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. Hope everyone is having a good week, at least so far. Much to discuss. Cards offseason. Blues momentum! Braggin' Rights arrives Thursday, hopefully dodging the worst of a winter storm. Bowl games abound. But first, let me break out the world's smallest violin to play a sad song for the Rams being eliminated from the playoffs, and securing their place in history among the worst attempted defending Super Bowl champs in history. What a shame! Fire away.
    At this point of the off season, when the vast majority of originally identified short list of the St Louis front office from the deep end of the free agent talent pool have swam elsewhere, do you feel there still exists a strong possibility that a fairly big fish is still out there for the taking via a trade in the now, perhaps with some team not expected to contend in 2023?
    The Cardinals are taking a big risk if they don't improve this starting rotation before the season starts and games count. They can say they like their team and all that, but they know the question marks and big and the under-control options for 2023 are not necessarily back for 2024. The appealing free-agent starters are gone. Gonna have to come via trade. It's hard for me to believe they let Jose Quintana walk for a meager deal if they were not planning on adding something to this rotation. The something should be an arm at least as good as Quintana, but preferably better, with more future upside and more control. That kind of trade will cost, but it's the price you pay when you won't pay in free agency. The other option would be once again downplaying fair rotation concerns and paying the price at the trade deadline, where trade prices well even more than the offseason. Or, maybe all the question marks straighten out into positive exclamation points. They rarely do.
    Hi Ben ! And happy holidays to you and your family. Does it seem llike MO makes one big move and stops from building a stonger team ? In case he hasn't noticed things have changed dramatically . Here come the Cubs too
    The Cardinals said catcher was their big need, and they have filled it, but other needs remain. Starting pitching certainty, first and foremost. There's an argument they should supplement the youth with some been-there, done-that for the left-handed hitter mix, and it's a fair argument. The Cardinals have retreated, at least publicly, into the "we like or team" mode but I think they realize their needs, especially in the rotation, remain. At least I hope they do. The teams that were better than them last season in the National League have improved, and not just by one player.
    Are you are aware of any additional departure(s) expected or rumored from the MU football staff ?
    All of these college football guys are one phone call away from leaving for a better role or bigger money. That's not Mizzou specific. The Pinkel-era stability of a coaching staff is as long gone as leather helmets. Drinkwitz could feel good about retaining his guys today and realize two are headed out tomorrow. Just the modern reality.
    When is this SC Schedule coming out? C'mon already, People.
    I’ve had a hard time being able to verify last year’s payroll vs. the current 2023 payroll. But from what I’ve seen on sites like spotrac, fangraphs, etc. the Cardinal’s are currently under last year’s budget, and with no true impact free agents still available. Why would Mozeilak make comments about increasing payroll then not be more aggressive on the open market? I know there’s still potential to add salary via trade, but that’s typically easier said than done.
    Your best bet for payroll figuring is the reported/researched explanation presented by P-D Derrick Goold a while back, adjusted for the latest moves since it was published.
    You can crunch all the numbers you like, but here's what has to be remembered. The Cardinals set their payroll. It is not handed to them. It does not descend from the mountaintop, assigned by the baseball gods. They choose what they want to spend, and they can choose to adjust their pre-set payroll as they choose. Figuring out what the pre-set number is and what moves could or could not fit into it is a fine discussion to have, but sometimes it leads people to thinking these are the only moves that can be made. Nope. The Cardinals can afford to make whatever moves they want to make. Any good team should have a payroll target and common sense, but the Cardinals for too long have been able to convince fans that a) their payroll is as much money as they can spend and still be in the postseason every season and b) they can't push past their targeted number if they feel motivated to do that by the right player and certain situation.
    It can be as complicated or as simple as you want to make it, really.
    And yes, if the Cardinals were going to spend on Contreras and then retreat to minor moves only, Mozeliak made a mistake crowing about rising payroll, even if it does wind up being higher.
    The context of the spending going on in the National League can't be ignored -- as much as the Cardinals try to ignore it.
    Here's DG's piece I mentioned . . . 

    A payroll primer: Exploring the questions, complexities of Cardinals' spending for 2023

    STLtoday.comThe matrix of deferred money and Colorado cash invites confusion and speculation when discussing the Cardinals' rising payroll. Let's cut the clutter.
    Do you know if Carlson has been doing any special training this offseason, like Tyler has been doing? Thanks and have a wonderful holiday.
    He will be a popular Winter Warm-Up story line. How the wrist healed and how much it affected him last season. How he feels about the offseason trade rumors. Looking forward to catching up to him.
    The two biggest question marks for the success of this team in 2023 are Flaherty and O’Neill. The difference is that Arenado, Goldschmidt, and Contreras are there if O’Neill doesn’t regain form. If Flaherty doesn’t regain form than this rotation is pretty pedestrian for a team that considers itself a playoff threat.
    Those are good picks, Steve. Steven Matz could be in that mix. I know we kind of forget he's on the team, but he signed a 4-year, $44 million deal to be a big part of this rotation before the first season was squandered by injury. If he can stay health, pile up strikeouts, the rotation could look a lot more stable than it does today, on paper. It's a big if. Just one time in his career has Matz made 25+ starts and posted an ERA below 4. It was with the Blue Jays in 2021. Now would be a really good time for him to have a 2021-like season, which was part of why the Cardinals signed him.
    The Cardinals are obviously looking at the trade market based on Mo’s comments…he mentioned it being slow at the moment. I imagine that will change after the calendar turns. Where do you believe they end up come opening day? Another bat, a SP, or as is?
    My opinion: They're better of spending their trade capital on a starting pitcher. I think it's there biggest (not only) need at the moment.
    I keep reading about adding "rotation depth." I hope that is depth at the top of this rotation because there isn't a single pitcher in the mix right now that could go toe-to-toe with Verlander/Scherzer, Wheeler/Nola, Strider/Fried, etc., and certainly not two of them.
  • The Cardinals have enough fringe rotation depth. If they're not going to add a top-2 or top-3 level arm, they should just hold tight and hope for the best, embracing the reality they could have to pay up big time for a trade at the deadline when they could have just paid the money in free agency this offseason.
    I was encouraged to see MIZZOU men's basketball play with more discipline and play more solid defense vs CENTRAL FLORIDA, I am hoping for 7 SEC wins that could be a stretch but if they can might get an NIT BID. On the football front looks Drink is playing to win unlike last year's bowl game. GO TIGERS
    I'll say this about the Tigers. They have a moxie to them that some teams either have, or don't. They showed it at Wichita State. They showed it in the buzzer-beater against UCF. Mizzou fans know there are all kinds of ways to lose a game late, and that sometimes teams melt down in those spots. This one stands tall. There was no game planning to that chaos, but you can' teach a team to believe it can find a way, and I think Gates has done that with this group. We will get a better read on Mizzou after Braggin' Rights. Kansas is really stinking good and playing very well right now. Ask Indiana. Illinois is a good team but not as locked in right now and more up and down, like most other teams are at this point. If Mizzou can handle itself better on its second shot on a big stage, that would be a very encouraging sign.
    Mizzou was playing to win the last bowl game. Army just won. If I'm Drinkwitz, I'm airing it out against Wake Forest. Demon Deacons have one of the worst pass defenses around. Cook and Burden are playing, and Burden knows people are bemoaning Dominic Lovett's departure. Drinkwitz can and should aim to show he can call a play or two, because he knows people are fretting about Bush Hamdan's departure.
    News: Matt Carpenter and Mike Shildt are reunited again. Padres are signing him, per reports.
    It would have to be very creative, but if salary could be worked out, I really think Sale could be available. Could be a fleece opportunity for MO
    When he's healthy, he's excellent. He seems to have developed a bad habit of bizarre injuries, and could perhaps be a threat to take scissors to the powder blue unis -- kidding, kidding -- but I get the idea here. I don't hate it. He's owed two years and $55 million. That's steep, considering his question marks about staying healthy. But that could lower the cost of a trade. That's the angle.
    Ben, with all the advertised woes that Bally Sports is experiencing and the seeming inability to easily watch a game, depending upon where you live, wouldn't it just be common sense for MLB to remove all blackout restrictions effective immediately? AM I alone in thinking this would make MLB packages (and the subseq
    The blackout restrictions have been outdated for a long time, and yet they remain.
    I think MLB will eventually want everything under its own umbrella, cutting out any middlemen whatsoever.
    The timing will take a while, though.
    Contracts have been signed that limit what can be done, and when.
    I think its safe to say the Cards are done with their acquisitions except for the late winter has been signings for the bench
    They should not be. We will see.
    At this stage of the game, have we put ourselves ahead of Dodgers, Mets, Braves, Padres or Phillies?
    Any of them?
    I was a CM fan and was sorry he was let go last year but I must admit this MBB team is much more fun to watch. Unfortunately, I think they are just too small to compete with the big boys. Hopefully Shaw will hang around long enough to develop. Pretty disappointed in Kobe Brown so far. If he can't dominate little sisters of the poor can't see him having much impact in the SEC..... On another note, call me old fashioned (probably because I am OLD) but I do like to see coaching staff dressed for success. Nice to see the suits on the sideline...
    I get it. Offense is fun. Winning is fun. The tempo is faster and more enjoyable, and like I said earlier, the team has a moxie to it that is likable, and something like that can grow over time. And yes, it's about time Gates gets some deserved credit for suiting up. Too many of these guys went sweat suit during the pandemic and are lacking in their return to sharp suits. And yes, I do realize the irony of a sportswriter commenting on fashion.
    Chris Sale's contract is about as underwater as the Matz deal. Like even DeJong-Sale 1:1 (which is not happening) would be a terrible deal for STL.
    I would make your hypothetical trade, in a heartbeat. St. Louis can have a restorative power. Don't underestimate it. Give Sale some of the Busch Stadium magic, and keep him away from bikes. See what happens.
    Also in Breaking News: It looks like Devin Leary is going to transfer to Kentucky to the chagrin of all those hoping he would re-unite with Drink at Mizzou.
  • Was that a thing? It doesn't seem to me that Drinkwitz is QB hunting in the portal much, if at all. If he is, he's doing it in stealth mode. He has to worry about Cook seeing that and deciding to look around. He has to worry about Horn thinking he could get blocked. It's a more complicated idea to pursue now than it was last season, and let's not forget Drinkwitz struck out three times on potential QB transfers last season. If you bring multiple potential transfer QBs to campus this season, I would not assume Cook will be there waiting to be the man if they don't commit. The portal can work both ways.
    At what point does MLB remove the hedge fund crowd from acquiring teams. It’s ruining the sport. The game was not design to operate that way. Private equities want certainties to input in their formulas, baseball is a game of uncertainty. December 20th the outcome for 2023 is decided already amongst 5-6 teams in a 30 team league.
    Can't tell if you are calling for a hard salary cap, or pushing out of owners -- you know the ones -- who don't spend enough to try to give their team a chance to do anything good. I'd rather see the latter than the former. Owners shouldn't be complaining about those among them who want to spend freely and suffer the luxury tax consequences. They should be enraged by the owners who give owners a bad name, the ones who have decided they have just enough money to have a seat at the table they want to eat from, but never once offer to chip in, not even for a tip.
    Speaking of the portal - approximately 55% of athletes entering the portal do not find a home after enterting the portal. FTR: I got that from a UCF booster

    Should they shop for a home before entering. Another wrinkle and something that does not get reported much but should be pondered moving forward.
    I've been spreading the word for some time. Kids should be allowed to transfer if they want, but it doesn't always mean it's the best idea, for their careers, for their NIL hopes, for their college experience. This news should shock no one, but players are not always told the truth. About what role could be waiting at the new place. About what NIL money could be available there. The grass can look really green -- until it's not. It's always going to come down to relationships. If you are not sure you are going to get a coach you trust more and a program you think will treat you better, you are probably better off staying where you are.
    Cards should only make a move if it upgrades the rotation, outfield or bullpen.

    Soto from Detroit - would be a good upgrade to LH bullpen pieces.

    Conforto - would be a good upgrade to LH outlfielders

    Lopez or Lazardo - would be a good young upgrade to rotation for 2023 and beyong

    What's your take Ben?
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