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.

    The pandemic gets a lot of blame for the Cards' tightening their purse strings, but, realistically, how much different would this roster really be in a world without COVID? Wong's option gets picked up and the team probably doesn't wait till the eve of spring training to resign Molina and Wainwright, but this team was never going to make a big splash in FA or make a trade for an expensive superstar.

    The front office has talked around the fact that the plan this year is to wait out a few bad contracts and give room for players in AAA to make the leap, but they've never come out and clearly stated that fact to the fans. In a season where you don't need to worry about maintaining season ticket sales, why not just be more open about taking a step back this season in order to push forward in 22 (assuming there is a season, of course)? Fans would be a lot less angry about the Cards being the ONLY team in baseball not to sign a player from outside their organization if the team didn't continue to state publicly their commitment to winning while not making any actual effort to win. Being more honest with the fans is better for your brand than continuing to misrepresent what the product actually is.
    The Cardinals never gave the impression they were going to make massive moves this offseason. They did suggest they were going to try to find ways to be better in 2021. I'd like to see if they punt on that pledge before rushing to heap praise on them if they just admit they're punting.
    Thank you for stating that, Ben! Wong and Molina only improve the defense. In fact, they both occupied slots in the batting order last year that they had no business being in. Wong is #7 hitter - check his splits. Yadi is also a #7 hitter - at best. So bringing them back and batting them leadoff and #6 actually makes the offense worse.
  • You forgot a step. Who do you want filling those spots? Someone who was not outplaying those two guys last season? Everybody wants to run hitters they are disappointed with out of the lineup, but no one points to the hitters currently on the team who outperform those departing hitters, and explain why they were not outperforming the departing hitters beforehand.
    Of course it is easy to knock the GM, and I 100% agree that Armstrong deserves plenty of rope. So here goes the second-guessing: for about the same money we might have been able to keep Petro and Edmundson instead of Krug and Faulk. I think I'd take that. The loss of Petro is looking like an absolute killer. Thoughts?
    Fair point about the Blues seeming to miss his play at the moment.
    But I just have a hard time viewing the what-if as you presented it.
    The Faulk trade-and-extension did not stop the Blues from making a strong offer for Pietrangelo that included some perks the team rarely gives.
    The Krug pivot came after Pietrangelo continued to wait after the Blues made their best offer.
    The Blues wanted to keep Pietrangelo, tried to keep him. Made a big offer to prove it. Wasn't enough. All good. That's business, and Pietrangelo's hesitance to commit to an extension and hesitance to accept the free-agent offer contributed to the Blues making other decisions.
    Army can be knocked for that, I suppose, but Krug was not a bad pivot, and I'm not going to chance my opinion on that based on a few games.
    I do think Pietrangelo's contract in Vegas is probably not going to age all that well, and the guarantees it included really made it hard for Vegas to do anything about that if it happens.
    But could Vegas be a better team than the Blues this season because Pietrangelo is still in his prime?
    Perhaps.
    We'll get a good, early read on that in the next two games.
    Ben,
    Since you are a sports columnist, do you care to weigh in on the executive order signed by President Biden last week to allow transgender athletes to compete with and against female athletes? Do you feel they should have their own classification for competition sake? This would allow for a level playing field, which in theory, is what sports competition should be about no?
    Absolutely.
    I've been talking about it a lot with some of my friends in the business the past couple of days.
    First, sports was not the sole purpose of the executive order, which was titled, "The Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation."
    But there's a really interesting Wall Street Journal op-ed out recently that point out the sports-specific angles that could be in play because of the order. Some questions are directly pulled from the language of the order. Others questions raised are based on what might happen depending on how the order is interpreted and enforced.
    Essentially, the sports conversation revolves around if schools that receive federal funding are going to be asked to drop any and all gender barriers for boys and girls sports.
    It's a very complicated topic that, unfortunately, too often gets presented in good-bad simplicity.
    I'm reading more about it and hope to become more educated because it's a topic  I think we will all be writing more about in the near future.
    But today, where I think I stand is this.
    There are SO many areas in which gender does not matter and should not be a defining characteristic, but sports, at least most sports, is one of those areas where that approach does not really work.
    If we as a country have decided that gender is not an appropriate way to define someone in terms of sports, then I don't know how gender-specific sports are going to hold up long-term.
    Maybe the best answer is having teams and the best athlete wins the spot no matter what, but that would seem to be moving in the opposite direction of the strides that have been made in women's sports over the years.
    All I ask is that somewhere between now and Opening Day that Mo acquires a legit option to serve as DeJong's back-up. I can't watch Paul run out of gas for a 3rd year in a row and it physically can't be good for him in the long-term either.
    I was listening to your podcast w Derrick the other night but missed the part about Flaherty (I dozed off but not because I was bored). Given their difficulty to come to a salary agreement, are they headed for an ugly breakup? When would the Cards have to trade him?
    Well, you clearly were not enthralled!!! It's too early to say, but there is clearly a pattern developing when it comes to the Cardinals and Flaherty not seeing eye to eye on his worth. One school of thought says you never take a rising young star to arbitration hearing, because sometimes scars can be made there that never really heal. Another school of thought says this his how many teams do business now, and nothing can smooth over previous disagreements like a big extension offer, if and when one comes. If the Cardinals have the sense they will never get Flaherty to agree to a deal before he tests free agency, a trade could make sense, but they would want to trade him at his best value, and coming off a disappointing 2020 is not it. Let's see how Flaherty pitches this season, and if a contract extension is waiting for him the spring after it. It's hard to turn down that kind of certainty if and when it's offered.
  • If in fact money coming off the books in 2022 and the pandemic impact are the main reason for not spending money in 2021, does this mean that the Cardinals are also willing to lose money on their main investment in Paul Goldschmidt? With each passing year he is getting older and further into the twighlight of his career. Wouldn't maximizing his contract and prime years as important as being mindful of payroll deductions this year and in the future?
    Guys, you don't have to talk me into the Cardinals being more aggressive than they have been.
    Don't have to sell me on it.
    We are on the same team here.
    I'm really liking these 2 game series in the NHL this season. Brings some extra tension and maybe bad blood between the Blues and teams they normally don't have much of a rivalry with, like LA or ARI.

    Any word out there how players feel about it, as possibly continuing in a normal season? Obviously it wouldn't be all 2 game sets because teams don't play 2 away games against everyone, but it seems like it could benefit both players and the league.
    The players have talked about it providing a bit of a playoff feel.
    I imagine the goalies hate it, especially guys who start both games, because teams get a better feel for them.
    You are certainly seeing an uptick in urgency from the losing team in game two.
    This two-game series between Blues and Knights could get INTENSE.
    I'm not aware of any concrete plans to adopt the format when things are back to normal, but I think any league has to examine what did and did not work during pandemic times and see if there are somethings worth keeping.
    Ben, how well do you understand NET rating system that the NCAA uses for hoops? I was shocked to see Mizzou only 23th in that rating. I can't figure out how a team with the second most Quad 1 wins (5 against only 1 loss), a good true road record (4-1), and a 10-2 overall record is so low. Villanova is like 7th with only 1 Quad 1 win. SLU is 20th with zero Quad 1 wins. What gives? It seems like the only thing that is hurting them is the loss to Miss St (Quad 2 loss), except Virginia is ranked 8th with a 1-1 record in Quad 1 games and a loss to a Quad 2 team. So, I'm baffled. To me this matters because it will affect seeding in the tourney. This rankings system seems to favor soft schedules even though that's what is supposed to sort out.
    The strength of schedule and tiered Quad setup are only parts of the NET gumbo. It also takes into consideration offensive and defensive efficiency, in this case points per possession and opponent points per possession. Mizzou cracks the top-60 in the first and the top-25 in the latter. Those are the elements pulling the Tigers down in the NET, not their schedule.
    I’m hungry for Cardinals news/rumors anything really, and even in slow off-seasons we still see quite a bit. Even if it is a far fetched Arenado scenario. I really don’t see anything at all, even from the far fetched side of things. It leads me to believe that they are going to do something big! Not really. How difficult has it been to find compelling things to write about this off-season with very little movement or momentum?
    Honestly I've just been finding other teams and sports to write about.
    Until the Cardinals do something -- or don't -- and we get a sense of if they are just waiting or simply not going to do anything, there's only so many ways to examine the same thing over and over again.
    The Wainwright/Molina standoff is pretty compelling, but other than that baseball at large is kind of just waiting at the moment.
    With the prospect of two straight years of reduced revenue due to fans not being allowed at games, do you anticipate ownership and the players union being willing to compromise more on the next CBA in order to prevent a work stoppage in 2022?
  • Goodness, you would hope so.
    I'm not sure baseball realizes the kind of self-inflicted damage it would do if CBA fights spoil or even worse entirely scrap the 2022 season.
    Think about that for a second.
    Sports will be, hopefully, roaring out of the pandemic, and baseball would be taking a year off or playing some shortened season due to a potential work stoppage or strike?
    That would set the sport back for years, and it's already playing from behind.
    It's appalling that we are already hearing about more hostile negotiations between players and owners -- one example being the fight about DH and expanded postseason -- as we approach another spring training.
    If Rob Manfred and Tony Clark cannot work together better by now, they should be replaced.
    I've come to terms with what seems to be a lackluster season ahead. I'm not too concerned with signing Waino and Yadi because teams need to move on eventually, and I'm looking forward to testing our depth. So, how do you think the 21-22 off-season shakes out? What will be the areas the Cards will look to bolster, what FAs could be in their sights for the 22 season? Also, will we see Gorman as an everyday 3B by then?
    I'm not there yet. More interested in what they do or don't do for 2021. The decisions made after the upcoming season will be colored by what happens during the upcoming season, same as always.
    Hey BF, as a card carrying member of the TBDC I'm curious as to why your column omitted Brady's repeated post-game behavior of dissing the winning QBs.
    Last year with the limited schedule, MLB had teams make up as many games postponed due to covid 19 as possible. Any word on MLB’s plan to address scheduling for teams with covid cases this year? If the league is able to play a longer season, maybe they can cancel some games rather than force multiple back to back doubleheaders. Obviously revenue is a consideration.
    The only official word from the league is that it plans to start spring on time and hopes to play a full season. Behind the scenes, owners have reportedly pushed for a shorter season and/or a delayed start, but players want a full season and on-time start -- or full, non-prorated salary if he season is indeed shortened. As for what happens when COVID interferes, and it probably will, I think we will see similar to last year, where games are made up as much as possible, with seven-inning doubleheaders likely being in play as a way to do that.
    Folks need to relax on the Blues start. Yes, they have some stuff to clean up, but the league put them in a division where they are almost assured to make the playoffs. Better to build to a dominant team at playoff time than trying to sustain that for the season and the playoffs.
    No panic here. In the comments section? Mixed levels. Best news? Binnington looks good. That's was a cornerstone question entering camp. Kyrou is playing well. Faulk is playing well. The new guys will find their groove. Just cut back on the penalties, and turn the game-two intensity up. Both seem to be things that can be realistically achieved.
    Beware of Wilks. I follow AZ Cards. He came in saying he was okay with either 3-4 or 4-3 defense. Then promptly dumped the 3-4 guys despite their previous success. Can’t trust that man.
    I'll have to go back and read up on that. I kind of thought he got a raw deal in Arizona, no? Got the gig and it did not go great in year one, but then he got dumped because team wanted Murray and brought his coach along with. Tough break. Am I misreading that?
    Ben, as a master wordsmith, you should come up with a term to describe the Cardinals plan. Its not tanking but not trying to win, either.

    What's a word for having less attrition than the rest of a weak division, but not close to competing with the real contenders, while letting some bad contracts expire, hoping for accelerated success from young players and other players to perform beyond their established output, while using the global pandemic as a convenient response to questions about their commitment?
    SLU Billikens are finally back tonight!!! (fingers crossed anyways). I have no idea how they are going to come out but gotta think they are just happy to be playing.
    I think there is a good chance they look pretty good tonight, just based off the adrenaline factor from being without a game for a month.
    More interesting to me is how they will look a few games in, and how their conditioning holds up.
    I wonder if Ford will go deep into his bench, hockey-line style to try to ease up the minutes on the group as a whole.
    Going to be very interesting to see how he coaches it.
    But yes, most importantly, glad they're back. Everything they wanted to achieve is still in front of them, too.
    No way the Blues should protect Dunn in the expansion draft. He has not moved his game forward and they have young D depth.
    He certainly did not seem to help himself with the late arrival due to contract hardball. Seems like he could have used that lost time. He's looked bad, no doubt about it. Then again, six games. Just six. No need to make that call now.
  • Switching to SLU hoops for a bit: Has there been any mention of making up games? They lost a lot of games against some of the weaker A-10 teams although in fairness, the preseason favorite, Richmond has been disappointing.
    The A-10 left some room toward the end of the conference season to squeeze in some make-ups before the league tournament but I don't think there's any way SLU plays every game it has missed. Travis said conversations with the league are ongoing. I'd guess some get played but not all.
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