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 will answer all of your Cardinals, Blues, St. Louis City, Mizzou and SLU questions at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

    Greetings, chatters. Hope everyone is hanging in. Plenty to discuss today. Dodgers have a chance to finish the job tonight in the World Series. Jeff Albert is back as hitting coach for the Cardinals. I'm getting peppered for my Yadier Molina column that ran in today's paper. Mizzou is on a two-game winning streak with Florida up ahead. All fair game. Let's roll.
    Hi, Ben. Thanks for the chat. Enjoyed your column about Barry Odom. Glad he's succeeding at Arkansas; he's a good guy and a good coach. Probably would still be at Missouri if he had made a better choice than Dooley as Offensive Coordinator.
    But, my question is about the Cardinals. My heart literally sank when I read Mr. Goold's report that the Cardinals are bringing back HC Albert. The Cardinals will say the COVID-shortened season and the quarantine didn't allow sufficient opportunity to fairly evaluate Albert and the young outfielders. But, I argue that two seasons of feckless offense is sufficient. After seeing Volt and Arozarena have success elsewhere, do you think the Cardinals suddenly are gun shy about moving on from O'Neill, Bader and Thomas as regulars? Thanks for your time.
    Thanks! I agree that one of Odom's preventable mistakes was hiring Derek Dooley. The two shared an agent at the time, which likely led to the decision, but it was a mistake. Part of the problem might have been a hesitancy from Odom's first choices for the job because they weren't sure how secure he was at Mizzou as the head coach. Different athletics director and all of that. Dooley did OK when he had Drew Lock, but things fell apart after that.
    I'm not ready to assume the Cardinals bringing back Jeff Albert means they are not going to do anything noteworthy to attempt to approve the offense. I don't know how they would be able to justify doing nothing. They might not do as much as fans hope; they rarely satisfy everyone in an offseason. But bringing back the hitting coach suggests it's the talent not the instruction of the talent. So, find ways to upgrade the talent. Yes, even during a pandemic-challenged offseason.
    BenFred,

    Well it looks like one offseason decision has been made, sticking with the status quo for the coaching staff. I guess that is fine, they did tell us they are going all in with Albert. I was a little disappointed to see this in Goold's piece this AM.
    "The return of the hitting staff suggests that the Cardinals once again are banking on the improvement of current hitters, as they did entering 2020, or plotting changes in personnel."
    If they go with the former route, and not the latter, in the famous words of Private Hudson in the movie Aliens..."you can count me out".
    I imagine it will be some of both, but simply washing, rinsing and repeating a lineup that underwhelmed last season would be a great way for the Cardinals to alienate more fans, even reasonable ones. I think most realize the pandemic has changed things, whether the business is baseball or buffet restaurants. But simply doing nothing? That's going to be a hard sell. The Cardinals, hopefully, will open things up for questions after the World Series. I know there will be many asked about these topics.
    What's the word on the STL lawsuit, anything new happen?
    Deposition list approved. They're going to be done via video instead of in-person. I don't think the dates have been set up yet. The requests for additional time for certain depositions -- Roger Goodell, Stan Kroenke, Kevin Demoff and Eric Grubman -- were not approved, but they were not denied either. That request is going to be revisited down the line if more time is needed, per a decision by the special master in the lawsuit.
    Morning! Which Cardinals pitcher do you believed helped himself the most based on 2020 performance?
    The Cardinals had a lot of guys who pitched well.
    Adam Wainwright set himself up for another season if he wants one.
    Kwang Hyun Kim established himself as a key part of the rotation -- after the Cardinals for some reason decided he should be the closer to start the season.
    Austin Gomber showed why he should get a long, hard look for a rotation spot entering spring training.
    But above all, I'll go with Alex Reyes. His arm held up. His stuff was good. I don't know what role exactly he has moving forward, but he checked the biggest box -- proving that upside the Cardinals stayed patient with through injury after injury is still there.
  • Which is a bigger threat to the long-term health of baseball: Manfred or the hedge-fund types running front offices?
  • Don't forget Manfred works for the owners.
    If he doesn't keep them happy, he's gone.
    I think the biggest threat to baseball at the moment is the growing rift between players and owners.
    Baseball is speeding toward a big and ugly labor fight after the 2021 season, in a country that has no tolerance for big, ugly labor fights between rich players and richer owners.
    Baseball's not doing a very good job of reading the room.
    I'm assuming the Cards FO hopes are that Bader, O'Neill and Fowler will have bounce back seasons next year since they pretty much said that they can't afford to go after a bat due to the Covid 19 situation?
    Have they said that? News to me. I know many are assuming. Cards have been pretty quiet since the season ended. If their answer to two consecutive seasons of subpar offense is to a) bring back the hitting coach and b) wash, rinse, repeat with the same players, they have to explain to fans why they're repeating the same thing and expecting different results -- or accepting the same results, results that weren't good enough. I don't know how they sell that. It would be an interesting marketing strategy for 2021 -- come see the same lineup that wasn't good enough two seasons in a row.
    With Seattle Kraken draft coming up after this season the Blues can only protect 7 forwards, 3 defensemen and 1 goalie. If I understand this right the Blues can only lose one player. Who gets exposed?

    Depending on how they decide to arrange it, the most interesting names up for grabs could be, but are not guaranteed to be, guys like David Perron, Justin Faulk, Vince Dunn, Oskar Sundqvist and Robert Bortuzzo.

    Ben, your column this morning about Molina waiving his Instagram account was spot on. I’ve grown weary of Molina’s rants on social media. Molina acts like everyone owes him something or that he’s an untouchable baseball god. What he really needs is a good dose of humility. That’s why REAL Cardinals fans endure themselves to players like Brock, Musial, Gibson, Smith & McGee. These gentlemen carried themselves with class and dignity. Molina should publicly apologize to MLB for his accusations, but he won’t because again, he thinks he’s some kind of untouchable baseball god.
    I want to be crystal clear here. I've got no problem with players speaking out whatever issues they feel passionate about. That said, those decisions are going to lead to conversations about the topics raised. For a guy who respects what the Gold Glove represents as much as Molina does, I was surprised to see him take a shot at the process like he did. I was surprised he would make a comment that seemed to disparage Johnny Bench by association. Clearly, he deleted the post for a reason. A good idea. It's a free country and free speech makes it great, but if anyone posts things that cause headaches for their bosses -- like Molina did with the COVID post and the Matheny post in 2017 -- those topics can be addressed by employers -- if they choose to address them.
    Thank you BenFred for writing about Molina and his social media faux pas. He needs to subscribe to the “24 hour” rule. If I ever felt strongly about something, good or bad, I always waited 24 hours before responding. I found that after 24 hours I could think more clearly and act more responsibly. It’s saved my butt many a times. Someone should tell Yadi about the “24 hour” rule.
    I think my mom still has a drawer full of letters she wrote but never mailed.
    Similar thinking.
    If you want to put it in the mailbox the next day, do it.
    But often, you don't.
    I don't take her advice as often as I should, and social media has made it easier than ever before to get mad and press send.
    Molina's not the only one who lets it rip.
    I'm guilty at times, more often than I like.
    But I did think the Gold Glove backlash was bad, because that award means a lot to him, and the grenade he tossed toward it will feel the shrapnel of his unfair comment.
    After an otherworldly finish to 2019, we saw Jack Flaherty regress to human form a little in 2020. What is your read on Jack for the future? Still going to be an ace? Or more middle of the rotation?
    I think Flaherty can still be an ace-level starter. I'm hesitant to read too far into 2020 for him. Young player. Bizarre season. A lot going on unrelated to the game of baseball for him. Pitching is such a routine-oriented ordeal, and 2020 was anything but routine for Flaherty. I think he will bounce back with a strong 2021, and I think we saw signs of that in his start against the Padres in the wild-card series.
    Old coaches making a comeback never works. LaRussa has been off the field for 10 plus seasons. The players change, the rules, the decorum. He should stay in the front office.
    He's been out of the dugout but not away from the game. He's held various front office roles with multiple teams. He's been at winter meetings and GM meetings. He's been evaluating players and weighing in on roster decisions. It's not like he's been in a hammock or playing checkers for a decade. I think it would be a fascinating hire, and that it could work for a team that has all kinds of talent but could use a been-there, done-that manager to help them find the kind of approach that can push a team deep into the playoffs.
    it appeared to me that coach Drinkwitz out coached both Orgeron and Stoops. Am I drinking too much kool-aid? If he did he can outcoach Mullin too, right?
    It's hard to explain it any other way, right?
    Mizzou went from shredding LSU through the air to pounding UK with the run.
    The Tigers were the more motivated team in both games, as underdogs.
    Drinkwitz had his team ready to go, and confident in a game plan that worked.
    I'm not sure what to make of this Florida game yet because we don't have a good sense of what kind of Florida team the Tigers are going to see.
    The Gators could be a mess post-COVID.
    The latest reports are that the owners might try to hold the DH in the NL hostage for 2021 as bargaining leverage against the players. Do you think we will have the DH in the NL in 2021?
  • I think the push-pull of what 2021 will look like is only just starting to begin, and it won't really start until after the World Series ends.
    Honestly, I don't know.
    Rob Manfred steered clear of the topic during his recent interview with the Associated Press, but weighed in on pretty much every other topic.
    That was a sign it's a big chip that will be squared off around.
  • Do you believe that 1 of the following will be a Cardinal next year........Springer, Brantley, or Joc? I put them in order I think will be least likely to most likely. Thanks.
    The Cardinals have not made any public comments about what they will (or won't) target this offseason. Clearly, offensive upgrades should be the target. A case could be made for each of the names you mentioned. Pederson would be a more affordable option for a platoon-type dose of big power. In the past the Cardinals suggested they weren't interested in platoon-type answers. But if they are going to scale back spending, a partial answer might be better than none.
    with the report that MLB lost 3.1 billion dollars and the new collective bargin on the horizon can you see a lot of one year deals in free agency. Will the teams spend like normal thanks
    I think it's going to be a very cold, frustrating year for non-premier free agents. I think owners are going to point to the pandemic as a reason to not spend, in part because of the pandemic and in part because everyone knows there is at least some possibility of a work stoppage after the 2021 season if CBA talks stall. Also: No one knows what, exactly, 2021 looks like. Will there be fans in the stands? Will more money be lost because of partial crowds, or none at all? These answers will change how teams do, or don't, do business.
    Were you surprised Albert was retained? Do we know what Jeff Alberts hitting philosophy is or is that some kind of secret? The reason I ask is, if the opposing teams know your hitting coach’s philosophy is to take pitches and make the pitcher go deep into the count, wouldn’t that be an advantage to the other team? Get ahead in the count and make then swing and miss on stuff out of the zone.
    I assumed there would be some degree of change in the hitting staff. If Albert was retained, I thought there might be a new voice added into the mix as assistant. I wondered if the Cardinals would find some sort of role for Jim Edmonds, considering he's been working with a lot of the guys on the team anyway. That's become more and more clear since the season ended. I assume Edmonds still will have some sort of unofficial dialogue with hitters moving forward. A lot of hitters trust him. What does that say about the current hitting staff? Hard to say. Some teams frown upon guys seeking outside help. Others encourage it. I think it does raise some questions about the instruction guys are getting from the team, and the players' faith in it.
    I've never heard or read Albert's philosophy boiled down to a single mantra or explanation that I can say, hey, here's what he's about as a hitting coach. There's a lot of talk about maximizing each player's individual strengths and minimizing each player's individual weaknesses. There's a lot of talk about maximizing the use of technology and video. The Cardinals have decreased their strikeouts and upped their walk rate. They do a good job of grinding out at-bats. But they have not done much damage at the plate for two seasons, and they are one of the teams in baseball that sees the fewest amount of fastballs because they have a reputation of mashing those but struggling against other pitches.
    Last week on Scoops w/Danny Mac you mentioned you did not have a vote for the Hall of Fame. How does one get a vote in the HOF ballots? Thanks for the chats - always good stuff.
    Members of the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) are not eligible for a HOF vote until they've been a card-carrying member of the organization for at least 10 years. Once that milestone is reached, there's a code of conduct that has to be signed and some rules that must be followed. I've had a card since 2015 I think. Some of those who are eligible to vote abstain, for various reasons. I've got plenty of time to think about it.
    Between the Cards' retainment of the entire coaching staff and the organization telegraphing that payroll will go down, I'm beginning to think the brain trust is betting on either another shortened season in 2021 or limited to no fans? Is pessimism clouding my judgment?
    That suggestion is coming from the top.
    It went mostly overlooked in Rob Manfred's recent Associated Press interview, but he did have a bit of bombshell in there.
    He came pretty close to questioning the feasibility of a 2021 season if there are not fans in the stands.
    “The liquidity is sufficient to get us through 2020," he said. "I think if we’re faced with limited activity next year and the kind of losses that we suffered this year, again, it will become more of a problem.”
    There's truth to baseball taking a big financial hit this season.
    There's also truth to Manfred getting out in front of player-owner negotiations about a 2021 season if this comes down to another single-season deal to get something on the field in 2021.
    It's too early to know what it looks like, but simply assuming things are going to be "back to normal" for baseball in 2021 seems like too much optimism.
    You're wise to be skeptical, unfortunately.
    Just an observation: Baseball is so much more entertaining to watch with runners on base then just sitting there and enduring strikeout after strikeout waiting for the inevitable solo home run to happen.
    I like home runs with runners on base, personally.
    I would like to see Gomber and Reyes given the chance to be starters, what do you think?But with KK,would 2 lefties be too much?
    Over the past few seasons, when lefties in the rotation were few and far between, the Cardinals insisted it was better to start the five best arms regardless of left/right. I think that would be their same approach if there were multiple lefties in that group of five.
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