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 in Tuesday's 11 a.m. live chat.

    Greetings, chatters. Hope everyone is having a good week. I'm back and refreshed from a quick week off. That means we have not one but TWO weeks of stuff to discuss. According to the AP-Top 25 hoops poll, expectations are high for Illinois hoops along with SLU. Mizzou's got a big game against Georgia on Saturday. Plenty of Cards and Blues topics to dive into, plus a troubling headline for TLR shortly after he was named White Sox manager. Let's roll.
    How come Shildt wasn’t held responsible for not playing Randy A more in Sept 2019 seems like that’s on him
    Who would hold him responsible for that? The front office that traded Arozarena away? It's safe to say the Cardinals, across the board, did not think Arozarena was capable of doing what he did for the Rays this season. Front office. Manager's office. Mozeliak has said he will take the blame for the misread, but it's fair to put some of it on Shildt, too. If he trusted Arozarena more, and the results were there in a small sample size, perhaps Arozarena would have convinced more in the organization that he could be the answer. Didn't happen. Right now, it looks like a bad mistake. We will have to see how Arozarena continues to play, though. Short season, and he wasn't playing for all of it.
    Hope the cards know if they dont bting back yadi and waino there be a bunch of angry and unhappy fans
    They're aware of the upside of keeping legacy players around, and the downside of letting them walk. They're also committed to chopping payroll. I do think keeping Molina and Wainwright are at the top of the Cardinals' list of offseason to-dos. I've said it before and I'll say it again. The Cardinals will have a hard time explaining to fans who want to see Wainwright and Molina finish their career in Cardinals uniforms how they drew the line at legacy contracts between the Matt Carpenter extension (ouch) and letting Molina/Wainwright walk. I don't think Bill DeWitt Jr. will let that happen, unless Molina or Wainwright make unrealistic demands. That said these are unpredictable times here in 2020.
    The cardinals have said that payroll is closely tied to ticket sales. And you have said before that if fans want to send a message to the FO to improve the team, they shouldn’t go to games. I know it’s a different situation, but if the FO can say they can’t afford big contracts after having no fans in 2020 (completely understandable), then couldn’t they say they can’t afford big contracts if fans chose to not attend due to poor performance?
    I have not told fans not to go to games. And I won't. What I've said is that the best way to signal support or lack thereof of a business is to think in terms of business. Support in the form of buying tickets, merchandise -- or choosing not to -- means a lot more than angry Tweets or Internet angst. That was my point. And I still stand by that. I have pointed out that the Cardinals are telling their fans a lot about how they will need to scale back spending because there were no fans in the stands in 2020, but they are not saying much when it comes to what they will do to get fans back in the seats with an exciting offense in 2021. If fans choose to stay away for that reason, I can't blame them. If the Cardinals start trying to retrofit their competitiveness to the support they feel they are getting from their fans, I think that's a good way to alienate a very loyal fanbase.
    Agree or disagree: Universally, analytics have hurt baseball. As a product to watch for us fans? Just doesn't have the flow that it used to have.
  • I disagree. Analytics, unfortunately, has become a big, bad buzzword that is stuck to anything about the game someone does not like. But analytics have been part of the game as long as the game has been around. Lou Brock's advanced base-stealing tactics were analytics. Dave Duncans binders of pitching notes and opponent spray charts were analytics. Those were not ruining the game. They were the hard-earned research that made great coaches and great players better. Some of the new-age numbers, statistics and methods are unfamiliar. That too often means scary. It shouldn't be that way. Baseball has changed countless times over the years. It adapts. It will continue to adapt. It only becomes a problem if the adaptation stops. That's the problem with shifts. It's not the shift. It's the hitters refusing to adapt to shifts.
    If there Cardinals knew there was a good chance Yadi might not be back next season, why was Matt Wieters getting reps that could have gone to me?
    Whether Molina is going to be back or not, the Cardinals should have prioritized Andrew Knizner over Matt Wieters last season no matter what. They did not. I don't get it. There has been no good answer presented. President of baseball operations John Mozeliak said during his end-of-season presser that he wanted to see Knizner play more often, but there never seemed to be much effort on that front to make it happen this season. Wieters did not play well this year. There was no good reason he should have had more than twice as many at-bats as Knizner. None.
    Thanks for your time BenFred!

    I’ve tried to keep my expectations down for this offseason and I’m not expecting any real additions. What do you think would go over better with the fan base - Cards bringing back Yadi and Waino and missing the playoffs, or letting them leave and bringing in a decent bat and making the playoffs?
    That's a hard one to answer definitively.
    Impossible, really.
    It would depend on what the Cardinals did in the playoffs.
    It would depend on how that bat performed during the season, and how Molina/Wainwright performed elsewhere.
    It would depend on the fan who was asked, perhaps more than anything.
    I do think, in part because of the pandemic-related stresses (financial, health-related, etc.) we are all under in 2020, there is less vitriol now than in "normal" times toward teams that decide to part ways with key players over money-related issues.
    The casual fan and average American's interest level in the comings and goings of millionaire athletes is not as high as it was pre-pandemic, according to my unofficial observations.
    I think the Alex Pietrangelo situation was an example of that.
    If the 2021 minor league season is scrapped and teams are forced to conduct another summer of extended spring training, will the development of prospects hurt hitters or pitchers more? Will it be a net negative across the board?
  • It's going to hurt everybody: pitchers, hitters, baseball at large.
    The alternate sites are better than nothing, but they're not comparable to a minor league season, and they are only big enough for so many players.
    The true carnage is going to be the lack of development and growth of players who are not in those alternate sites.
  • I have been a Cards fan for 40 years. They have had brought me a lot of joy over the years but lately they just aren't much fun to watch. I always appreciate that they try to do things the right way. But think that they need to shake things up in the office and on the field.
  • An offense that can produce a National League average amount of runs would help a lot.
  • Who is on cards trade blovk this off season
    If the Cardinals decide to add offense via outfield, we could see more turnover at that position. The Cardinals have entertained trade offers for Harrison Bader and Tyler O'Neill before, and that could happen again. The Cardinals sure sound like they are out of patience with Carlos Martinez, so a move there should not be surprising if it happens. Those would be at the top of my list of possibilities.
    Would DeWitt ever sell the Cardinals?
    There's been no sign that would suggest that's in the plans, and Bill DeWitt III's current position as an involved team president would suggest a clear line of succession within the family for the future.
    Why is ticket sales more important to the Cardinals than to other teams? other teams aren't crying foul over it,are they?And,the Cardinals get local and National TV revenue too,correct? How about merchandise money,I've read where teams get 40 or 50 million just from those sales.
    Other teams are absolutely going to be citing a season without fans in the stands as a reason to scale back payroll. It will be the theme of the offseason for many teams. Some might take an alternate route and spend more in an against-the-grain attempt to make up ground, and that could be a great plan, but the majority of teams, like the Cardinals, will be scaling back.
    Who is the next Randy A that the front office should be looking at to not get rid of? Lane Thomas?
    Lane Thomas is the Cardinals outfielder who has made his major league debut that I'm least certain anyone has a decent read on at this time. He received pretty much the same number of at-bats this season (36) as he did last season (38), and it has become clear since the end of the season, per John Mozeliak, that Thomas' COVID-shortened season was damaged by some lingering issues believed to be connected to the virus. That meshes with some of the uncharacteristic play we saw from Thomas after his return. He's the one I would be worried about trading away too soon at this time, not Tyler O'Neill or Harrison Bader.
    IF Cleveland offered the Cardinals Lindor for Dejong straight up would they make the deal? The only way I see them making that deal is if they think they could resign him. Since they won't give out 10 year deals to players in their prime I don't think they would take the deal.
    It would be impossible to know if they could re-sign Lindor when they traded for him. That's what makes that kind of trade tough. There's no guarantee that player will forego free agency to take an extension, yet the trade ask will almost always bake some of that possibility into the equation. In this hypothetical scenario, if the Cardinals are not prepared to beat out what a 26-year-old star is about to make on the free-agent market in terms of dollars and length, then no, they should not trade a cost-controlled starting shortstop for one year of a player they don't think they can afford to keep.
    Hey, Ben: I no longer live in STL, so I don't hang out with Cardinals fans as I once did, and thus I don't have a real sense of the general vibe between fans and the team these days. These chats tend to cater to the aggrieved, so I don't know that they are a good benchmark. All I can say is that is that once I became an adult who had a real job and responsibilities, sports became less important, my sports fandom has shrunk, and now I only really follow my teams. The Cardinals are one of my teams, and I pay to have access to all of their games on MLB.tv. I use that all as a preface to say that I am not looking forward to what I anticipate is yet another year of dismal offense that is hindered by the ever-present cloud of bad contracts that limit better talent acquisition.

    For the past several years, the question has come up about whether the Cardinals might start to lose a significant portion of their fanbase thanks to their unwise transactions that have made this an offense that sputtered, at best, and a team that is good enough to get into the dance, but really is outclassed by the best franchises of the moment. For the first time, I actually think that losing some of the fanbase might be a possibility. The dwindling true attendance (not tickets sold) before the pandemic was the first hint, but seeing that lineup this season and knowing it likely won't get much better beyond Carlson's development feels like a potential tipping point. You are much closer to the situation. What is your read?
    With all of this talk about accurate and inaccurate polling during the election cycle, it would be interesting to see a polling of Cardinals fans and their current enthusiasm toward the club. My observations suggest the Internet discussion is almost always more negative than the in-person commentary I encounter. That said, it's not just the Twitter mob that is frustrated with the team these days. It's been a long time, for Cardinals fans, since that last 2011 World Series. Two years of subpar offense has gotten old fast. I don't think there will be a mass exodus, but I do think the Cardinals are at risk of seeing a decline in interest and because of that fan-driven dollars.
    People forget Randy A did not make the Rays out of spring training, got Covid and then decided to work out more with a high protein diet while on DL. If he’d had added 15 lbs of muscle while with the Cards he would not have been traded
  • Are you sure about that? I don't remember the Cardinals citing his lack of weight or muscle as the reason he did not get chances. He slugged .500 in 20 at-bats with the Birds in 2019. His power was flashing, and it could have been assumed more would come.
    If the Cards resign Wong, is that going to be the extent of their moves this offseason?
    I would not expect a Wong-Cardinals reunion. It's pretty rare that an option is not picked up and that player then agrees to a new deal with the team that did not pick up the option. I know both sides say they're leaving that door open, but I'd be surprised if it happens. The Cardinals are more likely to bring back Molina/Wainwright and then wait to see what bargains emerge than they are to bring back Wong, I think,.
    Expansion list for the Blues. Put Tarasenko out there to be picked. You know Seattle isn't going to claim him being hurt and $7.5 million. If he is upset then he is upset and gets his butt in shape. If the shoulder can't get it done, retire. By May it will be 2 seasons of nothing from him.
    That would be a bold play. If they take him and he recovers, you've surrendered a 30-goal scorer and fan favorite. Not sure the Blues want to make that gamble.
    with all the outbreaks in football....how can college basketball survive? a smaller group of players, with more interaction between the team as a whole? I hope COVID doesn't derail the progress that Travis Ford has made!!!
    It's a fair question, and one I've been wondering about myself quite a bit lately. If the college basketball teams adopt the same kind of "close contact" quarantine procedures as the football teams, where a person who came into contact with someone who tested positive has to be out for 14 (SEC) to 21 (Big Ten) days, then you could have a situation where one practice with a positive player ends up with an entire team being sidelined for a week or two. That's not really going to work. We don't have protocols for teams and leagues yet. We barely have schedules.
    Luhnow wants a $22 mil payout. Crook or not, he oversaw a team that engaged in one of the biggest cheating scandals in sports history. Leaders put controls in place to prevent fraud and sniff out inappropriate behavior when it occurs. Ben, your thoughts?
    If Luhnow is truly innocent, and that's hard to believe but he says he is, then I don't blame him for fighting to clear his name.
    I don't think he will win.
    There has been a clear shift from the commissioner's office.
    It used to be that, if you could prove you did not know something bad was happening as a front office leader, you were off the hook.
    When it comes to electronic sign stealing especially, Manfred is adopting a different tone and has since the Red Sox Apple watch incident.
    He expects front-office leaders to know what their employees are up to.
    That shift led to the hammer for Luhnow.
    It's the same method used against college basketball coaches now, and I agree that holding leaders at the top accountable is really the only way to try to hammer out wrongdoing that is bad for the game.
  • Can TLR pretty much get away with anything he wants without having to suffer any consequences from MLB? Earlier this year it was noted that TLR may have been cheating by stealing signs with his first tour of duty with the White Sox but it magically disappeared. I think MLB should fine him severely and donate the money to MADD.
    No, he can't. That story you were referencing, alleged by Jack McDowell, was about something that happened in the 1980s. Did anyone really think MLB was going to try to investigate something that happened decades ago? Especially after Manfred said he was not going to re-litigate electronic sign-stealing accusations that happened pre Apple-Watch-Gate in Boston? I didn't. This latest headline is not a decades-old claim. It's a recent arrest for a driving under the influence charge, one La Russa has familiarity with. One drunk driving incident can be a mistake, a bad one. A second is a trend. It points to alcohol abuse. The White Sox need to explain to their fans why they made the hire knowing about the incident, and La Russa owes fans an explanation. More importantly, he owes it to himself to address his problem.
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