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.

    I find your answer to the Molina/Wainwright question bizarre to say the least. I realize the question was hypothetical, but why would anyone keep the aging Molina/Wainwright knowing you would miss the playoffs if you could bankroll the savings to a younger impact player that would take you to the playoffs? Ben, this is a chance to redeem yourself with a better answer.
    Ha. Ask 10 Cardinals fans if they would rather see a wild-card series loss without Wainwright and Molina or a playoff-less season with the two of them making their regular amount of starts together, and you might be surprised by the answers you get. Better yet? Bring them both back AND improve the offense. It's not impossible. It should be the goal.
    LaRussa needs to go to AA or have his driving privileges taken away. The man is being selfish with all his DUIs. I know the White Sox were aware of his February arrest...is it possible they change their minds after they see how pissed off Sox fans are? They weren’t even really excited to begin with.
    It's interesting that the White Sox first comment about the matter was that they were aware of the incident before the hire, and nothing more. If they change course now, that means they will be doing so solely because of public backlash. That's usually not a good way to run a business, but we are seeing more and more of it these days. The La Russa hire was ripped nationally and in Chicago. This certainly won't help.
    I would think, given the Cards year by year profitability and the increase in value, that this should be an off season to be aggressive and build a team to win a World Series, with all of the other teams not wanting to spend go for it. But, Dewitt is a company man and wouldn’t want to go against the other owners.
    Interesting theory. I think the Cardinals' restraint this offseason has more to do with a) the financial impact of 2020 compared to normal, fruitful years and b) the overwhelming uncertainty about what 2021 will look like and even c) the TBD that is post-2021, when a new collective bargaining agreement will either change the landscape or lead to some sort of work stoppage. Those things are all on the Cardinals' minds more than not wanting to annoy other owners by winning.
    Hey Ben, thanks for your time. Reading Mr. Goulds's column "Ray of Reality", comparing the Cardinals to Tampa Bay, there was one little quote from Kevin Kiermeier that drew my attention. He stated that they have 9 guys willing to do the "little things" that helps your team get deep into the fall. That's the difference between the Cardinals and the Rays. The Cards have a lot of players that do not do the little things consistently. I watch about every game on TV and it is very obvious. It seems "create damage" becomes more important than what the situation may be calling for. Your thoughts??
  • My immediate thought is that if the Cardinals created more damage, then we wouldn't spend so much time talking about the little things. Damage erases mistakes and covers up flaws. The Cardinals do do many of the little things. They pitch well. They play great defense. They don't give away at-bats. They get on base at a good rate. They don't hit for power nearly well enough. They don't do enough damage when runners get on base. They're not a team that is stalled because they don't do the little things. They're a team that is stalled because they can't come up with big hits.
    Luhnow_once a cheater,always one.If this goes to court,they should come after him with all cylinders about stealing the information from the cardinals and letting an innocent man take the rap! Comments?
    The "they" in this situation would be the Astros. They're the ones Luhnow is taking to court. So, no, I don't think the Cardinals or the cheating scandal will come up. The Astros presenting that information, if it exists, would do more harm to the Astros than Luhnow, who is no longer with the Astros. Chris Correa was not innocent, even if Luhnow and other former Cardinals employees did what Correa claimed they did. Two wrongs don't make a right.
    Do you think DeWitt cares about winning because he wants the glory or do you think he cares about winning because it will drive business? It just seems like this team tries to check as few boxes as possible en route to trying to make the playoffs. And the whole concept of "just get in and see what happens" has been extinguished by better offenses two years in a row.
    I think he cares about both. I think what he loves more than anything is winning his way, because it validates the line he chooses to walk can achieve both goals. But when walking that line has not turned into a parade route for coming up on a decade, it's fair to question if the line needs to be adjusted. The Cardinals have, for seasons now, seem to be justifying lowered expectations: win a world series, make the playoffs, have a winning season, etc. It's happened quietly, but it has happened.
    Can you understand where fans look at the payroll and say “you have $60 million coming off the books next year...” so it is really only one year of pain if the team takes on a superstar level contract?
    Yep. I can understand it. I'm the guy who thought the Cardinals should have signed Harper. I'm not anti big contracts. The Cardinals are, and we are reminded often of that stance.
    Edman at 2B, Joc Pederson in the OF mix, Waino and Yadi back. Am I crazy to believe that would make the Cardinals contenders?
    That's putting A LOT of stock in Pederson, a platoon type hitter, to lift an offense that seems to need more help. If platooning is the answer, get two bats.
  • So you didn't like Manfred's expanded playoffs, huh? Baseball Amish!
    I do not. I'm pro-DH but anti-playoff expansion. I'm for seven-inning doubleheaders and against the extra-inning rule. When it comes to traditionalists and modernites, I'm lost somewhere in the middle. Kind of like politics. But I'll stick to sports :)
    Why wouldn’t the Cards go after Lindor. Vaccine is coming. 2022 revenue should at least be back to 75% of 2019. If they don’t do something of this ilk, can’t tell fans we’re trying to win. And I’m good with Wong leaving as long as they improve the other side of the infield. Which this move would do and fix lead off/slugging issues.
    I think the reasons the Cardinals would not go after Lindor would be pretty clear, based on what we've observed from the Cardinals for years now. The biggest reason they would not go after Lindor would be that they could not guarantee the trade cost they parted with to get him would be rewarded with him accepting an extension beyond his rental season, a pretty realistic concern considering the Cardinals' reluctance to give an in-his-prime player the kind of money and term that would keep him from leaving via free agency. We will see how COVID impacts free agency, but Lindor is a 10-year type talent, and the Cardinals have systematically refrained from 10-year type contracts.
    Have we ever found out the inside story on that Mizzou FL brawl beyond retaliating over a perceived late hit?
    I wasn't at the game in Florida but the story to me seemed to be that the Florida coach, Dan Mullen, instigated the fight by thrusting himself in the middle of it. If you're a player involved in an on-field brawl, and you turn around and see your coach playing the role of WWE hype man, you're probably not going to think twice about letting it fly. Mullen made the entire situation worse, then returned for more before he went in for halftime. If there was something said or done on the field beyond the late Mizzou hit on the QB, I don't know about it.
    This team has no real leadoff hitter and no real clean-up hitter. Internal options are not real options for clean-up or else they'd have been the answer already. Putting Edman at leadoff is as arbitrary as putting Wong there and will probably produce the same output. Putting Carp back at leadoff is laughable but any port in a storm, I guess. So really this team is rotating bald tires around the wheels in hopes of what?
    The lineup needs new blood. On that, we agree.
    Ben, thanks for your time doing these! The Cardinals, as many have stated, are built on pitching and run prevention. Many have said they could go far with just an "average" offense. With the hits the defense has absorbed (Yadi & Wong's departure), the Cardinals are now going to have to have a better than "average" offense, wont they? Their run prevention wont be nearly as good. Edman may be a good 2Bman, but Wong was great. And the double-play efficiency will go down as Tommy & Paul D get used to each other, and now there is no Tommy to play 3b, which puts Carp there more often, and then, of course, there are no comparable s on the roster to replace Yadi... Gonna need some major upgrade to that offense. 2021 could be rough for us fans.. :(
    Molina isn't gone yet.
    I wouldn't rush to that conclusion.
    But your point is a valid one.
    The Cardinals are a run prevention team that just lost a significant piece of their run prevention (Wong) and is not guaranteed at this time to return another (Molina).
    That cuts into your run prevention.
    If improvement in run prevention or run production is not the next step after Wong departure, then the team got worse.
    Letting Wong walk, moving Edman to second base and bringing back Molina and Wainwright does not improve this team.
    It makes it worse.
  • The full report of TLR’s arrest makes him look so so bad. Hopefully he gets the help he needs.
    Indeed. Those details are rarely pretty. The White Sox, it seems, are going to try to ignore this for the most part. I'm not sure that is going to work.
    Do you think Wong’s offense thrives elsewhere because he won’t be hitting leadoff anymore? His splits suggest he should bat 7th every game.
    I think Wong will get back to being the guy he was between 2017-19, when he was a .760 something OPS guy who ranked 10th or so among qualified second baseman in OPS during that span. He's not going to be the best hitting second baseman out there. He's fine for his position, and complements it with the best defense played at the position. Is he a leadoff hitter? TBD. He had a down short season in 2020 at the plate. I'm not reading too much into it. I think the Cardinals might have, and also used it as a convenient excuse to cut payroll because they are negatively impacted by other bad contracts they feel they can't work around.
    It seems like the Cards are so fixated on the depth chart that players have to routinely wait and wait year after year for their turn to play in the majors. Other than Carlson, the Cards appear to promote guys based on seniority rather than talent. As a result players get blocked and traded and sometimes blossom for other teams. Is this a problem throughout baseball or is it more of a problem in the Cards organization?
    That's a rather broad claim. Jordan Hicks would be a counter argument. You mentioned another one in Carlson. Recently, though, you are correct in pointing to the fact the Cardinals have misread and misplayed some of their own internal options. They're admitting that now, and they say they have to figure out how that happened and make sure it did not happen again. That's a start. Figuring out how to make those words a reality is going to be the harder part, and harder to prove they have fixed the problem. A team like the Cardinals, once that cements itself in draft and develop strategy, can't have too many misreads on their own players. They need the Arozarenas and Voits contributing to their team, not other teams -- or at least getting the proper payday for them if they do move them. Every team has examples of players and prospects that got away. The Cardinals, for a long time, were one of the few who did not have many that truly sting. That started to change this season.
    Is Rob Manfred the worst commissioner in sports? I used to throw that label on Roger Goodell but he is at least growing the game and seems to have a pulse on how to make the league better. Manfred seems hellbent on idiotic rules that do nothing to speed the game up or bring in news fans and continues to strip the minor leagues down to nothing giving the game less exposure than ever. Does he have a strong suit that I'm not seeing?
    Manfred has no redeeming qualities to fans that I can think of, honestly.
    He does to the owners, though, and that's who he works to please.
    The idea that he should be a protector of the game or a salesman of it does not seem of much interest to him.
    He's there to make life better for owners, first and foremost.
    Has there been any talk of the Big Ten changing its COVID protocols for basketball so players don’t have to sit out 21 days? The season is doomed if they don’t.
    We're just now starting to get a sense of SOME college basketball protocols. It sounds like they're going to vary by conference again. Perhaps even by team. Duke said today there will be no fans at games. The NCAA's coronavirus protocol lists basketball as a high-risk sport, a designation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and recommends that teams quarantine for 14 days whenever a player, coach or staffer tests positive.
  • I agree 100% with a previous chatter when he suggested the Blues leave Tarasenko unprotected, especially if he can't come back, or has a less than stellar 2020-21 season. I can't see Seattle taking him and his bad shoulder and contract "hoping" he returns to his old form.
    Do you want him to be left unprotected because you think he won't be taken, or because you are OK losing him? That's the question that the Blues would have to answer. You only make that call if it's the latter, and then you better be prepared for the fallout that could come after the fact.
    Thanks for the opportunity to chat today. The Cardinals have admitted they are in cost-control mode, but that makes me wonder? If they are so focused on the bottom line, it stands to reason that an enhanced factor in a players value would be his WAR+J metric. The J stands for jersey sales.

    With economics playing such a big role, is it fair to ask if a player's ability to sell tickets and stuff going to be in the mix for roster decisions this off-season?
    There's a reason some believe the team's top two priorities are to return Molina and Wainwright.
    Those two sell.
    Still.
    Will they go after Ha-seong Kim and do they have a shot at signing him?
    Right now they have not set a budget that will determine what and who they will consider going after. Until that is clear -- and until the 2021 season has some clarity -- it's hard to say. It's going to be a strange offseason.
    As a follow-up to the Knizner question, which I was going to ask. Shildt was supposed to be the manager that could better relate to young players and give them better chances than Matheny. Yet, we have Wieters over Knizner, Jose Martinez over Arozarena and others in the OF. Is Shildt giving the younger players the chance they deserve? Has he changed his stripes? Is the narrative that he would give younger players a chance simply not borne out by his actions? What are you seeing?
    I'm seeing mixed results. Shildt had no problem creating chances for Jordan Hicks and Tommy Edman. He's gotten the best out of Alex Reyes and leaned on Giovanny Gallegos to the point he became one of the National League's most reliable relievers. It's not completely fair to fully blame the front office for Arozarena when he was available to play and Shildt did not play him as much as he could have despite a small sample size that suggested he deserved more opportunities. As for Knizner, that situation is complicated by Molina. Molina wants to play as much as possible, Shildt has made it clear he wants the same. But when Molina can't play, there's no good reason that Knizner should not be the one playing. Especially if there's no minor league season as an alternative. It seems to me that the Cardinals have determined that it's easier to have a buffer between Molina and the prospect who is next in line for his job, but if that buffer player is not better than the prospect, then the manager should be the one who makes the call to play the prospect if he's available on the roster. Wieters is not better than Knizner. Not now. Not moving forward.
    Can you explain to me the "baseball is a business, they invested big money in X player so he has to play" ideology? I work for a large brewery in the area, when I make a bad investment, especially a sizable one, if it's not working out I move on. I get creative, I find a cheaper alternative, I try something else out. I don't compound the mistake by letting the bad investment continue to return poor results. How does that not correlate to baseball? I understand if you invest big money in a player and he's not working out that you probably don't want to spend more on an even bigger name. But if you have an attractive, cheap alternative in your system, or can find a dirt cheap option, why not try them out? This seems to be the much more intelligent business decision. What am I missing?
  • Your analogy works.
    Let's continue with it.
    When it comes to the amount of time you let an investment play out before pulling the plug, do you tend to give more time for bigger investments? Probably so, right? The amount of money invested is likely related to the faith you had in that investment, meaning you want to extend the timeline as long as possible before determining that it as a bad investment.
    When you do decide or realize you made a bad investment, do you pull the plug entirely, or slowly shift away? Do you eat the loss all at once immediately -- or do you scale back and see if a different approach with the same hire or asset can find a better way to work. Try to see if you can get SOMETHING out of it, for example.
    There was a reason Tommy Edman got got a team-high 204 at-bats this season compared to Matt Carpenter's 140. There was a reason Brad Miller got as man at-bats (142) as Carpenter.
    The Cardinals are moving along the timeline you suggested, just not as fast as many would like.
    They rarely do move as fast as many would like when it comes to eating a contract, and we're talking about a legacy contract here, not just any contract.
    Carpenter is being handled differently than some other players would be handled.
    His extension -- given because the team wanted him to end his career with the Cardinals -- was handled differently than some other players would be handled.
    At your company, I bet you have employees who are not performing as well as they were when they first started, but they've been there a long time and built up a lot of good will and a healthy salary. Sometimes those employees get fired, sure. More often, they are eased out. Carpenter seems to be being eased out -- although if recent history tells us anything he will get a chance to reverse the trend.
    IF we get a regular 3B (cough cough Arenado) could Carp get some outfield reps and play all around (except SS)?
    That's a big if, but to me it would make more sense to have Carpenter play second and third and let Edman get the outfield reps.
    As for the St. Louis City MLS club, I'm out of town so really in the dark on future plans. I know they hired a German executive to run the organization, so with his experience in European soccer, do you think they might try to enter into an arrangement with a German club as a source of talent, similar to what FC Cincinnati did?
    I've not heard anything about that being in the plans, but I can ask around and try to find out. I know the priority for the team at this point is getting the ground floor of the youth academy here in STL up and running because they hope that by the team launches there might be some homegrown talent ready or close to ready to play. Lutz Pfannenstiel, the sporting director, has a diverse background that includes playing stops in every continent that plays soccer. I think he will cast a wide net for talent, whether it's Germany or elsewhere, and I think the desire to do so helped him get the job.
    Gotta run, folks. Thanks for the chat. See you here same time and place next week.
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