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 everyone's week is off to a good start. A little programming note before we begin. Next week's chat will be on the day of opening day, Thursday, instead of Tuesday. So, mark you schedules accordingly. Now, let's roll.
    Grade each of the local men’s basketball teams seasons: SLU, Mizzou, Illini
    Illinois: B-minus. This was supposed to be a very good season for the Illini. And they made some sweet memories, especially that Big Ten tournament championship. But that loss to Loyola will sting, as will not getting more out of the Ayo era.
    Mizzou: C-plus. People forget the Tigers were picked to finish 10th in the SEC this season. I wrote a column saying the team might be better than people think and got laughed at. Well, I was right. Missouri making the tournament is always at least a C season. Sorry, but a program that has zero Final Fours needs to have realistic expectations. Now everyone says the team will be no good next season, but the same people were saying that last season.
    SLU: Incomplete. I'm not convinced Billikens would have been an NCAA Tournament lock if they had not missed so much time due to the virus, but no one can know. I don't knock the Bills for losing in the NIT. No one wants to playin that thing. Travis has never beat a top-25 team. That's a problem that needs to be fixed.
    Busted. I liked West Virginia and Iowa. But my champ, Baylor, is still in it. Matter and Tom T are ahead of the me in the P-D pool.
    What do you suppose the Cardinals really hope Reyes emerges as this season-light's out closer, 8th inning man, long reliever on days Redbird starter is out early but the team is holding a slim lead, etc.?
    Sounds to me like Shildt likes him for setup and save opportunities.
    I bet we see a lot of him in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.
    Shildt mentioned him again this morning as an option for early closer reps.
    Hicks is not going to be viewed as THE closer entering the season.
    Reyes will get some of those shots.
    Has the club yet signaled that Bader's lack of consistent performance at the plate particularly against tough opposing righties is forcing their hand to the point where we could see him being relegated to a quasi-platoon type role to open the season?
    Remember when I said entering spring -- often -- that none of the outfield positions are as secure as the team might make them sound. It's still true, and Bader has had a spring that does not suggest he has the answer to that question that is standing in the way of him ending this discussion. He is not a league average hitter, or close, against right-handed pithing. Don't be surprised if we see some of what we see today -- Lane Thomas starting in center field -- during the season against right-handed pitching to get Lane Thomas or Justin Williams reps. If Thomas would have had a better spring he would have been forcing this conversation, but he's cooled considerably.
  • I hope the carp experiment at second base ends. He isnr a second baseman. Thats what edman and sosa are for
    What will or won't get Carpenter opportunities is his bat.
    So far, it's doing him no favors.
    He's going to be on the bench with few reps coming his way unless something changes on his end or in front of him.
    Disappointing spring after disappointing seasons, plural.
    His contract is large and his track record is significant. The team will not move as fast as many fans want when the topic turns to cutting ties early. But he has been downgraded from starter to potential multi-use guy to bench player.
    He's playing a lot this spring, in games that don't count, to try to get him going.
    Opportunities are going to be few and far between come the regular season if this is as good as he can swing it, and there appears to be no evidence of otherwise.
    Thank you and everyone who has these chats. It is exciting for MLB to return and to have some fans in the stands! But can we please stop talking about Matt Carpenter all day long? We get it, he sucks this Spring. Maybe it is over, but the reality is they have to give him a chance before the season starts. Tons of money invested. It is what it is. Why do you think fans can't understand the business behind these decisions in SPRING TRAINING GAMES THAT DON'T COUNT??? (PS Yes I understand my own hypocrisy in asking not to talk about Matt Carpenter while talking about Matt Carpenter)
    It does seem to be a lot of obsession about a guy who's going to sit on the bench a lot. If Carpenter was starting every day and leading off, I would understand. He's not. He's been steered into a role that doesn't hurt the team much if he does not perform and one that could help the team if he does perform. The contract is regrettable, yep. But the Cardinals gave it to him for a reason. They believe in him and want him to succeed. They've checked those expectations pretty significantly since then. Carpenter is not going to be the player who makes or breaks the Cardinals season, and he's far from the only under-performing veteran contract around the league. Alas, every single year there seems to be one player who gets avalanched upon. It's Carpenter's turn I suppose.
    Would it be possible to have just one chat without questions and discussions about one reserve player who would be the highest paid reserve for the Cardinals? By this time, anyone who cares should have their own opinion. The Cards position has been stated as have various writers opinions. What else of value could be added? Thanks for the consideration.
    I just answer the questions that come in. Feel free to steer us in any direction nyou like :)
    I heard you touch on this on the radio last night, I think its a great point. Players such as O'Neill were told to adjust to the shift, and it clearly has paid off in the spring. Yet the organization makes excuse after excuse for Carpenter repeatedly hitting into the shift.
    Yes, there is some double talk there. When another player beats the shift, there is praise. When Carpenter hits into the shift, it's described almost as bad luck? Sorry, that doesn't fly. I mean the Cardinals can say it, but no one has to buy it.
  • Ben, I’ve been in Las Vegas watching the NCAA. Looking at some baseball futures, the Pirates are at 59 wins. Are they really that bad given they should win 30 games within the horribly weak NLC? Leaning toward the over. FYI, the Cards are 85 wins which seems high given their very weak rotation.
    The Central has toned up a bit since the dog days of the offseason. The Brewers are looking pretty good, and not just because Kolten Wong is raking for them at leadoff. I wouldn't bet on the Vegas upside for the Pirates. They are not in it to compete this year. There's more excitement in Pittsburgh about which Vanderbilt pitcher (Kumar Rocker or Al Leiter's son, Jack) the Pirates will be drafting.
    In Dylan Carlson now becoming a regular despite him losing out last season on at least a few hundred of extra at-bats with the entire minor league season being cancelled in 2020 do you get the sense the team may be forcing timing a bit here despite hoping and praying it all works out best for all concerned?
    Not really, no. Carlson's got nothing left to prove in the minors. The lineup has been improved by the addition of Arenado. That means Carlson can be used lower in the order if he's searching or bumped up high -- I like him at No. 2 -- if he's in a good place.
    Do you think some small school coaches, like porter moser, are better suited to stay at small schools than taking jobs at bigger programs? At the small schools they can recruit good players, but also players that specifically fit their system. At bigger schools there is more pressure to get the best players even if they don’t fit the coaches system.
    If I'm Porter Moser, I would go to my bosses after the tournament and ask them to build their best package to keep me. I would tell them to cut no corners and put it all on the line, because they will get just once chance to throw the kitchen sink at what other schools will offer, offers Loyola won't be able to match. But I would want to know what that difference is, and if it's not that much, in the grand scheme of things, I would stay at Loyola and keep things rolling and enjoy Teflon job security. If he leaves because the money makes too much sense, Marquette would be a great option for him. Indiana might want him, but I'm not so sure I would return the desire. Massive expectations. Ticking clock from the moment you say yes. Huge pressure and tons of meddlers. I think the guys who have this coaching thing figured out make the job the have the one they want.
    BenFred,

    Even with the great addition of Arenado, the Cardinals offense may sink or swim based on the outfields production. Despite the small downgrade in defense, do you think the best offensive outfield alignment is O'neil, Carlson, and Thomas/Williams?
    Bader's pretty dang good against lefties.
    I would not rule him out entirely.
    I think the best outfield alignment is the one that maximizes hot bats and matchups. 
    I think all of these guys are going to play, and I think there's a decent chance both Thomas and Williams make the team.
    Ben,

    Yesterday, Hummel made it perfectly clear that Carpenter was a bench bat and it was silly to get worked up about him. I totally understand that there is a difference between fan angst about him being a starter, and understanding he is a bench player now. However, he was the last player who needed this kind of spring, and I don't know about you, but he certainly doesn't pass the eye test. His swing looks slower, his pitch recognition is worse, his exit velo is down. I get that he has hit some hard outs, but mostly those have been right into the shift, and he could hit a ball at 200mph exit velo, if he hits it right at the second basement in the outfield, its still an out. I don't expect the Cardinals to release him, but if his production doesn't get better by June, how do you see this playing out?
    No one is saying he's had a good spring.
    It's been bad.
    As far as what happens if this continues into the regular season, there are really only three options.
    The Cardinals ride it out and just barely play him. The Cardinals pay him to walk away; he's owed $20.5 million if so. Carpenter retires or opts out and walks away from his money or negotiates some sort of alternative agreement with the team.
    I get that there is a logjam in the outfield but even seeing what Carp or Nogowski could do in a pinch would be worthwhile?
    The Cards have poured cold water on any notion of Carpenter in the outfield all spring.
    If he's in there, he plays second and Edman goes to the outfield.
    That makes a lot more sense.
    As for Nogowski, I agree. Would have been nice to see him out there a bit. Hasn't happened other than when he's shagging balls. If the Cardinals wanted to see it, we would have seen it by now.
    Nogowski has minor-league options left, and he's found just one at-bat since Mach 19. Seems to me like Cards are finding reasons to remove him from the picture a bit here late. That tends to happen around this time of year to guys who have played like they deserve a spot the team is not yet willing to give. We'll see.
    Can someone explain to me how Will Wade and Bill Self are still employeed? Read today's article on how their heading out on the recruiting trail, despite the allegations surrounding their respective programs. If/when the NCAA ever decides to rule on this, what happens to these coaches, and more importantly, schools/programs for continuing to employ them, especially when FBI wiretaps have audio of impersissible activity in Wade's case. But, rogue tutor at Mizzou and all...
    Brue Pearl as well.
    It's a joke.
    There's an anvil hanging over their heads.
    It will drop eventually.
    Any parent who lets their kid commit to one of those schools without clarity on what is coming is . . . not very well informed.
    What would it take to move CMart to the pen? I think he’s much better when he can unleash the fastball.
    He would have to be bad to terrible at a starter.
    Mikolas and Kim would have to be back and healthy.
    The rotation turbulence this spring turned the discussion of Martinez earning a spot in the starting five, to needing to help carry the rotation as a relied-upon starter.
    If that makes you uneasy, I would say that's a smart reaction.
    Do the cardinals really see Ponce as a starter? I’m worried about him because he only throws one pitch and unsuccessful throws another. He walks a lot of batters. His pitch after one time trough also seems to be hit hard. I think he would be an awesome bullpen guy.
  • He's a fringe guy. Just good enough to make you wonder. But I tend to agree. John Gant has been a more obvious starter candidate this spring. He will be in the rotation to start the season. Pone de Leon's placement could depend on Kim's return. He's supposed to pitch in a Grapefruit League game before the Cardinals get out of here. If Pone needs to make a spot start here or there, all good. If the Cardinals were going to rely on him as a starter all season I think that would be problematic.
  • Carp and Bader are a combined 2 for 57 in ST. I get that it is only ST, but that is U G L Y! Is Bader's defense such a premium, or better yet is it so much better than the next best player's, that this team is willing to just pencil him in, offensive output be damned? Sometimes it seems like the team is willing to make a lot of concessions and ignore the eye test on him, to support his inclusion in the everyday line-up.
    Bader can't start every day if he can't hit right-handed pitching.
    Tyler O'Neill can play center.
    So can Lane Thomas.
    The carousel will be spinning this season, signs suggest this spring.
    Illini fan here unfortunately, do you think with the extra year of eligibility granted by NCAA we will see many seniors come back next year?
    Tough break for your team. Loyola was under-seeded. That should have been a later-round matchup. It's a good question, and my mind says yes, but I realize these decisions are not always made with the mind. I guess I'm the only person on Earth who thinks Jeremiah Tilmon should come back to Mizzou, for example. He's gotten a lot better but he has shown no range and can't make free throws. He can play overseas, but he says he wants to play in the NBA. I don't see him sticking there without developing some range. My rule is first-round guys (locks) should always go and get the money. Guys who are fringe first-rounders and second rounders should think about coming back to improve and try again, and now every player has that chance. But remember, this has not been a typical year for these guys. No campus environment. Not much fun other than on the court. No fans. It's been a rather bleak season for college basketball players. I can understand if a lot of guys are just ready to turn the page even if they're not sure what they're turning it to. Should have added this: Ayo should go. Kofi is probably at his ceiling and should too, right? But maybe there's another level to his game that college could help him unlock? Back to Mizzou, if Pinson tries to go pro that will be a really big mistake. Maybe he transfers. There's clearly some tension between him and the staff and or team that played out late in the one-and-done tournament game.
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