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.

    Although I was never a fan of he DH and last year after Miller cooled off it seemed that the Cardinals were penalized since other teams had a much better DH. However, this year I am excited because if Carp can return to where we would like having a high OBP and hitting a lot of doubles then it would be a plus. If he does not find himself then young Cardinals can get a lot of ABs such as Knizer and Thomas.
    If the NL does wind up getting a late DH added due to late horse trading between the players' union and commissioner's office, then I think the Cardinals should pounce on a buy-low, high-upside option for that position. Especially if Carpenter does not look like a totally revamped player in spring, and even if he does. Ryan Braun, Yasiel Puig and others remain on the market.
    Hey Ben, I'm in NYS and we have about 5x as many cases per capita as Missouri right now. What is the level of concern with the impacts of a team like STL being able to open with far more capacity than a team like the Mets? Do you think the FO had the confidence to add an Arenado type contract because they saw cases dropping and that the Blues were able to open up to some fans?
  • MLB seems to be following college sports lead -- and I think it's wise to do -- of letting each team work with city/state to determine safe number of fans in stands, and therefore abstaining from any notion that league should involve itself in regulating differences in home-field advantage between teams that play in states that are more open than others. That's not a battle MLB wants or needs to fight, and it's one that would lead to teams having to limit fans in once area based off virus levels in another area, which would be a counterproductive mess I think as much as anything. A baseball game should be treated no differently than a concert. How many people are allowed is going to differ via where the concert is held. Seems to me to be the only reasonable way to approach it. The Cardinals, miraculously, seem to have managed to keep their goal of trimming back payroll for 2021 despite taking on Arenado's deal, in part because of what Colorado paid him to go away. I'm sure the Cardinals are more optimistic now about fans than they were a few months ago. Hopefully that trend continues. They have been working on all kinds of models based on doomsday to rather optimistic scenarios.
    Hey, Ben: I keep wondering if I'm missing something regarding why the MLBPA wouldn't agree to pushing the season back. Normally, I side with the players when they tangle with management, but in this case, the revenue problems are real. With the vaccine rolling out, the longer the league can delay the start of the season, the more fans they will likely get in the stands, as more will be vaccinated, and that matters. It's fair for players to question the books of ownership, but it's not a point of debate that no fans is killing revenue. It just feels like a situation where the MLBPA wants to stick it to ownership just 'cause. I don't buy the worries about double headers.

    Beyond that, I think that they are hurting themselves as harming the revenue stream is going to have ramifications on free agent offers in the off-season, and that doesn't even factor in the impending labor war.
    They don't seem very interested in doing anything that gives MLB commissioner Rob Manfred more power than he already has at this time.
    The last proposal from owners, the one that asked to push the start of spring back one month and cutting the season from 162 games to 154, also asked for expanded playoffs and the return of the DH to the NL, so it was not just specifically about the virus.
    There was more to it, too.
    While the proposal reportedly offered players a 162-game pay for 154 games, it lacked clarity on service-time issues and spelled out clearer ways Manfred could use his power as commissioner to cancel or postpone games due to things like government or travel restrictions, and seemed to give him more room to make moves under the health-risk aspect.
    The union does not trust the commissioner when he says his main goal was to make the season better for all.
    And yes, that's a big problem.
    Hi Ben, any idea who has the inside track on leading off for the Cardinals? It seems to me the 2-5 hitters are pretty darn good in some order (Goldy, Arenado, Carlson, Dejong). I originally thought Edman, but Bader actually turned in a pretty solid OPS+ in 2020.
    Carlson could be the answer.
    Edman, if he brings his on-base percentage up and takes a walk once in a while.
    Bader against lefties could work.
    Shildt said he's got leadoff experiments planned for spring.
    I'm glad Yadi is back, but if he hadn't been re-signed what do you think the plan at catcher was? Maybe I'm mistaken, but my perception is that the club doesn't believe in Knizner as a full-time starter, not only now but in the future as well. If I'm wrong, please let me know. If I'm right, what do you think the club thinks he needs to improve on to change their perception?
    The plan was to re-sign Molina, and the Cardinals did just that.
    They're better off with each other, and both knew it all along.
    If something had gone terribly wrong there, I guess the Cardinals would have had to pivot.
    Mozeliak did say earlier this offseason that he did not think Knizner was ready to be the full-time guy. That could have been as much of a motivational tactic as anything. I guess we will see when it comes time to find out who backs up Molina this season. It should be Knizner, if he's going to be the starter of the future. Herrera is on his heels and seems to be gaining ground every day. The Cardinals also added Ali Sanchez as competition for the backup spot, from the Mets. He's a direct competitor for Knizner for backup reps this season.
    Ben, how is the relationship between Schildt and Jeff Albert? There seems to be differences in strategies, such as Schildt pushing the issue with hit and runs, and Albert seeming to promote the walk is as good as a hit approach. Personally, I'd like to see the ball put in play more often. I also wouldn't mind being able to watch the games again (thanks Sinclair).
    We gotta get this ironed out before spring.
    Shildt, not Schildt.
    There's no beef between the manager and the hitting coach, but if the Cardinals lineup lacks pop again -- after adding Arenado -- then I don't see how the Cardinals are not in the business for a hitting coach after this season.
    A lineup with Goldschmidt and Arenado can't be the lowest slugging percentage team in the postseason, even if Busch is a hard place to hit homers.
    Sorry.
    Albert is officially on the clock.
    The Cardinals don't tend to have a problem getting on base.
    It's getting across home plate where they have struggled.
  • Let’s stipulate that Arenado was a bold master stroke. But is that enough to fix this moribund Cardinals offense? Outfield is a still a mess, Carp adds little to nothing, Yadi is a year older and the team subtracted Wong, Brad Miller and Fowler while adding nobody else that looks to be an improvement. What gives? Are the Cardinals so tapped out financially they can’t do anything else, even while getting Arenado this year practically for free? Thank you for your take.
    They brought back to cornerstone veterans who make up the face of their team and secured one of the best players in the National League for up to seven years by making a trade few of us though they would ever find the -- well, guts -- to pull off. They're going to spring training without knowing a) if the season will start on time and b) if they will have a DH option when it does. I guess I'll wear the water-carrier hat and say they had a pretty good offseason, and might still have a surprise or two up their sleeve.
    Hi Ben . Here's a different kind of question. What do you make of Mike Shildt ? Is he a winner because hes isn't Mike Matheny? MM had lost the club house. I have a hard time judging him . He could have played Randy A and sat him when we needed a bat. He does however seem to make, for the most part , better in game decisions than MM.
    I think he's off to a pretty good start.
    In two seasons and some change he's won NL manager of the year one year and received votes in another.
    We saw how the team responded to him after the change.
    He's made many more good in-game decisions than bad, in my opinion.
    He also helped baseball's most error-prone defense become one of its best, and got the Cardinals back to playing sound fundamental baseball in the field and on the basepaths, another area that had eroded.
    The bar in STL is high. Gotta win. Gotta win rings eventually.
    But he's had a good start.
    I'm with you on Arozarena, too. The front office has admitted it underestimated him. Shildt has declined to do the same. Maybe he's right in the long run and Arozarena flames out sooner than everyone thinks. But it wasn't the front office who was not playing Arozarena when he was in St. Louis, albeit breifly. It was Shildt. That's a minus, where things stand now.
    Do you think the addition of Arenado affords the Opening Day outfielders more time to show what they can do? Will there be less of a rush to pull a struggling O'Neill for a Thomas or Williams, since O'Neill's bat is just "icing" for this line-up now? Or is Bader's bat the "icing" bat and everyone else must hit to play?
    I think a player of Arenado's caliber takes some negative pressure off the lineup as a whole and shifts everybody else toward their proper place in the lineup. So, yes, I think his addition in some ways helps the outfield. I don't think the Cardinals should be looking at their outfield as having probable starters other than Carlson. Let performance dictate. Especially I would not simply hand O'Neill more at-bats than Lane Thomas. I'm more interested in what Thomas can do than O'Neill at this point.
    Who are the top 5 Cardinals competitors you’ve seen? Guys who just abhor losing? Your experience.
    I have not been around as long as some of my peers, but I would put Yadier Molina up there. Paul Goldschmidt, in his own way. More understated. Nolan Arenado's tales of hating to lose are legendary, from when he was a kid to even know -- it's a big part of the reason he's here in St. Louis now. And I'll never forget Tommy Pham saying that "not making the playoffs is starting to feel familiar" during the Cardinals slide. The Cardinals were not happy about that, but it was true to Pham's perspective, and it needed to be said.
    I'm confused about this narrative that trading Dex was to "free up RF for Carlson"? Carlson already had a guaranteed spot out there. If anything, he was blocking O'Neill, and for good reason. One you can trust in the batters box, the other you can't. He wasn't great, but you could at least count on him for a good OBP and a veteran AB. Don't have that safety net anymore.
  • I think it's viewed that way because right field is likely where Carlson where make most of his starts now, but I'm with you that the trade was not about Carlson, specifically, as much as opening up more room for the outfield competition. If the Cardinals don't have a better outfielder than Fowler was going to be in 2021 in their current group of in-house options, then they will need to get better outfielders. Time to find out.
    It seems like Moe’s Trades/actions are reactive to previous mistakes. Trading Arozarena leads to searching the low hanging fruit bin,. Trading voit leads to expensive trade/contract for Goldschmidt. Extending Carpenter leads to expensive trade for Arenado. Signing Fowler leads to less playing time for young outfielders. He would been better off to do nothing. His mistakes lead to further depletion of the Farm systemAnd trading future stars
    I'd suggest looking at the transactions of other teams and realizing you will find similar trends. Every move can be traced back to a move in the past that did or did not work. That's how you build teams, maintain teams, strengthen weaknesses and hopefully not weaken strengths. Especially when you're trying to be good every season.
    If the OF struggles through the first half of the season, and Tommy Edman is hitting well, would a trade deadline deal for Trevor Story make sense?

    Slide DeJong to 2nd, Edman to an OF spot, and then work on extending Story like Goldy. This would fix a problem, nale us contenders, and set is up nicely in the infield for a long time!

    Thoughts?
    How is DeJong playing at shortstop in this scenario?
    What if he's having an All-Star season?
    I wouldn't rule that out.
    Also: If Bridich has any sense he will abstain from dealing another superstar to Colorado for a while.
    His Arenado return went over like a lead balloon.
    In your opinion, who will win the last spot in the Cards rotation?
    (Assuming Waino, Flaherty, Mikolas, and Kim are in.)

    Or could someone like Kim start in the pen, like last year, if 2 others look ready?
    I'd like to see Alex Reyes there.
    I'm done with Carlos Martinez as a starter until I see a significant level of proof that suggests that's the wrong opinion.
    Daniel Ponce de Leon should not be ruled out either.
    The Cardinals already made the mistake of putting KK in the bullpen once.
    They shouldn't do that again.
    I am really intrigued by the Hall of Fame range at 3rd Nolan Arenado will bnring and how it will influence the team infield defense.
    Same. Even without Wong at second, the Cardinals very well could have the best infield defense in baseball. DeJong is better defensively than a lot of people think.
  • I am of the opinion that Jack Flaherty's social media "flexing" on the Cards organization is shameful and disrespectful. This kind of behavior should have him traded and out the door. (We have seen the Cards ship out other "outspoken" players...and rightly so.) Players need to learn they are not bigger than the team and the Cardinal Organization is one to be respected.

    What are your thoughts?

    DG seemed to think a little differently yesterday about athletes using their voices to be "loud". I disagree, but would love to hear your thoughts.
    Thanks!
    Do you feel the same way about front office members passing around a wrestling-style belt for the team's front office that does the best job suppressing salaries in arbitration? That was a practice that happened until it got out -- and only stopped after it did because everyone realized how terrible it looked. Where was the angst over that?
    Baseball is a value-driven business these days, like it or not. Teams are trying to get the most they can out of players for as little as possible, especially during the time when an outdated collective bargaining agreement lets them with pre-free-agency players. Players, especially young and talented ones, have trended toward the stance of pushing back to try to get what they feel is closer to their true value.
    Flaherty is one of those players.
    He tweeted some celebratory GIFs after arbitration sided with him after he heard from the Cardinals all of the reasons he should not make the money he and his agent thought he should make.
    Personally, I probably would not have taken that approach.
    But I wouldn't hand out a wrestling belt on the other side, either.
    The animosity between players and teams that has continued to build as the negotiation window for the new collective bargaining agreement approaches continues to make baseball look bad.
    Blaming it specifically on the players is a shortsighted view, in my opinion.
    The idea that players have to take what they are offered and like it is not true.
    Flaherty just proved that.
    You said you're not convinced Flaherty won't be with the Cardinals long-term. If he pitches anywhere close to how he's supposed to, he'll get paid at least $25M/year in free agency. With the Goldschmidt and Arenado salaries (especially with Arenado's deferred money, assuming he doesn't opt-out), do you think the Cardinals would commit that big of a chunk of their total payroll to just 3 players?
    That free agency doesn't come until 2024, as things stand right now.
    That's a long time to bet on yourself annually while ignoring the security of an extension, one that might not offer free-agent dollars but would offer plenty of wealth and security for one of the most volatile positions in pro sports.
    If Carpenter looks hot at spring training, could be our leadoff hitter on opening day and appear at 2nd or LF? (Assuming no DH.)
    You're going to upset the chat with this one.
    I think the Cardinals hope Carpenter hits, and that they will find ways to use him if he does.
    I think it would be more likely that Edman, not Carpenter, shifts to the outfield if that happens.
    Will Carlson win ROY? Make your prediction here!
    He's actually a pretty good one to bet on, because he got so much run last season and still enters this season with rookie qualifications. Sure, why not? You heard it here first.
    Ben, sorry but I watched Carpenter serve at the DH last year amid a 1-for-22 slump on September 21st vs KC. He hit a HR, his only hit of the series, but it kept him in the starting line-up for the rest of the season. My point is that it doesn't matter what I see, Shildt and the Cards clearly have a different agenda when it comes to Matt Carpenter. The same can be said for Carlos Martinez too.
  • Brad Miller totaled 102 DH at-bats to Matt Carpenter's 44 last season.
    Miller struggled in September, to the point that he and Carpenter were more or less the same hitter for that month, especially in terms of on-base percentage.
    If your point is the Cardinals should add a more proven and dangerous DH if that rule returns, I completely agree with you.
    If you are just mad that Matt Carpenter exists, I don't know what else to say.
    The regrettable extension pays him a lot of money until it's over.
    He's not going to never, ever get a chance.
    And yes, the Cardinals DO want him to rebound. They would love for him to do that. And they are going to say that, loudly, because they both want it to happen and they want him to hear they want it to happen.
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