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.

    Greetings, chatters. Hope all is well. I'm in the saddle for the next few hours. Plenty to discuss. Blues v. Petro. Mizzou tries to dodge the hangover effect tonight. SLU back on the court for the first game in A MONTH. Cardinals . . . well, I got nothing, really. Let's roll.
    Tony L. said the hardest job was coaching an aging star(his- Ozzie). Are the Cardinals trying to either help or control Shildt like they did w Matheny when they rid themselves of players by low balling Yadi? Yadi dictates to Shildt playing time (his defense is diminishing) so he should sit more but also seems to bat higher when he does play than his metrics indicate where he should.
    Can we say definitively that the Cardinals low-balled Molina? If he does not have offers from other teams that are much more appealing than the offer he has received from the Cardinals, is it a low-ball offer? Molina might be thinking the entire market is low-balling him. In that case, it would just be a disagreement between him and his market evaluation, more than anything. It does not seem to me that other teams are beating the door down to beat the Cardinals for Molina. If he does indeed wind up going somewhere else for what amounts to relative pocket change difference, then yeah, I think we will be asking the Cardinals why their words about Molina did not match their actions, but we have to see what happens first. We have to see the numbers. As for where Molina hits, that gets a lot of attention, but who should hit above him? He should hit lower in the lineup, but this lineup for the past two seasons has not had proven enough hitters who were performing at a level that pushed Molina down. He was the team's best hitter in the playoff series against the Padres. Moving him down raises the question of, who on this team in the past two seasons should have been moved up?
    Good morning, Ben. Thanks for the chat. I know it's only six games into the season, but Armstrong and Berube have to be at least a little concerned about the Blues' play. At times, the players seem to be disinterested and lacking energy in the back end of two-game series'. Just six games into the season, that should not be happening. Also, they have to concerned about the play of Husso in goal. Yes, his teammates did him no favors with their play -- or lack of same -- in his first start. But, even then, in Husso's two appearances he's been less than stellar. Your thoughts, please. And, thanks for your time.
    There's concern, sure. Splitting these two-game series is a good way to be a .500 team. But there are some reasons to let things play out a bit more. The Blues have been pretty good in 5-on-5 play, a good sign. They need to cut out the penalties, but the penalty kill has started to look better. With a short training camp, it's going to take some time for chemistry to build in all phases, especially when there are new players like Krug and Hoffman in the mix. The second-game issue seems to be as much about focus, effort and energy as anything. That is what seems to be driving Berube up the wall. He doesn't understand how the team can look so different between the first and second game. If that trend continues, then yeah, concern will and should grow. But let's see how the Blues rise to the occasion against Vegas. There is no excuse for not being ready to go, twice, in this one.
    I'm with you on the concern for Husso. The team is rushing to take the blame, but we saw what we saw. When the goals start going in, they seem to go in at a rather alarming rate. The Blues took a calculated risk with the flat salary cap by shedding goalie depth in order to use that money elsewhere. It's still very early but right now they look a bit exposed after Binnington. Not a season-ender as long as Binnington is healthy and locked in. It could be a big problem if something happens to Binnington, though, and Husso does not look a lot better fast.
    I'm beginning to wonder if DeWitt sees the handwriting on the wall,and wants to cut spending this year because of today's uncertainty and with not knowing weather there will even be a season for the following year due to contract impasses.Thoughts?
    The Cardinals have been pretty candid about their desire to cut payroll this season compared to last season.
    They have not -- and won't -- weigh in on their prediction about a potential work stoppage before the 2022 season, but considering the combative tone of negotiations between players and owners in recent years, one that got very bitter during last year's slog toward a single-season agreement, I think not knowing what 2022 looks like is a big factor in some of the hesitation we are seeing across the sport outside of a few teams.
    There is a lot of unknown, and it's not all pandemic related.
    BenFred, I'd like to start by extending a sincere "thank you" to you, BenTen Hochman, The Commish, @dgoold, and all the others I missed, for your Cardinal coverage during the current situation we have been through and for the certain uncertainty that lies ahead until this pandemic is beaten down. I would be remiss to not mention DannyMac and the great Bernie Miklasz as well. Way to adapt, overcome and improvise guys and welcome back Bernie!
    Now, on to business...
    Along with Molina and Wainwright (and Wong having an outside shot), there are indications that Mo wants to bring in some "outside assistance". What are the chances that Wong, Wainwright and Molina are the outside assistance he's talking about, being that they are technically outside the organization now and if not who do you think would be the most likely target(s) for Mo to bring in?
    Thanks!
    The Cardinals will not have much luck trying to spin bringing back Wainwright and Molina as adding outside help. I know Wong has said the door remains open, but I don't see that happening. The Cardinals are making it sound like Edman is their second baseman moving forward, and players who get their options passed over rarely sign for less money with the same team.
    Right now, the Cardinals are a worse team than they were in 2020.
    If they bring back the same players -- Wainwright, Molina, Wong -- they are probably about the same team.
    In order to be a better team they will either have to bring back the familiar guys and add, or add players that improve the team in addition to cover the gap created by the players who departed.
    I say better team in terms of championship chances, not chances to win the NL Central. The division has eroded to the point that the Cardinals probably have a better chance to win the division, as constructed, than they did entering 2020.
  • Huge win for Cuonzo Martin & Mizzou.

    I'm curious what you make of the SEC as a basketball conference, broadly and prospectively. With Martin, Rick Barnes, Bruce Pearl, and John Calipari, it seems like it's got some good programs and might be better than the two-and-a-half-team conference that it was (at least according to my very surface-level impression) when Kentucky and Florida stood head-and-shoulders above the rest. I haven't seen Alabama play this year, but it's interesting to see that they're suddenly hot.
  • It's going to be labeled as a "down" year for the SEC because Kentucky stinks, and Florida is hit or miss.
    But the league has made big strides in past seasons to improve the caliber of coaching in the conference, and to demand its programs schedule more compelling and stronger non-conference slates.
    That improves NCAA Tournament resumes across the league.
    The floor that used to be really, really low has been raised significantly. 
    This season the ceiling might be lower than the league would like, but every year the SEC is now guaranteed to have a handful of good to really good teams.
    That's a lot better than what it used to be.
  • I’ve gone back and forth on whether the cardinals need Molina and waino back or not. But it’s now clear to me this team NEEDS them both back. Even if they make other additions. The skill level may not be what it once was but they both are still good players. Waino was the best pitcher on the team and yadi’s ability to handle and get the best out of a pitching staff is unmatched. But what I think would be missed most is their leadership. There are other players who lead this team in their own way, but when the team is slumping and a team meeting is called, I’d bet that nobody’s words carry more meaning than those two.
  • And let's not forget the thing no one wants to talk about.
    Molina and Wainwright are the players most -- not all but still most -- Cardinals fans want to see.
    If you are looking for a relatively affordable way to get people over their pandemic concerns and head to the ballpark if/when allowed, having Molina and Wainwright fighting father time together again will stir some interest.
    People like to watch them play.
    And yes, the Cardinals would be a better team in 2021 with them on the team, I think.
  • Cards just seem to be punting this season. Slow playing yadi and waino. No real help yet for lineup. At least get someone who can play third so we dont have see carp play third alot
  • If the season starts and this is their team, I'll agree with you.
    But I'm curious about what they will come up with between now and then.
    Also curious about how much time is really left.
    Probably more than most think.
    I'm not convinced spring training and the season will get started on time, based in part on yesterday's news about the Cactus League suggesting a delayed start.
  • BenFred,

    Do you anticipate more news coming from the XFL after the NFL season concludes? STL is waiting with bated breadth!
  • No clue.
    Hope so.
    I know the P-D has tried to get more info but the league is not saying anything at this time.
  • Ben,

    Where do you think the Cardinal's brand is, relative to where it has been in the past?
    Nine, going on 10 seasons without a championship.
    They have won just one NLCS game in the past seven seasons.
    Compared to the high point that preceded it, certainly not as bright as it was during the 2014-13 decade. Then again, that was a historically dominant decade.
    I always say Cardinals problems are first-world problems, and a lot of teams would love to have this kind of a downswing, but it has been a downswing, for sure.
    Do you think Goldschmidt regrets signing his extension here? We have no way of knowing what DeWitt/Mo sold him on but it certainly couldn't have been the organization seemingly morphing into the Tampa Bay of the Midwest. The end of his prime is being wasted by this team. Could you ever see him asking for a trade to a contender?
    I think Goldschmidt is pretty content.
    Making $26 million per year helps.
    Plus, he has already played in four more postseason games with the Cardinals (12) than he totaled with the Diamondbacks (eight) during his seven seasons there.
    Ben, naturally it’s too early to hit the panic button on the Blues season after only 6 games. I guess the real question is how many games does it take before you say, “they are who they are”? At this point Dunn and Sanford almost look like liabilities every time they are on the ice. The penalty tuition is out of control. Penalties come from not working hard and trying to cut corners. O’Reilly can only do so much as the captain to try and right the ship, but it comes down to the players executing. These are professionals and I understand everyone has a bad night now and then but when you are consistently inconsistent then there is a deeper underlying problem that maybe a trade or two can try to resolve.
    Reminder: The Blues are 3-2-1 and third in the West, right where many experts picked them to be.
    Right now no team West has a winning streak of two games or a losing streak of two games.
    One step forward, one step back has been pretty much the theme across the league, with a few exceptions here and there.
    I'm not sure the they-are-who-they-are explanation can fit when the team has looked drastically different between the first and second games of these series.
    They need to figure out how to be the first team in both games.
    Yes, they need to clean up the penalties and continue to gel on the special teams. One should be an easy fix. The other is just going to take time. O'Reilly has been one of the worst penalty problems, which is uncharacteristic for him.
    Note the sample size, and take a deep breath. And remember the lack of training camp. No need to panic now.
    I was a fan who was thoroughly frustrated with Grichuk and was supremely happy when he was traded. I look at what Grichuk has become now, admittedly the exact hitter the Cards hope O'Neill will become, and I realize that it wasn't his fault. This team asked a pony to be a Clydesdale. They're repeating that cycle again and getting the same predictable results with O'Neill. I wish Gorman the best of luck because he is next into the "prospect-as-middle-of-the-order-savior" woodchipper known as Cardinal player development.
    Grichuk has not become anything different than what he was here. He just gets more at-bats. Same hitter. More security. More realistic expectations. You raise a good point about the Cardinals sometimes putting young players in tough spots. We saw it with Bader, who was presented as an emerging face of the team. It happened when Paul DeJong was thrust into cleanup. Dylan Carlson hit cleanup in a postseason series the same year he was sent out for struggles. You either have a lineup that takes pressure off young hitters, or heaps it on them. The Cardinals have one that heaps it on them.
    I've seen reports saying that if Yadi doesn't return, the Cardinals plan on pursuing a catcher to at least split time with Knizner. With that said, what does it say about how the Cardinals view Knizner as a prospect considering they'd rather get another catcher than upgrading the outfield or replacing Carpenter?
  • We've discussed that comment from Mozeliak often here in the chat.
    Pretty easy to interpret it, at least for me.
    It suggests the Cardinals don't think Knizner is ready to be an every-day catcher in the majors without at least someone to help him carry the load.
    I can't imagine that's how Kniznenr views it.
    The Cardinals have had and passed on chances to get Knizner more playing time than he has received so far in the majors.
    I have wondered for a while if he ends up being traded, especially as Ivan Herrera has emerged.
    Cards declined Wongs option so they could use that money elsewhere but more and more it sounds like they aren’t going make any significant adds. Bogus
    If that's how they wind up playing it when the season begins and the games are counting, totally fair criticism.
    More likely to win their division this season Blues or Cards?
    I guess the Cardinals, just based on the vibe we have currently that the NL Central is not going to field very many teams that seem interested in competing at a high level. The Blues have tough opposition in Vegas and Colorado.
    Another week the cards are crying poor no moves I know its still a while before spring training and not a lot of other teams have done much or anything but A trade something. Lol also do you thing there will be any HOF inductees today. Thanks for your time
    The latest articles I've read from folks who track the voting closely seem to believe this will be a shutout year for all candidates with no new members selected. Schilling has, according to the ballot trackers, lost ground. I won't lose any sleep over that one.
    If you were GM of the Cardinals and could have either Yadi and Waino or Pederson and LaStella for the same price, which 2 do you take?
    Wainwright and Molina.
    Mostly because of Molina.
    Neither Pederson and LaStella are going to catch.
    That would mean betting that Knizner is both ready to catch the bulk of the innings, lead the pitching staff and call games and coordinate defense at a high level and also hit competitively.
    The Cardinals have already suggested they are not sure he is ready to do those things, based on the comment about them needing to add a catcher if Molina leaves.
    Maybe that was a bluff. Maybe not.
    I think losing Molina does more harm than adding Pederson and LaStella would do good.
    It's not like Pederson and LaStella are sure things.
    And if those are the decisions the team is making, it's not that good of a team anyway.
    Go with the guys you know most -- not all --fans want to see.
  • It seems to me that Yadi believes his market is "X" and that the Cards should pay "X" plus a legacy kicker. But it appears that for both Yadi and Waino the market is actually "Y" which
    is less than "X" and the Cards are offering both "Y." As much as fans love both players, there is a very real possibility that, intangibles aside, both men could hit a physical wall any season. They are both playing on borrowed time and the Cards shouldn't pay a premium for that.
    The Cardinals have made offers to both.
    That neither has accepted at this time suggests the offers did not make toes tingle.
    But the Cardinals are comfortable waiting, as Bill DeWitt Jr. made clear.
    He didn't say Molina and Wainwright can take it or leave it, but he didn't sound convinced better offers for those guys are going to come, from the Cardinals or another team.
    I don't think the Cardinals are going to pay much above market value for these guys, but I'm telling you that they run the risk of looking pretty bad if either goes somewhere else for what amounts to a little bit more.
    Neither Molina nor Wainwright are going to get premium deals. From any team.
    It's early, but do you expect Cuonzo Martin to keep some of his seniors for another year? It's been reassuring to see Drinkwitz bring back a big group of senior lineman. I would guess Tilmon will want to go to the NBA. He seems to have a pretty good chance of getting drafted. But I'm hoping the 3 Smith's would consider coming back for one more year. What do you think?
    I think they should all come back.
    I don't think they all will, but they all should.
    Tilmon still has plenty of questions he could answer at the college level. He could show more range. He could show improved shot-blocking, defending and rebounding. I don't know if the modern NBA has a place for him without him showing some of those things.
    He's the closest to being a draft prospect, but I think he would be a second-rounder.
    As for the others, they're not ready. Pinson needs to be able to hit threes. Mark Smith is a "shooter" who can't always hit shots. Dru Smith is a really good college player, but I'm not sure he's a pro.
    Not knocking these guys, but I do think they would all be better off with another year in college.
    Ben, I don't know if you were in a fraternity but it almost feels like the aughts were DeWitt and his partners "rushing" fans. Lots of winning, big named players, general excitement to get the fans to pledge. And we did. Then in 2014 the pledging started and it is not at all what we were expecting based on rush. We are no longer being courted, just counted as a source of revenue.
    I have vague recollections of a certain rush party float trip that made me think, if this is what college is like, I'm not sure I will survive, but I sure do what to find out.
    I didn't end up rushing. Probably the main reason I graduated.
    Your reference made me chuckle, because Cardinals fans of a certain age -- ones who might make this reference -- were most likely in their peak sports-obsession-forming years when the Cardinals were dominating.
    When the old-timers say, hey, the team has been through downswings before, there is a younger generation of Cardinals fans that says, well, not that I've witnessed.
    Perspective is a heck of a thing.
    The analogy I would go with is Andy Bernard toward the end of The Office, when he says: " I wish there was a way to know you're in "the good old days", before you've actually left them."
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