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 -

    We know the Cardinals have signaled that moves are coming this offseason. My question is, if we hypothetically did not make any outside additions to this team, do you think we'd still be a playoff team?

    My opinion - yes. Interested on your thoughts.
    Considering the schedule next season, you can't guarantee that with this hypothetical.
    Just look at how 2023 starts for proof.
    Three against Toronto.
    Three against Atlanta.
    Three against Milwaukee.
    Mariners-Giants-Dodgers road trip before May.
    London trip in June, and coming out of that: Astros and Yankees.
    Don't underestimate the strengthening schedule on the pressures nudging the front office to improve this roster.
    Why is the ownership and front office lying to fans again about payroll going up and spending in the offseason just to let the be let down again? We don’t want bottom pickings like Matt carpenter and don’t want dejong on this team. We want names such as turner, judge, verlander. They owe it to the fans!
    I don't see any lying, at least not yet. Mozeliak said the payroll is going up, but didn't care to share how much. He's been doing this a long time. If he touted a climbing payroll only to make minor moves, that would be a preventable error. I know no one likes to mention this, but the Cardinals picking the right players to go get is much more important than what the players get paid. Albert Pujols was this team's third-best hitter last season. He made $2.5 million. Fans did their part last season, for sure. The pressure on the front office, to me, should be to use that surplus to make good additions, not simply spend.
    How did Walker look in CF during AFL?
    Still getting used to it, but I love that he complimented his corner outfielders for helping him adjust. Kind of gives you a glimpse into the team-first thinking he has, even as a rising star. The AFL has all of the new-age tech that allows snapshots to build comparisons around. On top of blistering the ball -- what else is new? -- he clocked elite sprint time to first and sizzled a throw from the the outfield (right field) that hit nearly 100 mph. I don't think there is any place on the field Walker will look uncomfortable or awkward, at least not for very long. He's not just a hitter.
    Hello Ben, I’m with the rest of the fans in that the cardinals keeping starting dejong and signing carpenter is a massive middle finger to fans. Enough where there may not be a stadium left.
    Come on now.
    There would be plenty of fans that would cheer a Matt Carpenter return.
    Let's not kid ourselves.
    And those fans would show up to cheer him, not just holler on the Internet.
    The reunion and/or last-ride element has played well for this team, on the field and in ticket sales.
    Now, would I do it? No. And I realize how the shift ban could change things.
    The Cardinals and Carpenter had a lot of time together to try to get things right, and they couldn't do it. Some of that is on the now-gone hitting coach Jeff Albert. A lot of it is on Carpenter, who became hard to reach as his struggles intensified. Matt Holliday being back as the bench coach and helping out the hitting side is compelling, because it was Holliday who helped unlock Carpenter once he became more willing to open things up and take a look.
    Yankee Stadium helped Carpenter quite a bit too, as he's better built for that ballpark than this one.
    He averaged .358 with a .524 on-base percentage and a 1.082 slugging percentage in Yankees home games.
    He averaged .253 with a .333 on-base percentage and a .506 slugging percentage in Yankees road games.
    Don't get me wrong, he was good on the road. But those splits are telling, and one wonders how the Yankee Stadium boost helped his confidence on the road.
    It's not hard at all to see the Cardinals talking themselves into the idea, and it's not hard to imagine Carpenter wanting to come back and end things in a place he loved better than he got the chance to last time around. 
    Maybe it could work, but if he came back and struggled -- like Corey Dickerson did for a large swath last season in the same role -- things could get rough fast, and I'd be a little worried about that potential, even with the shift ban.
    The Cardinals gave Carpenter a regrettable extension once. Are they going to risk a regrettable free-agent deal, even at low cost?
    Mo said the payroll is going up means nothing. It goes up every year ?
    Id encourage you to read the coverage of the payroll from P-D colleague Derrick Goold and see how the Cardinals pulled back during the pandemic.
    Do you think the cardinals are just trying put teams together just to win in the worst division in NL and not putting a team together to compete with all teams in NL, Mo seems to think that way in my opinion he said himself get in then take your chances in playoffs, that doesn’t seem like a GM with the eye on the big prize, but rather if we get lucky will take it kinda approach to a World Series appearance
    The Cardinals front office has been quite clear about its view. The view, whether the rest of us agree or not, is to get in the postseason and hope to be the hot team upon arrival there. As many times as possible. That's the strategy. No secret. What is being debated is if it's the best strategy for modern times, and if it needs to be updated to take into account a growing amount of time without a deep run, and for an increasingly more difficult schedule moving forward. There's the rub.
    BenFred, thanks as always for doing this chat!

    So, is Walker the new Gorman? or the New Carlson?

    Can the cardinals develop a superstar hitter?

    Can we please get Donovan to follow Tommy Edman's path, and not Dejong's or Carpenters?

    If these prospects are legit in the minors (and, based on non-biased rankings, they are), what are the cardinals doing wrong with their development? (Or are they over hyped because of the additional scrutiny industry wide on the minor leagues?)

    thoughts?
    Cardinals fans, often with encouragement from the Cardinals, have developed a pattern where every prospect who comes up and plays well is suddenly supposed to be the next big thing, and then massive disappointment crashes into the picture if that hope veers of course even for a moment. Linear progress in the majors without any setbacks is incredibly hard. That's the lesson, and it's not just taught here. But the Cardinals unlike some teams try to give most internally produced products -- not all, and sometimes not the best ones it has turned out -- a chance to stick at the major league level. And here, unlike a lot of other places, there is a big bright spotlight on any major leaguer and most prospects. That's part of the challenge, and some guys handle it better than others. Nolan Gorman was all the rage a season ago. Now some are ready to move on because he had downs along with ups in a rookie season. He's 22. His story has an introduction only, not even a first chapter. If there's something the Cardinals can do to help, I think we saw Oli Marmol start to do it this season. He didn't overuse some of these young guys. He slow-played some lineup promotions and was realistic about knowing when to get some guys some time to reset, and when to push surging young players into bigger roles. He balanced it well, and doing that can make a big difference. Juan Yepez was a good example. Had a high point. Had some struggles. Came back and hit the biggest Cardinals hit of the postseason. And most are upbeat about what he can do for this team moving forward, but no one is expecting him to be The Answer. Maybe Jordan Walker becomes The Answer. But they are really rare, and it's always better to let it be a pleasant surprise than a hole a team hopes will be filled ASAP.
    Not that the chat or you will care, but I'll make a bold prediction: Walker is the new Pujols. While you're right, BenFred, that he should start out hitting 6-7-8, I think he'll be the fixture at 4 by June. Like that guy from 2001.

    Obviously that's a lot to put on his shoulders...and I don't really think he'll turn into a top 10 player of all-time, but the comparisons could be made. I watch a ton of games here in Springfield and this kid is the REAL DEAL. So excited to see him playing on the big club next year (although certainly sad I won't see him here again!)
    It would be a really, really good time for the Cardinals to show they can produce a star prospect who pops upon arrival and keeps on doing it.
    Not being able to play in the most fertile parts of the draft makes it so much harder, a punishment the Cardinals welcome because they compete every season.
    First-round guys like Walker, Nolan Gorman and Dylan Carlson really need to come through.
    None are older than 24 (Carlson). Patience is not easy, but it's needed.
    To be fair, BenFred, when the team refuses to sign elite players to augment the host of complementary players, we are left to pin our hopes to said prospects because that is our only chance to win it all again.
    Fair point. That's why I mentioned the Cardinals often encourage this line of thinking, too. The Cardinals are a draft-and-develop team. Fans understandably look to  prospects for production, because that's the model. Can't have it both ways. But some prospects are not mean to be stars, and some who are meant to be don't become them. That's baseball.
    For the new shift rule (idiotic rule, IMHO) is there going to be a chalked line on the dirt from the back of 2B to the grass so that there is no confusion about which side of the bag a fielder is on?

    Also, presumably this rule will eliminate the 4 man outfield some teams use occasionally since infielders have to be on the dirt?

    Does is prevent a 5 man infield too? If allowed, can that 5th man be anywhere?

    I can see the Cardinals using an outfielder as the "short RF" infielder in lots of situations and leave just two OF to cover the rest. Again, play the percentages.

    I guess what I'm saying is I think it's going to take about 1 game of spring training for teams to show how to get around the "shift ban" with other creative alignments. Cardinals have the athletes and positional makeup of their team to perhaps turn it into an advantage. Burleson and Yepez have at least some experience on the IF. Walker, Edman, and Donovan are all infielders by trade yet will see time in the OF.
    The new rule mandates that at the time the pitch is thrown, four infielders must be on the dirt with two on each side of second base. Players can move as soon as the ball leaves the pitcher's hand. If a ball is hit under violation that plays favorably to the hitting team, the game continues as is. If the play is negative toward the hitting team in any way and the ball was hit under violation  -- an out, a sacrifice, etc. -- the hitting team can decide to accept the penalty of adding a ball to the hitter's count, or declining it and playing on. I have not heard or read anything about the field being marked up beyond the invisible line that cuts through second base. What I'd be prepare for is hitters complaining about infielders leaaaaanning and gradually moving toward where the numbers tell them to position during the pitcher's delivery. That can be distracting, and I'm not sure there's a good way to stop it as long as the rule is complied with.
    Hello Ben, I’m with the majority of fans who thinks the cardinals needs to be the leader in free agent by going out and signing turner and judge and staying clear of their yearly discount alleys. They need to remember there’s a new stadium opening down the street and we don’t need to pack Busch anymore if they aren’t going listen to us like the STLCITYSC local ownership does.
    Turner AND Judge? My goodness.
    Went to see the boys in Blue in Denver last nite. They looked like a playoff team (thanks #51) albeit against an Avs team with injuries (boo Hoo). They were engaged and taking away time and space. Lots of scoring opportunities. I did notice they seem to lose a lot of puck battles on the boards, almost conceding possession at times in favor of a “zone” coverage? Is that what “finesse” teams do these days? Are they to small ir unwilling to fight those battles? Either way it almost made giving sleazy Stan my money worth it, they certainly showed up in a way not seen during the 0-8 days
    They've flipped their switch, hopefully just in time. What we are seeing during this good stretch (small but hopefully growing) is the team we expected to see. Not a perfect one. But one capable of being a contender with upside as the group plays together and finds its own version of an updated style. I won't keep going on and on about David Perron but one area he really helped is with that element you mentioned. He was like a dog on a bone when he had the puck. More guys need to be harder to knock off it. Glad you had a good time. Hope you got in a few Stan (stinks) chants while you were there.
    Some XFL news, for those who are interested: The BattleHawks have their QBs. A.J. McCarron of Alabama and Ryan Willis (Virginia Tech)
    Hey Ben! I get the feeling that the Cardinals feel that, like you said, Walker is for real, so patience and medium sized moves til he gets going. And that thought process is part of the frustration I have as a fan. Why not go big, turner for example, then walker arrives and it's a Dodger like line up the front office does one big move and done. Go for good, not great they got Goldshmidt and they were done. They got Arenado, they were done. Just be good enough. Your thoughts..
    If the Cardinals position themselves on the outside looking in on Turner, it would have more to do with the kind of contract he will command as a highly pursued top-tier free agent of the class, and their feelings about the future for Masyn Winn more than Walker-related projections. Walker and Turner don't overlap positions.
    Story out today Jeff Alberts joining Mets, for what it is worth.
    Saw that! Nice scoop from Andy Martino. Interesting fit, as the Cardinals made a big deal about Albert not liking the criticism that came with the job here. New York can be tough, too, I've heard. Ask ex-Mets hitting coach Chili Davis. The title I saw was director of hitting. Interested to see what that looks like for him there. I wondered at times if the Cardinals would have been better off switching his title an getting him out of the dugout as a reflection over the overarching hitting role they often described, one that didn't fit with him being front row of dugout for every major league game.
    Ben, why are the cardinals and you local media putting everything into 2 unproven minor leaguers when this organization should just go get proven talent such as judge, turner, verlender, Murphy. Then we can win it all.
  • If your local media is only telling you what the Cardinals want you to hear, I'd respectfully suggest you audit your media intake. The work is easy to find. Go seek it out.
    Is Mozeliak as big a wise apple as he appears? Or does he have a more self-effacing side we don't see?
    He's got different sides, for sure. He has done a whole heck of a lot for charities he's involved in. Can be self-deprecating at times, an genuinely funny. I enjoy those interactions when they occur. The press-conference side, especially when he knows it is streaming live for all to see, can be combative, increasingly so it seems in recent seasons. He's pretty adamant about defending the model and tends to treat any questions or counters to it as a misunderstanding or disrespect almost of the success the org has had, which usually is not the case. In my experience he tends to think coverage is too negative. Some here think it's always too positive. Comes with the job. I just try to tell it like I see it, back that up, and admit when I was wrong. (And sure, sometimes I celebrate a little when I'm right. Because a little fun is still allowed, I think.)
    Hi Ben, We all know how st.louis prospect works out here. Fans are tired of the same song and dance they want big names this year and that’s is what’s expected this year. If not then fans are personally going feel like the organization stole our money and there will be a empty stadium. I’m also wondering if mozeliak lied to Nolan about spending to get the big names just to turn his back on him like he has on us fans.
    You will often find me saying actions speak louder than words when referencing Cardinals moves, or lack thereof.
    The same stance applies to threats to not go to games or watch them if moves don't move a certain needle. Internet angst is not the best metric for Cardinals fans' support of the team, and the attendance continues to prove that.
    Any word on new player signings coming up for CITY? And what are you most looking forward to at CITYPARK tomorrow?
    Tom T just posted -- within the past few hours -- a rundown of where the roster stands now.
    Link below.
    Yeah, I'm excited to see it. I'm going to swing by there tomorrow morning for an interview and will be on hand for the game. I didn't get to take the tour yesterday but honestly kind of wanted to wait until it's got fans inside for that first real glimpse.
    I haven't been inside since the construction was starting, and kind of wanted to keep it that way.
    Looking forward to seeing it, and happy for all those who worked really hard to make it happen, and the fans who waited and waited.

    With St. Louis City's stadium debut looming, the team's roster is almost ready too

    STLtoday.comAcquisition of defender Tim Parker, 29, in a trade brings added experience to an otherwise young group as the team prepares to unveil its new stadium Wednesday
    Thanks so much for your time today, Ben.
    Presented without comment, here's some Baseball-Reference career WAR averages on a per-600-plate appearance basis: Tommy Edman 4.8, Tyler O'Neill 4.4, Bryce Harper 4.3, Lars Nootbaar 3.8, Dylan Carlson 2.6, Kyle Schwarber 2.1, Joc Pederson 2.0, Christian Vazquez 1.5. Okay, we lied; we do have a comment.

    Whether it's fans or sportswriters, I think it's almost universal that local ballplayers who *aren't* superstars and *don't* win championships, frequently get underrated. Sort of a variation on "familiarity breeds contempt." And conversely, outside players who get the spotlight of October success get radically overrated on occasion.
    That was the point I was kind of hoping to make about Andrew Benintendi.
    He's a good player, but I'm not sure he's all that much better than what the Cardinals could have by sticking with that they have.
    Different? Yes.
    New? You bet?
    Better? Maybe not.
    And that's the place the Cardinals are in this offseason, where changing for the sake of change may lead to different and new options, but not always better ones -- unless better is the focus of the additions.
    A better catcher. Better hitter. Better pitcher.
    Not potentially. Proven to be better than what is in hand, if healthy. The Cardinals don't need more clouds in their roster picture. They need clarity. They have it at first and third base, and could use more of it elsewwhere.
    I wish Jeff Albert well in New York. May he stay there forever.
    My question for you, Ben, is do you think Bonds & Clemens will get more traction with a veteran's committee of their peers than they did from the baseball writers? Personally I think they'll be shot down by their colleagues, rather than supported.
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