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.

    Ben, I fans who are all over Matt Carpenter just need to take a deep breath, let it out and remember, if he continues batting under .100 and the Cardinals keep muddling along at a .500 clip then things will have to change. You’re not going to be able to afford to keep an aging player with no arm, no speed, and no bat in the lineup or on the bench just because you owe him some money. I think we learned that from Fowler. Bader coming back is not the answer either. Thomas, Carlson, and Dean will need time to figure it out. O’Neil has had plenty of time to show if he’s meant to be in the majors or not. He’s leaning towards, “or not”.
    Bader would be helping this outfield more than hurting it.
    He's got a .721 career OPS as a high-level defender.
    The current Cardinals outfield is producing an OPS of .615.
    Folks who are honked off at Carpenter getting some chances at least have to admit no one else is demanding he doesn't get any.
    If someone does, he's going to sit.
    If no one does, he's going to keep getting chances.
    This team's problem is not Matt Carpenter at the moment.
    Paul DeJong is lost at the plate. Why haven’t the cardinals played Sosa or even given him a chance? When Tommy plays right and Marp is getting at bats he clearly doesn’t deserve doesn’t that send a negative message to younger players in the organization? Also will Knizner ply over under 40 games. Him not catching yet is ludicrous
    The Cardinals aren't going to bench DeJong unless he's hurt or needs some sort of a mental reset. They clearly see Sosa as a defense-only player, pretty much. He's had all of 11 at-bats in the majors, and they don't like going to him for pinch-hit opportunities much. Jose Rondon should probably replace him on the bench if there's such a reluctance to use him, especially if the offense continues to struggle. Sosa is out of options, so he had the upper hand. But there's no sense in keeping a player who is not being used just to keep a team from taking him. Especially if there's a bat that could be used more effectively, like Rondon, available. Rondon can handle some shortstop. If something happens where there's more of a defensive need there, Edman can play there, too. Sosa just doesn't seem to have much of a role on Shildt's bench. Knizner isn't going to play much this season unless Molina is hurt. He's definitely not going to play much when Molina is swinging the bat like this. He's averaging .353 with a .410 on-base percentage and a .588 slugging percentage. And hitting cleanup.
  • If our pitching continues to struggle, I don’t see how Cardinal management could not reconsider letting Reyes start a game now and then. Oviedo and Woodford should get spot starts as well. Ponce is so “Jekyll and Hyde” you never know what you’re going to get from one start to the next. Do you think there is a chance we may see Liberatore in the rotation by the All-Star game if things don’t start turning around for some of these guys?
  • That decision has been made and will not be reversed, as I understand it.
    Reyes has been steered toward single-inning appearances since the call was made.
    The longer he's in that role the harder and more risky it gets to trying to stretch him back out on the fly.
    With Matt Carp's prolonged slump to start the season being front of mind, what time horizons does the coaching staff or front office review performance under? Obviously they don't scrutinize every at bat or game like we do as fans, but in a results-based industry, you can only hang your hat on "good approaches" for so long.
    It depends on the player, the track record and, yes, the contract.
    But you knew that.
    For all the (understandable) concerns that have been expressed about Jeff Albert's job as hitting coach, is there any talk regarding Mike Maddux and the rotation's horrid start, or is that being chalked up to the team simply not having the personnel they wanted to start the year?
    The Chatsters have not come for Mad Dog yet.
    If the rotation keeps clunking along, it's just a matter of time.
    Kim returning should help, but expecting him alone to be the solution would be unrealistic.
    I think the Cardinals should consider putting Oviedo in the rotation as well, whether it's for Carlos Martinez of John Gant.
    But Gant at least seems to be able to give you 5 innings of winnable starting pitching.
    Martinez might have a higher ceiling but his risk factor continues to be greater.
    If Ponce and CMart get pushed to the pen (because of Kim/Oviedo/Mikolas) does that present a squeeze in the bullpen?
    Martinez doesn't like pitching out of the bullpen but he has a proven track record of doing it well in high-leverage spots.
    Ponce de Leon would be a long relief type, but the Cardinals have plenty of those, and if he's struggling to throw strikes than that's not a great place for him, either.
    Mo and Shildt have referenced "past performance" when explaining why some players are receiving the continued benefit of the doubt. No one has clearly defined the word "past" but my assumption is that it means "3-4 years ago" because that is when most of these struggling veterans had any results consistent with the opportunities they continue to receive.
    Depends on who it's being used for.
    Carpenter's slide started in September of 2018.
    DeJong hit 30 homers in the 2019 season.
    DeJong is getting more benefit of the doubt than Carpenter, but already the actions are showing what words do not.
    Carpenter's been moved to a bench spot.
    DeJong has already been shifted out of the cleanup spot.
    Actions mean more than words.
  • I believe Knizner has great potential. But Yadi is being Yadi. How do we get most value out of Knizner? Makes sense for him to go to AAA and showcase for other teams?
    Not much left for him to prove at Class AAA.
    Right now his job is to provide the most value he can as the backup, whether that's making the occasional start, coming in a lopsided game late or getting a big pinch-hit chance off the bench.
    He's getting the benefit of working with the major leaguers and seeing up close and personal how games are managed and called.
    He can benefit from that experience if he takes advantage of it, even if and when it's frustrating.
    For the future of Carlson: corner outfield or center? Great throw last night
    He looks just fine in center to me. You?
    Any insight on Gant’s mentality? He seemed to get in jams and then pitch his way out of them (something that would be nice in the pen)
    Well, yeah, he's been one of the Cards' most reliable relievers before he moved back into the rotation. Right now he's needed in the rotation because he can give five solid winnnable innings more times than not. KK likely takes Ponce de Leon's place. Depending on what happens from there with Mikolas and Oviedo -- whose performance could force a change -- then a change that added a starter with more upside would improve the bullpen because of Gant's reliability as a reliever.
    The narrative that anyone has to earn a spot is tired and simply not true. Carlos is going to get a spot. Carpenter has done nothing to warrant a jersey, let alone a spot outside of his awful contract, and others have consistently struggled in the 10 games so far. All the while Nogowski and Sosa keep getting shelved. Austin Dean has a few good games and finds himself on the bench in favor of guys who haven’t produced. The moves being made are about money instead of winning ballgames.
    A narrative that playing time and opportunity is decided from scratch at every spring training is one that will be proven false, yes. Because that is not true and never has been. If that was the case, Paul Goldschmidt would be benched for John Nogowski. I don't think that is a better team. I imagine you would agree. Sosa is clearly the odd man out here. If he's not going to be used, he should be replaced with a player who will get some action. I agree Nogowski should get some chances in the outfield. Why not? He hit his way onto the team, but now can't find more than the occasional at-bat. As for as the others -- Carpenter, Dean, Williams, Thomas -- it's pretty clear opportunities are going to be spread out between them all depending on the day and the matchup. If someone makes it clear that should change, then it will. Yes, some have to do more than others. Guys with track records and contracts get the benefit of the doubt. As it is with most teams, and businesses.
    It seems like the Cards should be looking at adding a veteran FA who could potentially stabilize the back end of the rotation, whether Hamels or Sanchez or Samardzija. Any good reason for the team to not already look at adding one of these three (all of whom were solid in 2019 before last year's weirdness), especially given the uncertainty about Mikolas' availability going forward?
  • Their hope that Kim and Mikolas will get healthy and perform is the biggest reason for waiting. If they don't get healthy and don't perform, or if the rotation breaks down in another way, then there could be better upgrade options available around the trade deadline than the current passed-over free-agent starters.
    I am of the considered opinion that this Cardinals team kind of stinks or is at least very pedestrian. The infield and Yadi are fine although I wish DeJong would hit more. Carlson is going to be a fixture in the outfield and Justin Williams is showing indications that he has a pulse. The outfield, in general, is still a drag on the team. If the Cardinals would be satisfied with Grichuk-like (Grichukian?) stats, why did they let him go? Why can't the Cardinals brain trust make good decisions when it comes to outfield talent? Thanks.
    In general the Cardinals have had a harder time producing position players than pitchers, so that's a start. Ozuna did not prove to be a long-term solution, so that continued the search. What appears so far to be a misread on Randy Arozarena's ceiling hurt them as well, and increased their interest in making sure they don't ship out another internal candidate they might regret not finding more of a chance for later. That's the recent rundown. This season the outfield plan was to sort through things once and for all. So far the sorting has been sapped by injuries to Bader and O'Neill and not producing much evidence there is a rock-solid starter other than Carlson in the mix. How long the Cardinals commit to the experiment is going to be interesting to see if the unit continued to produce some of the most meager numbers we're seeing around the majors. It's a hard thing to do, trying to balance being a team that wants to division with a team that is treating its outfield as a tryout. Might be an impossible thing to do. We'll see.
    The Birds are hard to watch. At what point do Mo/Mike cry uncle and admit O'Neil and Bader are not going to hit big league pitching at or above MLB league average. This strikeout-duo should not be on the same team, let alone in the lineup at the same time. Their inability to adjust per pitcher's strength is mind-numbing. Williams appears to possess the ability to adjust.

    Would it not wise to: Attempt to acquire a LHOF with pop, ie Gallo, Peralta, Polanco, Meadows, Tauchman and play Carlson in CF and use Bader as a defensive replacement for the least skilled defensive OF. I can live with Gallo's strikeouts due to his power upside and defensive ability. Please fire Albert Today, put Oviedo into the rotation, make a trade for a LHOF. This team is close, but there are glaring weaknesses. Hurry!
    O'Neill and Bader are both in the injured list.
    Someone else will have to be blamed for the time being.
    Yes, the Cardinals look like a team that could use a more proven outfielder.
    They did entering camp, leaving it and 10 games into the season.
    have you heard any of the players talking about the performance of the new baseballs? what do the early numbers say? is there a change? if so, is it what baseball was hoping for?
    "Slicker" is a term I've heard used once or twice do describe them. By the end of the month we will be able to compare April 2019 to April 2021. I'm not sure we should compare anything to 2020, to be honest. So far this season teams are averaging 1.17 home runs per game. Last season it was 1.28. In 2019 it was 1.39. It's the first month and conditions are cold. We should see more informative numbers soon. The goal is to have fewer "cheap" home runs and more balls in play.
    If Carlson gets sent down and comes back up last year and goes on a tear it makes you wonder what Jeff Albert is doing to him and the rest of the hitters because it looks like he back to where he was before he was before he was sent down.
    It does? He's got three home runs in 10 games. Last season he had three in 35 before the playoffs, when he played great. Last night was just his third multi-strikeout game of the season. I think he's looking OK.
  • Has there been any word on Miles Mikolas? The Cardinals definitely need innings, and the silence on MM is not encouraging.
    There was an update in today's paper. He was at Busch Stadium for a bullpen yesterday. Maddux was pleased with how it went. Not yet determined when he will face hitters. Commish said May return seems reasonable -- unless there are more setbacks. The lack of a clear, concrete timeline is a bit concerning, yes. Especially considering how often his timeline has changed since the spring training setback. Lots of fluidity to it compared to Kim's, which has been on a public schedule that has not waivered much.
    Do you think Goldy needs a brief stint on the IL to get his back and bat back to normal?
    Don't see that happening whether he needs it or not. He's been on the injured list one time in his career. That was for a fractured hand. In 2014.
    "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."

    You're not wrong (though I would put Carlson between Goldschmidt and Arenado), but what does it say about this team that Yadier Molina is not only hitting fifth, but there is literally no one on the roster that appears capable of threatening to move him down to 6 or 7?
    It says a lot less when he's slashing .353/.410/.588.
    Molina's .998 OPS is top-15 in the NL at the moment, between Kris Bryant and Bryce Harper.
    When he cools, let's talk.
    For now, keep hitting him high.
    Do you think any of Hamels, Samardzija, or Sanchez would be an upgrade over the team's various current back-of-the-rotation options?
    Maybe. But I won't knock the Cardinals for wanting to see if Kim and Mikolas can be back and better than those options. Johan Oviedo might be better than those options, too. If he keeps pitching like he did after jumping on Ponce de Leon's fire, then finding a place for him in the rotation would seem wise. One way to bolster the rotation is to add from the outside -- a risk considering none of those guys you mentioned have been in structured camps after all teams passed over them. Another way is to make sure you have your best arms in the rotation. The Cardinals already talked themselves into putting one in the pen, in Alex Reyes. If you're going to upgrade the rotation from the outside, and that could be a need, there might be better options available once teams start to realize if they're in or out of it and sort into buyer/seller territory. Right now those decisions are premature.
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