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, I'm here. Sorry for the delay. Was putting the final touches on a blog about Wainwright's late-night thoughts on his sticky-stuff experiment in 2019. Appreciated his honesty and thought between the pitcher and manger Mike Shildt, the discussion really showed how complex the issue is. Sorting out is a must, but it won't be easy. Credit to both of those guys for helping explain it all better, from their perspectives. OK, that said, let's chat. I'm all yours.
    Ben, how good would the Cubs be if they picked up Max Scherzer? They still have a star studded lineup and best bullpen in baseball. But they are still one or two elite starting pitchers away from competing for one last title with the Bryant bunch before payday comes due and the team is dismantled.
    What if they just kept Yu Darvish?
    That's what the Cubs fans I know have been asking as their season turned from waiting for a yard sale to competing for a division championship.
    I'll give Ricketts some credit for acknowledging the elephant in the offseason.
    Owners are going to have another reason to resist win-now trade deadline moves, and that is the still-present fear of some sort of a work stoppage before the 2022 season starts.
    Ricketts is the first to admit it publicly.
    Agree that the Cubs could use starting pitching. Their bullpen is helping them cover it up. If they add, they probably won't add someone better than the pitcher they traded away prematurely. 
    Ben, has the affable and charming Stan Kroenke regained the upper hand in the NFL lawsuit? Seems like this whole case will come down to how the judge views the viability of the NFL guidelines.
    Not that I can tell.
    That's what the case was always going to be about.
    Rams want the timeline to be the full picture, and they think they earned the right to relocate via the renovations that were not made to the Dome, because STL gave the team that regrettable first-tier clause in the lease.
    STL side says this has nothing to do with the lease, and that it's about the relocation guidelines and what they set forth about the process of relocation, and how that process was distorted wildly while STL was misled about the process.
    That's the lawsuit. Same as it's ever been.
    Like Carpenter, Mo is past its prime and needs to end his cardinal association. He’s had a good run goodbye and good luck. Any chance?
    I don't think he's going to fire himself, if that's what you are asking.
    Retire maybe, or shift gears eventually, but not right now.
    The one person Mozeliak truly answers to, chairman Bill DeWitt Jr., is a big supporter.
    Mozeliak's current contract runs through 2023.
    I don't think there will be an early extension this time around, and it's not impossible to envision Mozeliak eventually switching gears and doing something else for the Cardinals. But first I think he gets a chance to fix  this season. And I do think he's feeling pressure to fix this season, because its problems are ones he and his front office did not address when they were relatively easy to see coming.
    Starting pitching was a steady question at spring training.
    Cardinals insisted they had enough.
    They were wrong.
    Bench depth was another steady question this offseason.
    Cards stopped short.
    Getting punished for it.
    And then there are the traded away players who are doing a variety of things elsewhere -- some fairly mentioned and some mentioned due to revisionist history. Talent evaluation and projections are under a microscope, fairly. What should also be under the microscope is the front office's ability to truly improve a team between the start of the season and the end of a trade deadline. It hasn't really happened in five years.
     
    Hey BenFred, can you expand on your last bullet in the Kroenke article about just how/why these documents were released? Why and who benefits from that? Thanks!
    Why the documents were available for a short amount of time publicly has not been answered. Perhaps it will be in the next public hearing. There is a protective order in this case. It means most documents are filed under seal. Clearly, these were supposed to be, because they were sealed after a short amount of time. Maybe just a mistake. Maybe something more sinister. I don't know, and the Rams side (shocker) is not returning calls. Hopefully the judge is curious. He can't be ignored if he wants to know. If one argument to throw a case gets out but the other side can't respond in any public fashion, it seems safe to assume that is an advantage for the side that got to make its public argument. That would be the Rams. At some point the STL side is going to list its damages in a hearing that will be public. That will be news, and it won't be under seal. Will be interesting to hear what it hopes to prove, and if some smoking guns emerge, because we haven't been able to hear much about what the STL side found in its discovery. Because of the protective order.
    Hi Ben. Since I know that you are BFFs with Manfred I am wondering if you can text him with my complaint about the experience of All Star voting. Or not voting.

    Click the link from the MLB app. The app that I am signed into. With an account. An account that has all of my information. Because account.

    Link opens to ballot. Ballot that is still in the MLB domain. I am still on the MLB app.

    Vote for players.

    Be forced to review my picks because apparently I am slightly remedial and must have chosen the wrong players or something?

    Click "Yes, you fools, this is really who I am voting for today"

    Select traffic lights or bridges or whatever because it is 2004 or something.

    Be taken to a form wherein I have to enter all of my information including my entire medical history. Provide at least three personal references.

    Ok, that last one may have been a slight exaggeration. I was taken to a form wherein I was required to provide all of the information that they already have, because STILL signed in and STILL on the MLB app. But for some reason they need me to type all of that nonsense again. Because apparently my keen eye at identifying crosswalks was not enough to convince them that I am not just an actual person, but I am the actual person who opened the actual app on my actual phone.

    Give up and close the app. Because that is entirely too much phone typing. And because I had already spent roughly 8 times the time doing all of the pre and post voting nonsense than I spent actually selecting players on the ballot. But mainly the phone typing thing.
    Sounds . . . fun?
    Are you suggesting All-Star voting has a pace of play problem?
    I'll champion your cause if you call for a return of the paper ballot.
    I'm all for paper.
    I'm a newspaper guy, what can I say?
    I suppose MLB just wants to ensure election integrity. No, that is not an All-Star game joke.
    Hey Ben, I am the guy that sent you a comment last week about the loss of the influence of Jose Oquendo in the Cardinal's clubhouse and dugout. In my attempt to praise Oquendo, it some how got turned into an indictment on the integrity of Mike Shildt and the current coaching staff. I assure you that was NOT my attention! If you or anyone else in Cardinal Nation was offended, I offer my sincere apology. I have been following Cardinal baseball since 1964, so I have been around a few blocks. With that said, the Cardinals are doing a self examination of their evaluation process.
    My hope is they are not leaving ANY stones unturned. They cannot afford to keep letting good talent slip through their fingers at the expense of keeping lesser talent. What is the issue? Scouting, coaching, a language barrier, something else entirely? All of the above? Some of the above? None of the above? I want to see EVERY player that puts on the Cardinal uniform be successful!
    All good. I remember the convo. If I misunderstood, I apologize. Shildt and his staff are fair game to criticize. No debate there. The Cards went from first to fourth in 14 days. Hard to do. But when the commentary veers toward hints of racial bias without evidence, I'm out. You didn't suggest you didn't want to see certain Cards not succeed. You did seem to me to suggest Shildt was either intentionally or unintentionally slowing the progress of certain players, and my point was I just don't see that in him. I'm not suggesting he's been right about every player, either. He has not been. I was attempting to warn against hurtful assumptions of why, because those assumptions in my observations are not accurate. If I fired back too strong, I'm sorry. And I appreciate you coming back to explain and hope you hear me explain how I read it. 
    As for figuring out why they are mis-projecting some of their own players, hell yes that has to be answered. The Cardinals are not going to continue to succeed as a draft-and-develop team if they don't have a better read on their own players than other teams. That doesn't mean they can keep them all -- trades to fill gaps have to happen. But when you wind up searching for an answer that you could have produced from within, that's a problem. A big one for a team like the Cardinals. And they do seem interested in answering it. It's fair to wonder if the current front office can, as the misses on free-agent signings and traded away talent have grown quite a bit in a short amount of time.
    Hi, Ben. Thanks for the chat. What's behind the regression of Paul DeJong? When he first came into the league it looked like he might be what the Cardinals have been looking for for years: a strong middle-of-the-order bat that plays solid defense at shortstop. Now, it seems like he's more a sixth- or seventh-place hitter with a little power. I know he's had some injuries lately, but he seems to be regressing. Is this another example of the inability of the Cardinals' player development department to help players improve once they've reached the majors?
    DeJong is on that list of players who seem to have hit that wall, yes.
    This specific example, to me, looks like a case of rushing a guy back because the team needs him, but not making sure he's ready to help when he arrives.
    He was barely in Memphis and barely hit there during his so-called rehab stint.
    DeJong, to me, is also one of the bigger minuses on hitting coach Jeff Albert's scorecard.
    He is one of the hitters most locked in on Albert's approach for him.
    Ben,
    Given their heavy reliance on analytics, do the Cardinals calculate the dollar value of wins? For the last several years the front office has gone silent at the trade deadline and stayed away from making additional moves that would fill holes, add depth or push the team into more championship-contending status. Obviously, they don’t want to trade too much talent, but does the front office calculate that the money cost of a few more wins (AKA better team) is just not a worthwhile investment? They seem content to be slightly above average, which is not inspiring to the fan base and probably not to the players, either. Thanks.
    The specific models the Cards build to project wins/losses are not publicly shared.
    They are the team's in-house version of the ones we discuss, PECOTA and the like.
    You were a bit too generous on the trade-deadline chill.
    It's been five years without a significant series of win-now moves at the trade deadline.
    You have to go all the way back to 2015, when Broxton and Moss were both added for bullpen insurance and Matt Holliday injury insurance.
    I think you answered your own question on the thought process. It's the cost of the addition the team thinks will help -- almost always higher at the trade deadline -- compared to the chance the team feels it has (or doesn't) in the playoffs, weighed by the belief that the following seasons always have to be competitive, too.
    The Cardinals have trended away from trade-deadline deals because they don't often like the trade-deadline tax that teams pay to trade partners who capitalize on desperation.
    This is the year to hold the nose and do it, for lots of reasons.
    I'm still wondering what mo meant by shake up coming. I would add a starter and relief pitcher. trim some of the fat off the roster like thomas or dean and put nootbar in. add SS depth
  • I read it as acknowledging he's gotta do something while buying time until the ability to do so becomes more likely -- and hoping the Cardinals can stop the bleeding during this six consecutive series against losing teams that will ease the pressure a bit.
    Ben,

    The Rams are once again trying to undermine the relocation guidelines to get the case sent for summary judgement. According to an article in ESPN published on Nov 21st 2019, The Rams lawyer Andrew Kassof was questioned by Judge Philip Hess on June 12th 2018. This was in regards to the Rams wanting to push the case to arbitration. Judge Hess asked Kassof "Do the Rams have the ability to move without the NFL's approval?" Kassof responded "No, They need the NFL's Approval". According to the article, "it was a stunning moment in a nearly empty courtroom. Hess's question had forced Kassof to undermine his own case"(ESPN, 2019). So why would the court change course on the case and grant the Rams summary judgement? Also, you had suggested in your latest article that the leak of documents may not have been a mistake. Can you elaborate?

    Thank you thank you thank you for all of your coverage on this case. It means a lot to STL.
    I cant elaborate because no one is answering how the docs got out.
    Hopefully the judge answers.
    Perhaps just a filing mistake.
    Maybe something more sinister.
    Don't know at the moment.
    Yes, the Rams are once again making the same point they have tried to make from the beginning -- that this lawsuit should be influenced by the old Dome lease. And so far, that argument has failed at every turn. I don't have much of a reason to believe it will work now. It's just the last attempt to find an exit ramp before this goes down to two lanes -- trial or settlement.
    BenFred,

    There were many other factors you outlined in your article as to why attendance was lower than anticipated for last nights game. At what point do you think the organization gets worried if (big if) attendance remains lower than hoped?
    The upcoming weekend series against the Pirates in late June should be a better measure on how many folks feel inspired to get to Busch.
    Hey Ben! So Mike Shildt described Waino as having integrity for admitting he cheated. It's a very low standard for integrity. Basically anybody who commits an offense of any kind could just admit it and it doesn't matter what they did they now have integrity. Also Waino didn't say he quit because it was cheating and it was wrong he said he quit because the product was not user friendly. And like most people who get caught doing something he wanted to just give his out of the story make his statement and then not going to talk about it anymore and be held accountable possibly by reporters like yourself Ben. Cuz we're supposed to believe him that that's the only time he cheated and coincidentally it's the only time he's been mentioned in an article about cheating. Very curious for your thoughts on this Ben and as always, love your articles and your chats. Cheers
    Shildt's celebration of Wainwright's comments was a bit over the top, sure. But that's what a good manager does. Protects his guy. Shildt didn't want to speak for Wainwright before the game, so he kind of no-commented it, so I imagine he felt like he needed to stand up for his pitcher once Wainwright made his comments about it. Shildt has learned from La Russa. You protect your guy. I'd factor that into his comments, when they come across like that.
    I'm not sure what you are referencing when Wainwright said he wasn't going to talk about it anymore and was not held accountable. Rick asked him two questions about it, and he answered. I followed up with two questions, and he answered. He answered every question that was asked of him during the availability.
    I know we all have different definitions of cheating in baseball, but I feel like it's a stretch to call what Wainwright did in 2019 cheating. Not when baseball showed zero interest in enforcing the rule about putting some stuff on baseballs. Not when baseballs out of the box have been rubbed down with mud for years, which is OK and actually preferred. Not when there's a rosin bag behind the mound, and sunscreen on arms, and hitters are holding bats and wearing batting helmets slathered in pine tar. Clearly, the trend went too far. The stuff Wainwright said he experimented with was a step in the too-far direction. The Spider Tack stuff some are using now are really changing the game with insane spin rates. So, it's time to get it figured out once and for all. Baseball has now made it clear now that the extra stuff is not acceptable and will be punished. If you are caught now, cheating label applies. If you were in the gray area before, clean it up. That's how I see it. And no, I don't exactly feel the same way about steroids, especially ones that were illegal. Injecting something into your body is a lot different, to me, than pitching with a little pine tar. We all draw our own lines, I suppose.
    Every winter we hear 'we like our guys and trust our internal options.' And no contingency signings get made. Then some part of the roster implodes, right about mid-June (see: offense 2016-2020), and the FO says 'the cost to acquire talent mid-season is too prohibitive and would cause us to sacrifice the future.' No moves get made. The end result: fan apathy. You can't sit on your hands all winter and then wring them in the summer, fans see the pattern of delay, delay, delay.
  • If five years of no significant trade-deadline upgrades turns into six in the first year of Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt combo along with what could be the last year of Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina, I think fans will have plenty of reasons to be ticked.
  • I have never seen a Cardinal pitching staff issue so many walks. What have Schildt and Maddux said they plan to do to address this problem.
    There's no c in Shildt.
    Saying and doing are very different things, clearly.
    Some improved arms as options would help quite a bit. Adding a starter could mean moving walk-prone Gant into a relief role, where he might be more effective. Tyler Webb got shipped out, and he was a big walk contributor. There have been some small signs that maybe whatever the team is doing to cut back the trend is helping. Believe there has been more than 4 walks in just one of the last 10 games. The bar is low at this point, I realize. A good team really should not be walking more than three per game.
    This team's bench is inexcusably awful. I can sympathize with the plight of the bullpen, you have a number of players under-performing that the team had a good reason to trust. But this collection of sub .150 BA bats needs to have a fall guy. BTW, sending them down to AAA and then bringing them back isn't changing the outcome. It is just a carousel of clutter.
    No love for Edmundo Sosa?
    Injuries have certainly not helped.
    Justin Williams, Max Moroff, Big John Nogowski have all landed on the injured list.
    And yet the Cardinals are still somehow ahead of both the Cubs and the Reds in OPS from pinch-hitters.
    Doesn't mean the bench is good. It's weak. Cards talked at one point during the offseason about looking for ways to bulk it up, then stopped. And it's biting them now.
    If the Cardinals continue to play like they are do you think Arenado will opt out and sign with the Dodgers this fall. The Dodgers could easily trade Justin Turner in the off season to make cap space for Arenado. I wouldn’t blame Arenado one bit if he jumped this sinking ship. If Arenado does opt out I think Mo won’t be far behind. Everything has a shelf life.
    That's a lot of what-ifs.
    A big one -- the Dodgers wanting to pick up Arenado's contract. It's big. It's for a player on the wrong side of 30 now. It's not a guarantee.
    Before anything, a milestone will arrive.
    Arenado, like everyone else, will be watching to see what the Cardinals do at the trade deadline to gauge the team's desire to maximize this season.
    Ben: Great article on the Card's FO need to continue to build mid-season in order to keep attendance elite today. 100% agree.

    I had some early season angst about the team's failure to do anything significant after signing Arenado. I wasn't wrong there. In frustration I said Arenado was "aging" and that you were a Card's apologist. I was wrong.

    We are all aging. Enough on that. Nolan is a stud. Appreciate his defense, Mostly appreciate his approach and passion.

    The Cards cannot make enough moves now to make a real run at the pennant this year. Get it. Nothing to deal. Buying is probably too expensive.

    I wasn't wrong that the team was taking half measures in the off season.i was wrong to knock NA and you. Onward and hoping for the best.
    I don't think it's too late to help this team. I think that actually gives the front office a pass it should not get. Arenado has opt outs looming. Wainwright and Molina are playing well in what could be their final go round. The team wanted to see what it had in some guys before adding, and it has a read now. Address the problems and get after it. Do something to improve the team at the deadline for the first time in five years. Make an investment in maximizing the Goldschmidt, Arenado, Molina, Wainwright window before it closes. Improved health will help, but more help is needed. Last night was a perfect example of how the Cardinals win, and why they are not winning much lately. If they get good starting pitching, they can win. If they don't, the balance is way off and they tend to lose.
    Good morning, Ben. A lot of talk among fans about the Blues trading for Matt Tkachuk, which would be phenomenal obviously, but if not him, what would you say is the likelihood of another St. Louis native, Trent Frederic, being available? Big gritty player with some untapped potential (1st rounder just a few years ago) that would be electric on the 4th line with Barbashev and Sundqvist.
  • He had a disappointing season. Didn't play much as the season got to crunch time and was barely a factor in the playoffs. That said, I agree with the upside argument. Problem is, I think Boston sees it too. Most in Beantown are assuming he will be protected from the expansion draft, meaning the Bruins like his combination of youth, upside and affordable contract. I think they see him filling a hole moving forward more than a trade chip. If Tkachuk is a chip, as the Ottawa Sun has suggested, Army has to explore it. The upside would be too good to not check out. Can you imagine? On top of the hockey side, it would be a sizzling move.
  • Ben,aren't there several pitchers out there who never did sign? The real question how good could they be and how long would it take the get game ready,I guess?
    There are, yes. But the Cardinals have suggested, quite strongly, that they are not interested in any of them. So, if one pops up with another team and pitches well, the Cardinals will have some explaining to do. So far though it seems most view the free-agent stragglers as not able to help due to their inactivity.
    Albert has 5 homers, a 129 OPS+, and looks like a phenomenal leader in the dugout with the Dodgers. Safe to say the front office once again overthought things and missed out?
    He's had 62 at-bats with the Dodgers. Forty-seven of them have come as a starter at first base. That's a role the Cardinals could not offer Pujols. Unless your argument is that Paul Goldschmidt and his contract should have been benched for Pujols. He's been great with the Dodgers. No debate there. But already I'm getting the sense some who were desperate to see Pujols back in STL no matter what are choosing to ignore the difference in roles available, and why the Dodgers had one that was a better fit for him. That feels like a big thing to overlook.
Powered by Platform for Live Reporting, Events, and Social Engagement