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.

    Do u feel MU Football lost ground or improved from the transfer portal? Also is the 30th rank recruiting class a signal of the direction the program is going?
    The most important recruiting angle for this upcoming season is how much the highly ranked classes Drinkwitz secured in the past pay off and play out on the field. If that goes well in this pivotal fourth season, then recruiting will be trending well moving forward. If not, there could be a change. That's the reality. The transfers incoming look promising enough. A bunch of Power 5 types that should be relatively familiar with the level of play in the SEC. Few will be more important than the Jake Garcia add at quarterback. The Miami transfer was a highly touted QB out of high school but he didn't win the job down there despite an injury to the starter ahead of him. Then again, the perception of the Miami program is that it wasn't getting the most out of its offense or its players. If Drinkwitz is bringing a guy in and risking upsetting the apple cart, he will expect that QB to have a chance to start. Most important position on the field.
    Hi Ben, thanks for the chat. Any BattleHawks coverage from training camp coming soon?
    We'll be doing some features on the B-hawks from time to time. I don't think the plan for now is to have daily coverage.
    I don’t disagree with the cardinals individual decisions to commit starting roles to Nootbaar, Donovan, O’Neil, Carlson on offense and Matz/Flaherty in the rotation. However to count on all of them (plus Gorman/Yepez as DH) feels like a gamble that needs so many of these chances to turn out positive to end up as a true WS contender.
    Correct. "Season of opportunity," is the unofficial tagline the team is selling. Not World Series, here we come.
    The ask for prospects in Cardinal's trade proposals always seems high, like it was for Sean Murphy. Do you think that this due to the Cardinals overvaluing prospects or because their system is fully stocked right now so teams inquiring shoot for the moon?
    It's a little bit of both. The Cardinals right now have six top-100 prospects, not according to the Cardinals, according to the prospect-ranking gurus. It's an impressive wave that should be coming. That said, yes, the Cardinals do love their faberge eggs. Always have. Always will. A draft-and-develop team that hopes to fill from the inside and supplement from the outside as needed is always going to tend to hope for the best from internal options.
    The difference in 3 point shooting % earlier in the season vs now is more contested vs open 3's. The Tigers were getting a lot of wide open 3's and 20+ assists/game against other teams, to include their big wins against KY and Illinois. In SEC play assists/game have gone way down, turnovers that lead to open 3's in transition are down, fouls/game have gone up, and as a result there's far more one on one offense that leads to difficult shots. What do the Tigers need to do to get the assists back up and better (more open) shots, without putting the other team in the bonus early by fouling so much?
    Getting crushed on the boards game in and game out doesn't help. It's not going to be a strength of this team. I get it. But it's gotta get a little better. You can't get out and run when you're giving up a ton of second, third and sometimes even fourth-chance opportunities to the opposing offense. Missouri is averaging more than 11 steals per game but in conference play the Tigers are surrendering one of the weaker field goal and 3-point percentages to opponents in conference play. If the ball is going in a lot, you have to settle for more half-court sets and fewer chances to get out and run.
    DeWitt lauded the notion that it only cost money, not prospects, to get Contreras. Mo says they have bandwidth to spend. Here’s the problem: spending season is over. The next train stop is Prospect Station in July. Why do I feel like come July THAT price will be too steep, but if it was only money the Cards would’ve been players?
    I think it's wise to feel that way. One alternative would be if teams are looking to dump salary and take fewer compelling prospect to offload cash at that time. But again, fewer teams looking to punt after playoffs expand.
    If I am the GM, I doo't offer Goldy an extension in 2 years. I think we have seen the best he has to offer and we would be paying a decreasing production point top dollars. We have people who can play First Base and then use the money on pitching. any thoughts?
    I wouldn't make any decision on it today, because none is needed. If he has another season like this past one, I'd perhaps feel differently than I do today. No need to rush it. Arenado same thing. The Cardinals should consider extending them both if they keep proving they're going to hold up well, but no need to rush it.
    Thanks for the chat, Ben!
    Just to clarify: The Oakland A's were NOT asking for a bunch of Redbird *prospects*. The A's wound up accepting nothing but prospects from the Braves & Brewers, that much is true. But when they were negotiating with the Cardinals, they demanded Nootbaar + Donovan + Graceffo, a swap that would instantly make the Cardinals *worse* at the MLB level, and worse going forward as well. There was never a second request by Oakland. None that made the papers, anyway. The A's were impossibly unrealistic, Mo called their bluff, then the A's took a pittance for Murphy from other teams. The top prospect the A's wound up getting (either Muller or Ruiz) is a consensus non-top 100 guy. The Cards were not greedy with their prospects. They never got the chance to be.

    Anyway, my query: Do you think Matt Liberatore & Connor Thomas are viewed as future relievers now, given their weird, profound regression at the AAA level in 2022? Thanks again, Ben!
  • I'm aware. I was there at winter meetings covering it. My answer was about how the ask the Cardinals got for Murphy can't fairly be compared to what the Braves did, because the Cardinals moving on to Contreras changed the scenario. I don't think the future for either of those pitchers is set in stone at this time. But this year is significant for both in determining their direction.
    Red Sox just picked up Mondesi and a player to be named later from the Royals and traded a useful lefty in return. That just tells you how hard the Cards want the DeJong experiment to work. Can't believe I'm saying this, but DeJong is a better hitter/player than Mondesi, so there's the framework. But....
    I think it also tells you the Cardinals feel fine about their group of relievers, and I don't blame them for that.
    If by DeJong experiment you mean they hope he hits, sure. They want that.
    They're not calling him the shortstop starter. That's Edman. But The Chat refuses to hear that.
    DeJong's gonna get a lot of reps at spring training with the WBC going on. If he performs well, his value goes up to the Cardinals, and to teams that could be needing help via trade sooner than expected.
    Let's assume Jordan Walker makes the 26 man roster ( before September call ups) and that there are no injuries requiring a 60 Injured List. Who is most likely to move, understanding that there are still uncertainties in performance?
    The Cardinals are viewing Jordan Walker as a corner outfielder now, and have suggested they're not going to ask him to play center, which is probably wise. The starting outfield the Cardinals have suggested to start is Tyler O'Neill (left field), Lars Nootbaar (center) and Dylan Carlson (right). Alec Burleson (left-handed hitter) and Juan Yepez (right-handed hitter) are corner outfield and DH types who have already debuted. If Walker secures a spot on the team, one of these guys mentioned above probably feels the pinch through getting sent to Memphis or traded. Injuries could also happen that affect things. They are an unfortunate reality.
    If Liberatore the still the number 1 pitching prospect in the Cards organization? are they still high on him? or has Graceffo overpassed him?
    Graceffo has hopped ahead of him, per the rankings. Liberatore's performance last season left a lot to be desired but I don't think the Cardinals have cut bait in any way, shape or form. Big season ahead for him.
    I think the difference between the Cardinals of a decade ago everyone thought was great and today, was Tony LaRussa. Does St. Louis need a hall of fame type manager?
    If the Cardinals are going to have a Hall of Fame manager, I think it's going to have to come via someone growing into that role on the fly. I don't see this version of the front office bringing in a manager from the outside who from the jump gets a ton of say about the team building and roster construction side of things. Maybe Marmol can get more say in that as he builds up his track record. I think Shildt was trying to work his way there, but he got on the wrong side of the front office and got dumped because of it.
    Predictions for 2023

    Flaherty bounces back to ace status but tries open market
    ONeill traded at deadline for pitching. Walker starter in LF.
    Nootbar develops into 5 tool star
    Cards lose in NLCS to Padres
    Arenado a finalist for MVP again
    Caray becomes fan favorite, replacing FredBird

    Too optimistic?
    Will FredBird put on pants? Hope so.
    Happy Tuesday, BenFred.
    Goldy is signed through his age 36 season, and just won MVP at age 34. He has a terrific health history and is good defensively and on the bases -- thus his overall value should erode fairly gracefully & gradually. I'd sign him for two additional seasons, at the same $26MM per year. No more years or dough than that, though.

    My question, you ink-stained wretch, is about the bullpen. Do you see any chance that Naughton and Thompson will be the two lefties who go north with the big club? (Their ERA's in relief were very good last year.) Or is Genesis Cabrera with his negative WAR (both 2022 and career) guaranteed a spot due to his "stuff." Because we know how managers and front office types love "stuff". Even when the "stuff" comes with a high ERA.
    I don't see too many guaranteed spots in this bullpen, especially not for Gallegos, who lost that spot last season. Between the fringe starters who are going to quickly find out they are really competing for bullpen spots and the young guys who are eager to get to the majors as soon as they can, the jostling for bullpen spots should be pretty compelling. The Cardinals were wise, I think, to not clog the competition with contracts to veteran free agents who would feel like they had a spot guaranteed.
    How pumped are you about the St. Louis franchise in Major League Pickleball? Which lucky STL PD scribe gets the job of covering that beat? Don't forget to stay out of the "kitchen"!
    I've never paddled it up. Maybe that needs to change. My dad is into it a little bit. I have friends who play. Anyone want to let me join their team? Could be a good column!
    What happens to Herrera? A year ago, he was all that and a bag of chips. He hit fine at AAA for his age. MLB debut wasn't great, but he's really young. With Contreras on board, he sure seems like a trade chip as well. Guess nobody else wants him or he isn't as good as the FO told the paper he ways.
    I think you answered your own question. Still quite young. Still lots of promise. The game speed was a bit too fast for him last season at the MLB level. He's going to dig into play-calling and game-management stuff this season and it should help him moving forward. There is going to be a nice chance for a young, developing player to get some good playing time during the Contreras contract. That could be Knizner this season. Could be Herrera. The Cardinals have depth to deal from if they decide to later, and they have done that before with Carson Kelly. The Cardinals say they are still high on Herrera's future, but he wasn't quite ready yet.
    What do you think it would take for the Cardinals to actually consider tweaking their model? Clearly, the repeated early exits are "postseason randomness spin zone" fodder for them. Would it take not making the postseason at all?
    Getting fed up about continued immediate postseason ejections would be the only thing. And their patience is a lot longer than some of their fans. This offseason tested the patience. The model remained unchanged.
    What kind of baseball hall of fame is this? No home run king, no hit king, no pitcher with the most Cy Young awards, no greatest fielding percentage shortstop of all time. But Let's all make a big stink for Rolen, Helton and Wagner? It's like the twilight zone!
    And David Ortiz is in.
    Um, hello?
    I agree.
    The Ortiz decision last year eroded a lot of the "standards" that were talked a lot about.
    Time to go, folks. Thanks for swinging by the chat. Check out the newsletter if you're interested. Same time and place next week: 

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