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, Much like c_good I have given up on the NFL after its rip job on the STL. Perhaps being a phony I will tune into the SB just to keep my streak alive. So I was not watching live when the terrible incident occurred last night but flipped over to it after word got out. I agree with your assessment concerning the entire situation. I am old enough to have been watching live in the late 70’s when Darryl Stingley was ko’d by one of the hardest hitting (not to mention dirtiest) players ever, the Assassin,Jack Tatum. He was paralyzed from the chest down. Mr Stingley passed away 15 years ago. It was and remains gut wrenching. Today’s players are much bigger, faster, stronger and athletic so unfortunately these horrible accidents are likely to increase. What can or should the NFL and it’s players do to protect it’s players as much as possible? Tough question, I know. Thanks and I look forward to your response.
    I don't want to come across as an NFL defender -- you all know me better than that -- but there is only so much the league can do without fundamentally changing the sport. The most vicious hits have been regulated against. The quarterbacks are protected more than ever before. The hit last night was not in any way malicious; it was a routine football play. Some of the most damaging injuries are not ones that show the byproduct on the field in the instant after the hit, but the ones that come years later, like to the linemen who spent seasons slamming their heads into opponents after every snap. It's a violent sport. It will never be safe. It will continue as long as it's played and supported and making a lot of money for those involved in it. That's all there is to it.
    Ben, the Cards arguably aren’t as good as the one that got bounced in Oct. The outfield is a mystery, the rotation is even worse with the Quintana departure, Contreras doesn’t offset Molina/Pujols, and Arenado/Goldschmidt are due for a significant regression following MVP caliber seasons. Most fans see the off-season as a major disappointment. How do you see it as it stands now? In the meantime, someone should inform the genius POBO that the Cards won’t play a third of their games against the miserable Cubs, Pirates, and Reds with the new scheduling format.
    I see it as incomplete.
    I thought Contreras was a great fit from the start and gave the Cardinals credit for not waiting around to get him on board.
    But they need to do more.
    There's time. There are trades to make.
    If they do nothing more or close to nothing more, it will have been a disappointing offseason, one that would not suggest ownership is tiring of early postseason ejections as much as fans, and one that took the investment fans made into the team last season and was not as willing as it should have been to make a similarly enthusiastic investment.
    Fair?
    When you do something three times and you get the same result three times than that result is not random. Beating up on the NL Central and then getting trucked in the Wild Card by teams with superior rosters entitles you to say you made the playoffs, but it does not entitle you to deem your team a World Series contender. The Jags or Titans will make the playoffs this weekend, neither has a shot at the Super Bowl.
    How does postseason randomness explain what the Astros have done? The argument is increasingly outdated, especially with an expanded postseason. There are elements of randomness in any postseason, sure. That's why you play the games. But the big dogs are not hoping to catch lightning in a bottle at the right time. They're buying and trading for thunder.
    OK Mr. Optimist, Blues are at 37% for the playoffs this morning on 538. Are you taking the over or the under?
    I'm out. Injuries to Tarasenko and O'Reilly change things. Time to make this season about improving future seasons. Play the kids. Get the appropriate aged help by trading away expiring contracts. Lean into the turning of the page.
    Pretty amazing weekend of college football. I don’t know if you saw the Michigan game, but I thought Harbaugh totally mismanaged the clock in the last five minutes. They should have been in a better position to score the winning touchdown.
    Epic. Hopefully you all were tuned into the KTRS bowl preview show, where I predicted Horned Frogs versus Georgia for all the Tostitos. Maybe Coach Khaki was thinking about his next round of NFL flirting? I thought the biggest coaching mistake was by Ohio State. Ryan Day, trailing, treated a 50-yard field goal from a kicker without that strong of a leg like it would be an automatic game-winner as time expired. Bad.
    Who will be wearing the "C" and "A" for the Blues the next few weeks?
    Believe the plan is to just stick with As and no C for now.
    A few months ago you wrote about how SLU looked like a top 25 b-ball team. Do you see any reason for optimism that they will look that way again before tournament season?
    That was after they made a statement with a win against Memphis, the same Memphis team that has since gone on to beat Auburn and nearly take down Alabama. SLU has the ability to play like a top-25 team again but don't think they have much of a chance of getting ranked. The A-10 isn't strong enough.
    Are the Cardinals going to have a new owner in 2023? There are more than a few indicators that point in that direction:
    -First off, Shannon’s comments at the end of ’21. He is too in-the-know to outright dismiss this, whether it was a slip up or not. The team tamped it down quickly, but last winter’s lack of spending now raises eyebrows.
    -Mo not signing an extension. Girsch and Flores get extensions, seemingly providing some c-suite stability for any ownership transfer. But Mo is now a pending free agent after ’23? That doesn’t align with any way DeWitt has ever done business.
    -Wainwright’s $10m deferment being funded upfront and accounted for in the 2023 payroll. While not an unheard-of accounting practice, this would take the financial onus off the future ownership group.
    -The Bamtech sale. With this settled and DeWitt having received his final $30m installment there is no grey area with this revenue stream in the future.
    -The Arenado non-opt-out. Rose-colored glasses aside, there is no way Arenado stayed just to watch them to go out and only sign Contreras after 3 straight lifeless Wild Card exits. Maybe Nolan knows what/who is coming.
    -The lack of spending after indicating that payroll would go up. Maybe that wasn’t a disingenuous comment by Mo after all, but a pending sale forced them to pull back on the reins. There is just too much money in the kitty after the Pujols/Molina Farewell Summer and the Bamtech sale to have signed one substantial free agent (aside from Waino). They have literally done next to nothing this winter.
    There are no onerous long-term contracts. Arenado, Contreras, and Matz are the only contracts that run beyond 2024.
    -Finally, the roster, while not elite, is complete. A new owner gets a team capable of winning the division… on paper. However, the payroll, currently 16th highest in baseball, is still $55m below the tax threshold, leaving a new owner the ability to put their stamp on the team without the threat of having to cross the luxury tax threshold.
    I may be way off but where there is smoke there is fire. And I see curls of smoke from Clark Street.
    DeWitt to the Post-Dispatch in 2021: “There has been no thought in our family of selling. When I heard it, when I heard that statement was made, I just couldn’t figure it. But, you know, people speculate for whatever reason. There is absolutely zero interest in my son and I and the rest of the family in selling our interest. So, you know, there’s nothing there.”
    Don't overlook the mention of Bill DeWitt III there. He's actively involved with the team and continues to take on a bigger role as the team president.
    The sad thing about Cardinals baseball currently is that our relentless fandom is used as a tool against us rather than one to reward us. DeWitt has defined success for the fanbase - making the playoffs. He can do that because he knows we will show up no matter what because Cardinals baseball is a lifestyle brand as much as it is a sport team. We are lemmings and from March until October we don't care, we just want to support our team and our city. But lemmings have no leverage when the only time we complain is in October or when the team can hide from October through February.
    The Cardinals are quick to thank fans for making their pursuit of sustained success possible. We all know this past season, especially, was a blockbuster at the ticket office. If there is not an obvious improvement of the roster to show that support is appreciated, I think fans are fair to feel frustrated. What they do with that feeling is up to them, of course. Fans who go to games, spring training, Winter Warm-Up, etc., often have a range of reasons for going, but the general sense that even while perhaps frustrated with the team's performance at times, they are more optimistic than the voices heard online. The Cardinals are aware of that, too. That doesn't mean they should make a habit of testing fans' good will and patience -- especially after the support that showed up at Bush Stadium last season. If anything, you would hope that season inspired the Cardinals to swing bigger.
    I see several comments assuming regression from Goldy and Arenado. I also see angst about not signing great players to mega $ contracts that extend to age 40. I can see our two stars w comparable seasons this year and a solid season from 50
    Great point. It's easy to predict Goldy and Nado will not once again finish one and three for NL MVP. That's pretty dang rare. I don't see either one falling off a cliff though, as long as they stay healthy. They're about as reliable as they come. It's why the Cardinals placed big bets on them. They stay on the field, and they produce.
    I don’t think people are realizing how hurt Carlson actually was. If a player says he’s hurt he gets a bad reputation. If he plays through the injury his stats show he wasn’t very good. It is definitely a no win situation.
    Thumb and wrist issues are no joke for hitters. Carlson was going through it. One thing to watch at spring training -- is he barreling and driving the ball. His hard contact dropped last season. If he's healthy, it should be returning. I'd like to find out how much he was affected by nagging, lingering stuff before writing him off. He didn't say much about it and played through as much as he could.
    Happy New Year, Mr. Frederickson. I have two questions, please.
    1.) I am excited about the progress made by Dennis Gates and how he's energized the program. But, has he recruited any big men who can play? Munchkin basketball won't cut it in the SEC.
    2.) How would you describe Colton Parayko's play: Potential unrealized?
    Thank you.
    Gates' style worked pretty well against Kentucky. He kept 6-foot-8 leaper Aidan Shaw on board after the coaching change, and has added 6-foot-10 center Jordan Butler and 6-8 forward Trent Pierce to his 2023 commitment list. None of these guys are traditional back-to-the-basket types, and that's OK. No one want to play that position anymore, in part because the NBA doesn't have much of a place for it. You have to be an athlete who can run and jump and preferably shoot, and Gates' system appeals to that trend.
    I'm tapped out on talking about Parayko's potential. It's his eighth season. He's almost 30. He is who he is.
    Benfred, Has anyone seen, heard, or reported a offseason progression or FO program of Dylan Carlson? It’s like he’s vanish or dropped off the face of the earth and can’t be found or seen not even showing up on social media.
    He'll be at Winter Warm-Up during the Sunday session. Should be one of the more interesting catch-ups when he swings through the media room.
    I agree that it would be nice to improve the starting rotation. You can have all the money in the world but only certain free agents want to come here. And to trade for a front of the rotation guy means one of the teams with no chance has got to have that guy and you are willing to give up the kings ransom. We fans make this sound like it is so easy.
    Willson Contreras was dying to come here. Max Scherzer wanted to come here a season ago. Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado are thriving here. Albert Pujols rediscovered the fountain of youth here. Let's not assume the Cardinals are not a team great players want to join. That question has been answered, and convincingly so. The price does have to be right, though.
    You might want to let everyone know that there is a chat on mlbtraderimors.com and they answer questions in a precise direct manor and answer a lot more questions.
    Feel free to go there instead. Thanks.
    Do you think yesterday's incident between the Bills and Bengals is going to make more players question their career choice and head for early retirement?
    Some, maybe. Andrew Luck did. Others have made similar decisions. And football has churned on without them. Where I think things could be noticed is, years from now, when an increasing amount of kids whose parents would not let them play football are playing other sports, and those sports are benefitting from their talents, and therefore becoming more popular and desirable to another generation of players. That's how changes happen. There was a time when boxing was pretty entrenched. The sport is still around but far from what it was. It shrunk not because in their prime boxers bounced. The roots dried up.
    BenFred,

    I think the fans frustration with the Cardinals is that they go into a season with so many if's, but the top NL contenders have a bunch of when's. I don't think most fans expect the Cardinals to spend like the Mets, or even close, but they are closer to the middle of the pack in payroll now then they were just a few seasons ago. Revenue is going up and there are holes to fill on this roster, especially on the pitching side. Isn't it reasonable for the fans to want the team to live up to the standards they set for themselves?
    I've been a Cardinal fan since 1959. I bleed Cardinal red. I see so many "fans" who demand at least a World Series appearance to have a successful season. Only 2 of 30 teams make it to the WS. These "fans" are setting themselves up for chronic disappointment followed by belly aching. I've been through the weak teams of the 70's and 90's and I'm quite happy with the sustained success model. What is it, 15 years of winning seasons? I'll take that any day.
    There are some of the World Series or bust mindset. I think more these days are leaning toward, hey, stop telling us an immediate ejection from the postseason every season is something to celebrate.
    Hey Ben-- I read a trade proposal that had Dylan Carlson going to the Dodgers (maybe with another player--Herrera??) for Will Smith... Dodgers get a center fielder, Cards get another stud hitter who primarily is a catcher, but can be moved around.. Or Contrares is moved around.... What are your thoughts??
    I know what the Cardinals and Contreras talked about. It was that he was coming here to be the primary catcher who ideally starts 120-140 games behind the plate. Not to bounce around. That would make a Will Smith fit less likely, I'd imagine, as he's primarily played catcher.
    Hey I know the one chatter was asking for concise answers, I was hoping for a little bit more of an elaboration =)
  • I didn't have much else to add. I've harped on similar topics for some time now. Wrote about it from winter meetings again when I was out there. The Cardinals' attempt to create a reality where any suggestion this current trend is not good enough is born from a lack of appreciation of all the good things this group has done is not fair, or real. Other NL powers are climbing over them. If they choose to ignore it, so be it. It doesn't mean we have to.
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