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. Question for the audience: Did the rising inflation rate cause an uptick in Halloween parent tax applied to kids' candy hauls? Best costume I saw was neighbor's Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Thing 1 and Thing 2 made it to the neighborhood. Saw some pretty cute Minions, butterflies and lady bugs. OK, fire away. I'm here for a few hours.
    What do you give the chances of Matt Holliday and the Cardinals reuniting this off season especially with the bench coach position suddenly / currently open?
    I think there is a pretty good chance, and I think the Cardinals should make a point to make it a certainty. Holliday has expressed an interest in wanting to get into managing at some point. The Cardinals' bench coach role has become a launching pad for MLB managers: Shildt, Marmol and now Skip. The Cardinals have a hitting-coach opening but Holliday could be a great voice for hitters as well in the bench-coach role. It's hard for me to imagine him being very interested in the hitting-coach vacancy. It's a grinding, exhaustive role and if he wants to manage eventually, bench coach sets him up better for that. And again, he could still work with hitters in a bench-coach capacity. I understand he's made some public comments about the timing perhaps not being right, but I also know how good his relationship is with the team, the manager and multiple players including third baseman Nolan Arenado, who can be pretty convincing. Ol Marmol knows the importance of having some been-there-done-that on the bench, and he can be pretty convincing, too. The Cardinals should make it really hard for Holliday to say no.
    Good morning, Mr. Frederickson. Thank you for your time and the chat. Now that the Chicken Littles of the self-proclaimed BFIB (sarcasm intended) have one less thing to fret about after Arenado declined his opt-out, they can turn to worrying about their other "certainty": the Jack-Flaherty-bolting-to-the-Dodgers-at-first-opportunity countdown (again, sarcasm intended). Of more immediate concern for St. Louis, though, is the Blues' play. They've had stretches and teams before that couldn't score, but this is The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight. Even more troubling is their lackadaisical defense and sloppy play. Since there's no help coming from the minors and very little salary cap room, how would you suggest that Berube fix things? Thank you.
    I did my best to convince folks Arenado wasn't going anywhere. But I understand those who didn't want to trust anything until it's official. Now it is. Arenado knows the Cardinals did him a favor by freeing him from Colorado, and he thinks he can win big here. He's not as obsessed with being a Dodger as some assumed he is. He wants to beat the Dodgers as a Cardinal. And he's going to keep pressure on the Cardinals to try to be the kind of team that can do that. As he should. The Cardinals are going to need him to hit better in the postseason to make that a reality moving forward, but they also need to improve this team around Arenado. They say they will. Good news. Let's see how it comes together.
    Flaherty needs to prove he can pitch well and stay healthy before there's as much fretting about his future plans as there once was. He knows that. Next season is a big one for him, no matter where he pitches long-term.
    I try very, very, very hard not to overreact to early hockey. Especially this early. I learned my lesson in 2019. But the Blues made big changes in 2019, and better play was produced as a result of that. When things get stale on a hockey team and flat-line at the bottom for too long, you can't do nothing for too long. I don't think the Blues are to that point yet, and I like that the accountability seems to be there. We are hearing good things: Berube challenging the players, Tarasenko challenging the team, players holding themselves accountable and admitting it's not good enough. The fans booed, and the players pretty much said, yeah, we deserve that. The players are going to have to be the ones who change it. It's on the guys in the room. They've got some injuries, sure, but they should be better than this.
    They certainly miss David Perron. Said when they let him walk for peanuts that they might not realize how much they are going to miss him until this season. Well, now they know. 
    With MO shutting down any talk about signing any of FA shortstops because of having Edmond and blocking Winn, there is no big bats in the free agent list. Who do you see as a target in a trade or FA other than a catcher who is definitely going to be upgraded?
    I'm not sure I'd call it shutting down, but he did remind Cardinal Nation they think they have a pretty good shortstop coming in Winn.
    And he knows what some are overlooking -- that the Cardinals were mostly fine at shortstop last season when Tommy Edman and Brendan Donovan started tag-teaming that spot.
    The Cardinals will add a catcher; I've argued for one who can hit well to help this exact conversation about the offense. I think they need to add a starting pitcher who can help sharpen their swing-and-miss profile. And then there's room for another proven bat, but the position can be pretty flexible thanks to the versatility of the players returning and the holes open elsewhere. Could be an outfielder. Could be a designated hitter. Could be a shortstop, sure, but it doesn't have to be. They're not going to limit themselves based off defensive position, because they don't have to because of their team and the existence of the DH.
    The Cardinals don't speak in definites in roster building conversatons.
    You all know that by now.
    I was so happy Sat. with the Mizzou win. Their defense is so good. They are fast and get to the ball and they are good tacklers. They get a lot of pressure on the QB. The scheme is incredible. They must keep Baker. Cook is one tough guy. I have a ton of respect for him. Drink really showed some great offensive schemes. I was very sure 4 and 8 was a given but I am glad to be wrong. It might end up 5 and 7 but I have so much more hope going forward. No way Drink should be fired then what, start over and just repeat the cycle. Year 4 then maybe 7 wins should be the mark to be retained, I think if things go right we can be a force next year.
    The homecoming win against Vanderbilt was meh.
    The road win at South Carolina was, hey! 
    Kentucky is beatable. Arkansas could be after it goes through its gantlet of three ranked teams to get to Mizzou. New Mexico State is a win -- and a disaster if not.
    I don't think Tigers can beat Tennessee in Knoxville.
    So, an optimist assigns this team the potential of winning four or five of its last six games.
    That'll work, as long as year four avoids some of the pitfalls this one did.
    Keeping d-coordinator Blake Baker is big. He's underpaid. Mizzou should fix that sooner rather than later.

    Excited for the BattleHawks now? Looks like the XFL did it right by keeping the name. Ready for a packed dome in February?
    I'll commend the new XFL owners for not attempting to fix what clearly was not broken.
    I have no doubts the B-hawks will resume flight with much fanfare here in STL.
    If every city reacted like STL did the league would have a legitimate chance of competing with the NFL.
    My questions have always been about, now and before, the league's viability outside of this market and, more recently, the new owners' plans.
    Are they viewing this as a long-term league? Are they going to attempt to sell it to their buddy-buddy NFL as some sort of a developmental league? Time will tell.
    I do not understand thinking of hiring Holiday as bench coach who has no experience and passing by other coaches that have worked their way through the system for years. It might be to sell tickets, but it just seems unfair.
    I don't think people buy tickets to see the bench coach.
    Holliday has 15 years of playing experience in the major leagues.
    His son just became a No. 1 MLB draft pick and his younger one could be just as good if not better.
    Those kids aren't learning baseball from YouTube.
    Holliday has also been working closely with the Oklahoma State baseball team since his playing time ended.
    And he's been helping players long before he stopped playing.
    The old adage about MLB managers needing to have been seasoned MLB players is out. But there is still absolutely something to having some guys in the dugout who can relate to players on a been-there-done-that level. And Marmol knows that. It's part -- not all -- of the reason he wanted Skip next to him. And Holliday could bring that viewpoint, along with some other really helpful traits.
    Approximately how much do the cards have committed to salary, assuming reasonable raises thru arbitration and then how much is available for free agents?
    They set their payroll every season and stick to their budget more or less after that. They have said their payroll is going to increase, but have indicated they are not going to play above $200 million in 2023. P-D colleague Derrick Goold has crunched the numbers. Cards finished around $170 million last season, which ranked 12th and last among playoff teams. 11 Cardinals are arbitration eligible and due raises if they are back. Players coming and going in trades can and likely will impact those numbers.
    Read your article on Coach D and all good points. Is there really any reasonable doubt that he will be back next year, barring some embarrassing event or gross negligence? I live in Houston and part of the entertainment around here is the coaching carousels at Texas, Texas A&M and LSU. I don't see that being helpful to any of them. I also don't see Mizzou as having the booster resources to support all the ex-coaches that they still have on the payroll.
  • Mizzou can come up with the money to fire a coach if enough supporters decide it's necessary.
    Cuonzo Martin, Barry Odom and Kim Anderson were all terminated in recent years.
    Spending money on buyouts is just the cost of doing business these days, due to schools and athletics departments refusing to resist the crazy buyout language agents have worked into contracts.
    It would simply take all schools saying no to crazy buyouts to change the language, but they won't do it.
    I'm getting off track here. I've said from the start I think year four is the make-or-break one for Eli. But there are certainly things that can expedite that timeline. Back-to-back conference wins seem to have added at least a temporary pause in the grumbling.
    After last winter's free agency disaster why should we trust Mo this winter? He has a horrific track record in free agency of signing mid-level talent to too much money and too many years. Name the last outside free agent he signed to more than 2-years that was a success? His one true free agency success was Beltran (2-year deal), who was signed as a legitimate replacement for Pujols. It is time to replace Pujols again, but this time with an upgrade. It's been a decade since that signing, can he do it again?
    He's nailed two pretty excellent trades for Goldschmidt and Arenado.
    Trades are allowed in the offseason.
    Cards tend to prefer them over free agency for big-splash additions.
    Don't forget that this offseason.
    And don't forget the Cardinals' most significant trade-deadline moves in a while came via unexpected deals, one for an in-the-division starter in Quintana and another for a starter no one seemed to realize was up for grabs in Montgomery.
    Good morning Ben,
    Great column regarding Ohtani! What do you believe the Cardinals would need to give up to acquire him?
    I was mostly using him as an example of the kind of ace the Cardinals need to add -- or not add anything at all.
    They don't need more middle-rotation starters.
    They do need the kind of starter who can go into a playoff game and cut some hitters down.
    Any team that has any interest in trading for Ohtani needs one thing to happen first.
    They need the Angels to get on board with the idea that it's better to get something back from a superstar than letting him walk for nothing into free agency.
    If they prefer to simply maximize their time with him no matter what, and I wouldn't blame them for taking that approach, then it's a non-starter for all.
    Best Halloween costume in our neighborhood was Robin Hood Lady Marion and Little John. I think the Cardinals need to take a close look at what the Phillies have done. Not only signing expensive pieces but having patience to stay with their home grown players as well
    WHAT? OK! YEAH!!!
    Glad the kids are holding on to hip-hop history.
    There's another Phillies characteristic the Cardinals can learn from.
    Phillies owner John Middleton entering 2019: "We're going into this expecting to spend money, and maybe even be a little bit stupid about it."
    The Cardinals are in a position to spend, and credit to them for realizing that and broadcasting it as a thank-you to the fans who flooded the stadium to see Pujols and crew in 2022.
    The Cardinals don't do stupid, and fans who appreciate being relevant year in and year out -- and they should -- are good with that. But you can make a pretty strong case that some of the Cardinals' bigger mistakes in recent years have come from trying to be too smart. Here's a recent example. Corey Dickerson on a one-year $5 million. All of those ups and downs, and he wound up being a league average hitter. Kyle Schwarber was there. Got a lot of money. Maybe too much. But it's paying off. Or there was Joc Pederson, who signed for $6 million with the Giants, slugged .521 and hit 20-plus homers.
    The Cardinals need to sprinkle in a touch more stupid spending, whether it's buying certainty in free agency or trading for more and accepting the payroll consequences.
    Less trying to thread a needle and more boom.
    At the end of the Mizzou game I know what the strategy was but why did Drinkwitz yell at Cook during the timeout?
    Coaches yell at players all the time. He was overflowing in his praise of Cook after the game. I think it had to do with Brady not running enough time off the clock before the snap, when they were trying to drain the clock and get out of there with the win.
    By re-signing Waino what has the club committed to? If he comes out in April and looks like he did in September how long will they let him try and get right? If he battles through a full season and is just okay does he still get the Game 1 playoff nod because he is Waino in his final year? Just trying to set expectations.
  • Huh?
    He didn't start Game 1 this postseason.
    He didn't even pitch in the postseason -- and it could have been his last one.
    Some of you all are assuming things that this season showed you no longer exist.
    Marmol didn't force Wainwright into the postseason plans because of how poorly he pitched in September.
    Wainwright understood it, and was frustrated in his performance, not the team's decision.
    Wainwright should be viewed like a mid-rotation guy. The Cardinals have a lot of them, sure. But few have accomplished as much as Wainwright, or pitched as well last season -- until September.
    I am lucky enough to have SC season tickets. Will you, Benjamin, Derrick and The Commish be my guests for a match next summer?
    Hochsie and I will salute from the press box.
    I think DG has season tickets himself.
    Commish would join I'm sure, but dress accordingly, because you would not want to be upstaged by his epic wardrobe.
    I saw a little kid as Alf this year. Not sure where that came from but cool and a nice throwback.
    Heck yeah. I think my sister once went as Alf years ago. Good parenting exists!
    What is a reasonable ask by Oakland for 3 years of Sean Murphy?
    Maybe not as much as I thought originally. Because of where the team is -- trying to move and not interested in being good for a while. So perhaps that trade leans on intriguing but far-away prospects and more easier-to-part with types at the major league level. That can be an easier trade to make if you're a big believer in Murphy, because if one of the far-away prospects becomes a big name later, you've already had the benefit of Murphy, and perhaps it's turned into a long-term fit. The Cardinals could maybe make that deal without parting with their identified prospect darlings. I'm still very much Team Contreras.
    Berube reminds me of Shildt. Stepped in mid-season, did some great stuff, and then as the game advanced more and more analytically, they refused to keep up. Thanks for everything, but the Blues need their Oli if they want to keep this window open. You cannot have a coach still stuck in 2018 when you have a 2022 built core (whom the coach blames for most of the teams flaws)
    Shildt didn't lead the Cardinals to their first-ever championship.
    Also: Berube's new contract extension is through the 2024-25 season.
    Wouldn't firing him look a lot like a panic move, when that decision comes from the same team leadership that handed him that deal?
    I'll play the long game here.
    I am curious though. In your analogy, who is Marmol? Steve Ott, perhaps? Like Marmol, he seems destined to get a shot somewhere sooner or later.
    I wonder do the cards would prefer the roster spot over deyongs salary
    Paul DeJong seems like a trade-away to me. And it will surprise me none if he has better results elsewhere. Maybe there is a team that needs strong shortstop defense but is not as desperate for offense from that spot. Maybe there is a team that is willing to split the difference on the $9 million plus he's set to earn, or fold it into a bigger package. One thing to keep in mind. DeJong got worse every consecutive season the Cardinals were on the Jeff Albert plan. Perhaps new voice can help him more than previous one. But he can't enter the season as a starter at shortstop, even if he's back as a highly paid bench guy. Spring training should not be enough to earn him that, and I say that as someone who's hopeful he can be better than he has been.
    If I mow the yard, what album do you suggest I listen to whilst running the mower?
    Gotta go with Cuttin' Grass from Sturgill Simpson
    Hey Ben. I went ahead and did the homework for all to see. These numbers are pretty close. Attendance stats came from ESPN and roster salaries came from Spotrac. The top 15.

    Dodgers - 3.9M
    Cards - 3.3M
    Yankees - 3.1M
    Braves - 3.1M
    Padres - 3.0M
    Astros - 2.7M
    Blue Jays - 2.6M
    Red Sox - 2.6M
    Cubs - 2.6M
    Rockies - 2.6M
    Mets - 2.6M
    Giants - 2.5M
    Angels - 2.5M
    Brewers - 2.4M
    Mariners - 2.3M

    26 Man Roster Salaries:
    Mets - 282M
    Dodgers - 275M
    Yankees - 264M
    Phillies - 255M
    Padres - 237M
    Red Sox - 223M
    White Sox - 208M
    Braves - 200M
    Astros - 193M
    Angels - 192M
    Blue Jays - 188M
    Cubs - 166M
    Rangers - 165M
    Cardinals - 165M

    All this to say that the narrative we're told is that attendance is the vehicle that drives the roster is not true. Never has been. I can go back thru historically and show the math every time. So why do we keep hearing this and why do you guys keep printing false statements? On another note, I have the Cards actually roster salary before ARB cases at 142.5M. And a lot of their ARB cases aren't due much in raises since they didn't perform very well except for Monty. So maybe 155M on the books as it sits. Food for thought.
    Cardinals usually ranked top-10 in payroll before the pandemic.
    They played it super safe during it, and now need to come out of that.
    They have said the same thing, and that's why they are broadcasting a significant hike entering 2023.
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