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.

    He repeatedly references his focus being a key part of his ups and downs. Carlos. Not me. Same for his teammates, manager and catcher. Are they all wrong?
    Of course it's not all between the ears. A lot of it is for more physical. His health has betrayed him often in recent seasons, limiting his velocity and role.
    But I get a kick out of people pushing back against the correlation between Carlos being mentally locked in and his success, when he is the one who talks about it more than anyone else. It's not some big secret.
    Clearly he's synced up the mental and physical at the moment. He's looked like an All-Star again the past three times out.
    Knizner has been really impressive with how well he's caught and handled the pitching staff, does this preview while Molina is out make the Cards decision on offering Molina another contract any more difficult?
    Some good and some bad. The starters have found their groove and he's helped them get there, no doubt. He's been behind the plate for most of the up-and-in beanballs too, which hasn't hurt the Cardinals yet, but could moving forward if they don't stop. His hitting has not been as productive as I hoped. He's averaging. 277 with a .306 on-base percentage and a .273 slug. There's more power in there for him to show. To answer your question directly, no, I think the Molina decision for the Cardinals will boil down to Yadier's health, his performance after he returns from the injury and if he wants to keep playing. Not what Knizner does during his absence -- unless his performance during Molina's absence turns into a lot more dominant of a performance than he has shown so far.
    News: Oviedo recalled to start tonight, and Jordan Hicks switched to the 10-day injured list retroactive to May 2.
    Hi Ben. I was at the game last night and Vladi had no burst whatsoever. More than a couple times he pulled up instead of trying to outskate a defender. Do you think he’s still hurt or is this the best we can expect? Thanks
    I really think the best bet to maximize what he can do well the rest of the season is to coax him to buying in on being that net front presence that we saw flashes of before his latest injury. He's a big, strong guy and hasn't played like it often enough this season. He has super fast hands still, and can make magic if he is in around the net, where goals can be rewarded to those who react and react with speed. He's a minus-7 player this season after being a minus-2 player last season. He has seven goals and 17 assists over his last 34 games played. Because of how great he has been in the past, I am hesitant to say this is who he is now, but there is building evidence, and the shoulder is always going to be a concern. When he does not score, he tends to float through the other areas of the game, and there has been a lot of that this season. I would not expect a different player to arrive in the postseason, but it would be a nice surprise. The future is murky.
    What's the standard going to be? Are the big bat flips and watching home runs the norm, like you see with San Diego? Yet when the pitcher gets a big out and celebrates Javy Baez takes exception and the benches clear. If MLB wants emotion and excitement you can't have it both ways. Baez certainly enjoys his home runs as he hops and skips to first, but a pitcher can't celebrate if he strikes him out.

    The traditionalists say play like you've been there before but now that's frowned upon and doesn't let the kids be kids.
    Is this going to become like the NBA where every dunk, made shot, and block are going to celebrated like you just won the championship even though you're losing the game by 40 points?
    A lot of it is intent, and how the opponent determines that.
    A bat flipped toward one's own dugout tends to be no big deal.
    A bit flipped toward the opposing dugout? Different story.
    But as younger players phase out older players, we are going to see more celebrating.
    I'm OK with it.
    We see football players celebrate tackles and NBA players celebrate shots. Even the NHL has lightened up.
    Check out college highlights. Those kids are going crazy. It doesn't lead to fights. It will work itself out.
    Again, a little excitement is better than the alternative. Baseball needs more not less.
    And as always: If you don't want to watch bat flips or strikeout celebrations, don't give the opponent reasons to celebrate them.
    I'm not a big Trevor Bauer fan, but I'll give him credit for shooting straight on this topic. If he's going to celebrate strikeouts, he realizes he can't get red ass if a player pimps a home run.
    If the lefthanders in the bullpen don't right the ship what are the alternatives? Any help in the minors?
    Miller's numbers continue to be unimpressive. Maybe he can reset from his shortened spring, but it looks like he's showing his age. Webb has not looked good. I've got to think the Cards want more than just Cabrera on that side.
    Great question.
    And now Miller is on the injured list with a toe blister.
    The only other left-handed reliever currently on the 40-man is Bernardo Flores Jr.
    The Cardinals claimed him off waivers from the White Sox in April
    He has options remaining.
    Might be time to see what he can do soon.
    If the Cardinals decide to add someone to the 40 man, Evan Kruczynski, Garrett Williams and Austin Warner could be options.
    Zack Thompson would be the fan favorite and he got looks this spring.
    I think they would prefer to keep Liberatore in the starter's realm especially this early in the season.
    (Hat tip to DG for some of the names there. I tapped him in after the Flores info.)
    Please tell me that a Texas Ranger outfielder hitting .222 with 3 homers and 10 RBIs is not a future solution should the Cardinals decide they need to move in a different outfield direction. Joey Gallo was disappointing in 2020 and has already struck out 45 times.
    His .410 on-base percentage is encouraging as his walk rate is way up so far this season, but he's been a league average-ish hitter or slightly below since the start of last season. He is not exactly screaming that he's The Answer for the Cards at the moment. But the season is still young.
    What did you think of the huge Arsenal fan protest against Kroenke? What do you think it feels like to be him and to know that he is hated world wide by the fans of the teams he owns?
    I love it! I don't think he cares, though. No, check that. I know he doesn't care. It's just noise to him. Really. Say what you want about the man, but he's got a thick skin. I'll give him that.
    If CMart turns out having a good season, it will be bittersweet. Why did he not do it in the years prior? He now realizes he might be out of a pay day next year so he decides to get serious.
    It's not quite as simple as that. He doesn't have as much control over the health of his arm and shoulder as some might think.
    In 3 career starts at Busch Stadium, DeGrom is 1-2 with an 8.44 ERA, and under 6.0 K/9. I'm going to take the "under" on that 11.5 Ks despite his early-season dominance, and boldly predict Oviedo will have a shot at his first career win if he simply puts up a quality start tonight (which should be quite doable against the heretofore-hapless Mets offense).
  • Phil is on the board. He backed his pick with research. Good stuff.
    Regarding hitting batters in the head: Can you be more specific by what you mean when you say, "The catcher needs to be part of the solution along with the pitchers."? I'm guessing you mean don't call anything high and inside, but that seems like it will leave the pitchers at a disadvantage??
    The catchers call the pitches and the placement.
    To absolve them from the conversation removes an important part.
    The Cardinals don't seem to have a problem beaning batters up above the shoulders when Molina is catching.
    It doesn't have to be never throwing up and in.
    Deciding who can do it and when to do it is part of the equation.
    Not blaming Knizner as he's not the one releasing the pitches and he's not calling for beanballs, but the catcher has a role in solving this problem too before it leads to a Cardinals hitter wearing one in the helmet, or worse.
    In terms of guys who hit in the bottom half of the order, is Tyler O'Neil the key to this lineup? Yadi and DeJong are going to play regardless of how well they hit, but if O'Neil can achieve any kind of consistency at the plate that takes the pressure off the offense when those two guys have their ups and downs. Plus, getting production out of left makes it easier for the team to keep Bader's glove in the lineup on a daily basis. Now about that 22-1 strikeout to walk ratio...
    I think that's a solid read. O'Neill, like Martinez in the rotation, has a big gap between his ceilin and floor. Bader is what he is, and if your corner outfielders hit then it's all good to have a streaky to light hitting center fielder who plays Gold Glove caliber defense hitting seventh or eighth in the lineup. If the corners don't hit . . . different story.
    Not that I think it was a bad trade, or at all trying to be negative about Mo, Goldy etc... But have you seen the numbers Carson Kelly is putting up to start the season? That bat is finally catching up with the glove just like many predicted it would. That has to take some of the sting out of losing Goldy for the fans in Arizona, right?
    Perhaps. It was a smart trade for the Cardinals. It could turn out to be a smart trade for the Diamondbacks, but the trend of trading away faces of teams is a tough one to watch. The Cardinals keep benefiting from teams that are willing to do it, though.
    Ben. I want to commend you for challenging Jon Heyman. His tweet was another example of someone flying off the handle without having any facts. You corrected him quickly. Well done
    Thanks. I don't like picking fights on Twitter and try to ignore most of the silly stuff I see, but that one triggered me. Cabrera is by all accounts a good young man and teammate and he doesn't have the platform or the feel for English yet to push back on something said about him by a national media member with a huge reach. I thought it was the right thing to do, as much as fighting on Twitter can be "right" Mostly it's pointless. But thanks.
    Obviously you'd hope for a more balanced attack from a team, but it is really that bad if a team scores the majority of their runs off the long ball? It's modern baseball, after all, and the Yankees, Twins, and Dodgers have won a lot of games the last few years by hitting a ton of homers.
    I've been saying this for a while now. Bobo, we are in agreement today. Rare day for us! Power plays. Power wins. Hitting home runs is good. The Cardinals are winning games when they do it. Busch Stadium is not a great hitter's park. Harder thane some realize. But by God, the ball can leave it. We have watched it this season. The Cardinals are 15-5 in games they hit at least one home run. Their rate of at-bats per home run (25.1) is fifth-best in the National League. Their .402 slugging percentage is seventh-best in the NL. They are far from a perfect lineup, but they are powering through some of their flaws. That's good.
    Is Andrew Miller's declining dependibility and consistency kind of put him in the same camp as Matt Carp? Both do have big money still guaranteed them this season.
    Not exactly. Miller was pretty good last season -- when he was able to pitch. He's making $12 million this season, and has not been very good. That's still $6.5 million less than Carpenter. That said Miller is definitely in that group of veteran relievers the Cardinals wound up paying big for because of past production, but got left with past-their-prime production on that contract. I don't think we will see them pursue name brand veteran relievers at big prices very often moving forward.
    Speaking of Andrew Miller, where does his contract rank among the worst in recent Cardinal history? Almost as bad as Brett Cecil?
    I kind of lump all those in together. Don't forget Luke Gregerson. Holland, too. The one who turned out to be the best was the scrap heap add fans ripped: Bud Norris.
    Are pitchers starting to figure Arozarena out? Is he failing to adjust? I don't think he was Mo's greatest trade but he kind of reminds me of Aquino of the Reds.
    I've looked at his numbers and don't see a big tell. He's seeing a higher percentage of sliders this season, which are not the four-seamers and sinkers he crushed last season. He's swinging at a higher percentage of pitches outside the zone, too, but nothin remarkable. I don't see the profile of a guy who has fallen off a cliff. But I have to think he's getting fewer sweet pitches to hit, because teams have realized he kills mistakes.
    Kudos to Waino for putting family first. But since he had been vaccinated and only later exposed to COVID purposefully, could you see opponents complaining about roster manipulation by the Cardinals?
  • What? 
    The COVID rules allow a player to step away if family is affected by the virus.
    BenFred is it just wishful thinking on my part or has Robert Thomas recently kicked it up a notch or two? He appears to be playing with more confidence. He and Kyrou on the same line poses matchup problems for opponents. What is your take on his maturation and progression? Thanks
    Your eyes are not lying. It took him a bit but he's got six points in his last seven games, with twice as many shots during that stretch than he had in his first four games back from the injury. He's quietly coming on strong. Good call.
    Hey Ben, what are the Cardinal's plans for Oviedo? Do they see him as a rotation piece in the future or just a fill-in starter.
    He's on the road to being a big piece of the rotation in the near future. If not this season, likely next.
    Hey Ben, thanks as always for the chat! May be too early to be thinking this, but with Arenado at 3rd and Edman really looking like a legit major league 2nd, what do you think that means for what position Gorman plays if/when he makes the major league roster? Is it possible he takes the old Pujols route and plays outfield until another spot opens up?
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