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 had a safe, happy and healthy Christmas with plans for a similar New Year. Let's give 2020 one last kick in the rear here before it goes away for good. Let's roll.
     
    I understand yearly contention is good for business, but Mo and Company are saying one thing and acting another. Are they broke, for now? If so, why not commit to a one year tear down, move what salary they can, go young and pick up some prospects? If they have been “printing money” and “keeping powder dry” for years, wouldn’t there be some kind of surplus to be working from to make meaningful additions?
    The Cardinals are not broke. They are, like a lot of teams, hesitant to commit to a payroll for 2021 before they know what 2021 will look like. Mozeliak has said the payroll is expected to decline. DeWitt has made the situation sound more fluid. As always, actions will speak louder than words. The debate is not that baseball did not make as much money in 2020 as it did in previous years. No one disputes that The debate is whether the change we saw in 2020 justifies nearly every team but a few -- White Sox, Padres, Royals -- scaling things back significantly. Owners are making it sound like they can barely stay float. Super agent Scott Boras is making it sound like this is a ploy ahead of the next collective bargaining agreement negotiations, using the record sale of the Mets as an example of baseball being just fine as a business despite a one-year pandemic-caused dip. The truth, as always, is somewhere in the middle. But it seems more than fair to me to question how baseball can be a booming business year after year and now suddenly be on the verge of collapse after one 60-game season without fans in the stands, especially when those losses were offset by a decrease in operating expenses and player salary proration. The Cardinals are not broke. They are not thrilled with their 2020 losses compared to normal, fruitful years. It's a business decision whether they spend through that or make cuts because of it. Most teams are cutting, and that seems to be the Cardinals' lean at the moment as well.
    Yu Darvish has only one or two productive years left. The Padres sure gave up a lot for Darvish and still won't have enough to overtake the Dodgers.
    We'll see. The Cubs did not get a single top-100 prospect in the Darvish deal. After adding both Blake Snell and Darvish, and significantly improving their chances of toppling the Dodgers and winning a World Series, the Padres still have control of six of the top seven prospects they entered the season with. All six are likely top-100 prospects league-wide. Sounds pretty good for San Diego to me. We'll see how the young prospects the Padres traded turn out. We know what Darvish and Snell can do, and don't forget the Padres also added Korean infielder Ha-seong Kim as well.
    Nice to see other teams make moves while cards prod along trying to brimg bsck two legends
    If only a National League Central team would make a move -- a move other than intentionally getting worse to save money.
    The Cardinals let Wong go with no significant moves made since then.
    The Cubs traded their best pitcher and let Schwarber walk.
    The Reds traded their closer and seem content to let Trevor Bauer walk.
    The Pirates traded Josh Bell.
    The Brewers don't seem interested in a Ryan Braun reunion.
    Grim.
    Please tell me the Cardinals will not resign Brad Miller as the power they need. He like the rest of the line up had a couple week stretch where he ran into a few home runs and then was MIA the rest of the season.
    That would be pretty underwhelming, I agree.
    Why are the Cardinals allergic to adding talent for the sake of adding talent? If they were to sign Rosario today and there ended up not being a DH in the NL, is that really the worst thing in the world?
    No, because Rosario would be just fine in the outfield.
    But if there is a DH in the NL, the Cardinals could add a true DH (like a Nelson Cruz, for example) and continue their rolling outfield experiment before finally making a call on who's in and who's out when the roster gets a refresh in 2022.
    I think that's what they're waiting on.
    I don't think they're dead set on adding an outfielder, if they get the DH back.
    SLU men's basketball has hit a bit of a rough patch in the last couple games, but it seems to me one bright spot has been Fred Thatch. He locked down one of the better players around in Minnesota's Marcus Carr, coming off the bench. Pulled in some pretty athletic-looking rebounds, too.

    It also continues to be striking how much depth SLU has. Sure, it would've been great to get a road win vs. a Big Ten opponent, and maybe this team will struggle more than the early going suggested, but SLU plays two deep at almost every position. Looks like Travis Ford has not only a team but a program.
    Don't sweat that Minnesota loss too much. The Gophers, now ranked, went from beating the Billikens to beating Iowa, a potential Final Four team, in overtime. And then they knocked of a ranked Michigan State team after that. That loss has become more valuable than most of SLU's wins, in the eyes of the NCAA Tournament projection nuts and bolts. It's going to be a Quad 1 loss, very likely. If Javonte Perkins and Gibson Jimerson can't score, it's going to be hard for SLU to beat decent teams. That's what happened at Minnesota. Off night. It happens. Should not happen often for both of those two in the same game.
    Thoughts of the Blues signing Mike Hoffman? How do you think the team will do in the realigned West?
    The Blues have to be at least tied for first now, after the Hoffman addition.
    It would be impossible to not like the move in terms of what Hoffman should bring, consistent goal scoring for a team that will start the season without Tarasenko, and might not have Tarasenko at full health at all.
    That said, it's hard to not be at least a little concerned about Hoffman's recent history of off-ice drama that affected his team.
    He was traded out of Ottawa in 2018 because of the beef that developed between his then-girlfriend and the wife of Erik Karlsson. I've read every story I can find on the feud, and I still don't know what to believe. But whatever happened, it became a problem for the teammates, and the team.
    The last thing the Blues need is drama.
    If Hoffman can check the baggage and embrace a great opportunity, things should work out. Clearly, he passed the Doug Armstrong gut test, and that's usually a good test. The last player to do it was Ryan O'Reilly. Remember when he had apparently lost his love for the game? That was the word when he departed Buffalo. Things turned out OK.
    Prediction on how SLU does in conference play?
    A-10 champs. Richmond is beatable. Lost to Hofstra. Go get it.
  • What did you get for Christmas?
    One thing I'm really excited about: Rick Bragg's The Best Cook Book In The World
    Will the NL Central be the baseball version of the NFC East? Do you think the direction of the rest of the division affects the Cardinals motivation to improve the offense?
    If you took a snapshot of where things stand today, sure seems like it.
    Plenty of time to make moves before the season starts, an plenty of names still left on the market.
    The Padres have made a big splash, no doubt about it, but they don't get extra points in the standings for doing it before others.
    Your point is a good one though. Does anyone see an NL Central team, as currently constructed, winning any postseason series? I don't.
    Hi, Ben. Happy Holidays! Thanks for the chat. This is something I believe you and your colleagues have touched on before: Baseball is, above all else, a business. It is a business in the entertainment field. Fans want a team that is enjoyable to watch. I don't get that vibe from this team, as it is currently constructed. In my opinion, this is a team built more for the ownership (with attention paid to the bottom line) rather than one built for their customers (an exciting, championship-caliber team that the fans want to see). The Cardinals are crying financial hardship this year, but look at what the Padres are doing. They took the same financial hit as the Cardinals last year, they have a huge contract (Machado), and yet they are wheeling and dealing and taking on more big contracts (Durvish and Kim). I think this is what frustrates a lot of St. Louis fans, myself included. Am I wrong? Thanks for your time, and have a safe and happy New Year's.
    You're not wrong. And it would not be my place to tell you that you were, if you were. You are allowed to feel how you feel about your team. I imagine it's frustrating to see the team that beat your team in the postseason getting better while your team continues to slow-play the offseason. Seems to be a fair feeling to me.
    BenFred,

    Often in sales, success is all about timing. When a salesperson is working on a prospect, there is normally an incumbent who has the business. The easiest way to break through to that prospect is to have the incumbent make a mistake that results in a loss of faith.

    I believe the Blues are the salesman in this scenario, and the Cardinals are the incumbent. Right now, the two franchises are headed in different directions when it comes to the confidence of their fan bases, and I think the Blues see the opportunity to gain additional customers from the frustration of the Cardinals fan base. I understand that many Blues fans are also Cardinals fans (like myself) and vice versa…but when it comes to disposable income there will only be so much to go around. The two franchises may be allies in a general sense, but they are still in direct competition for those dollars. The Blues should reap the benefit of the Cardinals lack of fan engagement right now. The Cardinals should be worried they are turning a passionate fanbase into apathy. It’s a shame, because the city of Saint Louis is best when the two teams are at their best.
    I think that narrative is popular among frustrated Cardinals fans, but I question the validity of it. A lot of people love both teams. A lot of people love one sport or the other, but not both. I'm not sure there are a lot of people switching gears from spending on Cardinals to spending on Blues because the Cardinals don't have the approval rating of the Blues. If there's proof of that, I'd be interested in seeing it. Two different leagues. One has a salary cap. The other doesn't. And so on. But you are right about the Cardinals needing to think about the risk of rising apathy. I agree there. I just don't know that it's specifically related to the Blues. The Blues are impressing their fans with spending to the cap post-pandemic. Is that approach converting baseball fans who previously did not have an interest in hockey to hockey fans who don't spend on baseball? I think that's a reach.
    I guess the Cardinals are hoping the Brewers, Reds and Cubs will stand pat or have a fire sale for them to stay in contention in 2021 since they're sending the same line-up out there this year (minus Wong)?
  • The other NL Central teams are certainly not forcing them into action, are they?
    I think the Cardinals are going to do something to improve the offense, but would not be surprised to see it come down to the wire.
    They are trying to spend as little as possible, and deals arrive late.
    My fear as a longtime Cards fan is that the FO is setting us fans up for a huge disappointment. We keep hearing that a lot $ comes off the books after the end of the 2021 season when there also happens to be multiple game changing bats/stars will be on the market next off season. Is their really any chance that the Cardinals make a splash, or will they continue to use the pandemic as the reason they don't? Thanks for the Chat!
    It would depend on what you mean by splash, most likely.
    The Cardinals are eyeing 2022 because of the money they will have to work with, but it's also because they hope a fresh wave of internally produced prospects will be taking over key positions by then, as well.
    The Cardinals are always going to be, under this leadership, a fill-from-within whenever possible kind of team.
    If your definition of a splash is using the payroll room to add better players, then that's a fair expectation.
    If your definition of splash is taking on one of the biggest contracts in the game -- or more than one -- via trade or free agency, then I would not get your hopes up.
    The Cardinals have had plenty of chances to employ stars on one of those 10-plus year kind of deals, and it has not happened or various reasons, most of which are the team's reluctance to commit to those kind of deals.
    The Cardinals being outbid by the Angels for Albert Pujols happened, and so did the lesson the Cardinals learned from it. They don't regret how it played out.
    It's best to wait in see-it-before-believe it camp when it comes to the Cardinals taking on a mega deal.
    NL Central (1 & 8) and the AL Central (1 & 6) were the weakest links in the playoffs. They played one another exclusively in 2020, resulting in 7 of them make the playoffs thanks in no small part to the Pirates, Tigers and Royals.. Now all those central playoff teams except the White Sox appear to be stepping back. No wonder the Royals see opportunity.
    Well said. Especially if it's another regional setup in 2021. People seem to be forgetting we still don't know what 2021 is going to look like, in terms of the season.
    I think Dejong is a good to really good defensive shortstop, but has yet to develop as a hitter and should not be relied on to be a middle of the order bat thus far in his career. Is he good enough that the Cardinals wont wade into the FA waters next off season to try to get a game changing SS?
    I think how DeJong plays in 2021 would have something to do with that.
    The Cardinals work in a pretty linear fashion, folks.
    They're not deciding DeJong's fate now, before they know what they're doing for 2020.
    Ken Rosenthal reports that the TX Rangers are making Gallo available. He's everything that the Cards say that they're looking for: LHH, outfielder, BIG POWER, controllable for 2 years at reasonable cost. Any chance that the Cards make a move, or are we better off expecting DeWitt to cry poverty so he can lead the owners in further screwing the players in the next CBA?
    The Cardinals have not said they're looking for an outfielder. They sound, to me, like a team more interested in adding a short-term DH that can buy them time to sort through their existing outfield options. If that changes, a trade for Gallo would be worth considering. Two things to consider. He struggled in 2020. It's hard to determine whether that's a big deal or not, considering how crazy 2020 was. Teams can't figure it out either. The other thing is more reliable. Gallo's home-road splits. His home career slugging percentage is .546 with a .900 OPS. Awesome. On the road? .453 SLG with .752 OPS. Not as awesome. He's shown flashes of being a legitimate star, but he has not become one in six seasons. His age, 27, is appealing. He could be on the cusp of figuring it out for good.
    Would you say its fair to say that DeWitt's strategy is to do the bare minimum required to scrape into the second wildcard every year? That makes the team "competitive" and keeps DeWallet full.
    That would seem to ignore the times when the team has been a heavyweight, so no.
    I think it's fair to say DeWitt has been too willing to let bad deals play out, when pivoting away from them sooner could have kept the Cardinals from compounding matters with a waterfall of other decisions that did not work out.
    In baseball, the rule says don't let one mistake (a bobbled catch) turn into two ( a bad throw).
    Sometimes the best answer to a bad contract is getting out of it instead of continuing to play the contract, because sometimes that approach can lead to other mistakes -- like not finding playing time for other options who could have helped.
    So, the Cubs, Pirates and Reds are all dumping solid MLB players for future prospects or nothing while the Cardinals continue to fixate on profit margins while doing nothing to improve the team.

    The NL Central will definitely be the weakest division in MLB again this year. I expect the Rockford Peaches would be competitive in this division.
  • Unless the seasons starts tomorrow, there's time for the Cardinals to make some moves.
    I understand why expectations are low.
    Just pointing out the timeline. 
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