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.

    Greetings, chatters. Hope your week is off to a good start. Looks like a light crowd today. If you've got questions or comments fire away.
    Give us some hope on Mizzou Football - is there a light at the end of the tunnel?
    I think perspective is going to be big this year. I've always felt like year four of Eli Drinkwitz was going to be the make-or-break measure of if he can get to the point where he's winning at at a high level in a way that can be sustained. He had never been a head coach at another college for more than once season when he got here. He knows the SEC but was not a head coach in it before. Pandemic was big challenge for all, especially younger coaches. Transfer changes and NIL landscape have changed the game. There have been a lot of punches to roll with. I think this season, and I've written this, needs to be one that builds confidence in what is coming. If this season three doesn't have fans feeling good about year four in terms of quarterback play and projection, offensive performance, stableness of the defense and the rate at which encouraging recruiting is producing results on the field, then that's bad news. If those boxes are checked, there will be a lot of light looking up ahead.
    If Brady Cook can surprise and a running back emerges (Cody Schrader?) then Mizzou could be more talented at many positions then it has been in the past -- and show it. But those are big ifs right now.
    MIZ now has a starting quarterback. How many games do you want to see before you make a projection for the season?
    Pessimist says 4 wins.
    Looks like 5 to me.
    Optimist says 6.
    That's why Vegas I think set over/under at 5.5.
    That's the range.
    Six wins these days gets you some kind of bowl game, and that would be good goal, if being realistic based on what we know today.
    One thing to remember: We don't really know what Brady Cook can and can't do. And I don't assume not seeing him try to do something doesn't mean he can't. Last season we spent a lot of time wondering about who would replace Rountree. Badie did that and then some. He wasn't new to the team. He wasn't an incoming transfer. He was a player with an idea of the offense who had worked hard to improve and finally got a chance to bloom. Cook fits that description.
    Was looking up Goldy's NL ranks offensively...how is he NOT the clear frontrunner for MVP?
    He is. Latest odds, per Vegas Insider.
    I have to say that the “he’s only 23” narrative surrounding Carlson’s struggles at the plate is neutralized by Gorman’s 21-year-old performance, whose numbers are better across the board. So that begs the question, do the Cardinals really believe that Carlson’s regression from 2021 is due to his age/experience or are they using his age as a reason to not shake things up at the deadline and/or in the immediate future?
    I guess I disagree with including the context of someone's age being a misleading narrative. Gorman is having a really good rookie season. No debate there. In Kansas City, Bobby Witt Jr. is the hotshot rookie. His OPS+ is the same as Carlson's, and no one is fearing for his long-term future as a hitter. That's the point of reminding about the age, at least for me.
    Carlson is not a newcomer anymore. He needs to play better than he has this season if he wants to make center field his permanent home for the long-term future. The Cardinals continue to look for the player who can. There's no guarantee he's that guy, but the Cardinals clearly want to give him the chance, and I see why.
    The trade-deadline stuff is the misleading narrative, not Carlson's age. Including Carlson in a potential Soto deal would have decreased the big benefit of getting Soto, and taken away the only healthy experienced center fielder at the time. If the Cardinals were determined to get Soto they could have traded another package and made it happen. The Padres were wiling to give more, as the Cardinals said.
    It seems obvious that there will be a huge void when Yadi retires. Do the Cardinals think truly, that Ivan Herrea is ready to step in? In your opinion do they go outside the organization to find his replacement?
    It was clear before he returned and has been made even more clear now in the two weeks since his return. When Molina was coming onto the scene, the old story goes that Mike Matheny realized that he had met the catcher who was going to take over the job. I don't think there have been enough signs yet that Knizner or Herrera are in that place now. To me it seems like a bridge catcher will be needed before Herrera is ready. Whether or not one is needed depends on how the Cardinals feel about their fit with Knizner, and if they believe in his ability to improve enough to hitch a season to him being the lead.
    Hello, Mr. Fredrickson. Thank you for your time and the chat. Not long ago, the Cardinals thought they had their outfield for the next 5-7 yrs set: O'Neill, Bader, and Carlson. Now, Bader is gone, and O'Neill continues to have consistency and injury problems. Do you think the Cardinals are starting to tire of waiting to tap his potential (although he had a great season last year) and stay healthy? Would the Cardinals consider moving on from him after next year, with Walker coming on strong apparently, or is the Cardinals FO afraid O'Neill will pull an Arozarena and reach his potential consistently for another team? Thank you.
    O'Neill can't reach free agency until after the 2024 season. So, the Cardinals don't have to do anything, really. They remain intrigued by what he can offer a team when he's healthy and in sync at the plate, as evidenced by their continued patience with him this season. That patience has come at Alec Burleson's expense, who is patiently waiting and performing at Class AAA. If there is someone who is harder to slow-play than Burleson, sure, that could pressure the Cardinals to make a change to free up that spot for someone else. This season has been a pretty good example of why the Cardinals should not rush to hand O'Neill a multi-year extension. He has not yet proven he can be on the field, performing for multiple-season stretches. He has left the door open for others to enter the picture in a season he hoped to slam it shut.
    The networks want their college football games to be as big as possible every week but does the AP Poll play into that when they are ranking teams? I ask because Notre Dame opens in Columbus as a 15-point underdog, yet is somehow ranked #5 in the pre-season AP Poll 3 sports behind Ohio State. Two teams separated by 3 spots in the AP poll should have a 15-point disparity unless Ohio State is Alabama-level good this year or Notre Dame is being propped up to make the match-up more exciting for ABC.
    I've been an AP voter in the past. There are no perks given or pressure applied to vote a certain way. TV execs are not offering free bundles to voters who bump up the Irish. I promise. Notre Dame, like Texas, always seem to get the benefit of the doubt whether it's deserved or not. Some voters do more research than others. Name brand programs are easy picks in preseason polls.
    At this point do the Cardinals probably win the Central Division?
    It is theirs to lose. They have a better than 65 percent chance as of this morning, per FanGraphs numbers. Their schedule is Charmin-soft down the stretch. The Brewers can be buried this month, as I wrote last week.
    I like Koolaid but I like it with about half the sugar. Considering this, I have hope that the two starting pitchers obtained at the deadline could be a significant help. Am I still drinking my Koolaid with too much sugar?
    They already have been. The Cardinals have won all four of Jose Quintana and Jordan Motgomery's combined starts. Three of those starts have produced at least six innings from the starter. None of the four have included the opponents totaling more than two runs against the starter. That's not Koolaid. That's giving your team a chance to win, and fitting in very well with a new team and improved defense.
    BenFred,

    What’s your opinion of Carlson? I think he’s been a bit of a disappointment. His power has been lacking and he hasn’t turned into the hitter he can become. His fielding in center has been great, so there’s that….
    I think more than anything fans are hyper-focused on him now because they have managed to convince themselves he is the reason Juan Soto isn't here. Which isn't true. But it doesn't stop the people who have decided to think it. 
    He needs to hit. He knows that. He's transitioning from the young guy to the guy who needs to be relied upon. But I'm not putting a hard ceiling on a 23-year-old talented player who goes about it the right way and has made some big strides in the majors since his debut, which is the hardest place to develop.
    If I have it right, the Cards have the following starting pitchers under contract/control for next year: Mikolas, Hudson, Montgomery, Flaherty, Martz. Two other current starters will be free agents and probably would be interested in staying Cardinals: Quintana and Wainwright (if he doesn't retire). Pallente could start or relieve. Others like Liberatore and Thompson could be re-assigned to Memphis to get them ready for primetime, and to ensure depth. My view is that the first five are not going to be enough because injuries always happen. Will MO figure out a way to bring back Quintana and Wainwright to get the depth we need, or will do the same thing he did the last 2 years and mess this up?
    It would be nice to see the Cardinals go big-game hunting for their rotation this offseason. Oli Marmol has made it crystal clear he wants more arms that can get more strikeouts. Another starter who could do that at a high level would be a great addition. The hope that Matthew Liberatore would be ready entering next season needs to be tabled for now. He's got a 5.33 ERA in Memphis this season.
    Pardon my pessimism, but Burleson wasting away in AAA seems to signal one of two things: he will either be the "answer" vs. signing a free agent, if the outfield implodes in the playoffs this fall or they are avoiding exposing him so his value will remain as high as possible for a trade this winter. Which is more likely?
    He's closer to being here than you might think. If Dickerson's latest calf issue put him on the injured list, I'd bet Burleson was the move. Could still be if Dickerson doesn't respond well to the latest leg issue. The outfield could be getting some new flavor if the homers from O'Neill and Carlson to clinch the series sweep against the Brewers were not signs of what is to come for them. Point is, I wouldn't assume just yet that Burleson doesn't get some sort of a chance this season.
    Throughout his minor league career, I think that the thought was that Knizer's bat would carry him to the majors, but his defense would be suspect. What happened from then to now, how was there this much regression from where he was in the minors?
    The stall in offense, before this season, seemed to be traceable to the sporadic playing time and the intense focus on the catching side. This season he talked about being in a better place at the plate and being able to separate the two, as in no longer thinking about catching while trying to hit. But the results haven't been there, more than a slight uptick of what he has done in the past. The pitch framing is also an issue behind the plate. He's ranked on the low end there, and that hurts a team that, because of its lack in strikeout stuff, needs to stay low in the zone and steal strikes there too.
    BenFred -

    Going into the season, the Cards seemed very high on Dakota Hudson. Understandably so given his performances in previous years. Now, he's been playing poorly for the majority of the year to the extent that he was skipped over in the rotation. How has the coaching staff's and front office's outlook on him changed, and do you see him as on the outside looking in in terms of the team's plans for the future?
    I was high on Hudson this season. Thought it was going to be a big year for him. Has not worked out that way. Right now he's a fifth starter who could be bumped if Jack Flaherty stays healthy and gets back. That's now where you'd like Hudson to be. As far as moving on from him? That might be a little premature. He's not a free agent until after the 2024 season. It's not uncommon for guys to have ho-hum seasons their first full year back from arm operations. I'd like to see what he can do in 2023 before I consider trading him away, if I were the Cardinals. And plus, he will have to pitch faster next season. Pitch clock is coming.
    Ben, the Cardinals track record of signing free agent pitchers is sketchy at best. Players like Greg Holland, Mike Leake, Brett Cecil, just to name a few, have been total busts. The jury is still out on Matz. What do the Cardinals need to do differently when evaluating free agent pitchers?
    Spend more money. If they're adding a starter this offseason it should not be the bargain type or the this-will-look-smarter-than-people-think-later type. It should be a proven producer, or it increases the chance it's not an addition that is truly better than what they already have.
    BenFred are you giving Jack Flaherty a realistic chance to pitch enough yet this season, to shake off the rust, and be a difference maker come playoff time? Or is it all a hope and a wish? I personally am starting to have as much confidence in him as I do Alex Reyes. I would love to be proven wrong. The Cardinals certainly need the starter who is supposed to be their best. Thanks and I look forward to your comment.
    A healthy Jack Flaherty in prove-it mode could be a hell of an X-factor for a team down the stretch and in the postseason. The Cardinals were wise to put themselves in a position, thanks to their deadline acquisitions, where they were not banking on it. If it happens, great. If it doesn't, they are still in a better spot than they were in the first half. Unless Flaherty's rehab tour gets derailed somehow, he's going to return and get his chance.
    Ben- tired of the Notre dame is overranked and doesnt desrve to make playoffs banter .Its simply not true any more. They have been in the final four 2 of the last 4 years in 2020 they lost to Alabama 31-14 . Alabama then beat Ohio state 52 -24 so Notre dame was closer. Maybe 10 years ago they were over ranked but in the years since they have been consistently outstanding s and deserved to be in the final 4 each year. They will be within 7 at Ohio State bank it . I will.
    I think you kind of proved my point. Being within seven against a legitimate national championship caliber team is not something to celebrate -- if it happens -- if you are a national championship caliber team. And if you're a legitimate national championship caliber team, you don't lose your coach to LSU because he thinks he has a better chance at winning a national championship there. Notre Dame is a great football program. It's also an annually over-ranked one.
    I'm old enough to remember when it was in vouge to pooh-pooh the Arozarena trade because all 3 of the Cardinals OFers were supposedly better than him. Arozarena's 15 HRs and 21 SBs are almost as many as O'Neill, Carlson and Bader combined this year.
    This is the latest chapter of Randy-gate. At first it was outrage. And then it was the notion that maybe it wasn't so bad, considering the O'Neill-Bader-Carlson outfield and the hope for Liberatore. Now the outfield is one man down and two have much to prove, and Liberatore has had a bad season. Arozarena is having a bad season, for him, but he's still at a 118 OPS+. League average is 100. This is when the chat is reminded that Mozeliak admitted the Cardinals undervalued Arozarena. That's been on the record for a while.
    Do you think the Cardinals would consider using Goldy in the leadoff spot Atlanta has Acuna leading off. Goldy is a good base runner and would get on base more than what we have now Carp was a good leadoff hitter and he was non traditional
    I asked Marmol about this a while back and he said they had talked about Goldy and Arenado at 2-3 but not 1-2. If they were going to try 2-3 again they would have done it by now, but are not planning on it at this time. Part of that is those two guys feel comfortable at 3-4. Arenado, especially, likes hitting cleanup.
    Any updates on St. Louis City? How's that stadium looking? I'm going to be passing through STL in October and was hoping to be able to see the new jewel in the STL crown.
    Stadium looks great. Looks alive with seats and field in. Worth a drive by from all angles to see how much it has changed.
    Thoughts on the Tatis situation? Do you think that they have enough to hold on through the rest of the season?
    They look like a pretty good wild-card lock right now, but their championship potential took a big hit. It stinks for baseball for a young star like this to now be one of those guys. The excuse-making made it worse. The reactions inside the clubhouse said a lot. They're down on him. We can officially scratch him from the list Cardinals fans can get fairly mad about the team not getting.
    You mention in the offseason going out and acquiring a big arm that has the miss stuff, any names floating around? Bieber?
    It would make sense and fit what this team says it is prioritizing. Prioritizing one pitcher now wouldn't make sense. See who's available. See who finishes strong. Some guys will get hurt down the stretch, changing scenarios. I know everybody wants to rush to free agency after the trade deadline, but there are some important games to be played that will dictate those decisions before they are made.
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