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 your week is off to a strong start. Coming to you LIVE this week from Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter as the Cardinals get ready to host the Nationals for Grapefruit League play. This is the eight-to-last spring training game. Roster battles are coming down to the wire. Camp will be cut in size once the World Baseball Classic guys return. That championship featuring gobs of Cardinals is tonight in Miami, USA versus Japan. Lars Nootbaar versus America. We can chat here until I have to head back for interviews. Fire away.
  • Does Hudson have options left? I just don't see him making roster ahead of Woodford.
  • He does, and he won't unless there is some big surprise. Jake Woodford has all but secured his spot on the opening-day roster. If it wasn't obvious before (it was) it was even more so when he dealt five scoreless innings yesterday. He's adopted some of the tweaks the Cardinals encouraged him to make, reshaping his slider to a version the Cardinals and pitching coach Dusty Blake believe will be more sustainable. He's had a great spring. Stellar. Hudson is still searching. He will be in the Memphis rotation along with Liberatore as they hope to get the call later this season. Remember, the Cardinals used FOURTEEN different starting pitchers last season. And TEN made more than five starts.
  • Edman is the starting Shortstop...we get it. Its not that Dejong is going to be a backup infielder, its that he is taking a roster spot that can be used elsewhere. He is going to start the season on the IL, so that gives the Cardinals temporary reprieve from dealing with that, but it will be an issue once he is healthy. His contract is a sunk cost, and it is a double whammy when his lack of production prevents another player to be on the roster.
  • That's a good and fair argument. Much better than the one claiming DeJong is blocking Masyn Winn. That's the one I hear most often and it doesn't add up. Because Winn needs to play shortstop daily, to continue his development. DeJong's role doesn't play daily. He's a reserve player. The argument you are making is that there are other better options for reserve spots. And I agree -- IF we see here as camp closes and the season starts without DeJong that Brendan Donovan can play a decent enough backup shortstop. If he can, then the team is better off with Alec Burleson and/or Juan Yepez on the team, or whatever bat it is that would have been left behind if DeJong was healthy and Jordan Walker makes the team. Because Jordan Walker needs to make this team. I think we all agree on that.
  • Kind of amazing how deep this lineup could be. Damage all the way up and down the lineup even with some of the other options inserted (Donovan/Gorman at 2B, various DH and Outfield combos). Two examples below. This should give Walker a chance to break in at a relatively lower pressure lineup spot with still ample RBI opportunities. Do you think this slot would be best for him starting out, and can this be one of the best offenses we've had since the MV3?

    Donovan Edman
    Carlson Gorman
    Goldschmidt Goldschmidt
    Arenado Arenado
    O'Neill O'Neill
    Nootbaar Nootbaar
    Walker Walker
    Contreras Contreras
    Edman Carlson
  • Contreras needs to be higher than that.
    He's here to be a middle-order guy.
    I'd start Donovan at leadoff after this spring he's had.
    Goldschmidt and Arenado will hit third and fourth, in that order.
    Agree that I'd start Walker down and let him climb if need/performance force it naturally.
    The Cardinals are really confident O'Neill is going to have a big season.
    Knowing it's going to be tweaked for specific matchups and there will be a cycling of the DH at-bats, I'd START with something like  this . .  . 
    You can make a case to have Nootbaar lead off or hit second, and I don't hate the idea, but I'd start the less experienced guys down (other than Donovan) down and move them up instead of having to move them down if they struggle. The outfielders are going to fluctuate with Carlson in the mix and this allows the lineup to maybe stay mostly solid with some moving parts -- if it works. I look forward to hearing why I'm wrong! 
  • Ben:
    Please, Please, Please tell us that Motter is not making this team. He is 32 years old and in his major league career has never hit above 200.
  • If they have concerns about Donovan's ability to back up shortstop with DeJong out, he could have a chance. But I think they think he'll be able to do that decently, and I think they like the idea of having Alec Burleson on the opening-day roster , now that there's room. We'll see. Motter's versatility and pop have won some votes this spring.
  • I would take DDM's point about DeJong on step further. I realize that some in the media are grousing because it is the 13th spot on the roster, "who cares", but in the last two playoff appearances the Cardinals have rostered a dead-bat Carpenter in 2021, a dead bat DeJong in 2022 along with Ben DeLuzio. So it may seem harmless in April but clearly the last two seasons the cardinals have not sorted it out between April and October. Yepez came off the bench last year and homered when it mattered, so bench spots should not be throw-away contract/legacy spots in the playoffs.
  • No one in the media is arguing that a spot on the roster is not important.
    No one who knows what they're talking about, that is.
    It's the argument that Winn is being "blocked" by DeJong that I've tried to shut down, because it doesn't make any sense.
    It does Winn no good to sit on the MLB bench. He needs to play. DeJong's role is not one that plays. He can and is being pushed out of the picture by other guys who could offer more production from that reserve role, like Burleson. Burleson doesn't play shortstop, but he could be the helpful bat that gets on if the Cardinals find they don't need to hold a spot for DeJong for reserve shortstop defense. 
  • BenFred:

    Would it not make more sense to play Winn, with a stronger arm, to play short and Edmond, a Gold Glove 2nd basemen, to play his better position?
  • What happens with Nolan Gorman and Brenan Donovan then?
    Gorman homered 14 times last season and has had perhaps the best spring of any hitter.
    Donovan was a 4 WAR guy who is now showing more pop.
    Before you rush Donovan to the outfield, it's already crowded with Jordan Walker likely making the team.
    And DH bats are going to be a real competition as well.
    Winn has had an awesome spring. He still can benefit from some ever-day minor-league seasoning. If this was a bad or even mediocre MLB team without depth, he's probably starting at shortstop on opening day. But the Cardinals are a pretty good team.
  • Don’t you think Motter could be on other teams radar? Flawless in the field and not an easy out? I understand he’s facing a lot of minor league pitching.
  • Yes, and he has the kind of option in his contract that could allow other teams to grab him if he doesn't break camp with the Cards. Non-roster guys like him are not just playing for the team they're calling home this spring. They're playing for every team.
  • Hey Ben,
    Thank you for the chat from what I'm sure is a busy week in Jupiter. Based on reporting from Dan Caesar, thankfully the Bally Sports fallout won't really impact payroll this year, but it seems like BDW said that the future is a little more uncertain. Could this impact how we approach extensions for existing players this spring? Thank you for the insight.
  • Usually the spring-training extensions, if they're coming, are wrapped up by this point of spring.
    If Miles Mikolas felt like one was about to get done, he probably would have wanted to lock it in before he left to take a risk playing in the WBC. The Cardinals know they are approaching a starting pitching reckoning, no matter what happens with the TV rights drama, and it's a little surprising they haven't locked up one of the starters they feel best about moving forward. That gives them flexibility, though, and it's not a bad thing to have. Depending on how the season shakes out they could move to extend Mikolas, Montgomery, Flaherty -- or thank them for their service and reshape this rotation almost entirely after Wainwright rides off into the sunset.
  • Thanks for your chat
    Without the Arenado Goldschmidt trade, how do you think the Mo era I would be looking?
  • Without hair, I'm bald. But I have hair. (Starting to get some grays in there; I blame The Chat.)
  • Hey Ben. I’m somewhat confused with regards to the Ballys situation. If I understand correctly Ballys is saying they will continue to broadcast the games while they are going thru bankruptcy? I had thought that once they entered bankruptcy MLB was going to take over and Ballys was done, out.
  • For now, nothing changes. Emphasis on for now.
    In a statement, the company says it will “continue to operate in the ordinary course” during the bankruptcy and restructuring process, and that its vast catalog of live games, such as the Blues and Cardinals on Bally Sports Midwest, will continue to be broadcast.  

    Diamond Sports, owner of Cardinals and Blues broadcast partner Bally's, files for bankruptcy

    STLtoday.comIn filing late Tuesday night, Diamond Sports Group seeks to restructure $8 billion in debt, says broadcasts will 'continue (in) ordinary course.' Accelerates a rights-fee reckoning.
  • BenFred -

    I understand your stance on Winn needing to play every day, and that just isn't an option with this iteration of the St Louis Cardinals. However, if we're looking at the absolute best situation for Masyn Winn and his development, I do think he's ready and capable of starting for a playoff-caliber team. I'd bet the Dodgers would welcome him with open arms and an every day start. Not suggesting we should trade him, he seems far too valuable for that, but it seems off to suggest that he should be held back for more seasoning.
  • Winn himself is the first to say he knows he's not making the opening-day roster no matter what he does in this camp. He is the first to say he needs to continue to prove his bat can be a consistently producing table-setter type for Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado. The structure of this camp, with gobs of playing time up for grabs thanks to the World Baseball Classic, gave him a ton of no-pressure (because he understands the situation) opportunities to impress the major league staff, and he continued to do that. His next assignment will be to keep the heat turned up in Memphis. If Edman slumps or gets hurt and there's more than a short-term need for a shortstop sub, he's placed himself right there. Playing every day is much better for his development than sitting in St. Louis, so, yes it's better for his development to play in the minors daily.
  • Are there any back up catchers that will be available before opening day?
  • Maybe. Not sure what Cardinals' interest level would be. If based on camp competition alone, Tres Barrera would win the gig over Andrew Knizner. But the Cardinals would prefer to give it to Knizner, I think, because he has an established relationship with the pitching staff and knows how the Cardinals go about meetings, preparations, defense, etc. That's more important than any other season because it's the first season without Yadier Molina, who knew that stuff like the back of his mitt. Knizner is going to get every chance to win the backup job. If he can't finish strong and shrinks from the invitation to grab it, the Cardinals would probably go with Barrera over bringing someone brand new in late. He's done a good job this spring. Marmol acknowledged today Barrera is outplaying Knizner this spring, so far.
  • Why the several day lag between players returning from the WBC and getting into games? Most of these position players had been starting, so I wouldn't think they would need the time to get back up to speed as if they had been idle.
  • Some, like Edman, made very long trips back. Others, like Tyler O'Neill, came back and had a stomach bug. The first thing the Cardinals do is get the guys with their medical and strength team to coordinate a plan for return, trying to make sure they are fully rested and ready to roll after the high-intensity WBC games and travel. Pallante will pitch tomorrow. O'Neill could be back as early as tomorrow as well.
  • Ben, the Mets are in a bind with losing both Quintana and Diaz. They have a win now mantra while the Cards mantra is just be competitive from now until the sun falls from the sky. What could the Cards get in return for sending both Flaherty and Hensley to the Mets? Flaherty is likely not here for the long haul and the Cards have options to replace Hensley. If you can force the Mets into an overpay in getting a couple top prospects in their system why not do it?
  • Because the Cardinals want to compete, and Flaherty and Helsley are huge parts of this team for this season.
  • I would start Walker and Winn at triple A to start the season. Let’s see how O’Neill, Carlson, Nootbar, Edman and Donovan perform the first couple of months of the season. Carlson, and O’Neill so far in their careers have been somewhat of a disappointment.
  • The Cardinals told Jordan Walker to come to spring training and win a job. 
    I'm not sure how they could tell him he did not do that.
    He has.
  • Any late word on TON’s condition and likely ETA in a ST lineup?
  • He had a stomach bug of some kind upon his return from WBC. He was out there today running, throwing, doing baseball stuff. Marmol said he could be back as soon as tomorrow.
  • Ben a lot has been written and said about the Blues inevitably having to go through a reload/rebuild a couple years after their Cup win. Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. How to explain the success of the Bruins who were their Cup opponents. Boston also has plenty of old guys but have had a great season and likely favorites to win it all. What gives?? Thanks and I look forward to your comment.
  • Aren't they more similar than different? Since 2011-12 season, the Blues have missed the playoffs just one time before this year's miss will become the second. That run includes a championship. The Bruins have missed the playoffs twice since 2007-08, and also won one championship during that stretch. The 2014-16 reset by the Bruins caused back-to-back missed postseasons, but they haven't missed the playoffs since, made the finals once, where they lost to the Blues, and now look like a legitimate contender once more. Both teams are models of sustained success in the league, and how sometimes even the most reliable teams in a hard-salary-cap league have blips. The Bruins for a while had a core of good players who were open and willing to take home-town discounts, and that helped them beat the cap for a while. The Blues have had some guys like that, and some notable guys  that opt for free agency and maximizing what they could make there, like former captain Alex Pietreangelo. That's not a knock on those who choose that route. It's players' right to get whatever money they can make through their play.
  • Hi Ben,

    Thanks for the chat add always.

    1) I guess coach Ford gets a free pass (again) for another major let down. I understand the argument about finding a better option, but with that said what is SLUs internal metric? 20 wins and constantly on the bubble? I thought once upon a time it was flirting with being ranked and disappointment if only making NIT. If the do settle, is it time to jump to Midwestern conference like Mo Valley? The A10 doesn't carry much clout and you'll play regional teams that you compete in recruiting.
  • No pass given here, but certainly one by SLU boosters and administration.
    SLU deciding to jump out ahead of the A-10 tournament with AD Chris May's vote of confidence in Ford was clearly calculated to answer the question before the season-ending loss.
    That tells me the money-movers in Midtown are on board with Ford,  for now.
    Big East would be SLU's preferred destination. This should have been a season that made the Billikens look more desirable. Opportunity lost.
  • Who is in line to take DeJong's spot as fan whipping boy in '24? My money is on Carlson. He got the "cold dead hand" endorsement from Mo and, fair or not, is the name many fans associate with why the team did not trade for Soto. He has seemingly leveled off and unless he turns it around against righties this year than he is a good glove with a bottom-third bat.
  • There always is and always will be one, right or wrong, fair or foul. DeJong is the one for now. Carlson, O'Neill, Liberatore, Cabrera and Gallegos are all in the pool of who could be next up in the piranha pool.
  • BenFred,

    Speaking of the SP reckoning the Cardinals find themselves approaching...They were SHOCKED at the prices this offseason, how are they going to replace 4 spots with quality arms next offseason if they don't want to pay the prices. They can't trade that much capital, and there aren't four internal options you'd be comfortable with. Something's gotta give...
  • Probably a blended approach, as usual.
    They hope some of their young arms, like Liberatore and Graceffo, show they are ready for that consideration.
    Jake Woodford will be a sixth starter/swingman type to start this season and is pitching not just for his role now but beyond.
    They will have first crack at striking extensions with the expiring-contract guys on their team.
    And free agency awaits, but will demand a price point the Cardinals have had time to stomach.
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