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 is having a fine Tuesday so far. It will only get better from here. I'm in the saddle for the long haul today. Fire away.
    How many more poor starts(1,2,3) will C. Mart. get before someone else gets put into the rotation?
    It's always interesting with Carlos, including the Cardinals' handling of him.
    Headed to spring training, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak made it very clear that Carlos was not guaranteed a spot in the rotation, and that he was going to have to earn it through competition.
    Then Mikolas and Kim got hurt, and the tune changed into how Carlos had earned his spot with his performance.
    Huh?
    I didn't see a spring training that screamed that.
    Not close.
    And Carlos' performance so far this season has not said it either.
    I think the Cardinals have to consider if Johan Oviedo is a better option, even after Kim likely replaces Ponce de Leon.
    Some will point to Gant, but Gant can steadily give you five innings and a chance to win.
    Can Carlos do the same?
    We haven't seen that yet.
    So whats the answer for cards? Feddie had 27.00 era and we only scratch one run on him. Jeff albert not working out? Too much talent and two star players should mean more runs
    They have to figure out how to get something close to average offensive production out of their outfield, more than anything else.
    If they can find a combination that gets them close to that through riding the hot hand, platooning and prioritizing matchups, they will score some more runs.
    Totally fair to wonder if they can't, with this current group. We're going to find out.
    Paul DeJong being in a bad slump doesn't help either.
    He's miscast as a cleanup hitter, and should respond better now that he's been moved down.
    Did the Cards make a mistake by not extending Reyes to make him a starter this year seeing how electric his stuff was this spring and having Hicks look so good coming off Tommy John? With our poor starting pitching these two top arms may not get in enough relevant situations.
    Considering we are seeing so many short starts from the starters with the Cardinals and across the league in general, I'm still not sure why the Cardinals decided the best use for Reyes was not planning out his workload via starts and letting him pitch in that capacity while building toward being a starter in 2022. I think it would have been best for him, the goal for him and for the rotation -- at least it looks that way so far. Especially when you remember Carlos Martinez has been quite effective in save situations in the past. He could have been the Hicks helper instead of Reyes.
    Paranko looked a little awkward and uncertain in moments during this last game. Would you say he's playing at about 70%? What are his chances of keeping on the ice for the duration of the season?
    He's limited, clearly. But if he's back now, I imagine they'll have to pull him off the ice with a winch if he's going to leave moving forward. Every game is more important than the next now. He's showing a lot of toughness.
  • Will Hoffman's two goal game get him increased minutes or will he soon be back in Berube dog house and be a healthy scratch?
    The injury to Robert Thomas means a lot more for Hoffman's playing time than the two-goal game. He was expendable then. Now he's not. He and Chief have to pretend to like each other enough until the season is over. It's business.
    Hey Ben. Turning things around on you a bit today. We all love to complain about the misses from our F.O. Arozarena, Voit, not letting Grichuk just be Grichuk etc. Tell us about a few of your misses. A few players that either you really thought were going to become mainstays in the rotation / lineup but just did not pan out, or players you sort of dismissed that turned out to be studs. I think my biggest one is probably Matt Adams, who was a nice player but man, I thought that dude was going to be a beast. On the pitching side, I was pretty ok with moving Alcantara and Gallen as part of the trade for Ozuna. Ozuna's futility aside, I would really love to have either of those two pitchers back.
    I don't think Grichuk was a miss.
    He's been in Toronto who he was here in St. Louis.
    He's just had more regular playing time.
    I thought Ozuna was going to be a big-time player in St. Louis. He was one of their most consistent hitters when he was here, but he wasn't the player I thought he would be, for whatever reasons, whether it was the shoulder, the pressure, the lack of help in the lineup, or a combination of them all. His best offensive seasons have been the season before he joined the Cardinals and the season after the left. I didn't blink at the names going out when they made the trade, either.
    I didn't think Christian Yelich was all that. He's since been an MVP.
    Question, and I know that this is not something that even enters the mind of either the player, the manager, or the F.O. right now. It is purely conjecture. Do you think that the way in which this team has tried so very hard to resurrect Matt Carpenter has hurt his chances of getting a red jacket? I mean, he had some incredibly years. Had he just sort of followed the usual trajectory of going from great, to ok maybe let's use him off the bench instead, to retirement, then I feel like he would be in the Cardinals HOF. But man, two or three years of just the constant lack of execution and the fans have gone from "Yes! Carp is up next!" to "Oh man, not this guy again". It just feels like, for a lot of fans, the lasting memory of Matt Carpenter is going to negative.
    The fans will get their chance to decide, I imagine. Cardinals HOF is a fan vote. The team and a panel of consultants makes the ballot. I've got nothing to do with any of it.
    My opinion is that the negativity currently surrounding Carpenter will probably fade quite a bit by the time that time comes. When his career is viewed in full, it will be one of a Cardinals leadoff hitter who revolutionized that spot and a player who was willing to go wherever he was asked, shapeshifting as asked to make the team better. I used to think he was a lock. Now I'm not so sure. The contract extension has been regrettable, but he didn't give it to himself, and I'll never blame a guy for not walking away from $20.5 million. None of us would.
    Will Areanado be able to have a "back of his card" production year considering he's on a new team w increased expectations and he's only one of two established hitters in the lineup?
    He's off to a pretty representative start, even though his nine-game hitting streak got snapped last night. I don't know that his slugging percentage is going to be as high now that he's not playing home games at Coors Field but he's been every bit the dynamic hitter that was advertised. I still think the best thing for the lineup would be getting Carlson up to No. 2 so you could roll out Edman, Carlson, Goldschmidt, Arenado and Molina every day.
  • Ben, I seldom pick on Mozaliak since he has a winning track record. He deserves credit for landing Goldschmidt and Arenado although the Cards were mostly the recipients of salary dumps. His other trades, free agent and contract signings in the past five years have been dreadful. Better players have been moved, lesser skilled players remain with the team. And the payroll is hamstrung by bad contracts given to aging non-performing players. The outfield is still in shambles and the rotation justifies the pre-season predictions by many of the Cards first losing season in 13 years. Lastly, the minor league talent is scarce with no impact players on the horizon anytime soon. Ben, maybe I’m being too pessimistic but this team sure has flaws and might only be the third best team in the weak NLCS. Thoughts?
    Yes, I would say you are being a bit pessimistic.
    I don't understand the idea of diminishing impact trades for Goldschmidt and Arenado. There are plenty of Mozeliak decisions to question, like the fact Andrew Miller is lookin spent and of course the regrettable Matt Carpenter extension, and the missed call on Randy Arozarena's ceiling.
    But attempting to knock trades that acquired two of the best players in the National League weakens your argument of Cardinals doomsday more than supports it.
    Especially when these chats used to be full of complaints the Cardinals would not go out and find a way to land a star.
    I don't see a lack of good players on the horizon. I see Matthew Liberatore and Nolan Gorman and Zack Thompson and Ivan Herrera and Delvin Perez.
    I'll be surprised if the Cardinals are the third-best team in the division when the race is over.
    They need to get their starting pitching and their outfield figured out, but I don't think they're going to sit there and let both derail their season.
    We'll see.
    Are you surprised that Army didn't unload Hoffman at the deadline? Was the seeing eye tying goal he scored the deciding factor since he's been a healthy scratch multiple times lately?
    No, Robert Thomas injury had to have been the difference maker.
    I appreciate Shildt taking responsibility for what happened in the middle innings last night but he was in an impossible situation in my opinion. The team is struggling to score runs right now but the bullpen is getting burnt out. He needed Gant to give him at least another inning and Gant didn’t come through. The managers job is to take the criticism but he could’ve been second guessed no matter which way he went in that situation.
    I've yet to see what, exactly, Shildt did wrong in the game.
    It's honorable that he fell on the sword, and I think he's trying to take some heat of his guys by doing so, but at some point you have to get some innings out of your starters or the bullpen is going to be useless.
    Shildt made a much worse call the game before by letting Ponce de Leon come back out for the second. That should have been the one he apologized for, not the handling of Gant last night.
    Gant had been pitching well. He executed two sac bunts, so his at-bats were not useless. He was pulled after the Schwarber double, and the score was 2-1. National League teams this season are averaging 4.16 runs per game. That game was still within reach, and if the Cardinals' lineup was functioning properly it would have been.
    I think a big part of the Cards problems stem from the FO wanting to win in some grand fashion where they can tout all their smarts with their system guys, their draft picks they developed, and their “devil magic.” When they won Game 7 ten years ago, they had a converted catcher closing it out, a free agent 2nd baseman batting leadoff, and two guys they drafted and developed (aside from Pujols) in the starting line-up. The front office could take some credit for unearthing talent, but the bulk of the team was still proven major leaguers. You look at the roster today and it is the inverse, it is almost all guys they drafted and developed or found, aside from Goldy and Arenado, and none of them are established beyond a small sampling of success. And, frankly, it’s not working. And to make it worse, they keep doubling and tripling down on these guys all while justifying it with convenient analytic trends . Maybe it is time for the FO to worry less about winning on their terms and just focus on winning games.
    I think the big part of their current problem is that they have a mostly minor league outfield and aren't getting quality starts from their rotation.
    The roster is not homegrown only. Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, as you mentioned, were trades. Tyler O'Neill was a trade. Austin Dean was a trade. Justin Williams was a trade. Lane Thomas was a trade. In fact an argument could be made that the Cardinals would have been much better off if they did what you suggested they should stop doing -- coveting their prospects -- and kept Randy Arozarena while not trading for Marcell Ozuna, because while that would have kept them from picking up Liberatore in the Arozarena trade, it would have meant they kept both Sandy Alcantara and Zac Gallen, who were scheduled to be the opening-day starters in Miami and Arizona before Gallen got hurt.
    Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but the notion this team is only relying on draft-and-develops is not accurate. Lack of proven players is accurate, indeed.
    You know your team is in trouble when they release the game line-up and your first reaction is "why isn't Austin dean starting tonight?!"
  • It's going to be a spin cycle for a while: Dean, Williams, Carpenter (at second with Edman in the outfield) and Thomas are all going to get some cuts.
    The Cardinals very much would love for someone to make the carousel stop spinning with undeniable performance.
    So how long can the bullpen keep floating innings?
  • It's already hurting.
    Keeping guys from their proper roles and such.
    Cardinals starters have pitched 43.1 innings through 10 games.
    Cardinals relievers have pitched 44.2.
    Only two teams in the majors have bullpens that have handled more innings through 10 games.
    Only one team, the Athletics (4-7) have had more batters faced by relievers than the Cardinals' 195, and the A's have played 11 games, not 10.
    Jack Flaherty's lone quality start is still the only one on the team.
    As Shildt said, it's not a sustainable model.
  • What if this season starts cratering early? What's the FO's contingency plan, specifically for retaining Arenado? He just left a bad baseball team.
    Tack is always looking for the silver lining :)
    As I said leaving spring training, the recruitment of Arenado starts now.
    He's said he's here for the long haul, but you have to think improvements made to a teams' chances to contend during the season will strengthen that commitment, or not.
    Ben,

    What is the overall feel around the Blues right now? Are they finding some magic over the last week or is this fool's gold to keep hope alive for another magical run (ala 2019)?
    Hopefully the endorsement from Armstrong that he would rather see them play this thing out than whack off a piece or two to help the future should add some spunk. They don't have a fire burning yet, but they've got a little baby flame. Armstrong didn't snuff it out. Its' on the team to bring it to a roar. If these guys can get into the postseason, there's really no telling what they might do. They haven't had much time to play with all of their key players together. I like the trade-deadline stand down by Armstrong. This group should get a chance to write its own fate now that it's mostly healthy. Mostly, not fully.
    Assuming the current problems with OF and SP continue, much of which can be blamed on a lethargic, wishful-thinking front office ... what do you think it will take for the Cardinals to prove to Arenado that he shouldn't opt out?
    Unless he changes his mind, that doesn't seem to be much of a concern.
    But it's totally fair to point out he's changed his mind before.
    He grew restless with the Rockies, for example.
    Besides his personal clash with the Rockies GM, he was frustrated by the fact there was a lack of follow-up moves to get better after he was signed to the extension. I think a guy who is desperate to win a ring is going to get restless when he sees teams around the league adding while his sits, whether it's Colorado or St. Louis. And the opt-outs do give him leverage if he thinks the Cardinals' commitment to winning big is not what he thought from afar.
    There's a long road before that decision has to be made or revisited though.
  • Do we even need a hitting coach anymore? I only ask because a hitting coach, while he may do wonders for one player, may not be helpful to another player. I’m told that some players will even go outside the organization for help. Players today have hours and hours of video they can watch. Most players are astute enough can look at video from a time when they were hitting well as opposed to when they aren’t and see what they are doing wrong or need to change. I just can’t imagine Jeff Albert will be on this staff much longer if things keep going the way they are. If players are not responding to, and reaping the benefits of his philosophy, what ever that might be, then maybe you need a different voice. Maybe someone more (Jim Edmonds) respected. Again… do baseball teams even need hitting coach’s anymore?
    If teams didn't have hitting coaches, who would get fired when a lineup can't be flipped?
    I'm kidding, mostly.
    You all know I have not been singing the praises of Albert.
    I think this is the make-or-break year for him.
    I don't see the Cardinals pivoting away from him after 10 games, though.
    If that was the case they would have let him go or reassigned him to a different role this offseason.
    Yes, many players on many teams have individualized hitting coaches or people they work with.
    That used to be a sign of problems with the team hitting coach, maybe.
    Now it's pretty common, and the good hitting coaches build a bridge between players' individual instructors and the team to make sure lines of communication are open.
    Think of it like a trainer.
    Guys have their individual workouts during the offseason that they like. It doesn't necessarily mean the team's training staff is bad.
    What you don't want is one trainer coaching power lifting while the other coaches marathon running, if that clumsy analogy makes sense.
    You want everyone on the same page, speaking the same language, more or less.
    As for Albert, specifically, it is not a ringing endorsement that one of his most outspoken defenders, Paul DeJong, is struggling mightily to start the season.
    And Jim Edmonds' continued conversations on the TV broadcasts about how many of the hitters he talks to on a regular basis about hitting does open the door to questions about what guys may or may not be getting from Albert.
    That has become a very interesting subplot for those following along closely, as I'm sure many of you are.
    What will it take to make an external move to improve the Cardinals OF offense? What would a timeline around that look like?
    It would take the production and/or standings reaching a point where the Cardinals decide to expedite their sorting through of internal options, which they committed to this offseason and maintained after Bader went down during spring training. The trade deadline is a natural time to upgrade if you want to, because the deadline forces teams to act when it comes to buying or selling. The availability of outfielders with solid histories of power -- but a lack of it recently -- makes things a little more interesting for the sake of speculation. Ryan Braun and Yoenis Cespedes are free agents. Puig seems to be being viewed as untouchable, but he's not the only outfield hail mary unsigned at the moment.
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