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

    How many years would the Cardinals have to go between Championships before they would adjust their strategy? I’ve heard people point to the money coming off the books after this season, but do you think the Cardinals will actually change their spending patterns? I think they’ll just add some more Fowler level players to replace what they are loosing, and we’ll be stuck with the same just better than average team.
    I think it would depend on how the fans react, honestly. Bill DeWitt Jr. said something pretty telling in his Winter Warm-Up interview about knowing Cardinals fans were going to be at the ballpark no matter what. He meant it as a compliment to the fans, but it was also a reminder that the team knows its attendance is going to be strong, for the most part, no matter what. We've heard an awful lot about how what the Cardinals spend is tied to how many people can attend games, but we have not heard much about how the product on the field needs to attract fans to games. If that dynamic changes, there could be changes. 
    The Cardinals' spending has not been a problem. They're consistently in the upper tier of payrolls. If they do cut back this year, and they have suggested they will, then remember a bunch of other teams -- most, really -- are doing similar versions of scaling back during the pandemic. I mean, look at the National League Central. Teams are rushing to offload good players left and right.
    Personally, I think what the Cardinals have to change is this notion that they cannot afford a mega contract for an in-his-prime player and still run a successful team around that contract. They have convinced themselves it's mega contract with a superstar player OR sustained success. It doesn't have to be one or the other.
    What the Cardinals need to avoid doing in the future is spending good chunks of money on relief pitching -- they can produce better options internally -- and B-level additions who are going to be at or near the same level as younger cost controlled talent from the moment the B-level addition signs, or soon after.
    I’m having a difficult time understanding the mindset of part of the fan base? I’ll hear/read defense of the Cardinals in 2019 because they made it to the NLCS. What if they had been beaten the exact same way in the first round? I believe that group would have a different opinion of the team, but mine wouldn’t change. The 2019 wasn’t good enough to beat the Nationals, Dodgers, or Astros. Why does it matter when you get beat if you are clearly out classed?
  • Count me among those who see a difference in winning a NLDS and getting swept in the NLCS compared to getting swept in the NLDS.
    Only one team can win every year.
    The closer you get, the better season you had.
    Seems pretty simple to me, but I have never pretended to be a complex person.
    Ben, a former colleague of the paper recently described the state of the Cardinals franchise as stale. Many fans would agree. Your thoughts?
    That's not exactly breaking news, is it? I wrote a column that ran Saturday highlighting how disappointing the team has been during this five-season stretch. When you have missed three more postseasons than you have won NLCS games (zero) over the past five years, that's fitting of the stale description. Ten years without a championship -- and it will be 10 if the Cardinals don't win it this year -- is a long time for a team that leads the National League in championships.
    Mo actually said they couldn’t find at bats for Randy Arozarena how laughable the manager chose not to play him
    Mozeliak, to his credit, has admitted the team misjudged Arozarena.
    Mike Shildt, for reasons I can't quite understand, won't.
    I don't think Shildt thinks Arozarena is going to look like the one that got away for all that much longer, but so far his stubbornness in not admitting he should have found him more playing time is a fair thing to criticize, for sure.
    BenFred thanks so much for your time. I listened to Mo's virtual interview at the Winter Warm Up. I was happy to hear him say 2021 will be the year the young. outfielders get a good look. I hope he does not sign an OF bat, he sinks or swims with these kids and we go from there. 2021 will be the perfect year to do it. To me the team is at an offensive crossroads and a change of course may have to be applied. Thanks again!!!
    He also suggested the Cardinals could be the kind of team that could benefit from a DH addition. I think that's they way they hope this plays out.
    As you stated the Cardinals notice that their division has gotten significantly weaker so their need to add has also decreased to an extent. If the Cardinals assume a “weaker” roster will win the division and subsequently don’t, would organizational changes have to be made at that point? Specifically at the top?
    Seated squarely on the hot seat if things go wrong this season would be embattled hitting coach Jeff Albert.
    There's really nothing left to spin if the team doesn't hit for the third consecutive season under his instruction.
    Please don't mistake this as a misunderstanding of Mozeliak's public approval rating at the moment, because I know where that is, but assuming that it's the same as DeWitt's approval rating of Mozeliak is a mistake.
    Other front office roles are always less certain.
  • Outside of Goldy there is zero certainty on offense. So if that trend continues, what are they building on in the future? An aging Goldy, a #6 hitter in DeJong, and the potential of Carlson? This team needs foundational pieces.
    The Cardinals think Gorman will be a building block in the near future as well.
    I agree that they could use some star power from the outside.
    Have been beating that drum for a while, and will continue to.
    MO mentioned Gorman as a potential ML player in 2021. He looked impressive in spring training last year before it was cut short. Still he has not played above A ball and the minors were washed out last year. Does that assessment seem realistic or is it overly optimistic? BTW, on your answer to my question last week, I do not necessarily think the Cards are too many players away from being a true contender, IF, players like Gorman, Herrera and Carlson are the real deal and at least one of Thomas, O'Neil, Montero pan out. Then maybe they only need one add. I am fine with their pitching as is. I think they have enough talent in the pitching pile to have a good starting staff even if question marks regarding who the starters are. But as you indicated, a lot of ifs.
    The thinking with Gorman is that he would have played at Class AA last season. There's never been less of a gap between Class AA and the majors then there is now. Again, no one is expecting him to be on the opening day roster. Could he be there in the second half if he's hitting well and playing well and the Cardinals have a need? Perhaps. Could he be a late call-up to get some experience around the big league team before 2022? Perhaps. Maybe something in between. All bets are off when it comes to the traditional minor league ladder, considering there was no season last season and the one for this season is still up in the air.
    I find the hand wringing over Wong being let go as ironic because Wong's bat is exactly what plagues this team, a bottom-third of the line-up hitter being jammed into the leadoff spot because there was no one else. Just like DeJong is jammed into clean-up, Carpenter is jammed into 3B, and Dexter into RF. Bringing Wong back reinforces the defense but it also reinforces the lowered bar on offense.
    So you eliminate that bat (Wong) and don't add anything?
    Because that's what the Cardinals have done at the moment.
    Yes, getting a more proven hitter would help guys like Wong, DeJong and Bader slide into spots that are better for them.
    But I'm missing how letting Wong walk and not adding is helping things.
    It just means more pressure for Edman.
    Just a clarification on Kyrou. If you trust a guy for 55 minutes, show some faith and play him when the game is on the line. Thanks
    I hear you. I think he's getting there. Slowly but surely.
    Thanks for the chat Ben! Didn't know you spent time in Laramie, WY. A couple years ago I totalled my car hitting a deer at 11pm about 10 mi away from there on the way back from a family vacation in Yellowstone. No one hurt fortunately, but being stranded in Laramie was not the best end to an awesome vacation.

    Anyway, Faulk sure has looked like the player we traded for so far this season. If he keeps it up, who's next in line to be the whipping boy on defense that Blues fans always seem to blame for every shortcoming? Eric Brewer, Barret Jackman, Jay-Bo, Faulk...
    Deer, or elk? A colleague of mine there totaled his car in a head-on collision with the latter. They are, well, large. I unfortunately had a run-in with a deer there as well, and a massive jackrabbit. Probably too much info. Anyway . . . 
    Maybe Faulk is still the whipping boy. I got some pushback on my column today that suggested Faulk's two goals overshadowed some poor play from him in other areas. That's now how I saw it, but perhaps some disagree. I think he's been pretty good, and I think the fact that he's had some pucks go in early is going to help his confidence a lot after the rough start that was last season.
    One funny moment from last night was Faulk tried to say how nice it was to score two goals early. But instead of goals he said "girls" on accident. He caught himself, started laughing, then said: "The old lady is not going to like that."
    Pretty funny.
  • In an earlier response you noted that the division has taken a step back. When the Cubs were a better team than the Cardinals Mozeliak said the Cardinals stick to their model. I guess he should have added “unless their is a chance to do it cheaper”. In a chat question yesterday someone brought up a point about the game in general. There are too many front offices obsessed with value signings.I believe you could include extensions as well. They love to get a guy for 5 million who might produce 7 million. They don’t want to sign players who produce 12 million, but also cost 12 million. I can’t point to many players on the Cardinals who are the former, but there are very few who are the latter. What would it take to make the Cardinals front office become more aggressive and less risk adverse?
    It would have to take an admittance that the current plan is no longer working to the levels the front office and ownership desire, or a change forced by the consumer -- fans -- that informed the team the current product is not good enough to support their allegiance. Or some combination of the two. Those are really the only two things I can think of, honestly.
    You’re either going to be good,” he said. “Or you’re going to be gone.” PONCE at the WWU. I can't help but feel that both he and Gomber would like to be traded. They are constantly getting the short end of the stick in opportunities to be a full time starter. Oviedo, Cabrerra, etc getting ops over them.
    I think, more than that, they would like to become starters for the Cardinals.
    Something off topic, what would you do if you won tonight's lotto?
    Farmhouse. Mountain cabin. Beach hut. Rotate accordingly.
    Make some donations. Take some classes.
    Try to write some stuff, maybe a song and a book.
    But first I'd keep doing this for a while, because I really like doing this. This is the job I wanted to have when I was figuring out what journalism was in high school. So, I wouldn't just walk away. Not yet.
    How many PA's will Carpenter need to vest his option for 2022? Do you think he will reach it?
    Per Baseball Reference, the third-year option ($18.5 million) vests if Carpenter reaches 1,100 plate appearances in 2020-21 combined and 550 plate appearances in 2021. But if the Cardinals don't want to pay it, they can buy it out with $2 million. I don't know if he will reach it. Depends on how he plays. I don't think the Cardinals will intentionally keep him from reaching it if he's playing well. Remember the plate appearances from 2020 -- Carpenter had 169 -- will be prorated based on the number the players and league figure out for the shortened 60-game season that season. There could be another prorated agreement in place depending on how the 2021 season shakes out. For what it's worth, Carpenter only had 492 plate appearances in 2019. I would be surprised if he gets there, if I had to guess today.
  • I think its not that the cards have not spent money but they made some bad moves the way they spent it and he players they sought.
  • Expanding on my question about shildt. If shildt continues to have success but he also starts pushing the FO on player decisions, do you think the FO would move on from him? If there’s any tension most front offices would probably believe most managers could run their team successfully as long as they do what they’re told.
    Some of that would depend on how the moves the manager influenced worked out, right? Matheny pushed hard for Greg Holland before the Cardinals added the closer. It blew up, and Matheny caught some of that blame. The opposite can happen as well. It might have if the Cardinals had been as keen as keeping Ozuna as Shildt seemed.
    You continue to note that Marcell Ozuna led the NL in home runs. That’s true, but the implication that he would have done that in STL is false. Goold wrote a fantastic article on how Busch Stadium was built to be a pitching and defense paradise. Fans should understand there will NEVER be a HR leader from the Cardinals with the current stadium configuration and that the stadium has a MASSIVE impact on the team’s ability to develop power hitters.
    I don't recall saying he would have led the NL in home runs if he played for the Cardinals last season, but if you don't think he would have helped the Cardinals offense last season, I'm not sure which Cardinals lineup you were watching last season. As for Busch being the place where power goes to die, let's look at some of the numbers. Since the start of the 2019 season, the Twins (.600), Athletics (.514), Astros (.500), Tigers (.473), Padres (.461) and Cleveland (.450) have all slugged .450 or better at Busch. Of course they have not played nearly as many games there as the Cardinals, who have slugged .401 at home, but this idea that power can't play at Busch is getting a little overplayed I think.
    Ben Fred, the response DeWitt gave you about Yadi and Waino sounded like damage control. “We have made offers to both of them.” Ok DeWitt, how much did you low ball them? It reminded me of the Pujols negotiations. If they lose them, DeWitt and Mo will be to blame, period.
    He didn't give the answer to me. It was an interview he recorded with Dan McLaughlin to post at Cardinals.com. The Cardinals did not make DeWitt, Mozeliak and Girsch available for the annual Q&A with reporters after making the switch to a virtual Winter Warm-Up.
    So, have you watched The Queen's Gambit on Netflix? It's the series that apparently is the most viewed ever on the platform. Binged it this weekend, and it's pretty good. Chess weirdly always seems to make for compelling drama, especially narratives about chess prodigies. If you haven't watched but have heard all the praise, tamp down expectations a bit, but still watch. It's a fun ride.
    I started it but bailed. It was good but I got tired of the weird filter they shot it with to make it look old-timey. I wish they would have not done that. It made me tired.
  • I live in Orlando. Will have 2nd vaccine shot in 2 weeks. Cards should allow vaccinated into spring training with vaccine certification. Get the ticket money. Get some players.
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