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.

    Have you seen anything more recently on the updated compilation of late comers making their selections public like your colleague DG to suggest Rolen is strongly trending to be getting the call tonight?
    Based on the site that tracks ballots that have been shared so far, Rolen and Todd Helton have a shot. Won't know for sure until this evening's announcement on MLB Network. News comes down at 5:15 p.m.
    BenFred -

    Do you have any insight on the Cardinal's position player drafting philosophies that seem to be working out so well? Obviously given the data available even at an early age for these prospects, there must be so much that goes into it, but is there any overarching strategy that you're seeing pay dividends out of Randy Flores' scouting department?
    Randy Flores and his team do a great job of using the latest analytics and technology, but also blending in and not abandoning getting eyes on guys, and attempting to get a sense of who they are and how they will respond to the adversity the game throws at them. I think they're really good about being intentional about not falling into traps and status-quo group think. I think that last one helped them get Lars Nootbaar. He had a great second season at USC, averaging .313 and slugging .510. His third season, though he averaged .254 and slugged .381. Was he broken? No, his swing wasn't right. But he was still that same hitter, and he was still walking. He walked as many times the third season (34) as the second (36). He had a major league eye and strike-zone control, and power others had decided he did not have. Cardinals snagged him in the eighth round, and look smart for seeing past some of those third-year USC numbers.
    Any indication that Travis Ford's seat is hot?
    Same thing I said earlier in the season. Gotta see where SLU is at the season's end, good or bad. It's a prove-it year, for sure, but much to be written still.
    Another SLU comment and question: Comment: Sincere Parker seems to fit the mold of a Travis Ford slasher. He reminds me a bit of a more raw Javonte Perkins.Question: at the beginning of the year people in the program were raving about Kellen Thames, particularly on defense. But, he has had no PT in a long time. Any back story here other than we've settled on a 8-9 man rotation and he's one place out of that? Would hate to lose him to portal over playing time.
    Parker is a weapon and Ford seems determined to get more out of him. Similar to Mizzou's Mosley, if those guys can lock in the ceiling of the team goes up quite a bit. Thames had some health stuff holding him back at one point, and it's been a rolling discussion on which position is best for him. Growing pains, more than anything, seems like. Coaches can't play guys who are not ready or giving them a best chance to win just out of fear they could leave. That's how you get fired, and then they leave anyway.
    What do you put the odds of zero, one or two current Cardinals starting pitchers sign an extension before opening day?
    I think I've said before a Miles Mikolas spring training extension would feel very Cardinals-like.
    He's open to the discussion, certainly.
    One of Binnington's best stretches was when we only played 50 or so games and was pushed by that backup goalie. I think we all recognize Greiss isn't going to take the starting roll from Binny but he's played well in spot starts, why not play him more?
    I'd have no problem with the Blues getting Binnington some more rest, especially if they wind up kind of punting on this season, but until or unless they do that, Binnington is their top goalie and should play as such. He hasn't been his best this season, but a lot of the criticism against him is because the defenseman and forward have often given him little help in front of the net. It's always easy to pin stuff on the goalie, but that doesn't mean it's right. He's been left out to dry a lot.
    With Mizzou in a deep shooting slump and Brown probably out for a while how does Mizzou win an SEC. Game, I think the SEC. defenses are so much tougher that the mid majors they played could be the reason for the horrible 3 ball shooting. Seems like Hodge could make a few just by luck. If he continues to struggle not sure he should log many minutes. your thoughts.
    Brown could be back as soon as tonight. We'll see. He was moving around pretty good before he sat out the Alabama game. If this team doesn't hit threes, it's going to have a hard time winning. Needs to get to the free-throw line more. Needs to finish shots around the basket. But part of the recipe for success for Gates' Tigers is hitting threes, and too many have been missing. Don't rush to bench D'Moi. He's led the Tigers in scoring three times and is second to Brown in scoring at 14 points per game. He's 4-for-25 from three over his past four games, three of which have been Mizzou losses. Second to Brown's ankle, Hodge's 3-point stroke could be the most important thing that needs to get right at the moment. You have to give shooters some wiggle room to shoot themselves out of slumps. The sooner, the better.
    I used the Cards-speak with my wife and kids - “I tried to get you those Diamond earrings…I looked very hard at that Oculus… that SUV you wanted, it was expensive” but it didn’t work. They just think I’m a guy who says that stuff so they think I’m trying but they know I never tried that hard. But now it is on the record that I said it. Case closed, I tried.
    I don't think the Cardinals scored many points for saying they tried hard. And I don't think they were expecting to. They know the drill. In terms of points lost this offsesaon, the talk about payroll going up and later defending the little bit that it did was the avoidable PR hit that was created.
    Ben - you nailed it. Locking up Mikolas would be very Cardinals like. And that’s how we ended up with a glut of middle/upper rotation starters and no ace. Mikolas is a stud human being but in a good year he wasn’t even the Game 1 starter, so what role are you locking him up for #2? Vs Scherzer or Nola or Darvish? He’s a tweener and the club already has Matz it that role.
    The Cardinals seem determined that a cost-controlled ace is going to fall out of the sky, so until that happens they better keep making sure their depth is good and the rest of the rotation is stout. Extending Mikolas would not be the only way to do that, but it would be one way. He's been a two-time All-Star here. He wants to be here. He fits. He can handle a lot of workload. These guys are valuable -- and will still be needed whether the Cardinals have a dominant top-rotation starter or not.
    You keeping any tabs on Mike Shildt? I kind of lost track. Last I recall he had two gigs, one with the Padres and another with MLB.
    Saw him at Winter Meetings. He is doing well. Was fired up for the Bogaerts deal. I think he's in a much better place than he was when the Cardinals surprised him with the firing. Enjoying what he's doing. Open to the idea of managing again but not losing sight of the here and now until that happens. I do think he deserves another chance, and do hope the Cardinals are not impacting him from getting that chance in any way, shape or form.
    It seems like Sean East can get to the rim or shoot a floater whenever he wants, but he tends to wait until we're in a bind and really need him to make some plays. I know he's a PG, but we sure could use him getting into the paint and taking a shot or kicking it out more throughout the game. He needs to be more aggressive. Your thoughts on how he can be more productive and have a bigger impact on the games?
  • He's looked more and more comfortable scoring-wise as the season has progressed, which is a really good sign. Some smaller point guards have a bad habit of getting to the rim, where bigger defenders can be found, then panicking. He doesn't. He's calm down there, and finds ways to get his shot up and over arms. He's shooting 73.2 percent at the rim, which is actually a higher at-rim percentage than leading scorer Kobe Brown's 70 percent. Sean East is is at least five inches shorter than Brown. This is a long-winded way of me saying, yes, I agree with you. East should have the green light to be more aggressive when it comes to getting his own buckets.
    When we look at the St Louis City SC, who are our top players? I'm sure we'll have some growing pains, but I'm hoping there is some talent on this team that we can build around. I guess what I'm asking is if I were going to buy a kit for a specific player, who's one that's a good player and that will probably be around in 3-5 years?
    Forward Joao Klauss would be a good pick.
    Goalie Romam Burki would be another.
    If you're looking for a long-term investment, Caden Glover, the first ever homegrown player to sign with the big squad. The 15-year-old (yes, 15) signed a five-year deal.
    One thing fans are going to have to adjust to is the guys who become the best players for City could be poached by overseas leagues. That's not a bad thing. It's a good thing.
    Over time, you hope MLS continues to grow and become one of those better leagues -- it is moving in the right direction -- and the leagues that can offer more elsewhere fall down the list.
    Now that Pablo Lopez is off the market absent the Twins falling apart before the trade deadline, who are some top flight starters we as fans should keep our eye on for a mid-year acquisition?
    I'd watch the Cardinals' current starters first.
    How they perform or don't will dictate what the Cardinals decide they need, or don't. 
    With expanded playoffs and so many more teams not likely to be sellers, won't that constrict the trade market within the season? I don't feel like the Cards hope of adding if needed will be fruitful via a midseason trade.
    It's why some of us (cough, cough) were suggesting the Cardinals go bigger this offseason. Prices go up at the trade deadline. Free agents are not available. More teams getting in mean more buyers and fewer sellers, driving up prices. The Cardinals entering the season like to point to the trade deadline as a good time to fortify the roster for the postseason. At the trade deadline, they have often pointed to the offseason as a better time to make significant moves. Around and around it goes.
    What is your opinion on Chip Caray's game calling? I haven't listened to him call a game so I'm unsure of what to think. I see mixed reviews online. The tweets I see the most indicate the the real winners of this hiring are the Atlanta fans. Doesn't sound much like a glowing review.
    Plenty of his calls and highlights are available for all to find on YouTube. I'd encourage all to make their own opinions instead of relying on social media's. Seems to me that the Twitter crowd was all in on Goldsmith and upset when he wasn't the guy. That shouldn't be held against Chip, right? He's going to be different than what people got used to with Dan, just like Goldsmith will be. Hopefully folks will give him a chance. The Cardinals mean a lot to him, and he would not have a nearly two-decade body of work in Atlanta to take this swing if it didn't mean a lot to him.
    From a pure lineup 1-9 how do you rate the central? Cardinals, Cubs, Brewers, Pirates, Reds? Rotation: Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, Pirates, Reds? Bullpen: Cardinals, Brewers, Cubs, Pirates, Reds?
    I think the Cardinals are atop the division, with Brewers-Cubs jostling for second, then the cliff before the Reds and Pirates.
    Cardinals have best defense. Cubs defense could be pretty good.
    Brewers have best rotation on paper. All those guys are back, and Peralta is healthy.
    Offense should be Cardinals, but Cubs have added a lot of bats.
    Bullpens? Should be Cardinals, but who really knows about relievers. Unpredictable players.
    Who had the final say on Chip Caray? DeWitt?
    It's a Bally hire. The Cardinals were consulted as the finish line neared.
    I am wondering, given who the Twins gave up, who we might have given up to get Lopez. I don’t think there is a comp with Arraez on the Cards.
    Yeah, he's a unique player in these modern days: .316 average and . . . eight homers. Tons of doubles. Entering his age-26 season. The thought was Miami really wanted Lars Nootbaar in that discussion, and we know how the Cardinals feel about Nootbaar. Maybe the best what-if would have been if the Cardinals had traded high on Tyler O'Neill after the 2021 season? But his upside would have been the power and homers, not the average and doubles.
    Is there any situation where this Blues team doesn't move O'Reilly and Tarasenko? Hopefully Doug tries to shop Krug around to free up some money for next year once the Kyrou/Thomas new contracts kick in. This team has a lot of 2nd pairing D eating up $4-7M
    I suppose, but unless the Blues are convinced there is a realistic chance they can get one or the other -- or both -- back on deals that make sense for the club, then isn't it better to get something before they walk? O'Reilly would be the one that would be harder to move, for me. Because he's played poorly this season, and he's still out with injury, and the return could be lower than hoped for. AND because we know what he brings to the team when he's healthy and right. And yeah, he has expressed a desire to be here, and Tarasenko has been hot/cold on that depending on the season.
    Thanks for the chat, Ben!
    This year's bullpen candidates look pretty darn solid. Helsley, Gallegos, Pallante (2.35 ERA in relief), Packy Naughton (3.24 in relief), Hicks, Stratton (2.78 with St. Louis), Genesis Cabrera, Dakota Hudson, Zack Thompson (0.91 in relief), JoJo Romero, and Jake Woodford. (Since September 1st, 2021, only 8 MLB relievers have thrown as many innings as Jake Woodford, with a lower ERA. Only 10 have a lower FIP, for the nerds out there.) And there's Jake Walsh and Freddy Pacheco waiting in the wings. Overall, I'd call that exceptional depth.

    The ZiPS projection system at Fangraphs agrees. It has ranked 27 bullpens so far this offseason, and the Cards currently rate #3 -- and #1 among last year's playoff teams! So why on Earth would anyone suggest Gordon Graceffo head to the Redbird pen, rather than the Triple-A rotation? This year's bullpen is already quite solid, probably elite. The rotation on the other hand *desperately* needs arms for 2024 and beyond. Graceffo should be learning his craft, his *starting* craft, in the minors, as Wainwright did (45 AAA starts) and Lance Lynn did (also 45 starts in AAA) and Jake Woodford did (55 AAA starts). Thanks for letting me vent, BenFred!
    No debate here. Keep Graceffo on the starter's path until or unless a need arrives at the major league level that he could help fill. And if that need arrives, then some short-term run there in the bullpen doesn't have to define his long-term future there. The Cardinals have a bunch of really intriguing, hard-throwing, nasty-stuff-having young bullpen type arms. It's why I was hoping they wouldn't waste money on "proven" relievers this offseason.
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