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.

    Week 5 of me still not believing that one of Hammels, Shark, or Porcello could not have at least been a more interesting watch than seeing yet another Martinez meltdown or having to sit through another 5 walks, 2 HBP Gant start. I just do not understand the reluctance. They would have been in the rotation two weeks ago at this point.
    Hard to know for sure considering those guys are not showing what they can do elsewhere. But if one does and performs well, yikes.
    Hey Ben, Rick didn't put much stock in this idea yesterday, but I'm curious for your take on the fact that the Cards were averaging over 4 runs/game in the two weeks leading up to the Wrigley series, but since blowing that 5-1 early lead in game 1, they've scored two runs or fewer in 7 of 9 games. They've faced good pitching in Miami's and Atlanta's rotations, but it's still been some unbelievable offensive ineptitude following that promising start in Chicago. Can one lost game like that create a bit of a maelstrom that an already-precarious team struggles to recover from?
    Can I present a different series against the same team as a potential start point? The Cubs came to Busch on May 21 for a three-game series after the Cards had beaten the Pirates twice to regain their footing after a sweep by the Padres. The Cubs took the first game, the Cards the second and the Cubs won the third in extra innings. Since the start of that series the Cardinals have averaged 3.24 runs per game, lowest in MLB. The second-to-last Pirates (3.48) are averaging more runs per game than the Cardinals over the past 30 or so games. I think that series took some wind out of the sails.
  • I’m ready for a taste of the one and only Nootbaar! Thomas has been a bust and needs some consistent AB’s in Memphis.
  • Thomas has been very disappointing, yes. A restart/refresh there is needed, and now he will get it. Every time opportunity came his way, dating back to spring training, he mangled the chance.
    Any news on the Ozuna front? Is he on house arrest? He in custody? He being released from the Braves? He going to jail?
    Last headline I read about him revolved around the Braves trying to find a way out of getting out of his back-loaded contract due to his arrest.
    Ben: I really enjoyed your BFIP with Derrick. You guys covered the challenges of the Cardinals from all angles. Obviously, the team needs to strengthen its talent in all areas, and I understand your logic about acquiring pitching, but I still think an OBP bat needs to be the priority. My logic: if you look at the lineup as ideally constructed heading into the season, there was only one proven OBP guy in it--Goldschmidt. Carlson has now shown he can get on base reasonably well, but the entire rest of the lineup is what it is--guys who don't walk, and whose OBP is overwhelmingly based on batting average. In other words, they aren't going to suddenly become what they're not. Thus, the need for outside help. On the pitching side, you do you have possibilities in terms of getting the quality starts you referenced. The potential is there with KK, Waino, Oviedo, and CM. Is there a lot of inconsistency there? You bet. It's not ideal. But they can do it. The lineup--they can't. The individual track record tells us this. Ideally, the team addresses both, but I don't expect that based on Mozeliak's comments. Of course, what bolsters your argument is that there's almost always more pitching available than hitting, which means the cost will be lower.
    Thanks for listening! DG always drums up some good conversations. It's possible that pitching might be the most expensive addition while on-base percentage can be just as important but cheaper to acquire. That's why I suggested Josh Harrison. True rental who is relatively cheap but doing exactly the kind of things the Cardinals are not doing this season -- getting on base being number one.
    50 years from now, when base ball writers and scholars look back on today, they'll talk about how "The New Babe Ruth", an inner circle Hall of Famer, made his MLB debut. Will they be talking about Wander Franco or Lars Nootbaar?
    The Cardinals are long overdue for some good old fashioned Cardinals Devil Magic.
    Maybe Nootbaar is the guy? 
    A Hazelbaker-like surge could really help this team.
    Wikipedia shows Lars' last name as spelled "Nootbaar".
  • Yep. I had it wrong. Should be fixed now. Thanks for the heads up.
    When Bader came back the first time…the Cards were surging…then he went down and they’ve been in a nosedive into the basement of the NL Central. Is he really the missing link?
    Cards are 13-9 this season when he starts. Hard to read too far into that. They miss his defense, but I don't think the No. 8 hitter is the reason the offense has folded.
    Hey Ben, thanks for taking time with us today! Can you help me understand the Cardinals' philosophy when it comes to Ovieda? I know Goold and others have reported they do not want to rush Liberatore and other young arms to the majors, but why not the same thought when it comes to Ovieda? I'm impressed with his overall talent, but he's only 23 and looks at times like someone who could use the time in the minors to develop.
    Sure. Oviedo doesn't have a ton of experience, but he does have more higher-level experience than Liberatore. Oviedo entered this season having made his MLB debut, and with more than 70 minor league starts beneath his belt, the bulk of which came in Peoria or Springfield. Liberatore had no 2020 season due to the lack of minors, just alternate site stuff. He had only made 24 minor league starts entering this season, none of which came last year and none above high-A ball. In a perfect world, yes, Oviedo would probably not be thrown into the fire. But he's had more seasoning than Liberatore, and the Cardinals' pitching world is not perfect.
    Do you see Nootbar getting a couple starts so Edman can finally go back to 2B? What's going on with Justin Williams?
    Gotta think they'll want to get him in there soon to see what he can do, so that would make sense. Justin Williams is in Memphis. Hit a big moon shot earlier this week. Averaging .280 and slugging .480 there.
    This Cardinal team is hard to watch…seems like the same thing every year…talent in the lineup…zero results. It seems likely that Arenado will be a Cardinal in 2022 due to contract/money reasons but I’m not so sure he’d come back in 2023 if the same trend continues. He’s gotta be scratching his head…
    Opting out would mean giving up the guarantee of his contract, meaning he would think he would get something close to it on the open market or be OK not getting somethin close to it on the open market with another team. I don't see him walking away from that money, but who knows. If he was going to, it would be better to do it after his age-30 season instead of after his age-31 season. If he doesn't care about the money at all, all bets are off. There's been nothing but insistence that he's going to stay and came here to stay. Would be a massive shift if he changes his tune on that.
  • Would dangling DeJong on the trade block get teams interested? Or has his past three season downward trajectory raise a red flag?
    It would depend on the individual team and their scouting and projections on DeJong. You all have watched him as close as any other potential trade partner, and some of you think he's not going to get any better, while others would worry if traded he becomes another guy who figures things out elsewhere and should have gotten more time to do so in St. Louis. So, I think teams would be split along similar lines. If he can get back on track offensively, he's an All-Star shortstop. He's been one before. He could play third later in his career if his defense slips; so far it has not. Or he could be a DH down the line. There is a lot of upside there, which would make him an interesting trade chip if the Cardinals think Sosa/Edman are able to handle that and like what they have coming, either in prospects or free agency options.
    Speaking of Paul DeJong, I am stunned that the an organization that is supposed to be pretty smart rushed him back when 1) Sosa was doing a nice job in his stead; 2) his brief time on his rehab stint showed he was not ready; 3) the last thing he needs is to rush back without his timing and continue to fail and have his confidence sink even further. Ben--what gives? The Cardinals seem to do this time and again.
    Especially considering the injury. Ribs and hands are not good things to rush for hitters. He wasn't hitting on the rehab stint. He was barely on the rehab stint long enough to unpack his bag. I think it was a mistake due to the team needing help. And I think it did more harm than good.
    I’ve heard a lot of people calling for the removal of Jeff Albert. They may well be right, but I think the bigger issue is the talent level on the field. When a team like the Marlins puts a player in a position they aren’t suited for, on a consistent basis, it makes sense to me. They have limited resources, but the Cardinals shouldn’t be in that position. I’ll give two examples. Tommy Edman at lead off. Getting on base is the most important priority for the top of the lineup. Edman doesn’t have the right approach to have a high on base. I think this is what he is. A Harrison Bader type. You can love his overall game while acknowledging he should only be at the bottom of the lineup. The other player is Dejong.I know he’s down in the lineup now, but how long was he in the middle? Dejong is a streaky power hitter who should be at 6th or 7th in the lineup. I don’t have a problem with either player being in the field every day, but I do have a problem with relying on them to be in high leverage spots in the lineup. Why do the Cardinals keep putting players in a position to fail?
    Because they either stopped short on acquiring more proven answers, or the ones they thought they had turned out to be worse options than the ones they turned to.
    Simple as that.
    Dexter Fowler was signed to be the leadoff hitter. He was traded away after things did not work. And now he's hurt. The contract did not work.
    Kolten Wong could have been a leadoff hitter. He was let go for payroll flexibility. He's been great this season when healthy, but he hasn't always been healthy.
    The power DeJong has displayed immediately thrust him up higher because of the hope he could fill a spot the Cards did not have. The same thing would be happening with O'Neill except finally the Cardinals have a proven one-two punch with Goldschmidt and Arenado. Problem is, we haven't often seen Goldschmidt and Arenado click together.
    What would it take in terms of prospect capital to land Reynolds? vs Harrison? Both could help our lineup.

    Everyone should know it takes power pitching to win playoff series, so load up on them via trades, drafting, etc.

    What ever power pitching prospects we can get for Miller, Kizner, Martinez, etc should be a priority.

    Buying hitters is much more of sure thing than signing free-agent pitchers.
    The biggest hurdle to a Reynolds deal will be the fear of losing an in-division trade.
    That's a bigger obstacle than the price --  the potential for backlash.
    Pirates side would have to swallow the outrage of fans watching a star player play the Pirates.
    Cards side would have to welcome worry the next traded-away Cards prospect to pop somewhere else might be doing it in the division.
    If Girsh had final say; would he make better decisions? Mo flat out quit addressing roster issues after the Arenado trade. Many at the Post Dispatch and elsewhere saw issues with his roster that needed to be addressed and he ignored what was apparent to many.
    As convenient as it is to think of decisions being assigned to one person in the front office, that's not how it works. Yes, Mozeliak is the top boss on the baseball ops side. But others, including Girsch, are involved. They're a pretty unified front. And yes, maybe that's part of the problem at times. Sometimes a rusty nail or a dissenter can be a good thing.
    On a positive note, I happened to notice that Wainwright is the in the top 10 in the NL in IP and in the top 5 in IP/start. How incredible is that at age 39? One flip side, what kind of knife to the heart is it to see Sandy Alcantara in the top 3 in IP? That Osuna trade is going to haunt the team for years.
    I said it on the radio last week, but I'll repeat it here. Sandy is the least discussed rising star in baseball. Has to be. He's a throwback pitcher in the modern age. He's a workhorse, and a good one. When the 200-inning guys are starting to become hard to find, he's just stacking those kind of seasons in Miami. When the Marlins flip him or he lands with a more prominent team through free agency, look out. I hear a lot more people bemoaning the loss of Randal Grichuk in the chats than I do Alcantara, but that will change when more people start paying attention to what this kid is doing, and has been doing for a while now. The Marlins are not good, but they deserve credit for turning him into an ace.
    Interesting to read where Ross benched Baez for not knowing the number of outs in an inning. Think Shildt would ever hold his players accountable like that? I think the answer is know and I'm sure in his postgame remarks he would have defended him somehow.
    Dang, this is a good question. And I tend to agree with you. I don't think he would do it. Let's see how it works for the Cubs. How Baez and the team responds. The closest example Shildt would have had this season, I think, would be when Justin Williams pretty clearly forgot how many strikes he had in a count. Shildt didn't bench him.
    Rotation injuries are an issue, yes, but Cleveland has most of their Opening-Day rotation on the IL and they're 10 games above .500. The Cards were recently a franchise that could weather a storm of injuries (the 2013 team had only three pitchers start 20+ games and lost C Carpenter, Motte, Garcia, and Furcal for most/all of the season), but this team doesn't seem to have a Wacha, Kelly, or Lyons able to help get through to September callups. Is it possible Liberatore or Thompson forces their way onto the roster before then, or are we hoping for a LeBlanc or other mid-level pickup to catch lightning in a bottle?
    Cards said before the season started that Thompson and Liberatore could debut in 2021, so neither would surprise me. They still need to add a proven starter at the deadline. Liberatore has had an encouraging season. Thompson not as much. His ERA is up to 8.60 in Memphis.
    I agree that the real blame belongs to the front office. Shildt is in a tough spot but he could, at the very least, shuffle the batting order a bit. But maybe he isn’t doing that to tell the front office “hey we need help.”
    I think you are onto something there.
    He's said "we are who we are" too many times to count now.
    Translation: We need help. Upstairs, are you listening? 
  • Ben I get that the NCAA is a huge revenue generator but these guys and gals are getting an education from institutes that some students build up a lifetime of debt to acquire. How does that not factor into the Supreme Courts ruling? I get most athletes aren’t on a full ride but to me that should be enough. I think there should definitely be adequate per diem and they want to pay them for the video games or apparel sales, that is different but just to play I think it is not the right decision.
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