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.

    I feel zero obligation.
    That's why Cardinals summer camp was Cardinals summer camp, not Summer Camp presented by Camping World.
    Camping World was not sending me a free sleeping bag or propane grill, so it was summer camp.
    What do you make of the news the Blues new AHL affiliate Springfield Thunderbirds are opting out of the 2020-21 season?
    Minor leagues across all sports are a COVID-caused mess. It's terrible. What makes this more -- or maybe less? -- concerning for the Blues is that their affiliate situation has been chaotic for some time now. This is a curveball, but they have ha plenty. Utica, the new affiliate, will be the third AHL team the Blues have partnered with in the past five years. One season was played without an affiliate, entirely. Crazy. But perhaps not as shocking to the Blues as it would have been if they were not used to rolling with the punches in this department.
  • Martinez has a nice start in winter ball I.
    Know winter ball will that help his trade value.
    Indeed. Tsunami was on point for his second start for the Aguilas Cibaeñas, this one a playoff game. Six innings. Three hits. No runs. Six strikeouts. Two walks. He retired 14 of the last 15 batters he faced against a lineup that included Yasiel Puig. That's a very good sign for Martinez's health, most importantly. And it's a lot more efficient than his first outing. Could be good news for the Cardinals, or a team that is interested in Carlos. Either way, good for Carlos.
    What are your thoughts on the Blues division this year? Where will their main threats come from? Thoughts on Hoffman?
    The Blues should be at or near the top of the new-look West.
    The Hoffman addition says so.
    On top of that sprinkle in the fact that the team is still ticked, and rightfully so, with the egg it dropped in Edmonton last playoffs.
    I think we will see a motivated team from the jump.
    I think the biggest threats have to be Colorado and Vegas in that order.
    Vegas, as in Las Vegas sportsbooks, like those two teams quite a bit more than the Blues.
    Hoffman has been skating with Robert Thomas. That could produce a whole heck of a lot of goals. 
    Saturday's Mizzou hoops win was one of the biggest in CM's tenure so far. Bouncing back from a miserable loss against Tennessee, on the road against a competent team. And really dominating the game.

    HOWEVER, what's your explanation for how a team that has three highly experienced point guards can turn it over so much? I know that Mizzou doesn't have shooting depth, which is tough in this day and age, but it should value the ball better. To me, if they do that, they are incredible difficult to beat given their defense and rebounding.
    I don't have a good explanation. It's gotta get cleaned up. The Tigers are lucky Arkansas missed a lot of easy looks created by those turnovers. There's just no excuse for Dru Smith and Mark Smith coughing the ball up so often. Xavier Pinson is going to turn the ball over some. He plays aggressively and as long as he is dishing assists, you give him a little more room for error. He needs some creative leeway. That's not the case for Mark and Dru. They just need to be better.
    Who lost more future CFP cache last weekend, Notre Dame or Dabo? Let's be honest about Clemson, he has built a very good program but they play in what is essentially the pre-2020 AFC East, and they are the Patriots. The ACC is junk, look at their bowl record. So Dabo gets propped up by a watered down conference and then has a month to plan for two games.
    Dabo's worst look was his soiled-diaper move of voting Ohio State 11th, then getting his tail kicked by Ohio State. It's been a rough year for him. Multiple dumb statements about COVID. That swing and miss at a diss of Ohio State. And now he loses Trevor Lawrence. He should do some thinking this offseason about if he really wants to go full Mike Gundy.
    Ben, I thought your articles on the "Captaincy Controversy" was excellent. I'm very disappointed that Vladdy made his feeling public knowledge. It's one thing to go to your boss and air your displeasure but when you do it to the media, that's not right. I have nothing about a player speaking his mind but you have to be careful what you say and how you say it.
  • Thanks. I just felt like I needed to give O'Reilly and Armstrong the opportunity to address it. And I thought O'Reilly played it perfectly. He's not mad, but he's not going to spend much time sweating it either. Tarasenko will get over it. Hopefully he already has. That said the entire story kind of shows why O'Reilly was the pick, and not Tarasenko, right? At least it did for me.
  • Any updates on the lawsuit with the Rams?
    Depositions, depositions, depositions. Will be the same for the next couple of months.
    Ben Fred, this is not a criticism of Mo necessarily, but a listing of many of his major trades/signings and outcomes. Do you agree with the analysis?

    Traded for Matt Holliday—win
    2011 trade that sent OF LaRussa didn’t like for 4 players—win
    Traded Kelly and Craig to Boston for Lackey—win
    Traded for Jason Heyward—slight win (he stayed 1 Year but it was a good one)
    Traded Voit for Gallegos and Shreve—slight loss w Voits break out
    Traded M Gonzalez for ONeill—loss
    Traded Freese and reliever for Grichuk and another OF whose name escapes me—draw
    Traded 3 prospects for Goldy—win but $130m spent when Voit was available raises question
    Trade Arozarena and JMart for Liberatore and throw in—PR nightmare unless Liberatore becomes solid starter

    Signings:

    Fowler—loss
    Carp ext—loss
    Leake—loss

    Signings which would have not turned out well if player said yes:

    —Heyward
    —Price
    —Stanton

    I am sure I am missing some, but Mo and the Cards should stay out of the deep end of the pool. The trade and sign model works best for them.
    A few things here . . . 
    I'm hesitant to assume that the success a player did or did not have elsewhere would have been the same somewhere else. That ignores a lot of what-ifs, like the kind of coaching and treatment a struggling and or injured player might have received.
    I don't know that the Cardinals should stay out of the deep end of the pool, because they already do that. Their biggest misses occurred in that slope of the pool that leads from the shallow end (bargain deals) to the deep end (top league deals). You could use that as an argument that the Cardinals would be better off holding their nose and making a bigger splash instead of risking a good amount of money on an in-between player. I've suggested that before. But that kind of splash won't be happening this offseason.
    Thoughts on the Bieliema hire for Illinois?
    I like it. Explained in more detail earlier in the chat, if you don't mind scrolling.
    Looks like Mookie Cooper, freshman 4 star WR from Ohio State (from STL) transferring to Mizzou. Know anything about him?
    He is. Announced today. Didn't catch a pass at Ohio State this season but he was one of the top players in the state coming out of Trinity in the 2020 class and was considered one of the best 20 or so receivers in that class nationwide. Very nice addition for Mizzou because it needs pass catching help right now.
  • BenFred, your exhaustion with the Cards FO questions is on par with fans’ exhaustion with the FO. That is how worn out we are.
    I understand. I'm not trying to tell anyone how to feel. I just don't know what good it does any of us to do the same thing every Tuesday for hours. We need to mix it up sometimes.
    Think Larry Rountree has a shot at making an impact in the NFL? The league is full of midround picks who were little known in college that fought their way to a starting role, and I wouldn't be surprised if Rountree can do that.
    I do. Not sure how long it will last, but a lot of that likely depends on the fit and the team. It's an awfully short career span, but Rountree will help himself with his blocking and ability to catch passes. He's not a one-trick pony. He does lack the pure speed of some backs, which will limit him somewhat. I think there's probably a role for him in the league. He's smart to go find out now before he spends more of his tread in the college game.
    Not to stir controversy between you and Goold, but would you vote for the HOF for players who were known steroid users?
    I won't have a vote for five or six more years, so I've got some time to think about it. By then I imagine some of the more controversial names will probably be in. What I know I will struggle with is the "known" part. What defines it? A positive test? A confession? Speculation? If a guy says he did not use performance enhancing substances, but he was better between 30-40 than he was between 25-30, and he looked like an entirely different person, but there was never a smoking gun, then what? It's foolish to think there are not steroid users already in. Then again, that's life, right? Some people get caught. Some people don't. This situation just has a very fuzzy definition of what "caught" means. If a player was busted convincingly and or admitted his use, then I would probably have a hard time voting for him. And it's not because of the weird morality argument some voters -- not DG -- have taken upon themselves. It's voting for the Hall of Fame, not heaven, but players who used PEDs were playing with an advantage guys who were playing clean did not have. That would be the hard part for me.
    Now that we've been though all, or parts, of sports seasons in a variety of pro and collegiate leagues, who do you think has done the best and worst jobs of adjusting to COVID, in terms of safety, not over or under reacting, and trying to put forward a good product?
    Some of it is still apples and oranges at this point.
    NFL and MLB are the only two pro leagues that have played a regular season, sans bubble.
    We are about to find out how NBA and NHL do that after bubbling up for their postseasons.
    I think, right now, I would say SEC football did it best.
    SEC commissioner Greg Sankey is probably the biggest reason college football was played at all this year. When the Pac-12 and the Big Ten prematurely canceled their seasons, Sankey had the guts to say no, we are going to wait. He then constructed a smart plan to bake in two weeks into the all-SEC schedule that allowed games to be made up if pauses occurred. Those were wise, and they were needed. Of course the Big Ten and the Pac-12 then realized it screwed up and rushed back, but did not factor in any wiggle room. Big mistake.
    The NFL played every single game, which is impressive, but the SEC got very close and was fighting more of an uphill battle.
    There was never any doubt the NFL, at least to me, was going to play.
    Hi Ben! What is your thoughts on a swap of players that appear to be candidates for change of scenery. Carlos Martinez for Andrew Benintendi? Would Cards have to add a prospect or pay part of his salary, ala Mike Leake?
  • I recently read an interesting column from Jason Mastrodonato at the Boston Herald that wondered if the Red Sox and Cardinals could be a good trade match for Benintendi. Let me see if I can find it, and I'll drop the link. He made an interesting comparison to the Marcell Ozuna trade when the Cardinals first acquired Ozuna from Miami. Of course, Ozuna was coming off an awesome year then. Not the case for Benintendi. But there are some other comparisons. Age. Career OPS. If the Cardinals think a fresh start could free the sweet left-handed swing of the former No. 7 overall pick, and they want to add a new outfielder, then pursuing Benintendi could make sense, especially since the Red Sox have Alex Verdugo and Hunter Renfroe. In fact, Boston could use a slick-fielding center fielder (Harrison Bader?). But let's remember some things too. One is that the Cardinals have made no real claims they're interested in cutting ties to any of their current outfielders, arguing instead that they need more time to sort through the current crop. And two would be the ask. Benintendi should not require the trade package the Cardinals sent to Miami for Ozuna (Sandy Alcantara, Daniel Castana, Zac Gallen and Mags Sierra) but it would take more than question-mark Carlos Martinez. Listening to Mozeliak this offseason, it sounds to me like the Cardinals want to stand pat in the outfield if the DH is back in play, and use the DH to boost the offense while continuing to sort through the outfield options.
  • BenFred, what do you think of the NCAA expanding to an eight team playoff? It would have solved some problems this year. ND would have played Texas AM to settle that controversy and undefeated Cincinnati would have played another undefeated team—Alabama. Florida and Oklahoma would have gotten in, too. I think it would be great entertainment and they could find a way to adjust the schedule to get another game in.
    Love it.
    Hope it happens.
    Unfortunately the pressure decreased when Cincinnati lost to Georgia in the Peach Bowl and Ohio State blitzed Clemson.
    It's easy to dislike the College Football Playoff, but it got this year right.
    Even Notre Dame covered against Alabama, which is more than what most teams would have done. Maybe A&M could have given the Tide a closer game, but I'm not so sure, and I wanted A&M in.
    The writers are taking a beating re: the HOF vote. I do find it interesting they are the ones deciding who gets in, albeit 1) they never played, which is huge in my mind 2) they received a paycheck for covering the steroid era, but now find it appalling to vote for someone who doesn’t align with their lifestyle. Hypocrisy at its finest.
    One writer is getting criticized for sending in a blank ballot.
    That's mostly what I have observed.
    And you know what?
    That guy earned the right to vote as he decided to vote.
    If the Hall of Fame wants to change who votes, go for it.
    I won't cry about it.
    I certainly did not get into this line of work so I could one day vote for the baseball Hall of Fame.
    But for now, it's the way it works.
    If voting is that important to someone, they should get a job covering baseball and vote as they please.
    Simple as that.
    The handwringing over voting and the criticism of it is a bit much for me.
    Who is your starting 3B in 2022? There is a year or two gap to fill until Gorman arrives.
    I take it you're not pumped for the Matt Carpenter bounce back reunion tour?
    Justin Turner is still unsigned . . . 
    (I read where Turner wants a four-year deal. I guess he missed memo he's 36.)
    The Bielema hire will be interesting. He got a little confused at Wisconsin, forgot he was overseeing a machine Alvarez built into a pipeline. He thought he was ready for something bigger. Maybe he has learned some lessons since Arkansas. I think Illinois is exactly where is skill level belongs.
    Usually people discredit Bielema by pointing to what happened at and after he left Arkansas.
    This is the first time I've observed someone discrediting his success at Wisconsin.
    Interesting.
    He must be a pretty good pipeline manager to go 68-24 and win three Big Ten championships in seven seasons there.
  • I saw that Illinois was interviewing Mizzou DC Ryan Walters for the same position. I'm curious as to what would be the lure for Walters to leave MU for Illinois (besides a pay raise)? I can see him leaving for a DC position at a perennial contender or a good head coaching gig, but Illinois would seem like a downgrade, right?
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