Join columnist Ben Frederickson for a live chat at 11 a.m. Tuesday

Join columnist Ben Frederickson for a live chat at 11 a.m. Tuesday

Ben Frederickson will answer all of your Cardinals, Blues, St. Louis City, Mizzou and SLU questions in Tuesday's 11 a.m. live chat.

    Greetings, chatters! Hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful fall weather -- at least enough to put up with the leaf raking. The captain has gone to Vegas. Mizzou got a big win followed by a Commodore-COVID rescheduling. We're waiting, waiting, waiting to see if the Cardinals are going to do some sort of postseason q&A but no word on that yet. Let's roll.
    How can the Cardinals watch the success of the players they missed out on and the struggles of the players they Keep not see a problem in the front office?In addition the contract extensions which hamstring the team. It seems like an organization with fundamental problems.
    I wouldn't assume what the Cardinals say about these things is exactly what they think about them. If they are not doing a hard audit of the projections and projectors who helped inform some of these decisions, they're doing it wrong. What made them not see the Matt Carpenter cliff coming? What made them think Luke Voit and Randy Arozarena could not do what they're doing now? What made them prioritize Tyler O'Neill over others? What made Marcell Ozuna a great hitter in Miami and Atlanta but never here? All legitimate questions that the organization has to dig into -- even if Voit and Arozorena don't keep doing this, and even if Matthew Liberatore turns into a stud starter down the line. But, I would not expect members of the organization to flog themselves publicly, as much as fans hope to see it. Bill DeWitt Jr. is the only person who decides president of baseball operations John Mozeliak's career fate with the Cardinals, and there's never been any real sign he's not happy with Mozeliak's leadership. It wouldn't and shouldn't be surprising if some front-office changes under Mozeliak occur. No word on any of that yet as the Cardinals have not done any sort of end-of-season reflections yet publicly.
    In retrospect, what do you think was Barry Odom’s problem?. It seems to me recruiting, general playcalling and strategy was very unimaginative . Almost to the point of idiocy.
    Odom never called plays for the offense. He was and is a defensive mind who left that to his coordinators, the last of which was Derek Dooley, who had never called plays for an offense before he started calling plays for Mizzou. That was a bad sign at the time of the hire, and I pointed it out, getting ripped for it in the process. Dooley did OK with Lock as his QB but things quickly fell apart after that. So, in this case, I think Odom's problem was not being able to hire the right offensive coordinator as a defense-minded head coach. Some of that was his fault. Some of it wasn't. Coaches are smart enough to know which jobs might not be around for long, and Odom had trouble at times recruiting to his staff because he lacked the security and had a hot-seat status. If Odom had won more games, beaten a ranked opponent sooner, won more recruiting battles, maybe he would have had more security sooner and been able to recruit coaches/coordinators better? Who knows. I do know he had Dave Christensen ready to help him run offense from the time he got the job, and never returned the call. I think that was a mistake. Odom was in the tough spot of having what was supposed to be his dream job but in a tough time. The fallout from the player protest was real. Gary Pinkel, as great as he was in his prime, had let standards slip more than people realized before Odom got the job. There was a reason Odom was the obvious hire at the time; the job was not all that appealing. He didn't quite do enough early enough to break through. That's what made Mizzou's win on Saturday so significant. Odom didn't upset a ranked opponent until year three, and had lost games that his team should have won along that journey. Drinkwitz upset a ranked opponent in his third game of a chaotic year. A big win early on in a coach's tenure can go a long way. Odom didn't get one soon enough. Great guy. I liked him a lot, and still do. And he knows defense. That's clear at Arkansas once again. I think he will be better off the next time he gets a head job, and I think he will before too long.
    BenFred,

    This is from Gordo's tipsheet this morning:

    "This is the hope the Cardinals must cling to moving forward because there is a zero percent chance of them assembling a high-powered offense in 2021. They have too many bad contracts jamming up their payroll for another year."

    The comment is in reference to the pitching a defense displayed in the LCS's. Unfortunately, the realization that the Cardinals will most likely have a quiet offseason should help temper expectations. The Cardinals just have too much bad money on the books. This is my prediction...IF fans are allowed in the stands as normal next season, I think attendance will dip below 3 mil. The offense just isn't going to be fun to watch and disposable income will be lower. Also, I do think people got a taste of what life was like with no sports, and not everyone hated it. What do you think about next season?
    We don't know right now if there will be fans allowed in 2021. And if they are, the numbers could still be quite limited due to COVID restrictions. But if things are "back to normal" just for the sake of this argument, I think the Cardinals would be wise to find ways to get a new face or two in this lineup if they want to encourage fans to venture out of their house and head to the ballpark. Cardinals fans can and should and do appreciate great pitching and great defense, but they have watched a below-league-average lineup long enough.
    It sounds like the NHL will have a condensed season in 2020-21 which means they could be playing 4-5 games a week. The #2 goalie will be especially important because there is no way the #1 could handle that load. Are the Blues comfortable with Husso as their #2 or will they be looking for an inexpensive #2 like Jimmy Howard, Aaron Dell or Cory Schnieder?
    The Blues trading Jake Allen said two things.
    One, they are ready to make Ville Husso the No. 2.
    And two, they are, like many other NHL teams, willing to have a little less proven depth at the goalie position in order to free up payroll for other needs in this pandemic-affected salary cap situation.
    They have added Jon Gillies as additional depth but I expect he will be behind Husso on the depth chart.
  • Is George Springer a fit for the Cards? Has Covid ruined any chances of spending this offseason?
    He would be a great fit, yes. He would add power to the outfield and the leadoff spot, two areas that were below-average for the Cardinals this season. He is not just a slugger, but a strong hitter who had a career-low strikeout rate this season. He would make the lineup better, and his numbers in 2019 and 20 eliminated questions about if he was too reliant on whatever the trash-can-bangers were doing to steal signs in 2017. He's going to get paid, but not on a contract that demands 10 years like some in-their-prime players, because he's 31 and not 27 like Machado and Harper as free agents. I've been reminded by fans and colleagues in the media that its outlandish to expect the Cardinals to hand out this kind of contract considering the current payroll and the pandemic crunch. Maybe. But I think it's outlandish to expect fans to feel good about this offense if there are not some real improvements.
    Ben,

    Any news on the STL lawsuit against Kroenke and the NFL?
    Nothing major, but I can share a few developments. The deposition list was approved. The request to make those who will be deposed travel to St. Louis for in-person depositions was not. That's a COVID-related issue. NFL owners can apparently travel to watch their teams play, but not travel to STL for a deposition. But, the good news is all of this can be done virtually. I know there is speculation swirling about a settlement, but I've heard nothing on that from anyone I trust completely regarding news about the case. Somehow a $200 million number was floating around, but I think that would be comically low for Team STL to not continue to march this thing toward court.
    You're being blown up on the PowerMizzou message board.
    I've heard. I'm not sure why exactly. Mizzou fans are upset I suggested their coach might have used his moment in the TV spotlight after a big win to make a pretty smart recruiting pitch that came with plausible deniability about said recruiting pitch. You would think they would like that kind of suggestion.  For those who missed it: 
    The question on the recent Best Podcast in Baseball about whether the Cardinals should go in this winter to improve the team or wait until next year's batch of FA made my eye start twitching. It's IMPOSSIBLE to know who will actually hit the market or what will happen in the next year. Goldy's only getting older, and assuming Yadi and Waino come back, the window to make another run with them is getting rapidly smaller. It's going to be really, really hard to justify sitting on their hands AGAIN after the past few seasons.
  • I agree that doing nothing about the offense this offseason will and should be hard for fans to tolerate. But the problem isn't that the Cardinals sat on their hands. Sitting on their hands would have meant Randy Arozarena and Luke Voit are still in the Cardinals organization. And for those who are quick to excuse Voit from this conversation, ask yourself this. Considering how Voit transformed his frame and drastically improved his first base play this season, is it that crazy to imagine him becoming a serviceable corner outfielder? Before you dismiss it, remember that the Cardinals tried Jose Martinez at first base and Matt Adams at corner outfielder. End rant. Anyway, it's not sitting on the hands that have put the Cardinals in this jam. It's a series of decisions that have not worked. There's a difference.
  • Ben - now that we can officially close the Petro book. Looking at the Blues cap situation, it's not hard to see why DA wasn't willing to completely bend on negotiations. After 20-21 you have guys coming off the books like Bozak ($5M) and Steen ($5.75M) but Schwartz is due of UFA, and several other key UFAs (Thomas, Sanford, Barbashev) will be due for raises. Then the following year you have Colt55 who will demand hefty payday, and Binner will be up as well. I'm sad to see Petro and wish him the best, but at least the Blues have been setup with some flexibility for the coming years.
    As someone who wanted Pietrangelo back and hoped something could be worked out to keep him here, I've got no problem with the way Doug Armstrong handled this situation. I'm surprised Pietrangelo did not take eight years at eight million dollars per year -- especially after the Blues made it clear they would drop their rule and add a signing bonus and a partial no-movement clause. The Blues did stretch. Pietrangelo didn't take their best offer at the time it was given, and Armstrong is not the type to wait around. Krug might not have been there for the taking if he did. I wish Pietrangelo the best, and I will always wonder how this would have played out if it would have been a negotiation between Pietrangelo and Armstrong instead of Pietrangelo, Pietrangelo's agents and Armstrong. But, I've got no criticism of Armstrong here. I think he did try, and was willing to clear out the space for Pietrangelo if Pietrangelo took the Blues' best offer, which was more overall money than he got in Las Vegas because of the extra year the Blues were allowed to offer according to the CBA. I guess the full no-movement clause was that important to Pietrangelo, but moving to get it just doesn't make that much sense to me. I think Krug was a great option to pivot to for the Blues.
    It seems Gomber has all the makings of a starting pitcher and has shown it multiple times now. Do you see him in the rotation next year? Also, how do you see Alex Reyes' role shaking out?
    No need to decide it now. Let everyone one who wants to start show up and prove it. Sort out the bullpen assignments from there. Seems like a pretty good way to handle it. Gomber deserves a real crack at the rotation. So does Reyes.
    I think if Petro had wanted to stay a Blue he could have. It sounds like Doug bent over backwards for him and he still refused to sign. Maybe Petro thought if he held out long enough that other options would end up signing elsewhere and put the Blues over a barrel in signing him. If that’s the case it backfired on him. It probably sent a message to the rest of the team too. So Petro signs for 7 years and $61.6M. Sounds like he went backwards in his negotiations from 8 years and $64m. Now you must uproot your wife and kids and move away from family and friends for Sin City? Well played Petro!
    No need to start that first sentence with an "I think." The only person that kept Pietrangelo from remaining with the Blues was Pietrangelo. Period. That's not a knock on him for taking a deal he liked better with Las Vegas. He earned that right as a free-agent who has had a heck of a career and played really well in his contract season. But any notion that the Blues "forced" him out by extending Faulk or other players is just not accurate. If that was the case he would not have had an eight-year $64 million contract with signing bonuses and partial no-movement clause presented to him before he decided to keep his options open.
    Why does Jeff Albert still have a job?
    The Cardinals front office declined opportunities during the season to weigh in on its analysis of how things were going under Albert, and declined, saying those kind of conversations would happen after the season. So, we wait.
    The Cardinals need offense and it doesn’t matter where it comes from. I keep reading in these chats about Springer and Arenado, but I think the guy the Cards should be focusing on is Lindor. He would be perfect for this team and would supply the much-needed energy and enthusiasm we seem to lack. De Jong would shift to 3rd base (where he should be already), you have Edman or Wong at 2nd and Goldy at 1st. That’s a heck of an infield. Cleveland’s waited too long to deal him so the ask for one year probably isn’t as great. The Cardinals would only have to part with maybe Knizner and right-hander Angel Rondon, the Cardinals’ No. 13 prospect and Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2019. You could make a similar deal with Colorado for Arenado. With the current financial climate, I can’t imagine him opting out.
  • Who doesn't love Lindor? The hang-up would be the fact he can be a free agent in 2022, which leads us back to that old conversation about the Cardinals' hesitancy to trade too much for a player they could quickly lose. The plan worked with Goldschmidt though, didn't it? I don't necessarily agree with the claim Paul DeJong "should" be at third. He's gotten better at shortstop every year he's played there, and this claim that he has to be moved always lacks statistical evidence -- because there really isn't any. He's become a very defensive piece of a very strong defensive infield.
    I’ll admit I was down on Doug Armstrong a few years ago because of some of the moves he was making. I have to say though that he has been on a hot streak since he got rid of Lehtera. I’ll miss Petro but in the long run I think it is a good move for the Blues. We have a plethora of young defensemen waiting in the wings. Parayko needs to step up and be “that guy”. This team is in dire need of a scorer. Schwartz isn’t the guy, he’s too streaky. Vlady will be nothing more than a 3rd line player when he returns. Maybe Kostin or Kyrou are the scorers we are looking for? They need to get more playing time though to find out. Really like the signings of Krug & Clifford. Great job Doug!
    I've heard from a lot of fans who want to see more chances for the young guys, Kyrou especially, to become impact scorers.
    Well, here's their chance.
    It's funny to me that the Faulk extension is the one that people are fixed upon as what meant no deal for Pietrangelo. One because the Blues were willing to make room -- perhaps by clearing out Faulk if Pietrangelo took their best offer.  And two, because the deal that gave Armstrong the upper hand in negotiations with Pietrangelo had nothing to do with Faulk. It was the Ryan O'Reilly trade. Pietrangelo's best bet to get exactly what he wanted from the Blues boiled down to Armstrong feeling the pressure of the wrath of fans if he did not bring the Cup-winning captain back. But when you also won that Cup because you swindled Buffalo for one of the best trades in St. Louis hockey history, Armstrong had a pretty good amount of fan good will going into this showdown. Maybe more than Petro's camp realized?
    I doubt this would be any type of fix all for the Cardinal's offense, but what do you think of Whit Merrifield? What do you think we'd have to give up to get him and is it worth it?
    Good player. Not sure how he helps a lineup that badly needs power. He's a career .444 slugger. The Royals traditionally have asked for crazy high returns in potential trade discussions about him. I don't think he's the answer.
    Has Covid ruined any chance of an offensive upgrade? Does Ozuna get some looks again from the FO? Springer? Can Carp live up to his 2021 vesting option?
    That would be disappointing to hear if that's the line from the front office. As for Ozuna, I don't expect a reunion. I think that ship sailed. Springe would make a ton of sense if the Cards don't shy away from the dollars. With respect to Carpenter, betting on him to live up to his contract in any way at this point seems like a reach. Last season was his career-worst season for the second season in a row. The strength and power seem to be gone. I'm not sure how it would realistically be expected to return for a full season after it wasn't there for 60 games.
    Do you see a situation where the Cardinals (or any team) would add payroll since the competition for free agents, cost of acquiring expensive players would be less due to most teams trying to cut costs?
    There's something to be said for being a buyer when everyone is selling. Do I expect the Cardinals to be trend-setters here? No. I think we are going to hear a lot about COVID-complications on spending and payroll, from most if not all teams. And don't forget there's a bigger fight being had here -- the ones between owners and the players' union with that CBA looming after the 2021 season, whatever that 2021 season looks like. Lately, it seems owners are more interested in a unified front against players than they are when it comes to beating one another.
    Do you think cards hsd enough time evaluating their young OF? O neil is too streaky. Thomas hit and miss. Bader is eh
    I don't know about you all but I think O'Neill has had enough opportunities. More than enough. Thomas was sidelined by the hand last season and the COVID this season. The Cardinals felt they needed more time to evaluate after he had 38 at-bats in 2019 and he only got 36 in 2020. I'm not quite ready to give up on him yet, because I think his swing can do damage -- although he needs to fix whatever was going on defensively at times this season out in the outfield. Bader actually took a step forward offensively this season, showing some more pop without chasing it as much, but the same problem remains -- he can be a defense-plus outfielder and nine-hole hitter but not if your other outfielders are hitting seventh and eighth. 
    Ben,
    While I enjoyed your article about how George Springer checks all the boxes for the Cardinals upgrading their outfield, how realistic is it to bring in most likely the top free agent position player on the market? (Hey, why not get Springer and Trevor Bauer – we can dream right!). Call me pessimistic.
    I don't and can't spend the Cardinals money for them.
    They often remind me of that.
    Fair enough.
    I'm just pointing out Springer is a fit who would help, and he's not going to demand the monster contracts the Cardinals have convinced themselves they can't ever give. Yes, he will be expensive. Yes, his free agency will be affected by the pandemic just like Alex Pietrangelo's was. Is it that crazy to think the Cardinals could not be Vegas in this situation?
    I'm not sure fans should let the Cardinals' recent swings and misses in free agency convince them their team should never compete for a decent free agent again -- especially when this lineup needs help.
    With injuries to Steen and Tarasenko, seems like there's a job for the taking on the third line. I assume Kyrou will get the first shot at it, but from what you've heard about Kostin and his development, does it seem like he'd get a look?

    The addition of free-agent forward Kyle Clifford could help fill the Alexander Steen absence, but the Blues' lack of a push for more established scoring editions, per Armstrong, was because they are making a commitment to get more ice time for Robert Thomas and more chances for both Jordan Kyrou and Klim Kostin. So, yeah, I think this offseason has to be encouraging for all of those three young forwards. They can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.

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