Join columnist Ben Frederickson for a live chat from Jupiter at 11 a.m. Wednesday

Join columnist Ben Frederickson for a live chat from Jupiter at 11 a.m. Wednesday

Ben Frederickson answers all of your Cardinals, Blues, St. Louis City, Mizzou and SLU questions in Wednesday's 11 a.m. live chat.

    The live Q and A has been rescheduled to Wednesday at 11 a.m., due to the Cardinals game schedule. 
    Submit your questions now, and rejoin us tomorrow for the chat.
    Greetings, chatters. Thanks for making the shift with me to Wednesday this week. This is just a one-time deal. I'll be back on Tuesdays moving forward. I had to make the change because this is the week I help out Derrick and Rick with the Cards news as opposed to columns down here at spring training, and the Cards had a backfield B-game at the time of the Tuesday chat. I'm back on my normal routine next week. Thanks for understanding. We can hit it hard until Tom T and the Blues chat gets rolling at 1 p.m. So, two steamrolling hours. Ready? Go.
    Why won’t the Cardinals just say Thomas had a better spring he’s our starter in centerfield instead of hemming and hawing and saying well Bader Will get better?
    It’s this kind of lack of imagination that caused them to get rid of a possible generational Talent in Arozarena
    Hey, I'm a big Lane Thomas fan. You all know that by now. But he's not exactly forcing the issue. O'Neill is playing his tail off this spring. Thomas has one hit in his last 10 at-bats. He's cooled as O'Neill has pushed forward. Bader's had just four games back since he had some forearm tightness shut him down for a spell. No guarantee he's a lock on CF, especially if he can't hit righties this season. So, sure, Thomas could get reps there if Bader struggles. O'Neill can play center as well. But Cards aren't ready to demote Bader to bench just yet.
    If Moe was a doctor he would have some successes but he would also have some huge malpractice suits in Fowler Leake
    Voit Arozarena and others. He would not be practicing anymore
    His Misses are more common than his successes
    This flawed comparison would get pretty much any GM and president of baseball operations fired if applied. Also: Great doctors get sued, like a lot. Check out the prices of malpractice insurance. It's a racket.
    I know Bader's spring stats are not great, but he has only struck out twice which means he is putting the ball in play. What is your assessment on Bader's spring thus far?
    He's only had 17 at-bats, so hard to say too much. He missed March 3-9 due to some forearm tightness. His swing looks shorter to me, which is a good sign. He has talked about wanting to be more aggressive in at-bats against right-handed pitchers. Smart, considering he watches too many fastballs against them -- the kind of pitches he can crush. I won't be convinced he's a full-time CF until he proves he can be competitive against right-handed pitching. He hasn't answered that yet. Defensively, he's stressing hitting his cutoffs this spring and admitted sometimes he gets a little ahead of himself on his throws, trying to do too much. He still has not found a hat that fits, but I think that's intentional.
    If Thomas keeps hitting and doesn't make the 26 man roster could you see him getting some time at 2nd in Memphis? Kinda like Skip Schumaker. Thomas started out as an infielder and it would be nice to have another backup Infielder that can hit in case Edman, Dejong or Aeranado were out. Edman would have to move to SS or 3rd if Dejong or Aeranado were out and Thomas play 2nd. Thanks for the chats.
    I think Thomas is the fourth outfielder.
    There's been no talk that I'm aware of in terms of him playing any infield.
    We've seen quite a bit of versatility this camp, like Nolan Gorman working on his defense at second, but Thomas has not been on the infield.
    One wrinkle that could make things interesting is the Justin Williams situation.
    The Cardinals STILL did not now, at last check, if he is out of options or not.
    I imagine they would lose him if they try to get him through waivers. 
    That could influence their decision-making.
    Teams need an answer on that ASAP. No way it should have taken this long.
    I did ask Shildt recently what he's hearing about the idea of the designated hitter showing up late.
    He's looked into it
    Said there's no movement at this time.
    My bet?
    Wait until a pitcher gets hurt now that they're hitting this spring, and all of the NL pitchers will start wondering if this makes sense -- to not hit last year, hit this year and then never hit again when the new CBA (hopefully) gets worked out
    Hi, Ben. What are the chances the Cardinals pickup the contract option of Carlos Martinez after the 2021 season? Carlos has had his share of physical problems but also suffered from lack of game preparation and off-the-field antics. The Cardinals have even tried to trade him in the past couple of off seasons. He is really high maintenance. I am ready to cut ties with him. What are your thoughts? Thanks.
    Hard to imagine them making that move now, but there is still certainly time for Carlos to change their mind.
    If he looks like an All-Star starter this year, it would be a good deal to pick up the option.
    He's going to get that shot.
    I'm not convinced he has it in him anymore, but we shall see.
    I really want to believe in T.O., Ben. I really do. But what we all know is that T.O. can crush AAA and even AAAA pitching. You know, the pitching where the delivery is just a bit less deceptive. Where the velo is just a tick slower. Where the movement is just a hair earlier and less pronounced. All of which also describes spring training pitching.
    I'm with you on pumping the brakes on the O'Neill Mania. I've been warning people for a while now. But I will say this. While the spring numbers are great -- 12 for 24 with 3 doubles and 2 homers! -- the how behind them is the most impressive. He's taking what pitchers give him. He's not swinging out of his shoes. He's allowing his natural power to work for him and worrying about making contact. He's hitting to all fields. The other day he fell behind Max Scherzer. Curveball coming. He just poked it into right field, not trying to do too much, and got a double out of it. It was the only extra-base hit against Scherzer on the day. With Paul DeJong's slow start, it's not crazy to think O'Neill could be hitting 4 or 5 to start the season as the Cards try to ride his hot streak. Yes, he has been streaky. This season will be about consistency for him, and there's a track record there that says to slow-play believing it will come.
    BenFred,

    What do you make of the CFL-XFL news the other week? Its good to see news about the XFL, but I am curious to see where this partnership goes. How about you?
  • I don't know much about it, to be honest. And I apologize for that. Have been pretty swamped with baseball since coming down here for the spring-training shift. The official statement said a lot of nothing. Just empty words about exploring ideas. Seems to me like the best way to have a chance of being an NFL alternative and perhaps -- eventually -- competitor would be to have every non-NFL league under the same umbrella. Two alternative leagues like the CFL and the XFL split talent and resources that, if combined, could produce a better singular product, right? I can see the appeal of that. If that league (XFL or hybrid XFL/CFL overlooks what happened in St. Louis when it comes time to plant and or revive teams, that would be a big oversight.
  • Do you know if the Cardinals FO compare WAR to other teams, rather then to replacement level players? I.e., calling DeJong or Bader a 2 or 3 win player sounds good, but if the average starting CF or SS is a 2 or 3 win player, then they don't look as good. Curious if that type of calculation comes into play for how the Cardinals benchmark their players against the rest of the league, rather then replacement level talent they could pick up through the minors or waiver wires.
  • The Cardinals, like most teams these days, have their own internal (and super secret) system for ranking and projecting players. The use it on their own players and others. They have comparisons they can make, yes. It's their own specific formula of the things we all use, like WAR.
  • Has dejong suggested he’s working on anything specific, similar to when wong was working on his two strike approach a few years ago? His numbers are down but I haven’t been able to watch an AB of his and wasn’t sure if he was hitting into bad luck or into the wind or anything like that.
    He hasn't been on the Zooms since I've been down here. That's part of the pandemic difference. In normal times, you could just walk up to him in the clubhouse and ask what's going on. We can request players for Zooms, but it doesn't always happen for various reasons. So, specifically, not sure. Shildt has been pushing back pretty hard against the idea that DeJong is really out of it. To me, it looks like his timing is just off. He's had some awkward looking at-bats. I wouldn't be surprised to see him drop down in the order for a bit. He did crush a home run against Flaherty in the backfield B-game yesterday. Wind was blowing out, but a good sign.
    Do you think the team might be aggressive in moving Delvin Perez through the minors if he does well this season? If they have to make a decision on adding him to the 40 man at the end of this season they may need to see what he can do against higher levels to justify giving him that spot.
    Yep. I think he's back on track, and will move up quickly if he keeps taking care of business. Here's another what-if. Don't be shocked if he pops up as a speed addition for pinch-running purposes before he's ready to be a full-time major leaguer, like, say, in the postseason. The Cardinals have been using him a lot in that role this spring. Dude's fast.
    Ben, does the front office regret not signing Odorizzi, a local kid who would liked to have played here? The rotation at best is weak, at worst a train wreck falling of the tracks. And please let’s don’t confuse depth with quality. After Flaherty, it is difficult to rank and differentiate the other potential starters including the aging Wainwright and the ever perplexing and oft injured Martinez followed by mostly unproven prospects. Starting pitching is the reason many prognosticators have the Cards seeing their first losing season in 13 years. Where is the sense of urgency?
    Here's what I want to know, and it's not something the Cardinals are going to answer at this time: If Odorizzi was still on the board when Mikolas got hurt, would Odorizzi be a Cardinal? Because the free-agent options looked a lot less appealing the day he signed with the Astros. That was right before the latest Mikolas setback that took him out of the equation for the first start of the regular season. I think a few things are going on now. One, the outside options are not very appealing. Two, the Cardinals do want to test this depth: Gant, Ponce de Leon, Woodford and Oviedo. Three, that depth could be as decent as the available options out there, flawed veterans whose primes are likely past them. And four, I think the Cardinals are thinking Kim and Mikolas are both going to be back relatively soon. Kim (back tightness) has been playing catch again. Mikolas (shoulder) is resuming some baseball activities.
    If O’Neil and Carlson hit like they are shown to, how much would that help this offense with Arenado then in previous years.
    That would be a dream scenario for the Cardinals and hitting coach Jeff Albert.
    It would mean Carlson is setting the stage for the Goldschmidt-Arenado one-two punch and O'Neill is looming to punish pitchers for walking one of those two.
    It means Mr. Clutch Yadier Molina would be hitting often with ducks on the pond. 
    And it would put Bader in a spot where pressure is low.
  • I would like to see the lineup as follows: Edman-Arenado-Goldschmidt-O'Neill-Molina-DeJong-Carlson-Bader-Pitcher. Your thoughts.....
    I personally like Arenado behind Goldschmidt, and I'd hit them 3-4 I think.
    Carlson and Edman at 1/2 looks good to me but Carlson needs to shake out of this slow spring.
    Paul DeLong hasn't had a great spring offensively ... is he at risk at losing his starting job to Jose Rondon or to anyone else?
    Gant and Ponce both tend to labor through shorter starts with higher pitch counts. How much impact do those long innings on the offense, when guys are standing out in the field for 20-25 pitches per inning?
    I think it has more of a negative effect on the defense than the offense. Guys can zone out and lose focus. That should not be a problem for this team, though. The defense has looked amazing all spring. Cards pitchers, specifically the ones you mentioned, need to throw strikes and invite groundballs. The defense will reward them for it.
    On the radio the other day Brad Thompson was discussing options for Carpenter if he never gets it going. One of course is to release him and the other was to have him come up with an injury and then rejoin the team when rosters expand. If you have reached a point with a player where you are considering out-righting him, why would you want him back on your roster later in the season, so he can hangout with his buddies?
    I'm not sure Carpenter would be on board with the fake-an-injury plan, and the league frowns upon situations that suggest it might be happening.
    That said he has not had his annual spring training bout of back tightness . . .
    I can't really imagine the Cardinals cutting Carpenter before the season starts.
    I can imagine him sitting a lot this season.
    It happens sometimes, even with guys who have bigger contracts.
    See Albert Pujols and the Angels for an example, and he's making a lot more money. 
    Hello Ben!

    Third year with terrible hitting (other than O'Neil) but when can we start to blame the hitting coach for messing these guys up? Even Dexter said in a recent interview that he was happy that he can be himself and not be molded. Sounds like the hitting coach messing with the guys approach. Albert is messing these guys up.
  • I read that Fowler interview. Connecting that quote to Jeff Albert is a reach. I think this is a do-or-depart season for Albert, and have said that for a while now. Some believed he was going to be moved on from this offseason, meaning the heat is on.
  • What's your guess on the favorite to start the year as the team closer right now?
    I think it will be closer by committee for a while at the start, in part because Jordan Hicks did not sound certain he's going to be pitching back-to-back days by the end of camp. You all know the names of guys who could make some appearances there besides Hicks: Helsley, Gallegos, Cabrera, Miller. There's another one to mention. Alex Reyes. The Cardinals dropped him into a save opportunity the other day and Shildt gushed about how good he looked doing it after it worked. If you are wondering how Reyes is going to be mixed into the closer conversation and also reach that 100-inning mark, I would say, great question. If I had to guess today, I would guess that Reyes pitches well in short-burst, high-leverage use this season, usually in innings eight and nine. And around this time next year the Cardinals are saying he didn't get enough innings to be a starter in 2022. Remember when Trevor Rosenthal always wanted to start? I could see that becoming Reyes, or something similar.
    The glow and satisfaction of the Arenado trade continues to keep me satisfied as a fan, so it is hard to complain about the team not making a move for Odorizzi. That said, do you think it was a mistake? Clearly they see the next wave of young pitchers coming and Mikolas on the books for 3 more years. I get why they didn't want to sign a pitcher to a 2-3 year deal.
Powered by Platform for Live Reporting, Events, and Social Engagement