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. Busy day at the online headquarters of STLToday. A fresh Billikens Beat video just launched online. Be sure to check that out, Billikens fans. Stu Durando and I will be rolling out one per week this season. Coming online soon is a new Eye On The Tigers Podcast for Mizzou fans. Dave Matter and I break down the South Carolina win, the crazy schedule change that left Mizzou playing Vanderbilt instead of Arkansas, and then we get into some hoops. I'm locked in the chat chair for the next few hours. No interruptions scheduled. Plenty to discuss. Let's roll.
    Good morning, Mr. Frederickson. Hope you and your family have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving. I have three questions, if I may, please.
    1.) As an incentive for Molina to re-sign with the Cardinals, do you think the team might structure the deal so that the first year's salary is lower, and the second higher when the Cardinals have more money coming off the books, and (hopefully) baseball gets back more to normal in 2022?
    2.) Why wouldn't the Cardinals offer a similar deal to Wong, if they really wanted to keep him?
    3.) If you were allowed to participate in baseball's Hall of Fame voting, would you vote for Pete Rose, provided he was taken off baseball's ineligible list? With gambling's creep into the game (like the relationship with Sinclair Broadcast/Fox Sports Midwest and Bally) it seems hypocritical for baseball and the Hall to keep Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson out.
    Thanks so much for your time and insights.
    Thanks. Back at you, sincerely. I'm thankful for these chats -- even when we get fired up toward one another -- and for the loyal readers of the P-D. So, thanks!
    1) If the Cardinals present Molina a two-year structure that gets him the money he agrees to, I'm not sure why he would fret over what he gets paid when. Contracts in baseball are guaranteed. He has plenty of dough, so it's not like he would really notice if the payment is in 2021, 2022 or perhaps even deferred to later years. So, yeah, I think there could be a lot of wiggle room there, if both sides agree on the scope (two years) and the overall payment of the deal. The latter part might be where there are some disagreements. Molina knows he can't make $20 million per season anymore. What we don't know is how much of a pay cut he's willing to accept.
    2) It seems like the Cardinals were being candid when they did not pick up Wong's option. They want that financial flexibility at this time, and they want it for a while as they wait to see what next seasons looks like and what their payroll is going to be. There has been reports of Wong turning down a multi-year offer from the Cardinals, but that doesn't mesh with what P-D teammate Derrick Goold has reported and I trust DG's reporting on that. It's rare that a player who had a contract with an option does not get that option picked up and then agrees to take less from the same team. That's a pride thing. Even if a player takes less, most would rather take it from a team that did not pull their contract out from beneath them via not picking up the option. I can't blame Kolten if he feels that way. Most of us probably would.
    3) I'm a BBWAA member but have not been one long enough to secure a Hall of Fame vote. I think as voters get younger, the grudge against steroid users (proven and alleged) will thaw. We are watching that in real time. I don't automatically assume that baseball embracing betting will lead to the ban being lifted for Rose. We're not talking about laws here, but when laws change it's not usually a free pass for those who broke the law (when it was a law) in the past. Some of it has to do with how Rose has handled things too. He has flaunted and benefited from his ban from the game. If he handled things differently, he could have a better case now that baseball is cozying up to betting. Nothing would surprise me. Nothing. But I don't think it's a slam dunk for Rose.
    BenFred,

    With the lawsuit against Kroenke less than a year away, when do you think there will be things to report? Such as info that comes out of depositions, or what type of judgement may be levied against StanK?
    The jury trial is set to begin October 25, 2021. Unless there is a settlement, things could be pretty quiet until then. Depositions are not public, so I would not expect a ton of information to leak out from those. I need to make some calls and see if there's anything new to report. Thanks for the reminder.
    How did Arozerana gain 15 pounds of muscle in a month on chicken and rice and push ups? It took George St.Pierre a full year to move up a weight class in the UFC and he had top strength and conditioning coach's and access to the best supplements. I'm calling BS on that.
    GSP is a lightweight guy to begin with. It's hard for some guys to add and hold weight, especially good weight. What Arozarena did is not abnormal. It happens to college basketball players and football players all the time in the first season they get on a meal plan and encounter regular workouts required by college sports. I started wrestling (poorly) as a 145-pound freshman. By the time I was a senior I was wrestling (a little bit better) at 171 pounds and sometimes at 189. I'm not going to sit here and say I know exactly what Arozarena was and was not doing, because who does, but suggesting he was up to something funny without evidence isn't right. Baseball was testing for illegal substances in 2020. Ask Robinson Cano.
    Is it safe to say that the Braves are out on Waino since they signed Morton and Smyly? Are there any other known suitors for him?
    If other teams are coming for Waino, they have been in the weeds more than the Braves. I wondered if the Braves and Waino were a non-starter after Smyly signed there, but it seems almost certain that idea is shot now that Smyly AND Morton are going to be in Atlanta. Wainwright wants to start. He proved last season he still can. There's a rotation spot ready for him in St. Louis. There does not seem to be one, at least not one guaranteed, in Atlanta. I think that ship has sailed.
  • Looks like cards either to just take what they can for cmart for a trade or use him as relief
    It wouldn't surprise me if they did, but not solely because of this latest headache.
    And if there is zero trade value for him, bring him back but make it clear he's in the bullpen.
    That's what they should have done this season.
    Regardless of how passive the Cardinals are in free agency, if the DH is approved for '21, they are going to go get a real option for that spot, right? The '21 DH isn't going to default to the odd man out in the OF race (Fowler) or to Carpenter if someone outplays him in spring, right? The guy can't hit enough to be named a starter and now all the sudden his bat plays as a DH? That is a ridiculous approach.
    I do think the DH is going to be back in the National League for 2020, and I do think the Cardinals would be wise to get a real DH for that role.
    The list of free agents, boosted by all of the non-tendered players we are seeing across both leagues, is popping with power that pops at all price levels.
    That should be an easy fix, and a relatively affordable one, that could really help this offense.
    BenFred, can we just say this out loud: Carlos Martinez needs to grow up ! It’s time to cut bait.
    The days of Carlos Martinez being viewed as untradeable are long gone. The Cardinals have had discussions about moving him in the past, and those could occur again, perhaps with the Cardinals being willing to take less in a trade than they were before. I would not simply let him walk, because I think he provides real value as a reliever. I do think his days of being an All-Star starter could be behind him, but I would happily make him my closer. His success rate there is stellar, and he could hold the gig until Jordan Hicks is ready to take it over.
    Since the Cardinals are getting a payout from becoming a bookie shouldn’t that lessen the economic hit for 2021?
  • The details on what the Cardinals will get out of the Bally's rebrand -- and how much they even knew about it before it was announced -- are still pretty fuzzy. Remember, this is a national move by the Sinclair corporation, not something cooked up by the Cardinals and Fox Sports Midwest. But yes, baseball is going to be getting into bed with betting. And this is not news. It's now common to see Fantasy Sports leaderboards on display at the Busch Stadium videoboard before games. That was a tiptoe toward the trend we are seeing take off more obviously now. Back in 2018, the American Gaming Association projected the four top North American sports leagues could make up to $4.2 billion annually from sports betting. I read in the Los Angeles Times that the Dodger Stadium renovation that happened recently included sites that can be changed into sportsbooks when California legalizes sports betting. There's money to be made, and sports teams do not want to be left out of it. The NHL planted its flag in Vegas. The NFL relocated the Raiders there. MLB wants in there, and has moved meetings there as a way to flirt with Sin City. All bets are off, and by that I mean on, and yeah, it will factor into a team's revenue, which is a part of how the team defines its payroll.
  • BenFred, can we all agree that Carlos Martinez needs to be moved? I think you let the dust settle on this issue in his hometown and then take the best offer you can for him, or package him in a deal. I’m sure it’s no secret with other teams and I’m sure they will want to give the Cards a small pittance for him in hopes they just want to unload him. Sure, you could hold onto him and hope he pitches well in the season and increase his trade value, but then you also have to worry about him coming to camp out of shape and hurt and then you’ll be luck to get a bag of bats for him. He’s gotta go before Spring Training Ben, am I wrong?
    Your scenario assumes he has a decent trade value now.
    Would you trade for Carlos Martinez right now?
    I would not.
    An oblique injury ended his season.
    His last start was terrible.
    He returned as a starter after public friction with the team about his role.
    He got in trouble over the offseason for ignoring COVID protocols in the DR -- after he was hospitalized because of the virus during the 2020 season.
    He's not exactly encouraging teams to beat the Cardinals' doors down for him, is what I'm saying.
    I would not blame the Cardinals if they found a way to move him. It should surprise no one if they do. But the other option might be the most valuable one -- bring him back as a reliever and get what you can out of him in that role.
    And no, that does not mean bring him back as a starter and then move him to a reliever if he does not perform. Enough of that.
    Now that Fox Sports Midwest has sold its soul to the devil what is next? Maybe a prostitution Network too? What ever happened to “no betting in baseball”? I bet Shoeless Joe is spinning in his grave like the revolving door at Trump Tower. As the PD so appley put it FSMW intends to become a “bookie joint”. I hope advertisers give them the middle finger. This is just another case of the fabric of the game getting a little more tattered. If you don’t think organized crime will have their foot in the door with this then you’re living under a rock.
    Good grief.
    I understand not liking or getting involved with betting.
    But let's not forget the game is played in a stadium named after beer.
    Let's not forget everyone loves a home run to Big Mac Land, a part of the ballpark named for a steroid user.
    Let's not forget the game's history of greenies and cocaine and cheating and segregation.
    Baseball is not some perfectly pure thing.
    It never has been.
    It's funny to me where some decide to draw their lines.
    Gambling is so terrible, but everyone wants in on the office March Madness bracket 
    How would you feel if players, referees, coaches, executives etc. were allowed to and even encouraged to bet on the sports they are involved in as long as they promise not to bet on the games they are directly involved in? For example Tom Brady could bet on a Bengals vs Jets game or LeBron James could bet on a Hornets vs Hawks game?
    I think it's pretty obvious that there is a big difference between betting on games between someone who has an ability to influence that sport and someone who does not.
    Certain lines should not be crossed, and examples of line-crossing have to be treated harshly to discourage others.
    That said line does happen, and sometimes it does not get caught.
    But if a baseball clubhouse wants to get a pot of money together and pick NCAA tournament or NFL games to claim the prize, no, I don't see a big problem with that.
    And it does happen. Everywhere.
    I wouldn’t be terribly upset if the Cardinals did not make any major moves for the 2021 season. You’ve only got one more year before Dex and Carp are off the books. You’ve saved money on not bringing Wong back. Now you can go into the 2021 off season and really make a splash in the FA market. By that time maybe you know a little more about Montero and Gorman. You eventually may see Montero at third and Gorman at first if they take off and hit. Their will be no or very limited fans in the stands this season. The Cardinals will be harder to watch on The Bookie Network so I kinda see this as another lost season on the horizon.
  • How do you define major moves? They can and should make moves to improve this lineup, even if it's bringing in some potentially short-term help on a one or two-year deal. That is not a major move in the terms of the history of the franchise, but it could be major help for this ailing offense. A one-year contract to a DH who can slug would make a big difference if that hitter is back in 2022 or not.
  • BenFred, I am thankful that Jason Heyward, Giancarlo Stanton, and David Price did not take the offers by the Cards.
  • Add Albert Pujols to that list. He leads it.
    If the team reaches mid-July, fans are in the stands (in some capacity), starting pitching and the bullpen are performing as expected, but the offense is still scuffling, clearly still a bat away, is this FINALLY the year that Mo comes out of his cave at the trade deadline and makes a big move?
    Why wait? Affordable slug will be available before the season begins. The first half of the season counts too.
    What do you think is the hold up on signing Yadi? Are the Cards stalling or is Yadi waiting on other offers to gain leverage?
    Check the landscape. Most free agents are unsigned at this time. The top free-agent catcher, Realmuto, is still unsigned. He could set the catcher market. Everybody's trying to get a better feel for what players cost in this climate, players and teams alike.
    What do you make of the Toronto Raptors temporarily relocating to Tampa Bay due to Covid? For me there are two possible takeaways because I don't think Tampa is a relocating/expansion opportunity. One is that the NBA has zero interest in expanding anytime soon. Another possibility is their top choices for their next franchises are Montreal and Mexico City which as been rumored. What do you think of the Tampa Bay Raptors and do you read in between the lines as much as I do?
  • I haven't thought about it too much. I had been told the Kansas City effort to recruit the Raptors had little substance to it, and that turned out to be the case. I don't know much about the NBA's expansion plans or lack thereof other than St. Louis is not a realistic candidate now or in the near future. For multiple reasons we have discussed in these chats often, the biggest being the lack of a potential owner who wants to spend big to make it happen.
  • Hopefully you can report an NFL expansion franchise to the St. Louis area. Chesterfield Mall would be a good place for an NFL stadium.
  • I'd prefer a billion-dollar settlement :)
  • Theo Epstein is widely praised for his work with the Sox and Cubs, and well deserved. One article even said he’s the best GM of the decade. I have a hard time with that since both his efforts were tear downs and rebuilds. I’m not knocking his work, a lot of teams try and don’t have nearly the success he does, but I do think what Mo has done for the cardinals, even with the recent poor trades, is a lot more difficult than a year down and rebuild. Thoughts? If Epstein makes the HoF so should Mo
    Different strokes for different folks. I would argue that sustained success is harder than the tank-and-rebuild approach, but let's be honest, not every team that tries to boomerang gets the comeback that Theo has led twice. Theo is marketed well. He's the savior of downtrodden teams. But he rides off into the sunset when the aftertaste starts to turn bitter. The Red Sox and the Cubs are both facing the consequences of the Theo approach. And they are doing so with full appreciation of the successful spike Theo created. Would that work here? No, I don't think so. I think most Cardinal fans appreciate 13 consecutive seasons, even while they are wanting a fresher World Series championship.
    Are the current New York Jets worse than any of the St. Louis Rams teams?
    Even the 2009 Rams won one game. Will the Jets? I don't feel confident predicting it.
    Hey Ben, thanks for all you do you're the best. I know it has been touched on some by the PD but I'm curious your take on trying to use multiple players strengths to essentially create a better player overall. Example would be a Joc Pederson and O'Neil/Bader combo. Using R/L splits and defensive replacement to create a 4 WAR player. Do you think that is something that will become increasingly popular in baseball and should Cards fans be excited about moves that create that player out of 2 or 3 guys? That players name won't be Springer but could be as effective
    That could work, and I would not be surprised to see the Cardinals get more "splitty" for 2021.
    I don't expect it will be a home run with fans, for a couple reasons.
    One reason would be the Cardinals, as recent as last season, kind of turned up their nose at the suggestion they should try such an approach. I specifically remember the team stressing it needed "every-day answers" at a past winter meetings. So, they would have to explain why that opinion changed.
    Second, it's a more modern and unconventional approach. Every baseball fan knows Springer is a starting outfielder, every day. It takes a little more digging and convincing to see how it could be just as good to split those starts between two lesser-known guys.
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