as Soto.
    I would want them sharing the same outfield to do that deal.
    Mozeliak has been pretty candid about the idea of trading Walker being a non-starter. 
    Would surprise me if that would be on the table.
    Hey Ben, I'm surprised the cardinals FO has not prioritized this season more based on the Albert, Yadi, and potentially Waino last season narrative. Especially with Goldi and Arenado being in their prime still but not for much longer, this seams like the perfect time to step outside their comfort zone even slightly to improve the team more than just with depth moves. Do you foresee the trade deadline reflecting that or is the "ride off into the sunset with a championship" more of a storyline for fans that the FO never paid much attention too and will just take advantage of it financially with more butts in the seats to see these players for the last time.
    Bill DeWitt Jr. was pretty adamant (for him) at spring training about thinking this group should be able to pursue a championship, but it wasn't the scorched-earth thing some fans hoped it would be. Mozeliak just said the other week, again, on a national broadcast, that the Cardinals' goal is to get in and take their shot. They seem to believe that is competing for a championship, even if the recent trend in the postseason would suggest a heavier foot on the gas pedal is needed. Actions speak louder than words, and the upcoming trade deadline will offer a better read. Again, the Cardinals don't need to abandon the idea of being competitive and in the postseason annually to better equip a team to make a deeper run. You can't look at the recent champions and compare it to the Cardinals' recent trade deadlines and see the difference. Teams that have a real chance to win get some help along the way.
    Curious if baseball has ever considered adding a skills competition to the all star festivities, outside of just home run derby? Fastest home to home, most accurate throws from the outfield, bunt competition (this would be funny because I’m pretty sure bunting doesn’t exist anymore)etc. and culminating with the home run derby. These young guys are so athletic, it would be great to see the speed and throws on display at this event…Akin to what NHL and NBA does for their all star games.
    I really like the idea. I fear agents would shut down the idea as soon as someone got hurt participating. The home-run derby came about before those concerns dominated everything. Something new would not have the staying power if something bad happened, like Fernando Tatis Jr. catching his latest injury trying to beat Nolan Arenado in a throwing contest -- or something like that.
    Would Dejong be of interest to the Diamondbacks in a deal for MadBum? Do you expect the Cardinals to bring Dejong back up before the deadline? He seems to be swinging well in Memphis but not sure of Sosa’s injury.
    If Sosa hits the injured list, there could be an opening.
    It was not quite clear as the Cards left for the break if that would have happened without a break, but vibe was that break could perhaps give Sosa enough time to recover so it's not needed.
    Keep an eye on that one. We'll see.
    I thought Sosa broke his ankle when he ran into that wall. It's amazing he didn't. Marmol said he could not have played the last game of the first half -- the rainout -- but they were waiting on more on how he recovered after encouraging news of no breaks.
    I don't know the trade interest in DeJong. Some of it could depend on how much or if the Cardinals are willing to eat some of the contract  -- or how a trade package would take that into account. 
    If the deadline comes and goes and only marginal moves are made, can you see a problem forming between the clubhouse and the front office? Even marmol seems to be pushing for more of a championship mentality from the front office.
    I could see some grumbling, yes.
    I think the veteran, performing guys want some real help.
    And yes, Marmol has made a point to make it clear where he thinks the bar should be.
    His players hear that. They're saying the same things.
    Now, do I think Arenado opts out or something? No. I don't think he's going anywhere.
    Ben,
    Baseball is such a funny game. The Reds gave "Babe" Carpenter and the Yankees all they wanted prior to the Cardinals' series. Then they reverted back to their seasonal form. Which proves it is almost always about the pitching.
    The Reds have some decent pitching, too. I give the Cardinals a lot of credit for winning those two games. They could have been on autopilot snooze mode after the grind against good  teams, and with the break so close. Instead they took care of business and only the rain cost them a shot at locking up a sweep. Beating these bad division teams is going to be a key in beating the Brewers. The Cardinals have baseball's easiest second half, schedule-wise, and they are 27-13 against teams with losing records.
    The Cardinals are what they thought they were.... on pace for 86 wins and either just in or just out of the playoffs. Makes sense because almost all of the players are within the normal range for production and injury history. Yay? I mean its great that they aren't the Pirates, but to whom much is given, much should be expected.
    I've dubbed it the season of the front office. No where else to look.
    Let me put on my RobMan helmet and really change the game (J/K) but here's some radical changes to increase speed of play:
    1. Move back the fences to lessen the homerun, increase the likelihood of more doubles and triples.
    2. Three balls/walk
    3. Two strikes/out
    4. Three foul balls at an at-bat/out
    Those are some serious changes.
    Mine are more tame.
    Get the pitch clock here ASAP, and enforce it.
    Weed out the worst ball/strike umpires, or replace with automated strike zone if there is too much resistance.
    Drop the three-batter minimum
    Stop the ghost-runner extra-inning madness, or at least don't start it until inning 13
    And my favorite: No tech during games. Do all the film/iPad/whatever study you want before and after. But kill switch goes into effect first pitch through last out. No screen time for coaches, players, etc. If you want something challenged, you have to feel good about what you saw with your own eyes. If you want to know how the pitcher's fastball moves, ask a teammate in the dugout. It would make more important the pre and post-game study and force game to be natural once it started.
    The fanbase is clamoring for a starter to solve the 2022 pitching conundrum but what about the 2023 and beyond pitching conundrum? Aside from Mikolas, who can this team genuinely count on going forward? Flaherty in his walk year? Hudson a year more removed from TJ? Liberatore who can't get righties out? The need for a top of the rotation arm extends beyond just this year making it all the more logical to chase a bigger target.
    A starter with control left would be wise, yep.
    No debate there.
    But the 2022 trade deadline is not usually the best (or most affordable) time to address 2023 rotation concerns. There's an offseason for that, when prices are not jacked up by deadline pressure.
    You, me, and everyone on this chat loves Waino. And he has absolutely shoved at home this year. But his road numbers vs playoff teams are bad, really bad. 7.01 ERA, a 1.71 WHIP, and 4.88 FIP, bad. If this team fails to win the division and has to start on the road for two or all of the WC games you could be in a Matt Morris 2004 situation again. Waino may be your default #2 but he shouldn't pitch away from Busch in the playoffs unless you have no other options.
    I don't think many Cardinals fans or players would skip a beat if Miles Mikolas was first postseason starter -- if you had to pick from the currently available options. He's been very good this season.
    What would a realistic package be for the Cardinals to land Soto? Any chance that they could make something happen while retaining Carlson & O'Neil? What's the guess on what his ask is to resign in terms of AAV?
    All indications are that the Nationals will seek what could be described as the biggest trade package ever. They also don't have to move him if they don't get what they want. So, at the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, I don't think it's very realistic when you take into account how the Cardinals feel about prospects in general, and how they feel about this specific group of prospects on top of that. Soto turned down a 15-year extension from Nats. Cards get uncomfortable with idea of 10-year deals, and can point to reasons that caution has been wise.
    MU BB has taught me never to be optimistic. That said, if Gates coaches half as well as he seems to recruit, DRF & MU might have a winner in him.
    One good thing that stands out early about Gates is how he has a recruiting style that can reach a lot of different branches, all of which are necessary. If the transfer-up guys he got work out, that's a weapon. You don't want too many but one or two moving forward can help. You miss on those guys though, like Cuonzo did in his final swing, and you get burned. Gates also has had lateral-transfer guys. Another good sign. He's got junior college guys and now high school guys. He's showing early that he can access a lot of different talent pools. Versatility there is good.
    Next year,cards seriously need to find a hitting catcher. Herrera and Kinzer are not even close to being ready for prime time
    I know the Cubs-to-Cardinals idea got burned by the Dexter Fowler disappointment, but Willson Contreras is pretty good and all signs point toward him heading to market, not catching a Cubs extension that he wants and will be disappointed to not receive.
    Agree completely about the tech during games -- especially on replay. Replay wasn't designed to challenge when a runner stealing 2nd beats the throw by a half second but then has his foot come off the bag by 2 millimeters with a tag still on. Let's end the "replay room" telling the manager anything. Fix the egregious calls; not the ticky-tack stuff.
    My theory would allow you to challenge it if you thought it was worth challenging -- but without the review beforehand. Go with your gut. To me it would make it more interesting. If a guy slips off a bag and no one can tell without a zoomed in replay like they use on National Geographic to show a flower seed starting to bloom, then it probably can stand as called.
    Like you, I think MadBum would be interesting target. Quintana also intrigues me, if an interdivision deal can get done. Any fire to go with the media smoke that Cards serious about Montas?
    The Cardinals have said pitching is at the top of their list. Montas is around the top of the pitching list. So, yes, that is something to watch.
    Ben, thank you for the chat today. I would like to see the Cardinals swing trades for Bumgarner and Sean Murphy a catcher from the Oakland A's. I really like the draft pick choices from days one and two. Your thoughts?
    Part of me wonders if the Mozeliak comment about maybe shopping for a catcher wasn't a nudge toward Molina, trying to get him back. We'll see.
    Cooper Hjerpe, the top pick, was an impressive interview. Lefty with unique arm angle. High Ks. Low BBs. Good workload and held up well over the course of his season instead of tailing off, like some do. Sounds like he's on board to be fast-tracked as a reliever even though the end game for him will hopefully be a starter. That could mean he helps sooner rather than later. I liked that he said he loves watching Max Scherzer's mentality on the mound. Yes, please! 
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