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 Fred,

    You have covered the tigers for a long time so I want your perspective on Cuonzo. It seems many fans think he should be on the hot seat. I am not one of those but I do have concerns. 1) It seems like he loses a lot of his players to the portal, but he does get good players from it. 2) Offensively it seems like there is little imagination and consistency. They have streaks where they score a lot and streaks where they can't buy a bucket. 3) He struggles to get some of the superior talent in the state to stay home. 4) It appears that he has a dog house for players and once they are in, its difficult to come out. So I don't really have a question I just want your perspective on Coach because I am not a fan of outing a guy who is good for kids and the university just because his successes have been limited (due to injuries and COVID). Thank you!
    The hot-seat talk makes no sense to me.
    The program was pitiful when he took it over. One of the least competitive teams in the Power 5. Perhaps the very bottom of that group.
    From there, rock bottom or close to it, Martin's Tigers have been to two tournaments in four seasons, and there was not a tournament played in one of those four. This is where everyone hollers that the Tigers would not have had a chance to make it in 2019-20 when COVID canceled it, but the truth is the SEC Tournament was shut down so we will never know what would have happened.
    Mizzou basketball matters to people again. It's relevant. After being completely off the grid for three years. And no, the unfortunate Kim Anderson era that did not work out -- it was not all Kim Anderson's fault either -- is not the bar for the program historically. Not saying that it is. But you can't ignore the depths something was in when a new coach took over. Some choose to, but that's not living in reality.
    Martin came to Mizzou with plans for it to be his long-term home. He has an AD who hired him. He has a connection to the area. He has no interest in being anywhere else, and he has high hopes for what he can do on and off the court at Mizzou. He doesn't cheat. He stays true to who he is. And he can win doing that. But it's going to take some patience, and that is very rare these days.
    Fans have a say in this. If they don't support the team and don't buy tickets and continue to forget the fact this was a program that was a national punch line as late as 2016-17, it's not going to work. Maybe the new hire would get the Tigers to that Final Four they have chased forever. Maybe three to four years into the next hire, people would be made the Tigers couldn't make the tournament -- or not paying attention to Tigers basketball again. Who knows.
    What I know is that it's pretty impressive for a team to go form being horrendous to being in the tournament so quickly, and I know there is another big hill to go between being a tournament team and a team that makes tournament runs -- if you're truly committed to doing things the right way, and Martin is.
    It takes time, time no one wants to give.
    Martin's certainly not perfect. He can be stubborn about what he wants on the court, and come across as tough on guys who don't give it. There are times when he expects every player to play like he did, and that's just not realistic in modern times, when transfers are more common than a cold. His nature is to prioritize effort and intensity over talent at times, and that hasn't always worked out. But there are worse things to be known for. I think he's grown quite a bit in terms of his offensive philosophy over the years. He's got his teams playing faster and shooting more threes. They just need to make more of them, and he really, really needs to find a true point guard he can work with. That is what he's been searching for all along.
    This past season it became clear that the team really needed an upgrade in athleticism. The transfers incoming have addressed some of that. The staff has shown an ability to see players who have more to give at higher levels, and that is starting to help the transfer recruiting. Guys like Kassius and Dru are becoming examples of players who can transfer up to Mizzou and thrive, and it's not a shocker they succeed there, because those guys tend to have the qualities Martin celebrates.
    I do think he has to find a way to land some of the big talents in and around the state. The best way to do that without winding up on a wire tap like Will Wade is to become a successful longtime coach at a proven program. It's about longevity and the brand a coach builds, an identity that sticks around. I do think Martin can get there and will, to where he is getting some more of those players, but not if he's viewed as a "hot-seat" guy constantly. That perception can and will hurt.
    Granted I haven't watched every game (stupid cable), but I've seen Arenado make a couple errors and miss some tough but gettable balls that counted as hits. Also the missed relay throw a couple weeks ago that somehow gave O'Neil his second error of the play. Have I just happened to watch the wrong games? Are my expectations too high? Am I overlooking tough plays he does make because he makes them look routine?
    Arenado's made some truly wow-worthy plays so far, but he's made a few un-Areando like ones as well. Some of them, like trying to throw to second base to get the lead runner on a sac bunt and no one being there, are signs of him getting used to the new team, and the new team getting used to him. He's got two errors so far. He had three all of last season. I think you're going to see more great plays than head-scratching plays as the season continues. Just some early turbulence.
    Any updates on the MLS franchise? When can we expect to start hearing about them piecing together a roster?
    It's already happening. At the grassroots level with the launching of a U17 team soon. Linked to the story earlier in the chat. It wouldn't make sense to hire a coach and build a roster now, because those players might not be the ones you want when the inaugural season begins. Lots and lots of scouting and academy-building taking place at the moment.
    Ben, What do you think will be the impact on the Blues roster by the play of this season? Is there a big name that might not be protected from the Kraken that probably wasn't in that position a few months ago? Schwartz, Krug, Faulk?
    If the boys don't make the playoffs, I think Army will be in shake-and-bake mode.
    Might be time for some new blood, and I'm not talking about at coach.
    Tarasenko's a minus-6 this season, for those keeping track.
  • Am I the only one who's impressed that the Cardinals are 8-8 despite playing a very tough schedule while having 40% of their rotation injured and 2 starting outfielders injured? But...but... Carpenter!
    Optimism? When did you check in here? Nice to see you. Don't be shy.
    Candidly, I'm not biting on the positive Mikolas news. Been let down too many times by this team with regard to a pitcher's progress. My question is what do you do with Mikolas if he misses this season or does return and is ineffective? Yes, he is under contract, but to continually pencil him into the rotation each spring, let alone as someone the team is counting on for major production is foolish. I think we are seeing too many small sample size players being loaded with expectations by this FO, either to avoid spending more money or to double down on their decisions.
    Not trying to dodge the question but I think you have to see how he pitches and holds up before any big picture decisions can and will be made. That's the way it works.
    What becomes of Ponce De Leon now? Is he mopping up blowouts for the rest of '21 or has the team quietly removed from the fans' consciousness only to repackage him mid-season as the answer when there is a starting pitching need? Same question goes for Lane Thomas.
    Neither seem to be in great spots to have meaningful roles at this moment. Players like that are often packaged, yes. It would still be nice to get some sort of a look at Thomas, but he's not exactly helping himself in that department.
    I have no clue what to make of this Blues team. I want to like them but they're making it very hard, and there don't seem to be many loveable storylines. Everything seems to revolve around praying we don't disappear in the 2nd, for a while it was fixing a defense that was more porous than a sponge, and of late it seems to be, "where's the offense." What should we expect for the rest of this season? Do see us in the post season?
    There's one final gut check for the Blues and it starts now.
    That loss to Arizona, considering the Yotes had dropped five straight, was pretty disappointing.
    Arizona was on the ropes and the Blues gave them new life.
    Fortunately for the Blues Arizona lost to Minnesota the next game out.
    The Blues are at about a 47 percent chance to make the postseason now.
    Arizona is around 37 percent.
    The Blues will play a bunch of games against teams already in the postseason to close things out.
    Not being able to win games like that is a bad sign and hints an an unmotivated team.
    Any chance MLB and MLBPA would consider adding the DH to the NL but with a modification of the DH rule (for both leagues) that would add the element of strategy for those of us that like the NL game? I don't know for sure what that would look like but perhaps something where any pitching change after the 5th would also require a change in the DH? Or any pitching change after the 6th and you would lose the DH? (Or some other idea? I don't have a problem with the DH coming to the NL per se, but would love for MLB to find a way to keep the strategy of the DH without risking injuries to pitchers while batting.)
  • Some advocate for tying the DH to the starting pitcher, meaning it disappears when the pitcher is pulled. I don't like that idea, because why would you want non-DH hitters (or relief pitchers) taking some of the biggest at-bats late in games. That kind of works against the whole point. Rules need to be less complicated, not more complicated. Either bring on the DH or don't, but enough straddling. Having it in the AL but not the NL is an example of that. Senseless. Two leagues competing for the same prize should be playing under the same rules.
    At what point does Carpenter decide that this just isn't fun any more and call it a career?
    If it means passing on $20.5 million? My guess would be never.
    Someone else might have asked it, but we’ve seen a lot of carp against right handers and dean only against Lefties. Why don’t you think they give Dean a chance? He seems to have good at bats. It just sucks seeing him being the only offense on certain games and then riding the pine till another Lefty pitches. I don’t think the D gets any worse.

    Second question when do you think we see Oviedo again?
    Oviedo could get the start Friday. At some point in the coming homestand we will see him I think.
    The Cardinals are playing the matchups, with an emphasis on trying to spark Carpenter.
    Dean's in the lineup tonight. He's got 19 at-bats to Carpenter's 32, but seven more than Nogowski's 12.
    A sign the Cardinals are punting on the Carpenter project would be Dean getting more starts against righties with Edman moving back to second base. Dean's done his part against righties in a very small sample size so far this season. He's two-for-eight with a homer and two walks against them.
    In short, the Cardinals seem convinced there's more offensive upside in getting Carpenter going against righties than there is in playing Dean over Carpenter. At least for now.
    BenFred has the Blues lack of intensity (and consistency for that matter) made them an afterthought in St Louis? Do you get the sense that fans and media are apathetic towards them believing they have zero chance against the likes of the Av’s and VGK’s? Should they somehow turn their season around do you give them a “punchers” chance against Colorado in the first round or is it see you next year? Thanks
    I don't sense apathy. Frustration, sure. I was willing to more or less give them a pass when they were so banged up, but the hope was they would find some swagger when they got most of their guys back. Hasn't happened very consistently. I'm not ready to say the trade-deadline push that convinced GM Doug Armstrong to stand down was a mirage, but we are going to find out very soon.
    Ben, can you help me understand the 3 true outcomes stat? I mean, I know what it is (HR, K, W), but I don’t know if it’s good or bad! Last night they showed a stat saying DeJong is a 3 true outcome guy 53.6% of the time... is that a good thing or not? Are there 3 true outcome pitchers? And is that good or bad???
    It's just a reference for how the game has trended.
    Most seem to agree that baseball is suffering due to a lack of balls in play, and a lack of runners on the bases.
    Three true outcome baseball contributes to that lack of action.
    Much has been made of the lack of longevity thus far among starters, but I feel like the starters haven't even gotten to 100 pitches yet. I understand protecting your pitchers at the stop of the season (especially after the shortened season last year), but if you're doing it at the expense of taxing the bullpen I don't see how it's a net benefit.
    The Cardinals have starters, Wainwright and Flaherty especially, that they are willing to let work deeper into games. They just have to pitch well enough to get there. Five complete games have been thrown this season. Fifteen clubs have five or more quality starts in the bag. The Cardinals are not being cautious as much as they are not getting good starting pitching on a regular basis.
    Curious if you have any updated perspective is on the Bobby Petrino hire by Missouri State. I know you were critical at the time, but in his first season, Missouri State won a share of the Missouri Valley Football Conference title (first time since 1990) and made the FCS playoffs (first time since 1990 as well). As a Missouri State alum, I totally understood the criticism at the time of the hire, but I do think that criticism ignored just how bad Missouri State football has been over the prior 30 years (and especially Steckel's 13-42 tenure).
    Strange season. The Bears started in September with three consecutive losses, one to Oklahoma and two to Central Arkansas, before resuming in late February and winning five of their last six. A winning season (5-4) is significant considering the program's struggles as of late. As far as Petrino, no I don't feel differently. Because I never once thought he could not coach. He's a very good football coach. He wouldn't get countless chances if he wasn't. What I expressed disappointment about was that he get the job over who knows how many qualified and capable coaches who had not squandered countless chances in the past. Instead of an opportunity going to someone who earned it, it went to someone who was grabbing for branches during his self-induced freefal. I hope Petrino appreciates the chance Missouri State gave him and doesn't run off for the next best thing the moment he gets the call. His history suggests he will. Maybe this has changed him.
    Ben, Alex Reyes looks much thinner, slimmed down this year. Any background on that? His stuff looks as good as ever without the heft.
    He's tinkered with his diet and training over the years to get to where he is, weight wise. Started eating better. Shed weight. The norm for guys who figure out what it takes to be at their best as they go along.
    What do you see happening with Knizner?
    Yadi's backup for now. Not much else to it.
    Hey Ben, I really enjoyed your article the other day about the TV rights fiasco in MLB. I've been extremely frustrated this year as a fan in Memphis unable to watch games for the first time. I have no (legal) streaming options and I'd be willing to pay good money to be able to get the games! Is there anything a fan like me can do to or anyone I'm able to contact to express my frustration? I know it seems like a feeble effort, but I'm not above writing several strongly worded letters, I just don't know who to address them to.
  • Your only option at the moment is to check with different streaming, satellite and cable providers to see if one has what you want, and pay for that option.
    If you have a Memphis address you are likely blocked from the Cards, Braves and Reds via MLBTV.
    You could vent to Manfred's office or the Cardinals, who are hearing from many frustrated fans in similar spots.
    Who's the MVP so far for this Cardinals team? Molina is an obvious choice, but Edman's grabbing of the lead-off spot (which was a big question coming into the season) along with his defensive flexibility which has made Shildt's search for production from anyone not named Edman/Arenado/Goldschmidt/Yadi/Carlson much, much easier. Or is it someone else?
    Did you know that the last time the Cardinals traded a position player with more than 1 100 RBI season with his new club was Johnny Mize as WW2 was pending after the 1941 season was over?

    I mention this because Gallegos, Cabrera and Justin Williams looks like ascending players more than Pham, injury proned Voit and Randy A. Randy A has had 2 maintenance days recently after a good start.

    Now the one pitcher who would be nice to have back is Zac Galle, but, he has a cracked bone in his upper pitching arm. We are not missing Wong either who averaged 100 hits from 2016-2019.

    It would have been nice to had Miles and KK ready for opening day.
    It's always interesting to see when people decide to take their snapshots of trades for grading.
    The only good way to do it is after they are complete, of course.
    I'd mention Sandy Alcantara with Zac Gallen.
    I think the Yankees are OK with the trade for Voit. He led the majors in homers last season.
    Wong wasn't traded. He left in free agency.
    Is the Flaherty we have seen out there thus far the one the team should more or less get used to being his typical kind of performance going forward?
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