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.

    Happy New Year, chatters. Hope everybody had a safe and happy holiday season. My tree is still up, I'm embarrassed to admit. But it goes down tomorrow. I'm in the saddle for a few hours. Resolutions. Rage. Questions. Fire away.
    Do you think the Pandemic provides convenient cover for the Cardinals to reset the roster for '22 without having to acknowledge that is what they are doing? The rest of the division trying less hard to win is an added bonus.
    The Cardinals are not dodging the obvious that the payroll will be able to be reset significantly after the 2021 season, when some of the current contracts come off the books. They still owe it to their fans to make improvements to the 2021 team -- if the goal is to compete instead of just get through the season. The Cardinals say they want to compete, so I think it's fair to expect reasonable attempts to improve. Everyone has a different definition of reasonable, I know, but mine is this: Bring back Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright and find some way to improve the offense on top of that. The Cardinals are not going to jack up payroll significantly, but they would not have to in order to do these things -- and it would not cloud the picture much if it all beyond 2022.
    Given the mess the front office has made of the outfield situation by trading the best And keeping the worst, why do we expect improvement from them ? As the cliché goes, I believe From our beloved moe himself, the definition of crazy is doing the same thing and expecting different results .
    There's a chance for improvement if you play the guys who have not received much of a chance.
    I think we all agree Dylan Carlson needs to be an every-day player moving forward -- unless a full season proves he is not one.
    Lane Thomas has been really limited in back to back seasons due to an injury and then COVID. I'd like to see what he can do with more of a shot.
    Justin Williams has not had much of a shot at all.
    If the Cardinals only play Dexter Fowler, Harrison Bader and Tyler O'Neill, I would agree with you -- definition of insanity.
    I don't think they will do that, though.
    Why Edman regression last year? Is he really a full-time major-league player? Seems more like the typical utility guy the Cardinals develop.
    Mostly because he averaged .300 with a .400 on-base and a .500 slug during his breakout run as a rookie.
    That's unsustainable for most players.
    Anyone who expected Edman to match or top that was being unrealistic and overly optimistic.
    But he did regress more than realists hoped.
    I don't think it's a lock that he is an every-day starter in the majors, for a contending team.
    This season should help determine that.
    Any names for Cardinal fans to keep an eye as far as trades, FA?
    Buehler? Buehler? Mozeliak said January is the new December, but it hasn't felt like it yet.
    Is the front office frozen in a state of transactional paralysis after the bad Carp extension, the Voit trade, and the Randy A explosion (not bad trade, we don't know yet)? I've never had less faith in this team than I do right now. Not to mention that the 2022 narrative of adding a star is fan driven, the team has NEVER said that is happening. Which is important to note... when it doesn't happen.
    I have never really understood the rush to guess or assume what the Cardinals will do a year from now, or a trade deadline from now, before we see what they do now, for multiple reasons. One is that this team is pretty clearly in a year-to-year trajectory. The other is that whatever decisions come later will be influenced by what happens before then. The Cardinals are often hesitant to name a starting rotation before spring training begins, because it could change, and often does, by the time camp ends. So, no, I don't think the Cardinals are figuring out their 2022 plans before they figure out their 2021 plans. I do think they realize they will have some more financial flexibility in 2022, so they don't want to change that too much with whatever they do in 2021. I've said for a while now that assuming the Cardinals are going to break from their trend of adding an elite free agent on the kind of contract that demands -- or trading for that kind of massive salary and length of commitment -- is best placed in the believe-it-when-you-see-it category. My opinion on that has not changed.
    Have you had a chance to see Andre Curbelo play for Illinois? If so, what do you think of him?
    Yep. In person once, too. During the Braggin' Rights game. He's very, very talented. A gifted passer with a great feel for the game, and a better scoring threat than I thought he might be in year one. He should probably shoot more often.
    I really think this team should go full Turn-Back-the Clock mode in 2021. Trade for Pujols, re-sign Yadi and Waino, Descalso is a FA, bat Carpenter leadoff, and let's just celebrate the 10 year reunion of the 2011 team one last time. This organization has been trading off that win for a decade. And then in 2022 DeWitt can modernize the roster with actual talent and we can get back to competing for World Series and not just division titles.
    Wainwright and Molina make this team better in 2021. I don't think Pujols would. Plus, it would hurt his legacy here. His greatness is basically in a perfectly sealed time capsule with the Cardinals. Seeing him every day in age 41-season would do more harm than good.
    Hey, Ben: So, I'm thinking about a career change. Maybe college football head coach in a power 5 conference. Apparently, if I'm not any good at it, they'll pay me millions just to go away . . . in a pandemic. . . .while other sports are being cut to save costs. Whaddya think?
    Pretty good gig if you can get it.
    And if you do decide to work while cashing your buyout, there will be a long list of TV networks lined up to pay you as an analyst.
    A good reminder to not cry too much for coaches who get cut.
    But don't forget there are assistants and lower-level staffers who are not as high on the hog whose lives get scrambled when the stuff hits the fan.
    Tough business.
    Unless you're at the tip-top.
  • Hi, Ben! Thanks for your time and insight and a Happy New Year to you and your family. I'm curious about one thing related to SLU. Given Travis Ford's success - I worry that a major market team will come in and carry him away. Have you heard any rumblings on that. And as a bonus - if you're ever at a bar and want to win a free drink - here's a great trivia question. Where did the all time leading scorer of the New York Jets play his college ball? Answer: SLU (Pat Leahy - but he played soccer and not football).
    I think the chance of that decreased around this time last season, when Ford and SLU quietly agreed to a new contact extension. SLU goes above and beyond to keep its terms private, but Chris May has stressed that it was a long-term agreement. Ford also recently got the locker rooms at Chaifetz upgraded, a good boost for recruiting and another sign the university is playing ball with his wishes. I don't know if Travis feels pulled back to the so-called Power 5 scene, but I think he is probably realizing he can turn SLU into whatever he wants it to be. He's recruiting. He's in a league that has the ability to put multiple teams in the NCAA Tournament. He's won the conference tournament once already. I'm sure there is always some school that could come along and offer a greener pasture, but I think the list of teams has been shrinking as Ford and SLU have moved forward together since he was hired.
    With COVID affecting 2020 and likely the 2021 season, what do you think the chances are of a lockout or strike in 2022? Don't laugh -- but I'm assuming all parties involved are smart enough to resolve this peacefully.
    I'm not laughing at the idea, or the hope for a peaceful resolution. But yes, I think it's a real and responsible fear. Two rounds of bickering between owners and players about what pandemic-affected seasons looked like before a contentious CBA negotiation is not ideal. However, if there is a silver lining it should be that both sides realize more missed games would help no one -- and do a lot more damage to the sport.
    I mean this sincerely.
    Is there anything you all want to discuss outside of disappointment with the Cardinals front office?
    The remaining comments are all about that, and most are just comments, not questions, and nothing we have not been over time and time again before.
    The FO deserves credit for the approach the has used of the years to maintain a winning team, but it seems that the approach is getting a little long in the tooth. If the Cubs "retool" and win another World Series before the Cards does that make them tweak (NOT tank) the approach on when it comes to outside big name help? If you can't draft big power when you always contend you have to get it somewhere.
    I don't think the number that should be eating away at Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. is Cubs-related. I think it's Cardinals-related. And perhaps Dodgers-related. The Cardinals are the NL leader in championships with 11. The Dodgers are gaining ground. They're at 7 after finally winning in 2020. But more importantly, the number is 10. This year will be 10 years in which the Cardinals have not won a World Series championship. A decade is not a number that can just be shrugged off for a team that leads the NL in championships. At least it shouldn't be.
    How about how do you think missouri will do in football next year with the new recruits?
    Honestly I thought the Tigers might be poised to take a step back, because of what they are losing. But I'm starting to slow down on that kind of thinking. One because some key players, like center Michael Maeitti, decided to use that extra year of eligibility to return. And two because Drinkwitz is going to find answers for the holes that can help right away. Just today he landed Ohio State receiver transfer Mookie Cooper, one of those St. Louis area players who slipped away previously. Cooper was a top-100 prospect and the No. 16 receiver in the 2020 class, per 247 Sports. He did not catch a pass at Ohio State this year. I bet he will at Mizzou.
  • Given the SLU, MIZZOU and Illini men’s basketball teams answer the following:

    1.) Who ends up with the better record?
    2.) Do any win their conference (or conference tourney)?
    3.) Who goes to the tourney?
    4.) Who goes the furthest in the tourney?
    One and two should be SLU. The Billikens dropped just one non-conference game and should absolutely win the A-10. Richmond is not as good as some thought. The only question would be how this COVID pause shuffles the schedule, and if it could lead to some games not being played in the end. We'll see.
    All three should be in the tournament. The Big Ten will put a boatload of teams in and the Illini should be one. Mizzou notched two top-25 wins in non-conference and played a pretty tough non-conference slate. The Tigers' only loss is to Tennessee, which is the conference favorite. The Billikens took care of business against LSU And NC State and their road loss to Minnesota won't hurt them, especially if the Gophers keep knocking off teams like Iowa. I don't know that the A-10 is guaranteed to be a multi-bid league, but if SLU does not win the A-10 conference tournament that would probably be the best case for two A-10 teams to get in, especially if SLU wins the regular season championship, which it should.
    Now, number four.
    I thought it was Illinois entering the season, and I'm going to stick with that for now, because I think they will be tested the most during conference play, and I think their ceiling is the highest based off their talent. 
    Non-Cardinals topic. Do you follow internatonal soccer at all? (EPL, Bundesliga, etc.) If so - who would be your rooting interests? And do you see Messi leaving Barca and if so - where do you think he'll wind up? My bet is at PSG with his buddy Neymar and playing for a coach who's from his home country of Argentina.
    I'll be the first to admit I'm lacking in that department. My soccer plan is to get up to speed as the St. Louis MLS team gets up to speed. I know MLS is not the highest quality soccer in the world. But I'll be honest in admitting I'm not going to do a good job of following it like I should until a team I cover is playing in it.
    Ben, in the MLBPA and ownership are at such loggerheads maybe it would be beneficial to have new representation from both, kinda like sudo negotiators. Two men/women who can sit down in a room and rationally talk to each other and administer a little give and take. Clark and Manfred's ego's are out of control.
    I'd be fine with replacing both. 
    Their constituents seem to feel differently.
    Benfred,

    Do you have any opinion on Klim Kostin. I loved the pick, but I fear he is getting dangerously close to suspect, not prospect. I do not think he is on the taxi squad and with the AHL situation being a giant mess, I don't know how his development progresses this season?
    I think your fear becomes more fair every day Kostin is not a piece of what the Blues are doing. Injury issues. Visa issues. It seems to always be something. He has not played enough to be eligible for the expansion draft, so his story won't restart in Seattle. If he doesn't break through soon, like this season, then it's fair to wonder if he will. The Blues can't and wont' wait around for him.
    What's your take on U of I hiring Bret Bielema? Does it move the needle in recruiting? I really liked the Lovie Smith hire originally, but it didn't seem like he was able to make much progress with the program, is it that much of an uphill battle to get a winning program there?
  • I think it's a sensible, sound hire. He should be a good fit there, and he's back in familiar Big Ten territory. Yes, Illinois is an uphill battle for football. A big one. Long is the list of coaches who could not get traction, and longer is the list of coaches who could not maintain it. Just cruise through the recent names and note how many were let go before their contracts expired. Bielema is not selling quick fixes. He's selling something that could work. Give in-state players a reason to consider Illinois. Go get big strong lineman to set the tone along the offensive and defensive lines. Take care of the ball and dominate time of possession. It's not sexy, but it can work. It worked for Bielema at Wisconsin. Very, very well.
    How about Mizzou hoops! I was disappointed in their clunker at home against Tenn but way to turnaround and go on the road against Arkansas and won. Then Tenn loses at home that night. Don’t want to get excited bc they break my heart each year but things are looking good for mizzou? Wish they and SLU could have worked out a game especially win these ten day layoffs
    A nice bounce back, indeed. Where has that Jeremiah Tilmon been? If that guy sticks around, it's a different team. Same for if the Tigers can get the Smiths -- Mark and Dru -- out of their funk. The key for Mizzou in March will be reaching the point where everyone is playing well at the same time. They're not good enough to make a run if they are firing on half of their cylinders. They can play with any team out there if they're all playing well. So much of succeeding in March is timing. The Tigers have had games where Mark Smith shoots the lights out, games where Pinson takes over, games where Tilmon dominates, games where Dru Smith looks like the best guard on the floor. If they can get games where elements of all of those things happen, they can make this season really memorable. Easier said than done.
    Do you think MLB will limit defensive shifts?
    I hope it doesn't.
    Baseball is not bowling.
    It does not need guard rails.
    It needs player who adjust, and managers who have the onions to not play players who won't.
    I see that the NHL has sold naming rights to its divisions for this season. How obligated do you feel as a sportswriter to refer to naming rights/title sponsors? To me, the Orange Bowl is the Orange Bowl, etc. I'm all for free enterprise and marketing but I don't really care, or remember who sponsors what. Just curious how that is handled in your profession?
Powered by Platform for Live Reporting, Events, and Social Engagement