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. I'm locked and loaded here for the next few hours. Fire away with any questions or comments you have, and be sure to sign up for the newsletter to get the best of the chat recapped in your email inbox on Wednesday morning. We've had some trouble with the link, but it's fixed and you can sign up here. Thank you for helping me out with that. Newsletter link: 

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    Thank you for these chats. Well the Cardinals got your catcher and I guess he will be just fine but the birds have not really gotten better. I have never been one to spend a lot of money over several years on pitching, the Cardinals have a poor track record in doing that. Home grown talent is usually less expensive. But with the Cardinals only having one pitcher on contract past this year it may be time. How about giving the lefty Carlos Rondon a long look? Can you please give us a look back at his past performance and health?
    I think Cardinals fans are going to be quite pleased with Willson Contreras. And yes, I've been stressing that opinion since, what, October? Now we will find out. He's better than people seem to think defensively. Not Molina, but no one is. He hits a ton for his position and, for this lineup, is a legitimate threat for the No. 5 spot or another prime real estate place if that's where he winds up settling after starting out hitting fifth. His energy and passion will be a plus for a club that could use a little more fire. He will love playing here, and I think the fans will come to love him, too. 
    Rodon is the best free agent starter available this offseason, and the money is going to be big. Reports, stemming from Boras camp, are he's seeking seven or more years and $200 million or more. He put some of the injury issues behind him last season and pitched a career-high 178 innings. If your reservation is about giving massive money and years to a guy who's never pitched 200 innings, I'd share that reservation. When he's healthy, he's nasty. The kind of strikeout force the Cardinals could use atop their rotation. The if about his health is significant, though he was pretty reliable and very good the last two seasons. It's why he's going to get paid by someone. Perhaps soon.
    The Cardinals front office have long ago made it a priority to get in and see what happens. Although the NL Central Division flag and a 1st round bye for finishing in top 2 of the league for wins is mentioned, it seemingly seems more like a nice to have. Add how each low seeds in the Nationals and Phillies each have gone on deep runs in recent years. Please take a stab at how the team likely figure their math going forward.
    I don't think it's a mystery. The Cardinals believe getting in can win. There is a growing body of evidence that says them getting in is more likely to get them pushed out fast. What is unknown is if they're going to adjust, or keep doing the same thing over again and expecting different results. Right now, the message being sent is the latter.
    The beauty of a 165 game schedule is that the Cards can start spring training with the roster they have right now and give the young players they have a chance to play and see what the club has. The Cardinals are doing to be the favorite in the central, they still have money to spend and a great farm system still in tact to make trades.
    162, but point taken. That's IF the Cardinals aggressive upgrade at the trade deadline. Last season, they did. Montgomery and Quintana were legit adds. Seasons before that, not so much. The Cardinals have to do one or the other. Either bulk up the team entering the season, or be more aggressive adding to it at the deadline. The teams competing with them to win the National League often do both, annually.
    BenFred thanks for your chat. I’m concerned the Cardinals are going to be left behind by these high spending poor decision making owners. we’ve already had a 10 + yearWS drought and had our fill of low hanging fruit. It’s looking like it’s gonna be longer.
    Yesterday's price is not today's price.
    The game is healthy.
    Labor peace is here and staying around for a while.
    Teams are making good money.
    More owners are spending to win, accepting the fact that it's going to mean some money not well spent at times, but hoping throwing money at problems leads to more solutions than more problems.
    The Cardinals will need to adjust spending or expectations. The needle they are trying to thread annually is becoming a harder target to hit every day.
    Any word yet on the Bally Sports broadcast lineup for Cardinals baseball? I really enjoyed Danny Mac and I thought those days were behind him, but it seems likely he won't be back. And what about Jim Edmonds? Is he coming back?
    The Cardinals have made no decisions that have been made public. I can tell you Dan is aggressively pursuing the help he needs, as he said he would.
    First thing losing coach Leach is a massive loss to college football. He was a breath of fresh air. On a lighter note , I have been a passionate Mizzou basketball fan for at least 45 years. Game vs Kansas was a huge disappointment as I can remember. I didn't expect us to win but to be destroyed with 15000 fans in the stands was a huge setback. I worry this style of play of running up and down the court will not compete in the SEC. One national writer said MIZZOU is the most undisciplined team in the SEC., They can't defend and winning 1 SEC game will be a challenge. I had us winning 17 games but this style of fast shots and not playing solid defense , just relying on steals will not work in my opinion. Hope I am wrong. Last thing can't figure out like most fans why in the world was Isiah Mosley recruited to Mizzou. Can't imagine how frustrated he is. Our guards where horrible vs Kansas and he still didn't play. I keep thinking he is leaving anyway. Home town boy must be incredibly embarrassing for him.
    Well said on The Pirate. I shared this in this morning's Eye On The Tigers podcast with P-D teammate Dave Matter, but I used to help out on a radio show when I worked in Knoxville, and the co-host was a hard-working friend named Vince who was determined to preview every single college football team's season before CFB kicked off. He would go find an expert on every team to record an interview with. It almost always was a writer who covered that team, or a broadcaster. Not with Mike Leach's team. He would call in every season to talk about Washington State. To a radio show in Knoxville. Incredible. And he would barely talk about the team. He'd talk Native American history or what book he was reading (or writing) at the time. A true gem. College sports and sports in general is so often filled with boring, cliche personalities. It's taught. It's rewarded. He was so unique and unflinching in that uniqueness. And beyond that he was a hell of a coach. His coaching tree is massive and still growing. Every coach out there has begged, borrowed and stolen from him. His coaching and hopefully his willingness to be his true self will continue to inspire others in his field. Rest easy, Pirate.
    I wasn't stunned that Mizzou lost big to Kansas. Hopefully Gates' Tigers will be more competitive in year two or three against national championship caliber teams. The Tigers had played a Charmin soft schedule, and that was not a terrible idea. It built confidence in them and built excitement for this game. But the reality check comes now, with a gantlet against good to great teams. I think the Tigers will learn from this game and be better for it. Maybe that gets proven in the Braggin' Right's game? Illinois can beat Texas one night and lose to Penn State at home the next. That's college hoops.
    When Gates was hired, I pointed out his track record of beating teams he should beat but not jumping up to slap better teams much. That's harder to do at Cleveland State but it's something to watch at Mizzou. Can the Tigers do more than take care of business against overmatched teams? Can they play up instead of just handling teams that are beneath them? 
    The defensive concerns are fair. You can overwhelm overmatched teams with pressure and jumping passing lanes. Good teams with poise that handle the ball well can turn your aggressiveness against you. Kansas did. Way too many open layups and dunks built off guys getting out of possession trying to create turnovers. Something to work on. 
    Ben, looks like Oak got taken to the cleaners in the Murphy trade unless you value quantity over quality. Mil pulls off the biggest heist of the off-season as a three way trade partner landing the other all star Contreras along with some pitching depth for one prospect with outstanding speed who can’t hit. Atlanta gets the best catcher in baseball for a plethora of low level prospects, none on Baseball America’s top 100. A fair summation? And Oakland wonders why they attract only 2,000 fans a game.
    It's important to note that Oakland is actively trying to lose and sour its relationship with its fan base.
    It wants out.
    They're St. Louis Rams-ing it.
    I'd like to hear how the ask changed, from what Oakland wanted from the Cardinals -- Nootbaar, Donovan, Graceffo -- to what Oakland got in this deal.
    I guess one could argue that if the Cardinals had waited on Murphy and demanded a more affordable trade package, maybe they could have wound up with Murphy having given up less?
    But the risk would have been Contreras may not have been around at that point, and you all know how I feel, that Contreras was the better fit all along.
    I don't blame the Cardinals for not waiting to find out.
    The Cardinals value their players higher than a lot of teams, and the whole baseball world is now familiar with the Cardinals' farm system thanks to the Soto shenanigans, so the reality could be that teams are asking for more in trade talks with the Cardinals than they are with other teams. Especially early.
    The Cardinals could not afford to wait. They got a good catcher. So did the Braves.
    What are you predictions for Nootbaar this year? He seems to be a guy who will benefit from the shift ban moreso than most LHH with his high EV's and pullside groundball tendencies. Could he be a 30 HR .900 ops GG RF? Wouldn't that look great in between Goldschmidt and Arenado?
    Goldschmidt and Arenado like hitting back-to-back. I would not mess with their 3/4 alignment. Arenado likes the feel of cleanup. Don't fix what is not broken. Nootbaar could slot ahead of the Goldschmidt-Arenado-Contreras bunch, for sure. He's going to be an every-day player in the outfield, even if he bounces around position-wise. I got the sense at Winter Meetings that if the season started tomorrow, Nootbaar would be starting in center field. He has shown great pop and very strong strike-zone awareness. He walks and has power. That should age well, as long as he doesn't lose who he is. We've seen that happen to some young guys before when asked to do more. Hopefully he can dodge the trap.
    Hi, Ben. Suppose you are the general manager of an NHL team. Would you trade a first-round draft pick, with the potential to bust out into a star, for your team's first Stanley Cup? That's essentially what Armstrong did in the O'Reilly-Tage Thompson deal. I love O'Reilly, and no way do the Blues win the Stanley Cup without him. But Thompson sure would look good alongside Kyrou and Thomas right now. Thanks.
    Heck yes. The Blues had never won the Cup. Repeat, NEVER WON THE CUP. The trade helped accomplish history. It changed the organization for the better, forever. There is no regretting a trade like that. Period. One of the most important trades in STL sports, forever. No matter what.
    Our new catcher is an in your face guy, not like the others on the team, will he mesh well and do you think we needed someone with his attitudes?
    That was a big reason Mozeliak and Marmol went down to Florida on Nov. 30 to sit with Contreras. Mozeliak wanted to hear from Contreras that he was up for catching 120-140 games per season, because there had been speculation he wanted to be more of a part-time catcher/DH type. Contreras explained to the Cardinals that he understood the role the Cardinals were looking for and wanted that same role, and shared how he prepares his body for it before and during the season. So that was one boxed checked. The other was personality. "Big personality" is how Marmol described it. Mozeliak was candid that when the Cardinals were competing with Contreras, they often didn't like him. One, because he's a good player. And two, because he has that edge. The Cardinals wanted to vet what it would look like in their clubhouse, and they liked what they encountered in Orlando and heard from guys like Jon Lester, who sang Contreras' praises. Lester can be picky and prickly. He had a personal catcher in David Ross when he was with the Cubs, but after Ross retired, Lester and Contreras started working together and became tight. Lester going to bat for Contreras really made an impact with Marmol. I thought Contreras explained it well during his introduction. When you are competing against him, you probably don't like him, but when you're competing with him, you will probably love him.
    Do we have the OF depth to take a risk on Conforto? 2 years with opt out after first?
    He's among the veteran left-handed hitters in that group the Cardinals could be a fit with, sure. Known as a strong clubhouse guy. I asked the Cardinals multiple times at Winter Meetings if they were convinced the realistically available veteran left-handed hitters available in free agency were better than what they had in house. The response was: Good question. I think a near the top of the rotation starting pitching upgrade, via trade or free agency, is a bigger need at the moment, looking at internal options for that (not many) and left-handed offensive help (Nootbaar, Donovan, Gorman, Burleson.)
    BenFred, I am not sure why you did not want me. Now I have to go to Atlanta where they do the tomahawk chop and drink a lot of sugary drinks. Atlanta gave up only one regular for me so the Cards could have made the deal. You will be sorry when there is a passed ball during a crucial game come next October !
    We know what the A's asked the Cardinals for Murphy.
    It's not a mystery.
    P-D teammate Derrick Goold had the news: Nootbaar, Donovan, Graceffo.
    Would you have surrendered that?
    I would not have.
    I guess you can argue the Cardinals should have waited it out or worked Oakland down, but if that didn't work you wind up giving up a lot and the other options, like Contreras, would be gone.
    If the Cardinals would have wound up with Vazquez, I don't think many here would have been happy.
    Are the Cards entertaining a 6 man rotation?
    They say they're open to it every spring, then never do it. I'll believe it when I see it. In games that count. You can make a case they should. Same as most seasons.
    Why are the Cardinals linked to players such as Rodon when they have no intention of signing him? Do they just check in and Boras leaks that they are a suitor just to drive up the price? Some reporters just throw things out there just because someone says it and do not confirm other sources.
    I'm sure the Cardinals have a price they would like to sign Rodon at. Will he go for more than that? Probably. I'd love it if they swung big and got him. As for why they're connected to it, the Cardinals don't come out and say they're not in the mix on guys if they are connected to a false lead. They just don't comment on that kind of stuff. So, you sometimes see them attached to something and then later it turns out to be nothing. Lots of reporters run with what agents give them, trading scoops for spin and feeling OK with the tradeoff.
    Hi Ben, Thanks for the great coverage. Do you expect Jordan Walker to make the starting lineup and what is your prediction about outfield offensive production for the upcoming season?
    Jordan Walker is going to get the chance to make this team. He's going to get an opportunity at spring training to force the front office's hand. If he had a quiet spring, I imagine he starts in Memphis. If he turns spring on its head, I think they take him. If he's in between, he probably starts in Memphis but won't be there for long.
    Good luck predicting the outfield offense for this group. It depends on Tyler O'Neill's health, on Dylan Carlson's recovery from the wrist issue that held him back last year, on how Lars Nootbaar avoids (or doesn't) a sophomore slump, on where guys like Juan Yepez and Alec Burleson fit in, if at all. And, of course, what Walker provides and when he arrives. It's WIDE open out there.
    I may be in the minority, but I love the Contreras signing. I know Murphy may be superior in some areas, but the fact that Contreras chose to come here and is highly motivated to do well here should be a big factor for him. Can't wait to see him play.
    I'm with you. The anti-Contreras stuff has never made much sense to me. Some of the takedowns of his defense were a bit much. I think that was a lot of it. He was also the obvious choice. Sometimes everybody likes to find something more creative or unique. The answer was right in front of the Cardinals, and they took it.
    Ben, I agree on your "don't stop now" article about the Cards. Would it make sense to shop Carlson with so many teams CF needy? Return would need to be significant, but I'd love to see a return of a high upside, controllable pitcher like Edward Cabrera of Miami or Luis Garcia of Houston, both with teams in need of CF. Rosenthal today reported Carlson was "offered" in Sean Murphy trade talks.
    Pablo Lopez of the Marlins would be high on my starter trade wish list. I'd consider dealing Carlson in a trade like that. I'd probably rather deal O'Neill, but his value could be too low due to the injury bug. The Cardinals, it sounds like, trust Nootbaar to play center field. But they don't expect Jordan Walker to play there, and see him as destined for the corner. If O'Neill can play there seems to depend on who is asked. Nootbaar in CF without much backup for that position with major league experience would be a little risky, if no other CF option is added. Dylan Carlson is 24. O'Neill is 27. If one of the two is going to get one more season to figure this out or not, I'd pick Carlson over O'Neill.
    Hello Ben.....I am hoping the anti-Contreras chatters see this. Framing & defense will never be Yadi. Frankly nobody is. But now that he is a Cardinal; please don't mistake the fact that I am sure his older friend Yadi, would be working with him on everything defensively to make him elite across the board. Yadi is Cardinal for life. He isn't going to sit by and watch his replacement struggle on defense. Besides that, Willson isn't near as bad as everyone makes it.
    Eh, I wouldn't count on that. Especially immediately. Yadi has his own stuff going on. He's managing in Venezuela at the moment. He has his basketball team and record label and many other interests. The assumption that he's immediately going to go from catching to being a Cardinals mentoring/coaching constant is not an assumption I'd make. I do imagine there's a good chance he comes around later, as the old-timers often wind up doing.
    Player A: .267 BA, .785 OPS, 16 HR, 50 RBI, 45 Runs
    Player B: .243 BA, .815 OPS, 22 HR, 55 RBI, 65 Runs
    Player C: .250 BA, .759 OPS, 18 HR, 66 RBI, 67 Runs

    Player A: Harrison Bader - 2021
    Payer B: Willson Contreras - 2022
    Player C: Sean Murphy - 2022

    I am very happy Cards signed Contreras. But if we think we acquired a rock solid 5-hole hitter, I would suggest reflection on if Harrison Bader after 2021 would have been viewed mentioned it earlier, but I think the 5-hole solution may depend on outfield production, specifically the health of Tyler O'Neill.
    You all know how this stuff guys by now.
    Proclaiming any player as a certain-spot-in-lineup-hitter upon acquisition is fine and good, but if the production isn't there that will change.
    I would expect to see Goldschmidt-Arenado-Contreras.
    If it doesn't work, the lineup will change.
    The SLU Brad Soderberg era (not exactly viewed as a successful era) lasted 5 seasons and resulted in 2 NIT appearances during a period of minimal investment in the program. Through 7 seasons & great investment, Travis Ford has 2 NIT appearances & 1 NCAA appearance from a run in the A10 tourney. They've never finished better than 4th in the season A10 standings. If the lack of results continues (which seems likely again this season), when will SLU look to move on? Shouldn't more be expected?
    Everybody, including Travis Ford, knew this roster was Ford's best roster since he arrived at SLU. This team should be his best team, no questions asked. Lots of season left to be played, and it's much more about how you end it than where you are in the messy middle, but let's be very clear here. If this season turns out to be a bust, SLU needs to ask itself if it has reached the ceiling with Ford. It has poured investments into the program. It's not too much to ask for the Billikens to be an at-large NCAA Tournament team in what should be a very strong season with a veteran-laden team. The Billikens have pretty much cost themselves their at-large hope. They're going to have to grind it out in the A-10 now. They're talented enough to do it. Are they well-coached enough? SLU AD Chris May has to be wondering.
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