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. Disappointing that we are not doing this live from Atlanta, but that's the way the cookie crumbled. Cards are done. Blues are close to launch. Mizzou at the bye week. Anyone excited about SLU hoops yet? I am. And congrats to City2 on their run all the way to the league championship. Sounds like there was some fishy officiating there, but still, great showing that bodes well for what is to come. I'm just watching baseball all day. We can go long if you like. Fire away.
    Good morning, Mr. Frederickson. Thank you for the chat and all the great coverage on the Cardinals. I enjoyed your column, "Cardinals can't ignore these numbers..." I recall Mr. LaRussa saying something to the effect that the players get all the credit when they are going good, and the coaches get the blame when the players are struggling. Mr. Mozeliak seems to be reluctant to trade certain players or prospects because he's afraid of them blossoming elsewhere, like with Arozarena and Alcantara (and I think Oviedo soon joins that group). Well, there's a simple solution: develop your players. If the coaches aren't developing players, then they aren't doing a big part of their job. If players continue to develop after they're traded, then find out why. The Cardinals have had some success (Pallante, Donovan, Nootbar, Edman, etc.) yet do seem to struggle in this area, for instance Paul DeJong's problems, Liberatore's up-and-down performance, Carlson's inconsistency, etc. As you mentioned in your column, it's either the players or the staff. It's time to find out which is the problem.
    Thanks, Dennis. I think the Cardinals got plenty of good development results to cite this season. You mentioned a lot of them. Jordan Walker and Masyn Winn are others. And sure, there were some guys who did not take the steps forward the organization hoped to see, like Liberatore. That's baseball. No organization has linear progression of all prospects. It's not realistic. My bigger concern about the offense is its freeze factor. A team with two MVP candidates should not get shut-out 17 times in a season. A team with two MVP candidates and one of the best right-handed hitters of all time during a remarkable second-half surge should not get limited to one extra-base hit and miserable RISP in a playoff series at home. In the quick exit against the Phillies we saw a lot of pressing at the plate and too many guys trying to do it all on their own, even after there were plenty examples of just doing your part -- working a walk, pushing through a ground ball, slapping a single -- putting ducks on the pond. The hard-hitting Phillies won with papercuts in Game 1, and with plenty of help from the Cardinals. They won with power in Game 2 but added insurance with the season's most prolific HR hitter executing a sacrifice fly. Getting guys home is what matter most in the postseason and this offense failed to do that in a winnable playoff series.
    Of all the playoff teams, Cards, Jays and Mets were 3 teams hat did not play well in September either not hitting, bad pitching or both. This just shows you had better be playing well going into the playoffs or you are in trouble.
    But that's not always true. Some teams have surged into the postseason and flopped upon arrival. Whatever side you want to argue, you can find plenty of evidence that supports your stance. Goldschmidt's slide? Sure. The likely NL MVP slugged just .383 since the start of September, and the switch did not flip. He looked really lost in this series.
    Reading a lot of Mizzou fan sites, I have come to the conclusion that a large majority of Mizzou fans don't understand the reality of the SEC. Missouri doesn't have the resources, the fan base or the big time backing of the administration to ever be a Georgia, Ala. Their solution is always firing. the coach. If Mizzou finishes 3 and 9 this year, it makes zero sense to fire Drink, then bring in another mid major coach and start over. It becomes a cycle that will never work. No matter what this year turns out record wise, which I always said was 4 and 8 Drink needs to come back. I hope basketball is competitive like football but0 thinking they will be in the top 6 in the SEC. is not reality. If they make the NIT , that would be a good step forward
    Mizzou has a coach-firing problem. It happens when there is near constant churn in the athletics department, including above the coaches. Mack Rhoades, Jim Sterk, and now Desiree Reed-Francois since 2015. And there has been turnover on the university side, too. It's hard to get much meaningful traction without some consistency. I've been impressed by Reed-Francois. She took some time to get a feel for the situations she inherited. She asked fans for input. She has started making changes and making it clear the previous standard is no longer acceptable. Some people have chafed at that. So what? She made the move to hire the coach she had tracked for a long time in Dennis Gates. You better believe she keeps track of football coaches she thinks could succeed at Mizzou. That's just her doing her job. That doesn't mean she's itching to fire Drinkwitz. I've always said Year 4 will be make or break for Drinkwitz. If there is some sort of mass exodus to the transfer portal after a challenging season, that could change things, of course. What you need to see in Year 4 is all of that good recruiting coming through as a cohesive unit on the field. Waiting to see if that happens, to me, makes more sense than starting all over again with someone else who is not guaranteed to figure it out either.
    Despite only 2 postseason games, from a profit perspective, will this season including the Pujols pursuit of 700, and with a budget to sign maybe one more megastar hard this winter to replicate 2022's "bottom line" anytime soon?
    Financially, the Cardinals had a very good season. Pujols Palooza packed the park and helped the Cardinals rank second in attendance while some other teams were still suffering from the slow drip back from the pandemic. I think it's more than fair for fans to expect some of that windfall to factor into player pursuits. Does that mean the Cardinals are going to go win bidding wars for elite free agents who wants decade-plus long deals? Wouldn't bet on it.
    Looking ahead, it's hard to see how Cardinals improve next year: The MV2 can't do more than they did this year. Pujols' 2nd half magic is gone. The teams much lower ERA with Molina catching is gone. Edman will be the solid player he is. The younger players have a lot of question marks surround them for either finding themselves or not regressing in the soph year. I would think a makeover is in order or it is going to be a slog. Too many "if's".
    Huh? The MV2 can certainly perform better in the playoffs, where it matters most. They went 1-for-15 with 6 strikeouts and no extra-base hits. There's no real need to beat up on them. Believe me, they feel worse than anyone else about it. But it's the facts. The big-dollar hitters didn't come through when it mattered most this time around. When that happens, you're not going very deep. Yes, the Cardinals have some holes to fill. They can't run back this exact roster and expect to be a postseason team. They are going to make some changes. Have to.
    Heard Dan McLaughlin on 101 yesterday relaying a conversation he had with Marmol about removing Quintana from Friday's game. Essentially, the story was that Quintana had pushed past his analytic limit and had already been in the game longer than expected. I just don't get that. The analytics for that day showed that Quintana was breezing along and wasn't showing signs of weakening. Do you think the Phillies minded that pitching change? Of course not, it was a lifeline to them. And that decision changed the series.
    The decision that changed the series was asking a reliever with a recent and unpredictable issue on this throwing hand to throw 30-plus pitches for a multi-inning save, and then not having the safety net ready fast enough when that went sideways. If Helsley had finished the job, or was rescued sooner by someone who could, no one is really talking about Quintana's hook today. I think Marmol wishes he would have pulled Helsley after the second walk, before the hit-by-pitch. I think, and he probably disagrees, that he asked Helsley too much when he asked him for more than one inning based off the unknown of the finger situation. With a fully stocked and rested pen he could have turned to someone else to finish the eighth if he didn't trust Gallegos to do it after the walk. Regardless, there were not warm-up pitches being thrown off  the bullpen mounds in the ninth until the bases were loaded. Too late. The Quintana move was proactive. Marmol tends to lean proactive. That's what made the reactive move with Helsley so strange. I think the game sped up on him and his staff.
    Will Quintana be with the Cardinals next year?
    He wants to be back. If you trust him to start Game 1 and he comes through, why not? If the Cardinals are determined to go out and get a more elite starter, all good. If they let Quintana walk and the rotation proves to be too thin in the first half for the third season running, bad look. Not only does he want to be back, he's reportedly been feeding free-agent catcher Willson Contreras positives of considering the Cardinals.
    The Cardinals relied a lot on home runs this season. Busch Stadium is a difficult part to hit home runs, especially in fall when the temperatures drop and the wind often comes in from the north. Do they change the park to be more homer friendly or change the roster to be less homer dependent?
    Bryce Harper didn't seem to have a problem. I think that ball is still traveling. There was discussion about adjusting the stadium dimensions last season. It got tabled. The numbers this season don't support a change. The Cardinals slugged .422 on the road and .419 on the road. Seems a little desperate, no?
    Ben- I am thinking Nootbar will be like the rest of the cards recent young of careers . In his second year the league will figure him out , I just don't see how you can count on him more than as a 4th of. O'Neill is too injury prone, Carlson is a wild card , walker is unproven ,yepez is bad defensively and Burleson showed nothing to make anyone think he is the real deal. Usually there are more of available than any other position at a cost the cards would consider . Don't you think c [trade]and of [free agent] are the 2 easiest areas for the cards to upgrade at their willingness to pay level? Tehy need significant help in both and the internal options have failed .
    They have a really nice opportunity to pinpoint what players they want most, and position others accordingly. The team's increased versatility helps that. And the designated hitter. Nootbaar, Carlson and O'Neill have positional flexibility in the outfield. Yepez and Burleson less, but DH reps are an option. Walker has been encouraging in the outfield and DH allows him to focus on bat if that is needed, like Gorman did this season. My point is there have been times where the Cardinals have entered the offseason shopping for very specific needs  -- a leadoff hitting center fielder, for example. This doesn't fee like one of those seasons, because of the flexibility of the roster. Catcher would be the only exception. Knizner had a chance to prove he can be the main guy there but he didn't seem to definitively answer that question in a positive manner convincingly enough. Prioritize the guys you want. Prioritize the guys you have. Make moves accordingly, being willing to trade the down-the-list guys you have and spend some of that money that rolled in during 2022.
    BenFred,
    Arguably, Mo won the trade deadline, and his signing of Albert was a spectacular success thanks to The Great Pujols. But a team reasonably expected to be good, not great, last spring was just that and continued the Cardinals’ multiple year run of missing or failing miserably in the playoffs. Over the last eight years, the Cardinals have had dozens of different players and three managers. The constants in the equation are DeWitt and Mozeliak. When, and how, is Mo going to be held accountable and/or forced to up his game? Sixteen years into his tenure, it seems Mo can’t figure out how to win big in the changing MLB environment. Thanks.
    Hard to see that happening.
    Mozeliak answers to ownership and ownership alone, and ownership is pretty pleased.
    Not pleased with the early postseason exit, but understandably proud of the regular season results, the history made and the revenue generated.
    Fans helped make that possible, flooding the ballpark.
    That's an endorsement that should not be overlooked or downplayed.
    The Cardinals over the recent changes have not so quietly walked back their official outlook on the postseason.
    Get in, hope to get hot. That's the official line now. They got in. They didn't get hot. On to the next one.
    Mo's current contract runs through 2023 unless it gets extended again.
    GM Michael Girsch's is up after this season unless it gets extended.
    Game 1 loss is squarely on Marmol. But in the big picture he did a remarkable job over the course of the season with the roster he was given. Other than Arenado, Goldschmidt and Edman (and 2nd half Pujols), the rest of the lineup was a turnstile of guys hoping to find footing. Some did (Donovan), others didn't (DeJong, Gorman, Carlson, O'Neill, Molina, Knizner), and some ran hot/cold (Yepez, Dickerson). Pretty amazing that group could win 93 games even in a weak division.
    Two things can be true, and thanks for acknowledging that. Oli had a fantastic regular season. He had one bad game in the postseason. I think he'll learn from it and get better, too.
    BenFred, please allow me to preface my comments by saying I believe Oliver Marmol did a terrific job of managing the Cardinals in his first year. I also recognize that hindsight is always 20-20. However, at the time I thought it to be a big mistake to ask Helsley to get a 5 out save in game one versus the Phillies. While being dominant all year he has been shaky at best when attempting more than one inning. Many closers have similar results when taken out of their comfort zone. Factoring in his injured finger it made the decision even more puzzling especially the slow reaction time on removing him from the game. I believe that decision by Marmol led directly to that loss and ultimately the defeat in the series. I am interested in your take on that. Thanks for the opportunity to comment.
    It cost them Game 1, for sure. It didn't affect Game 2. The pitching was not the problem in Game 2, despite Helsley not being available. Game 2 can be blamed on a disappearing offense that has now been limited to one or zero runs in eight of its last 15 playoff games. That offense managed one extra-base hit through both games and scored in just three of the series' 18 innings. 
    Good Day, Maestro
    The options (Yepez, Donovan, Burleson) for OF have substantially regressed in athletic ability (hence defensive ability) compared to Bader, Carlson, Noot. I am ready to move on from ONeil because he can’t stay healthy. My best suggestion is to go after Bryan Reynolds – Pirate OF Age 27 2 yr avg :25 HR, .850 OPA 4.5 WAR UFA in 2026. $ 6.7M next year. Seems like a good option to upgrade the OF. Would the Cards be interested in Reynolds and what would it take. Thanks
    You've been talking to Goold :)
    Ben, do you have any explanation for the fall of catcher Ivan Herrera from the high regard in which he was held by the Cardinal team? I know he didn't hit, but that would not have caused the team to jump so soon to acquire Austin Romine, who also doesn't hit. Was it the pitchers, the pitching coach, the manager who lost confidence in him as a catcher? And what element of his defense was found so bad: pitch calling, pitch framing, or pitch blocking?
    He just wasn't ready for live fire at this level. Needed work on managing games and being the step ahead the Cardinals want their catchers to be. Drinking from a firehose was the analogy I got. More seasoning needed. I don't think they are giving up on him or anything like that, but it seems there is going to need to be a bridge guy added in between, at least.
    Another poor playoff showing for the cards. This is Mo’s team. It reflects his planning and ideology. It was he who traded the Cy Young Award winner and Runner-up. It was here that put all his marbles in with Arenado and Goldschmidt. It was he the traded of rookie of the year for possible back up left-handed pitcher.It’s time for the front office to be held accountable for a literal decade of playoff failure. Also thanks for your chat
    You're welcome for the chat.
    I'll just offer that the Cardinals don't view things in such a negative light.
    BenFred, is the 12 team playoff locked in until the next CBA or was it a one year deal? It seems as though the 14 team playoff would be more beneficial for the Cards, as all the division winners would get a bye. Any chance they move to 14 teams next year?
    Good grief. Why not 30 teams?! 
    The new CBA runs through December 2026.
    Changing something inside it would take agreement between players and owners before then.
    I haven't heard or read any rumblings of expansion beyond the newly expanded to 12.
    BenFred,

    Do you feel like the Cardinals are primed for a more aggressive offseason given the recent playoff futility and money made from the farewell tour? Or will it be business as usual, building a team that can win a division and fade in the postseason?
    As I say every year when this question is asked: Believe it when you see it.
    We did see a more aggressive (for the Cardinals) approach to the trade deadline this season.
    No Soto. But two starters who helped big in the second half and pitched in huge spots in the postseason.
    BenFred I am a longtime Cardinals fan. (I lived through the horrible 1970’s when they underachieved year after year) but I found myself not overly devastated in the series loss to the Phillies. They were not going far anyway. With the MV2 awol and Tyler O’Neill in his usual spot on the IL the offense was absolutely anemic. Only AP played to his potential and he isn’t walking through that door anymore. Most disturbing to me was the ineffectiveness of all the role players in the series. Please explain how the front office can justify retaining the services of Jeff Albert as hitting coach? I believe they FINALLY go in another direction. Thanks
    The Cardinals do this weird thing with Jeff Albert where they treat any suggestions that he should be the one who answers for hitting-related issues as a misunderstanding of his wide-ranging role. But they were the ones who named him the hitting coach, and he's in the dugout every game next to the steps. I think they are continuing to play the long game and believe his overall instruction is producing good results system-wide, with some of those showing in the regular season this year. As for another playoff collapse, it's a fair criticism. But I don't think they make a change. He's a Mozeliak hire and has a good relationship with the front office.
    I think the answer to this team avoiding being shutout so often is to get more consistent hitters. I don’t mean Aaron Judge or Juan Soto, I mean more Edmans and Donovans. We have WAY too many everyday players that slip into 3-for-30 death spirals at the plate multiple times a season. Edman and Donovan get a hit in most games, sometimes just 1 in 4 at bats, sometimes just a single, but they add up. It is fine to have 1 or 2 guys that are boom or bust at the plate, but you can’t have 60% of your line-up like that because when they are all going bust at the same time there is zero production. That happened a lot this year.
    Consistency is a great thing to have for a lineup. No debate there. Edman isn't one to include there, though. He can fall into bad ruts. See July.
    Do you think MLB Free agency will move quickly this year with it being the first year after the lockout? Or will it stall until after the winter meetings?
    Nature of MLB offseason is to only act when deadline enforces it. I'll lean that way until proven otherwise.
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