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.

  • Hey gang, hope your week is off to a strong start. I'm in the chat saddle here for a few hours. Fire away with any questions, comments or whatever else is on your mind. And please do me a favor and sign up for my Wednesday newsletter, found here below. I really appreciate it. Thanks! 

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  • Thanks for your chat
    Everybody except the Cardinals for an office thought they needed more pitching in the off-season. Why do the cardinal management seem to have this huge Blindspot?
  • Correct. It's not second-guessing when it's done during the offseason and at spring training. The Cardinals' biggest weakness on paper is their pitching, and enhancing the upside of the rotation would have been the best way to improve it, because it would have helped the bullpen by default. There are a few things we should consider, though. It's early. The Cardinals have not even had their first full turn of the rotation yet. It take a few turns through to get any legitimate sample size. Also, the Cardinals are facing two incredibly tough teams out of the gate. The Blue Jays and Braves are two of the best offenses in baseball. They are the kind of lineups the Cardinals will need to tame in the postseason, for sure, but how pitchers fare against these bats in the first days of April is not much of a tell to be honest. And there's one more thing that is probably getting overlooked. Justin Verlander started the season on the injured list. So did Jose Quintana. So did Carlos Rodon, who looked like an arm the Cardinals should have perhaps valued in free agency more this offseason. Same for Frankie Montas, who was the darling trade-target last trade deadline. Jacob deGrom is healthy, but we'll see for how long. I'm not saying all of these guys are going to have bad seasons because they are hurt in April, but they are now bigger question marks than they were, and all of the Cardinals' question marks other than Adam Wainwright are at least healthy. I'm not disagreeing that they should have one more. I hollered about it quite a bit. But knowing the right arm to add is harder than it seems, especially when there are health concerns, as there were with Rodon. Max Scherzer would have been the one, but that's old news. The Cardinals have as of right now the National League's second-worst ERA by starters (7.13) The worst? It's the Phillies (7.64) who mowed the Cardinals down in the Wild Card Series because of their dominant starting pitching. It's early.
  • With Nootbar out with a hand injury from a head first slide, when will Marmol order his players not do this. The injury rate from headfirst slides is very high but players just keep doing it.
  • He won't. He's asked guys to be smart about it. He's asked certain player, like Jordan Walker, to avoid them if they can. He's not going to order guys to not do a baseball move that comes down to instincts. The only headfirst slide that should be nixed as a team rule is the one into first base. Because it's slower than running through the bag, always. In other instances, it can help players beat throws an tags because they can maneuver better during the slide.
  • Good morning, Mr. Frederickson. Thank you for the chat. I know it's only four games into the season, but O'Neill doesn't look all that comfortable in center field. On one of Atlanta's homerun's last night, he was not in a very good position to try to catch the ball, and it looked like it was hit high enough that he had time to get back to the wall. I guess part of the problem is, if you have Gorman as DH, and Burleson and Walker in the outfield, where do you put O'Neill but center field? When Nootbaar comes back, maybe that changes.
  • I don't think there were any home runs hit last night that could have been pulled back by any outfielder. The Cardinals have committed some time for O'Neill to get comfortable out there in center on the fly. He wants to play there, and you're right, with Nootbaar out and Carlson not being an every-day starter, he's the best (and only) option if Walker and some combination of Burleson/Yepez is in the other corner spot. O'Neill has all of the pieces to be able to play a solid center. He's fast. He has a strong arm. He has a good glove. But I'm with you in thinking he would be better off in a corner spot, and I wouldn't be surprised if he winds up there once Nootbaar gets healthy -- or if Carlson forces his way back into the picture on a more daily basis. It's not locked down. But he's getting first dibs.
  • I think hicks expirement needs to end. He is s thrower not a pitcher. Keeps walking people hasn't been good. Need to go to minors to improve.
  • I wouldn't say end, but it needs to be edited and improved. For sure. I wrote about this for today's paper, but the Cardinals can't afford to stick too long with pitchers who are walking too many this season. There's no reason this team should accept anything but one of the lowest walk rates in the National League, for all kinds of reasons. The defense is too good to hand out free passes; make hitters earn their way aboard. The offense is too good to not attack hitters; runs scored against the Cardinals will have a good chance of being answered this season. The Cardinals don't strike out a lot of hitters; that makes it even more imperative to not walk guys, because then mistakes get compounded quickly. Also, I recently wrote about Hicks struggles. I'll update the numbers here. Since the Cardinals stopped tinkering with using him as an opener last season, his results as a back-end reliever have been, not good. The velocity is great but what is it accomplishing. Since July 15, 2022, which was the day the Cardinals stopped using him as an opener for good it seems, he has a 6.75 ERA in nearly 30 regular-season innings. He's allowed 28 hits and issued 16 walks while striking out 32. He's done a good job stranding inherited runners, and he's not giving up much hard contact, but the lack of bats missed and the free passes are leading to too many messy appearances. The Cardinals would prefer to work it out on the fly in the majors but he's under the microscope, and fast.
  • Ben, I’ll let everyone else pile on about the Cards pitching. I’m going to pile on about the so called BFIB. Did the Cards promote last night as Atlanta Braves night at the ballpark? How else to explain the legion of Braves fans many occupying seats along the third base line? I attend lots of games each year but outside of the normal large Cubs contingent, I’ve never seen so many fans by an opposing team. Maybe the season ticket holders cashed out to watch the NCAA final. Braves fans turned downtown St Louis into Cobb County Ga when Atlanta hitters were launching early rockets. Ok, slight exaggeration but you get the point.
  • There was a whole lot of Choppin' going down along that third-base line. Very noticeable. And loud. Heard it from the press box.
  • Hoping the Blues realize that they are selling out games during a down season. Do you foresee this impacting how long this rebuild takes? Have to imagine sell outs won't continue if it last past next season.
  • Doug Armstrong has said he's going to try to make this a short-term retrench instead of a long-term, painful walk in the wilderness. I think the attendance shows some belief in that, but also that people like hockey here and appreciate guys who play it hard, even if the season is shot. I think there is some level of patience, but a team that counts robust attendance as key to business, and the Blues are one of those teams, doesn't want to take that for granted or push it. What's going on with the Washington Nationals is a good example of how taking too long to rebuild after a championship can lead to disinterest in a hurry. The Blues have a much better ownership group than that organization, and it shows often. And there have been some encouraging signs on the ice that it may not take as long as some initially thought. It would be nice if Berube and Kyrou could figure out a way to keep their barking sessions out of the camera's view, though. It makes you wonder how that pretty critical relationship is going to age.
  • Ok BenFred, any thoughts on the women’s bball final? Do you think LSU shower bad sportsmanship or is there a double standard in play? I guess I’m putting you on the spot.
  • I figured South Carolina versus Iowa was the real championship game.
    Shows what I know.
    Didn't expect LSU to pull it off and they dominated down the stretch.
    The officiating sucked. It's a bummer when a game like that gets impacted by so many whistles. The technical on Caitlin Clark was one of the biggest misreads of intent an a moment I've seen in a big game in a long time. And nothing for Kim Mulkey, who goes bananas on the sidelines the entire game. Bad look there.
    Angel Reese won't be winning a Musial Award for her taunts of Clark, but I don't get too fired up about that.
    People win in different ways.
    Don't like it? Beat them. That seemed to be how Iowa handled it. I guess most others didn't get the message.
  • Hi Ben-Fred, We can agree that a baseball organization can never have too much pitching. That said, I submit that the signing of top of the line free agent pitching to medium to long term contracts costing 100s of millions is absolutely the worst roster move that a baseball club can make. To wit: How many of the several #1 pitchers that a P-D reporter lobbied for during the off season are now out with serious injuries and how many are currently in the rotation for the clubs that overspent on them?
  • I ran through the list earlier, if you're interested scrolling down. Most of those guys won't be hurt all season, so we will see how they recover, rebound, and later affect their team's playoff chances and postseason fate. But yeah, being healthy is better than not. No debate there. Paying big for pitching is risky business, for sure, but the Cardinals are continuing to find themselves in a jam. If you can't develop elite starting pitching and don't want to pay for it on short or long-term contracts to acquire it from the outside, and the postseason continues to remind you that you need elite starting pitching to get far in the postseason, something has to give -- if you're serious about going deep.
  • BenFred,

    thanks for doing these chats!

    Thoughts on City? I thought it was an encouraging loss---in that they only gave up the penalty---which was a good call on an unnecessary play by a player that has been exceptional this year...and they had equalizing chances late in the game.

    Concerns.....our wins were over teams ranked 12, 15, 24,26,28, loss to # 15 in espn power rankings. (W-11,18, 21, 25, 29 L-8 in MLS power rankings). Was the hot start more a result of a week schedule vs. a strong team? Thoughts?
  • Where was City SC ranked in those power rankings to start the season?
    Most predictions and projections had the St. Louis club barely able to jog and chew gum at the same time.
    Maybe the guestimates about the more established teams are more accurate, but I don't think the rankings had or have a very good feel for City's potential.
    City won't win every game. They're not a perfect team and not the best team in the league. But the way they play will give them a chance to compete with just about anybody. 
  • Mr. BenFred...538 MLS playoff odds City 62%, 538 MLB playoff odds Cardinals 58%, where are you over and under on those numbers?
  • Over, for both. City seems more right than Cardinals. The Cardinals are a playoff team. A Wild Card Series team, until proven otherwise.
  • As a follow up, I totally agree with you that Jill Biden whiffed on the Iowa visiting the WH suggestion. I bet her husband said thanks honey for putting me between a rock and a hard place. He can’t win for losing on that one. No matter how you feel about LSU’s sportsmanship, to the victor goes the spoils.
  • She walked that back in comments today. Good call on her part. Two things can be true. Caitlin Clark is the best player in women's college basketball, maybe ever. But she fell short of her ultimate goal. I can't imagine she would have accepted the invite. She doesn't seem like the participation-trophy type.
  • LSU’s coach is Kramer Robertson’s mom right?
  • OK, I apologize if I missed predictions in the Sunday preview, what is your NL Playoff Field? ATL/STL/LAD as division winners, NYM/SD/MIL as the wild cards?
  • Prepare your bets.
    I request only a generous tip.
    Kidding, just buy a P-D online subscription for a friend with your winnings, deal?

    National League

    CENTRAL: Cardinals

    WEST: Dodgers

    EAST: Braves

    WILD CARDS: Padres, Mets, Phillies

    CHAMPION: Braves

    American League

    CENTRAL: Twins

    WEST: Astros

    EAST: Yankees

    WILD CARDS: Rays, Blue Jays, Mariners

    CHAMPION: Yankees


  • Ben,

    Seems to me that XFL play has improved dramatically as the season has progressed. The Defenders/Guardians game was a blast to watch. There are NFL plays that happen. It's not 100% NFL quality, but it has been a pleasant surprise. Now they are bringing in some better talent. They have confirmed there is a commitment to the league to continue. What have your observations been after 7 weeks?
  • The TV product has looked really good. Some of the attendance and ratings numbers outside of St. Louis are a bit concerning, so it was good for XFL fans to hear the ownership commit to at least one more season. I think the TV ratings are going to be the main thing here moving forward. The in-person attendance is not as big of a deal. It will be strong in St. Louis, good in some other places and sketchy in a lot of others. It's a for-TV product, so if that struggles, the league is going to eventually be in some degree of trouble. The last week's ratings were really good because it included two games on ABC. The partnership with ABC/Disney is big. It's important that the games "feel" big on TV because there is a considerable drop-off in talent from the NFL. If that gap can continue to be closed, the chance of long-term staying power seems to improve as long as the ownership group's heart is in running this thing. I wonder about the long-term plan. I think everyone does.
  • when are they going to do something about the blackouts of mlb games?
  • MLB is making it clear they're poised and ready to get rid of them when they go about picking up the pieces from the regional sports network collapse, but the toppling of that model is still in progress. So, stay tuned.
  • Early prediction for who we acquire at the Deadline?
  • Any guess now could look silly come then, but as one who has never been afraid to look silly, one name is interesting, potentially. Shane Bieber, who is headed toward 2025 free agency with team that doesn't love to spend big money, and a team the Cardinals have one deals with in the not so distant past.
  • As rightly so everyone is excited about the youth movement on the Cardinals might not want to forget that Carlson is actually YOUNGER than Donovan and Nootbar. To these old eyes he is the only one in Centerfield that I don't hold my breath when the ball gets hit that way. Imagine going from ROY finalist to playing hurt, to riding the pine. I think Skip and the Marlins really need a CF and have a ton of young pitching. Just sayin
  • I think the Cardinals view Nootbaar and Carlson as kind of close defensively in CF, and are not quite sure what to think about O'Neill because he hasn't one it a ton, but they see the tools and his desire to do it and right now, especially with Nootbaar injured and Walker needing to play often, it makes sense. I've been the first to point to Carlson's age (24) and remind folks to press pause before assuming we know his ceiling, but it's very much time for him to prove it with his play. He's got more than 300 games and 1,000-plus at-bats under his belt now in the majors. There is real competition for outfield reps and at-bats. Someone from this group could win up getting traded off for pitching help, sure. I don't think the Cardinals know who that is or who they want it to be today. I think they're going to see what happens, and he will get chances to impact that conversation. All will. Marmol isn't going to let guys rot on the bench. He will find chances for all and reward those who grab them.
  • The USFL kicks off play during what will be week 8 for the XFL. USFL broadcasting some games on FOX while XFL is on ABC/ESPN. Some of those games will be broadcasting simultaneously. Houston even has a team in both the XFL and the USFL. Do you think this overlap will be bad for the XFL, the USFL, or both?
  • Bad for both. Best for all would be a combination of the two so the best non-NFL talent is playing in one league instead of two. There's enough football talent to support a strong non-NFL league. I'm not sure there is enough for two, and for both to be highly watchable.
  • I think ( hi Ben ) its way to early to panic on the pitching. I remember a year similar to this one when the staff came out cold. Give it a couple weeks to settle down and see where wwe are.If changes need to be made then bring up some and send down the guys that are stuggling
  • Can't begin to really dig into stuff until the rotation turns over a few times. But that won't stop many. I get it. It's what we do.
  • With Gorman showing early signs of big improvements albeit a SSS, please tell me if he keeps this up all the way through the trade deadline, they won't be looking to move him for a pitcher? And in your personal opinion, would you move him or keep him for the future?
  • The Cardinals have made the mistake of trading young players they later wished they had back, but those were players they did not realize the potential of or give the playing time to prove it before they were dealt away. What they don't do is trade away performing young players who have carve out significant roles, and that's what Gorman is doing before our eyes. Why would they trade him? He's improved at second base quite a bit. He's the backup third baseman now, behind a hard-playing 31-year-old star who is going to need some off days and more designated-hitter days as he ages. And the designated hitter exists, meaning a loud left-handed bat always has a place to play. I don't see Gorman going anywhere.
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