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 you are having a good Thanksgiving week. I'm going to be the toast of Thursday's family lunch because I scored a smoked ham from P-D photography and multimedia ace Gary Hairlson. There was a technical glitch in how the chat gets posted this week, so we don't have as many questions to start out as we often do. We'll see who shows up over the next couple hours. If you're a first-time visitor, this would be a great day to jump into the fray. Blues are hot. Cards are contemplating. Mizzou has a big game against Arkansas Friday, with bowl eligibility on the line. One quick thing before we start. If you have not already, and thanks to those who have, please do me a favor and sign up for my new Wednesday BenFred's 5 newsletter. It will recap the chat and I'll be able to add more info and analysis, and sprinkle in some exclusive content as well. You can sign up here below, by just following the link. OK, let's ride.

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    Would you trade Gorman for Kirk? or Gorman + for Kirk?

    Also, have you heard if the Cards are interested in Rodon?
    I'd just sign Willson Contreras. His defense is not nearly as bad as some of his critics make it seem, and he costs nothing other than the money it takes to get him and the draft pick. I'd like to see how Gorman responds to the ups and downs of his rookie season before shipping him out. He's only 22.
    Hey Ben. I keep hearing names such as Murphy, Jansen, and Kirk as catching trade targets. I really feel like we are missing an obvious target... Dalton Varsho. Lefty bat with pop. Extremely versatile which means that the team can actually let Kizner catch half of the games to see if he continues to develop and still keep Varsho's bat in the lineup at DH or OF. He can even play center without embarrassing himself. I think Arizona may need some convincing, but I have to believe that the price for Varsho would not be much higher than the price for Jansen or Murphy.
    Really interesting player. And young, too. He's played more outfield than catcher, at least so far. The Cardinals have seemed more interested in a more primary type catching addition than a 50-50 split. No one will occupy the Molina marathon role moving forward, but a main starter is likely to get the majority of the work behind the plate. Varsho has just 553 innings as catcher in the majors over three years. That's not a lot of regular work behind the plate.
    Does Scott Rolen make the hall this time?
    I believe so, yes. The numbers have been trending in his favor. He needs 75 percent approval from eligible BBWAA voters to get in. He got 63.2 percent last time. That was up from 52.9 percent the time before. He's jumped up by big amounts and has four more chances on the BBWAA ballot if he does not make it in this time. But I think he will.
    Is the true 2022-23 Blues squad more like the one during the 8-game losing streak or the 7-game winning streak? Do they make the playoffs?
    I think the same question was asked last week, and I said they are more like the team winning now than the one losing earlier. And that's continuing to be proven. The updated NHL playoff odds give them a 36.6 percent chance of making the playoffs, but we know those numbers are mostly junk this early in the season. If you are alive by Thanksgiving, you're in the mix. The Blues have pulled themselves back into that range. Good for them.
    BenFred, I agree with your take on Walker. He should not be seen as the solution to our lineup problems. He could be the greatest player ever, but too much pressure can hurt any players development.
    I'm begging the Cardinals to let him be the pleasant surprise that takes a good lineup and makes it great. It's asking too much for a rookie to be the guy you makes the lineup good and then maybe great.
    BenFred -

    Really appreciated the article about Jordan Walker and the cautious optimism we should have in regards to him. One thing I'm interested for you to expand on, though, is how you see the tenure of other Cardinals top prospects (Gorman, Carlson) playing into these expectations and Walker's role on the team.
    I don't think the book of Carlson, and especially Gorman, is close to being finished. But seeing how Carlson went from arriving to being asked to hit cleanup in the playoffs, that's the kind of lineup the Cardinals should avoid bringing Walker up to join. Because holes elsewhere and rookies with tractions can lead quickly to rookies being asked to do too much. I thought Marmol's handling of Gorman was really smart this season. He had a good feel for when to thrust the young guys forward and when to pull them back a bit. Carlson, too. Carlson's youth card expired this season. Three seasons beneath his belt. 2023 will be age-24 season. The Cardinals are a draft-and-develop, pipeline-driven organization, and that's not going to change. But as they try to solve the riddle of why some of these guys have had a hard time growing in a linear fashion -- beyond the fact that baseball is really hard -- I think they need to be honest about how they sometimes create spots that ask young guys to do too much.
    Ben,

    Doesn't the Cardinals need for a catcher seem an awful lot like when they needed a bat like Ozuna. Seems like if they make a trade they could find themselves in a similar position as they are with Alcantara now. They could just sign Contreras and not give up prospects that could turn into a regretful trade.
    Sometimes the easy answer is the right answer. But The Chat is not into Contreras.
    Ben, how do you see the "Battle Line Rivalry" (terrible name) game playing out? I sure hope Mizzou wins but I am doubtful about the game's outcome.

    Also, please post a link to the BenFred 's 5 Newsletter. I look forward to more insight from you.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all.
    Tough game to pick, as evidenced by Vegas making it more or less a toss-up. I think the Hogs are favored by three last time I looked. Two teams with opposite strengths. Arkansas' offense is rolling now that Jefferson is back at QB. He went hog wild on Ole Miss; maybe Lane Kiffin and his Rebs were distracted by the coach's name popping up in job rumors? But Barry Odom's Arkansas defense is bad. Hate to say it. But when you are ranked at the bottom of the league with Vanderbilt in points surrendered per game, there's no other word for it. Mizzou's usually strong defense got drilled by Tennessee, and looked better against New Mexico State, but this is another real test. I'm leaning toward Arkansas, but not by much. Should be a close game. Mizzou has one good win this season, at South Carolina. This would be two if the Tigers can do pull it off, and it would set up what should be a decent bowl game, maybe in Vegas? That would put a positive spin on the end of year three.
    I hear Yadi has been thrown out of a few games already as manager. Do you think it’s just years as frustration coming out, since he had to bite his lip so much as a catcher?
    Has it happened more than once? I saw just one of the videos. Looked pretty routine. Yadi's not one to walk away from an argument if he feels like his point is not being heard. In one of the final games of the regular season, he could be found trading verbal rounds with a reporter from Puerto Rico about something he did not like in the paper's coverage. He even got the editor on the phone, right there in the clubhouse. Umpires will have a skilled opponent in Manager Molina.
    BenFred -

    At this point in time, it looks like the only place we may be able to find the lineup protection for Nado and Goldy that Mo has mentioned we're looking for is in the SS market. Your colleague DG has reported that we have not seriously explored any of the big name SS free agents.

    My question is, do you foresee the front office waiting for major movement elsewhere in the league before making that addition, maybe in the hopes that trades or major signings free up players who currently don't look to be available?
    It's November 22. Lots of moves to be made across baseball, and winter meetings haven't even stated yet. Patience. Patience.
    Why no love for Jose Quintana from the Cardinal front office this off-season? Thought he was great last year.

    Do you have any guestimate of what type of contract he gets this year in FA this winter.
    He was great last year. Career best, if you go by adjusted era. Is he going to be as good next year? He'll be 34. Perhaps commanding a multi-year deal. I'm not so sure. I don't think any doors are closed on Q just yet. But I'd like to see the Cardinals add more of a sure thing if they are going to use resources to bolster their rotation beyond its current state. They've got lots of depth. Need more, "Damn!"
    I see a lot of trade proposals by fans (not just here but other places as well) that include Nolan Gorman. Man how the tides turn, last year at this time he was the prospect d'jour...he admittedly had some highs and lows this season, but I for one am high on him and expect to see continued development from him. Yes, he will probably always have some swing and miss in is game, but who doesn't these days? I see him developing into a steady 30+ HR left-handed bat. Tell me the last time the Cards had one of those unicorns?
    I don't know what to expect from him, but I'd at least like to find out how he responds to an up and down season that still included 14 homers and an above-average OPS+ for a 23-year-old rookie. If he can't hold at second base, DH is there. The Cardinals stick anybody in corner outfield these days, and he could probably figure that out. Point is, time is on his side. I wouldn't rush him out. I'm with you.
    Do you think mozeilak gets an extension before his contract expires after this year?
    If he wants one, yeah, probably. But I could also see him wanting to shift gears, even if it's within the organization in a different kind of role. All seems well between Mo and ownership.
    Are you as high on Bellinger as the league appears to be?
    I don't think the league has a universal stance on him. The Dodgers just dropped him, for example, because they didn't want to pay him $18-20 million. They usually find that in the coin dish of their Mercedes, no problem. If you have a center fielder, you're not interested. If you're the Cardinals . . . I would kick the tires. See what you can find out about his shoulder, his work ethic, his interest in proving the Dodgers wrong on an NL team with a big brand and passionate fan base. After trading away Harrison Bader last season, the Cardinals at times had to turn to Ben DeLuzio for the speed and defense-first CF role, and now he's gone, too. At worst, Bellinger can play very good defense and run bases well. Is that worth what it would take to sing him? Probably not. But if you think he can rebound to being anything close to the guy who won rookie of the year and NL MVP, it gets a lot more interesting. He's a left-handed hitter, which is what the Cardinals need. He isn't The Big Bat, but he could be a smart pickup if he figures it out elsewhere. His agent, Scott Boras, told The Athletic that the belief is the offensive slide has been caused by the repeated shoulder problems, and that it can be addressed. Who knows about that. But he's also saying Bellinger wants a one-year, prove-it deal. There are rarely really, really bad one-year deals. I'd kick the tires. And for those saying the Dodgers don't let good players go . . . they let Albert Pujols go.
    Good afternoon, Mr. Frederickson. Thank you for the chat, and I hope you and your family have a Happy Thanksgiving. Even if Mizzou beats Arkansas convincingly, I doubt the Tigers get invited to a decent bowl game. There seems a perception among bowl officials that Mizzou fans "don't travel well." do you agree? Thanks.
    If the Tigers beat Arkansas, they will get a decent bowl game.
    SEC affiliation and league's bowl ties helps.
    Vegas Bowl is Pac-12 versus SEC.
    Mizzou AD has Vegas ties.
    Dave Matter has pointed out that one as a potential fit, if Mizzou takes care of business, and The Shark is a wise man.
    To your knowledge, has college football or NFL ever discussed putting a time limit on the reviews? The amount of reviews and time they take, when someone watching TV can determine the outcome of the review in seconds is mind boggling and kills the momentum. Watching the start of the World Cup, any review is resolved in under 60 seconds. Maybe that’s a solution, if you can’t make a decision in 60 seconds, the play stands. Thanks for listening to my rant and Happy Thanksgiving!!
    The delays can be a pain, but if you're going to stop the game for it, you better get it right, not get it done fast. Bad situation gets worse if you stop action to get call wrong by rushing. My two cents.
    BenFred, can you walk us through how these negotiations go? Let’s take Contreras. So, there is a prelim call between the Cards and his agent determining his asking price, with the Cards explaining how they would use him. When do the Cards make an offer, after Contreras has talked to other teams? Say the Astros top the Cards offer, do the Cards get one last shot to match or exceed it? Or do the Cards bow out when the ask exceeds what they are willing to pay? As we saw from the Freeman case last year, communications can get mixed up.
    It all depends on the teams, players and agents, involved.
    Each situation is different.
    Sometimes it's win and dine. 
    Other times it's all phone.
    Sometimes it's emojis via text.
    Thanks for doing the chats. Especially at this time of the year. What kind of timetable do you think we are looking at for top pitching prospects? Hence, Graceffo, McGreevy, Jjerpe et Al.
  • Here are the estimates from the MLB.com prospect crew.
    Hence, Graceffo and McGreevy: 2024
    Hjerpe: 2025
    Of course, we know how fast those can change.
    Especially with how the Cardinals have fast-tracked young arms with good stuff toward important bullpen roles in recent seasons.
    There was some talk last season that Graceffo's stuff could play against major leaguers.
    Could be big spring for him.
    BenFred, so excited we have both an MVP winner, Goldy, and a Cy Young winner, Alcanatra….oops.

    Can you imagine if we had not traded Alcanatra? We would have our ace.

    Mo must have cringed when he won the Cy Young. I know I did.
    I'll be honest. I liked the Ozuna trade at the time; I didn't know his shoulder was messed up. Jack Flaherty, not Sandy, was looking like the next big thing. The Cardinals needed thump; sound familiar? You have to give the Marlins a lot of credit for helping Alcantara develop into the star he's become, too. That gets lost in this conversation too often. But yes, I think it's safe to say it's not Randy Arozarena the Cardinals will miss most when all is said and done. It's the ace of Skip Skip Schumaker's club.
    Re: Bellinger, do we really need another player on this roster where the FO is always referencing their 2019 performance when defending their shortcomings?
    As I said, he doesn't sell as the big addition. Guess you missed that part, Tack.
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