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 Tuesday at 11 a.m.

    Greetings, chatters. Thanks for dropping by today. Some advice before we begin -- if you have not finished your Thanksgiving leftovers yet, time to toss them! I have SLU and Mizzou fans fighting in my Twitter mentions after today's column. It's a day for debate. Let's roll.
    BenFred,

    I get the sense that the PD writers are on the same page as fans (I think its general common sense TBH) that the Cardinals offense needs to improve. What I am having a harder time understanding is that it has been widely reported that the Cardinals want to reduce payroll, and they also want to resign Yadi and Waino. So if they do resign those players, how will they add some other offensive pieces if their goal is a reduced payroll? I think that will push them outside of their comfort zone on their payroll, even with some savvy 1 year deals. So do you think they stretch their budget to improve their biggest weakness?
    That's the challenge, right? They created some wiggle room by not picking up Wong's option. They could trade a contract or two away. Just this morning Ken Rosenthal mentioned Carlos Martinez as a contract the Cardinals could trade away to the Red Sox if they were willing to put a prospect in the mix. Not saying that's going to happen, but more money could be moved. Whatever comes in and comes out, though, the Cardinals would be ignoring the obvious if they don't find ways to increase the power potential of this lineup. It's clear it needs help. The how is the hard part. That, we agree on.
    Hi, Ben. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. I have two questions, if I may, please.
    1.) Regarding MLB expansion, it seems Nashville is getting a lot of support. Wouldn't the Cardinals, Reds and Braves oppose that move -- probably prefer Charlotte or Montreal instead -- since all three draw pretty well from that area?
    2.) Regarding the Sinclair/Bally/Fox Sports Midwest plan to offer interactive betting. In a chat yesterday, Derrick wrote that the Cardinals own 40 percent of Fox Sports Midwest. As a result, the team would get some of that gambling revenue; and through revenue sharing, all other MLB teams would as well. My question: How can MLB profit from, and simplicity condone, gambling yet continue to keep Pete Rose and Shoeless Jackson ineligible for consideration for the Hall of Fame because of their gambling or association with those who did?
    Thanks for the chat.
    Thanks. I did. Hope you did as well.
    1) Nashville is appealing because there seems to be a serious ownership group there. That is hard to overlook. The city is booming. There are 10 new cranes up every time I go through it. The teams you mentioned might fret about some fans being pulled in another direction, but they would not object to the league revenue increasing from expansion, whether it's in Nashville, Montreal or both. And it probably will come in multiple places when it comes. I would not rule out Las Vegas either. That is going to lead us into your second question, but now that every league is embracing sports betting, the rush to Vegas is on. It's been on, actually, and the NFL and NHL beat MLB to Sin City. But baseball is interested, as evidenced by the league meetings that were recently moved to Vegas. That stuff used to never happen. Now? It's here.
    2) You are assuming MLB cares about taking a hypocritical stance that makes it money. It doesn't. I have this argument with McGraw Milhaven often on the radio. How many times do we have to be reminded that professional sports teams are, above all else, a business. Money rules, and sports betting has been greenlighted in many states, with assumptions that other states will soon follow. Teams are not going to miss their cuts. We've watched the wall drop for years, from the leagues' embracing of fantasy sports -- the DraftKings graphics at Busch Stadium -- to Dodger Stadium's recent renovations leaving room for a sportsbook. Pointing to the hypocrisy it creates in terms of Rose and Jackson is more than fair. Baseball opened that door. It is OK with the tradeoff. And maybe things are viewed so much differently one day that those guys do get in. If I told you baseball would be on board with betting 10 years ago, everyone would have said that was crazy. Things change.
    Here is what is driving me crazy, this idea that these “fringe” starters (Bader/O’Neill/Carp/Fowler) will just conveniently slide back and forth interchangeably between starting at their primary position and the DH. None of these players are being benched because they can’t field. The DH is for HITTERS!! Not contracts, not prospects, not aged out AAAA players and spare parts (Dean & Ravelo). This team needs to go get a non-tendered bonafide bat! It doesn’t need to be a 5-tool player or an All-Star but it does need to be someone who can hit and has done so their entire career.
    Nelson Cruz, who fits that profile, would make a lot of sense for the Cardinals.
    Good Morning Ben, thanks for the chat! I keep wondering what type of numbers Nolan Gorman would need to post to make it to the show in 2021? If he had a breakout year it would solve so many issues for the team. In fact, a breakout, left handed power bat is exactly what we need.
  • The timeline for him seems to be 2022, so it's not crazy to imagine a scenario where he expedites that. I imagine it would take more of a need at the MLB level than something Gorman can do. And that makes things harder for Gorman, right? We don't know much about the upcoming minor league season yet, meaning we don't know if Gorman will get much of a chance to put up numbers.
    Thanks for all your work, Don't always agree with it, but makes me think. Coach Drink has made MU FB appointment viewing again for the first time in several years. I am amazed at how he has his players playing. I also respect that he is willing to gamble even if you lose some gambles. I had Odom flashbacks in the second half of the South Carolina game, but Drink's team found a way to win rather than giving it away.
    Thanks. I don't expect everyone to agree all the time. That would be boring! I am glad to hear that I make you think, and I really appreciate readers who read something they don't agree with in an attempt to understand a differing viewpoint. I try to do the same in my consumption of media, and I think we would all be better off if more joined us.
    I think I said before the season started that Drinkwitz had done just about everything right that he could besides coaching in games, which he had not had a chance to do at Mizzou yet. Well, there's a lot to like in the games now that we have watched them. The Tigers are prepared. They play clean football. They're not immune from mistakes and had a bad episode at Florida during that halftime fight, but a little tenacity is better than the alternative. He's won close games, which is a great sign. I read from my pal Gabe DeArmond this week that Drinkwitz is undefeated in games where his teams at Mizzou and App State are anywhere between 7-point favorites and 7-point underdogs. That's a good sign. I thought the Tigers would have a good season if they could win one big game, a signature win for the new guy. They did that against LSU and can do a lot more. They're not going to dip below third in the SEC East, which is significant. And they have a good chance to finish the season ranked in the top-25, which is AD Jim Sterk's goal for the football seasons. That would be a huge success, considering the circumstances. 
    Assuming that the DH is going in effect and Carps going to get at least a 2 month opportunity and Ravelo, Montero, Sosa, Mendoza, Gorman all need a debut next year wouldn't Carlos Santana be the guy they want to sign? He could pick up 50 or so games at third and DH. He's 35 and probably has a year or two left and would cost less than $5 million. I hear a lot of chatter about Nelson Cruz who is 40 and can only DH and would cost probably $10 million. Your thoughts? Thanks for the chats!
    The concern about Santana, for me, would be his 2020 numbers. His batting line dropped to .199/.349/.350. Combine that with his numbers the past two seasons and he's slashing .246/.370/.447 since 2018. That's not a great trend for a career slugger who is entering his age-35 season. Cruz has been remarkably consistent, even though he's older. Could the bottom drop out on either? For sure. But there are fewer warning signs with Cruz.
    Ben, I am a SLU season ticket holder and while I would prefer to see SLU play Mizzou over most of the random non-conference games, I don't blame SLU for not taking a 2 for 1 in Columbia. However, this year is different, and I don't understand at all why they aren't playing. Both coaches over the weekend said they were looking to add a game this week. Ford sounded like he would add anybody and if it was in Columbia, I would hope he would know some SLU fans would do what they could to see it in person as it may be only one we can see in person this year. I read your article but still don't have any idea why it didn't happen this year. Did your sources say the two even talked at all over the weekend?
    My understanding is that there has not been much cooking in the conversation since the previous discussion about the two-for-one stopped.
    Mizzou was interested in salvaging that game against Oregon, which according to the rankings is a more competitive game for the Tigers.
    The vibe from SLU was that it's not happening.
    Maybe things could change if more games fall through later in the year, and that's a real possibility, but I would not count on it.
    I agree that this would have been the perfect time.
  • I think fans are prepared to give DeWitt and the F.O. a pass this winter because of Covid, which is saying something since they certainly wouldn't deserve one after watching this offense flounder again this year while Ozuna, Voit, and Randy A. thrived. But a year from now the bar is going way up. Fans won't want to hear about how they were "in the mix" for a free agent or how the contract was "outside of their comfort zone." 2022 will be about results. Bad contracts will be gone, young players will be fully vetted, and it will be put up or shut up time in the Show Me State.
  • Fans should not give the team a pass for a below-average offense.
    There are affordable answers available, even if a bigger series of changes can me made in 2022.
    Every year, guys make big impacts on one-year deals.
    Why can't the Cardinals get in on that?
    They should.
  • Hey Ben, hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Is the McCann rumblings no more than the Cards checking on his price so they can gauge Yadi’s? Are they actually serious about McCann?
    Thanks, and ditto.
    I think you answered your own question.
    The Cardinals want Molina back, and if he goes elsewhere, why wouldn't they turn to the prospect who's bumping into the ceiling at the position in Knizner?
    The Cardinals are often "linked" to players they are not going to offer.
    Maybe this is a misread by me, and I'll admit if it turns out to be, but I would be pretty surprised -- shocked, really -- if the Cardinals did not bring back Yadier Molina and then countered by signing James McCann.
    Hey, Ben: So, were you like me on Saturday, hoping that Vandy could find a way to just get the dang ball to about the 20 and give Sarah Fuller a chance at an FG? Thing was, it was clear that Mizzou's defense was so in control, it was just never going to happen. I've never been so annoyed with a good defense before!
    Brutal. A team drawing national attention to just how bad its offense is was quite the backfire. Whoops. Any team with a struggling extra-point kicker would be wise to make a call to the women's soccer team on campus. It worked for my high school team. Our best women's soccer player showed up every Friday, suited up and set the school record for consecutive extra-point attempts made. We had a strong-legged kicker who could boot it through the end zone every kickoff and a good punter, but our strong-legged kicker wigged out when it came time to make short field goals and extra-points. Jess Greer became our secret weapon. She was automatic. She's now the director of soccer operations at Washington State University. Proud to call her a teammate. And I guess that's part of the reason I was not as surprised as some to see Fuller be a realistic solution for Vanderbilt. Just too bad her team stinks out loud.
    Ben, what is Michael Porters younger brother doing now, I wonder if he had to do it over again would he have left school for the pros?
    Jontay's doing just fine. He just signed a three-year, $6 million deal to stay with the Memphis Grizzlies. Not bad for a guy who has never played in an NBA game that counts.
    After reading about DH's,How about bringing Albert home,for his last year?
    I'm afraid it would do more to hurt his legacy than help it.
    That ship has sailed.
  • do you see any of the non tenders who can help the cards. thanks
    Heck yes. Any of the outfielders, utility types or DH candidates who can hit for power would be wise to look at, and there are many.
    It has been pointed out that the beat writer should not offer commentary on the Cardinals front office trades, signings and decisions but simply report on them. I get that as a reporter, that's your job and that includes trying to rationalize the moves made from a FO perspective.

    This sometimes looks like writers are trying to prop up/support bad decisions, but in reality just reporting. Just like pointing out the Cardinals consistent winning and making playoffs comes across as rationalization, too - just like saying if you don't like the product, dont' go to the games or watch on TV.

    The money question is...Who gets the job/assignment/responsibility of commenting on the front office and their under performance on trades, signings and talent evalution and holding them accountable then?

    Joe Buck made comments on the Randy Arozerena trade during the WS and haven't heard much response on that front from local media. Would like to hear your perspective on what he said.

    The bottom line, they traded away a young, exciting offensive star in the making i.e. exactly what the needed.
    Just to clear things up.
    I'm a columnist, not a beat writer.
    Neither job is better than the other.
    Neither job means rationalizing the front office's decisions.
    Explaining them? Sure.
    Questioning them? You bet.
    Grading them in the moment and when the dust has settled? Indeed.
    That's my job, to offer commentary on our local teams.
    With all due respect to Joe Buck, who is outstanding at his job, my job is not to cover what Joe Buck says about the Cardinals.
    My opinions on the Arozarena trade are easy to find. They're in the paper. They're on the website. They're in podcasts and videos and in thse chats.
    Seek them out and let me know if you still think I'm giving the Cardinals too much of a free pass.
    And I'll just add this.
    Mozeliak ate crow on the Arozarena trade. Said it was a mistake. He said that in an interview with local reporters, beat writers and columnists.
    Hey Ben, is Saturday's Mizzou game a championship game for "SEC Coach of the Year"? Why or why not?
    It's certainly the championship game for Best New SEC Hire. Jimbo Fisher and Dan Mullen should probably be ahead of Eli Drinkwitz and Sam Pittman in the conference coach of the year discussion.
    Hi, Ben. Regarding your answer to earlier question about Nashville as an MLB expansion city: obviously MLB will expand by two cities. Which would you list as the early favorites? I'd say one goes to Portland, because the league needs to have another northwest team to go with Seattle. Do think it comes down to Nashville or Vegas for the second team? I know a lot has been written about possibility of Montreal. Would moving team out of Tampa to Vegas, Nashville or Montreal be part of the expansion equation? Thanks for your time.
    MLB commissioner Rob Manfred in the summer 2018 listed the following cities as potential expansion sites, along with a Mexico option that would probably come much later, if at all: Portland, Las Vegas, Charlotte, Nashville, Montreal and Vancouver. Those are the frontrunners for the time being. Considering that Tampa openly flirted with moving games to Montreal, it's fair to wonder if that's a long-term fit, though good will between the team and the region should have been boosted by the Rays' recent run to the World Series. It's anybody's guess on expansion sites or timeline right now, but one way to bring in more money for owners who are really worried -- just ask them -- about losing money would be expediting expansion.
    When will teams now if the DH is going to be in the national league in 2021.
  • Good question. They don't know. But most are expecting it will be back for 2021. Teams should plan accordingly.
    Ben,Randy A had a great 6 weeks,so what? Quite a few players have came up ,did great ,and the next season got sent down never to be heard from again. He did hit for a few weeks of the season and the playoffs,granted,but ,can he continue to master his craft?I'm not ready to put him in the Hall just yet.What do you think?
    As with any trade, it will take a while to truly apply the final grade. What becomes of Arozarena and Matthew Liberatore will have to be factored in by the end. But even with a small sample size, it's clear the Cardinals had Arozarena ranked too low on their list of outfield options. That can no longer be debated, and the Cardinals have to their credit admitted it. They under-projected him. Tampa gave him the opportunities the Cardinals did not, and he has thrived since. We'll see where it goes from here.
    It's been mentioned that the Cards have pitching depth. I'm not thinking that is so. Hudson is out, Wainwright might not get re-signed, C-Mart may be traded, that leaves Flaherty, Kim, a pitcher in Mikolas who was injured last year, and a few question marks on if they can handle the load in Oviedo, Gant, Gomber Ponce and the injury riddled Reyes. I can see 2021 going south fast unless the stars align and all are healthy and can handle the innings. Depth seems pretty shallow to me.
    Count me among those not worried too much about the pitching. You just rolled out a worst-case scenario, and still named eight guys who would be starting for other teams this season. Are all going to have perfect seasons? Nope. But it's hard to imagine all having disastrous seasons. I do think Wainwright will be back, too. It would not be crazy to see Matthew Liberatore getting in the mix earlier than expected. Also: I'm not assuming this season is going to be the typical 162-game grind. I think it will be another shorter season. That means fewer innings to cover, again.
    Ben, what are your thoughts on the cardinals pursuing Hunter Renfroe? Is this is a move you see the organization making?
    Also, who wears the C for the Blues next season? ROR, or the field?
    O'Reilly is the easy answer here. That one's a no-brainer.
    I can see the appeal of Renfroe. He's 28. He's hit 25-plus home runs in each of the past three full season, though his power took a step back in 2020.
    The last two Cardinals outfielders to hit 20+ homers in a season are no longer Cardinals. They were Marcell Ozuna and Tommy Pham.
    So, yeah, I get it.
    What I also get is it being hard to sell grabbing the guy who in part lost his job because of Randy Arozarena's emergence being the answer for the team that traded away Arozarena.
    Those optics are not ideal.
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