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.

    Grading that non-move now won't do us much good.
    How does Odorizzi pitch?
    How do the alternate rotationa candidates for the Cards?
    And, the big one, how soon are Mikolas and Kim back?
    If the Cardinals' rotation falls apart, and Mikolas and Kim never get right, and the first year of Arenado is wasted because the Cardinals took a pass on Odorizzi, then it's going to be mentioned. A lot.
    He was a fit. They passed. It could blow up in their face, but it has not yet.
    I know that everyone says 'It's only Spring' or 'working on stuff'. But don't they already know how to hit? I much rather have a hitter hitting .500 (O'Neill) than .050 (Carp). It actually shows pretty much the direction the player is going. I don't see Carp hitting .400 when the first month of the season and I don't see O'Neill hitting .100 the first month. What we have is a good indicator what they will be going forward.
    We will have to agree to disagree.
    Jose Altuvie is hitting .167, for example.
    Some guys have track records you trust. Others don't. Some guys are trying to make the team. Others know they could not get a hit all spring and make the team.
    A blanket read of batting averages is a very bad way of analyzing spring training.
    Convenient, yes. Accurate? No.
    Sorry to belabor the Carpenter issue, but based on his spring training, if MLB instituted the DH tomorrow, do you still think he'd get first crack at that come Opening Day? At some point this team needs to stop operating like a Charity Alumni Club.
  • That's a good question. Would he? Probably? Should he? No. Not based on what we have watched this spring, and what we watched last season, and the season before that. I've never argued Carpenter should be the automatic DH if that rule comes. An option for him if he's hitting, sure. But not a guarantee.
  • You get the sense that Flaherty seems rather poised to have a Cy Young top 10 finish kind of year?
    Hard to say. He's only made two Grapefruit League starts, and one of those was for just one inning. Half of his spring starts have come on the backfields, one against Astros minor leaguers in a B game and the other against Cardinals teammates yesterday. Seems to be giving up more home runs than he would like, but he's also been adamant he's tinkering on stuff that he's not disclosing. So, who knows. But Cardinals need him to be the man, and early. The rotation is wobbly. It needs Flaherty and Adam Wainwright to set the tone. I expect he won't pitch super deep into games to start the season but once the Cardinals are ready to let him go he needs to help carry the innings load. There are a lot of starters, especially if Mikolas is out for a while, who are going to be 5-6 inning types. Flaherty and Wainwright need to be workhorses.
    Isn't trying to push Dejong into the cleanup(and for that matter 5th spot) just a continuous hopeful move because of his home run totals despite most being w no runners on base? His two full seasons of really low batting w RISP should point to him being a 6/7 type hitter in the Cards lineup unless batting 2nd in front of the two big bats makes him more comfortable and productive. Your thoughts?
    When Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt are in your lineup, I would prefer to have one of those guys hitting 4th than Paul DeJong. I know not everyone agrees with the power of the cleanup spot, and I understand the arguments that the best hitters should get the most at-bats, meaning 2/3 is better than 3/4. But I think the residual effect of the one-two Nolan-Goldy punch does more for the length of the lineup when it's 3/4. And it should create more RBIs for those guys. Molina or O'Neill could be 5. DeJong could. Or he could go 6, where he has found traction before.
    Who wins second base in your opinion - Edman or Carpenter? Secondly...people have said oh it's spring training, oh Roger Dean is a hard park for hitters...what is really to blame for the trouble some are experiencing with offense? Timing like you said? Jeff Albert's methods? What is responsible do you think? Just curious.
    Edman was pointed to as the second-base starter entering camp and Matt Carpenter, other than his defense which has been strong, has not hit well enough to change that conversation. That's pretty cut and dry. Don't mistake Carpenter getting chances this spring to prove he can contribute as proof he's jumped ahead of Edman at 2B.
    If you've been to Roger Dean, you know the comments about the ballpark are not a joke. One day a fly ball can carry to the moon. The next day, a sure-thing home run turns into a can of corn. It's real. Just depends on the wind.
    In terms of the offense struggling as a whole, we should get a better read as spring nears the final stretch because we will begin to see more realistic lineups and games that are treated more like regular-season games.
    That's a better time to dig into offense as a whole.
    For now I see DeJong's timing being a bit off, and Carlson quietly searching before his potentially breakout triple the other day. Bader, like I said, is just getting back from some time down with the forearm issue. Goldschmidt and Areando, not worried about them. Carpenter has been doing some good things but just doesn't seem to have home-run power and is too often late on high velocity.
    Just a thought, the Cards should probably consider adapting this phrase into their lexicon moving forward: "We'll know more when..." They have stepped in it with minimizing Mikolas' injury, they have stepped in it with promoting Carpenter before he even swung a bat, and these types of mistakes are not new for them, especially with injuries. Why rush to a conclusion or an answer, just communicate the truth to fans - you just don't know right now?
    Who has promoted Carpenter?
    John Mozeliak said not too long ago that he's asking for patience with Carpenter but that he can't give the same answer one week from today if the trend continues.
    That doesn't sound like promoting him to me.
    Shildt's -- and the Cardinals' -- nature is to be optimistic about injuries. Sometimes it makes things sound misleading. But we, meaning media, have a role in this.
    When a pitcher who misses an entire season due to a forearm problem comes back and immediately has shoulder issues the spring he's supposed to return, red flag is up, no matter what team says.
    Proof of other wise comes on mound, not from mouths.
    Anyone who buys anything else is risking being sold bad info.
    I hope that reality comes across in my writing.
    You report what the team is saying, but you don't just accept it as what will happen, especially when the team is finding out more info about the injury as days go by.
    Feels on Mizzou v Oklahoma?
    Two teams disappointed with how things ended.
    Oklahoma from a better conference.
    Wild card is what teams play like after vegging out in a hotel for that long.
    Could be some bad games as tournament starts.
    I've got Mizzou winning and then losing to Gonzaga.
    We did a bracket challenge for
    Mine is in there.
    Big on Iowa. Big on Baylor.
    Check it out and see if you can beat me.
    There are good prizes.
    I don't get any if I win, I have been told. Sad! 
    Has Edman mentioned anything about off season adjustments to optimize getting on base
    a bit more now that batting lead off is likely to be his likely spot in the batting order?
    It's no big secret. He needs to find the best balance, for him, between being aggressive and being smart. He was not rewarded for it, but he did seem to take a step in the right direction last season in that department. As a rookie he swung at 32.4 percent of pitches outside of the strike zone. He dropped it to 29 percent in the strange season that was 2020. He's an aggressive swing and you don't want to rob that from a player, because it's part of his identity, and sometimes he hits balls well. But if he can find the right balance, he will start taking more walks and help the OBP that way. He's walked just once this spring.
    What specific role do you for see the Cardinals have in mind to get the most out of Reyes this season?
    The front office is talking about this X-factor role as a 100-inning reliever where he does a little bit of everything and builds up enough workload to be a starter in 2022.
    The manager brushed off the idea of an innings target and gushes about the ways Reyes can help in high-leverage situations, most likely late in games, and potentially some in save situations.
    See the rub?
    It's not hard to imagine Reyes falling into that lane where he's too valuable as a reliever that the Cardinals annually talk themselves out of letting him start.
    We'll see.
    Tell us what you hear about Gant thus far this spring?
    He's looked good.
    Seems to be the leading candidate to fill the gap in the rotation as Mikolas and Kim try to get back as soon as they can.
    Personally I like Gant more as a reliever because of his reliability and regularity in that role, and because of his limited ceiling as a starter. But he's reliable enough and pitching well this spring. He gets to use more of his pitches, like that sharp curveball he showed off last outing, as a starter.
    He tends to get shelled the third time through the lineup, so I would not expect him to face it very often if he starts. Will be a quick-hook situation then.
    Ben Dejong is set to make 4 million, 6 million, 9 million, in 21,22,23 respectfully. Personally my hats off to MO for this contract he seems like a bargain. Why so many questions about one of the top defensive Shortstops in the league? And his bat plays at short too. Thanks again.
  • Most of the DeJong frustration, I think, stems from two things.
    Per adjusted on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS+) his offense has declined every season he's been in the league for four consecutive seasons.
    An OPS+ of 100 is league average. 
    Here's DeJong year by year . . . 
    2017: 121
    2018: 102
    2019: 99
    2020: 84.
    His upcoming age-27 season would be a good time to reverse that trend, and it should happen now that he's in a lineup that should help him, because it's been improved.
    That's the second thing. The lack of lineup help has put unfair expectations on him. He never screamed cleanup hitter. He was a hopeful cleanup hitter. Similar to Bader being rolled out as a key face of the team before he was ready, sometimes the Cardinals seem to move too fast with young guys in creating unfair hype. Now that they have pillars that can and should get those expectations, I think it should and will help guys like Bader and DeJong.
    Hello Ben.

    What was the deal with Mike Leake. We signed him to a 5 year 80 million deal and traded him for a bag of balls after two years ALONG with 17.5 million to Seattle. I looked at the payroll and it looks like they might have also paid 6 million in 2018, 5 million in 2019 and 4 million in 2020. That 15 million. Is that in addition to the 17.5 million to Seattle? Either way we paid Leake 15 million AT LEAST to go away. What happened? Did Leake not see eye to eye with Matheny? If so, that sets a bad precedence to pay a guy when he doesn't like the manager.
    He just was not a fit. He came to be a groundball pitcher on a defense that had gotten way too ragged. He and Molina never got in synch, to the point he was usually caught by another catcher. Bad sign. It became a sore spot, so Cards cut their losses.
    I know with the NHL they have quarantined all the Canadian teams to play in Canada for the season. How will this effect the Blue Jays when the season starts? Will they be free to come back and forth across the border?
    They're set to play at least their first two home series at their spring training location in Florida.
    With the increasing talk and experimenting w the automated strike zone here are some likely outcomes if put into MLB. 1. Home teams batters have statistically had a higher walk rate and their pitchers higher strike out rate because umpires are biased and swayed by the home crowds despite their best attempts to be subjective. It will be interesting to see if home teams win-loss records change and even out more if instituted? 2. Established star hitters and pitchers have traditionally been given better border line zone calls w young inexperienced players the opposite. A automated zone may bring all players stats closer together?
    Great points. Number one is really interesting to me, and it's related to the part I'm most interested in. Pitch framing. It's an art. Few if any do it better than Yadier Molina. Turning a ball into a strike with a subtle move of the wrist. Tricking the umpire's eye. That's part of baseball. It's beautiful. Could be gone. Can't frame for a computer ump. I also worry about the cheating element. If there's a way to distort, a team will. We know that by now. The second part you mentioned has faded some over the years because now umps are graded night in and night out. They know there is accountability.
    I was looking at Ozuna, Wong, Fowler and Arozarena's spring numbers so far and none of them are hitting above .211 so I'm not sure you can blame the Cardinals spring averages on the hitting coach. Now it Goldy, Arenado and company are hitting close to the Mendoza line in late May then perhaps Mo needs to revisit that position.
    It's a big season for Jeff Albert. His fate will not be decided based on spring numbers. More like postseason appearance, and what the lineup does there.
  • Unless I missed it I noticed there was no goodbye social media post by Dexter Fowler to the Cardinals and their fans. He’s not obligated to by any means and wasn’t a card from day 1 type guy such as Wong but I was wondering if maybe that is a reflection of his up and down time with St. Louis?
    He did do something, on Instagram.
    Part of it read, "My eldest daughter spent most of her young life in STL, and my youngest was born in STL. Our little girls are St. Louis girls. We will always hold a place in our hearts for the city and for the team. Thank you, St. Louis. Thank you, Cardinal Nation."
    Hey, Ben: Gonna switch gears and go Mizzou hoops for a second. I'm curious as to how you evaluate Cuonzo now, four years into his Mizzou tenure, thirteen years into his career. When he was hired, I felt it was probably the right move, given the previous disasters, but I also felt he had a very clear and pronounced ceiling. This season, many things tilted his way: experienced team (very helpful in a covid context), one full of his recruits, weaker top of the conference. And while this has been a nice season, it's, at best, going to result in a one tourney win, ten-loss season, one that has been defined by a veteran team's inability to hold leads. Where Illinois has improved dramatically over the course of the season, Mizzou has not. Many of the good wins were counterbalanced by hideous losses. It's likely that next season will be a step back, given how much of their roster is graduating. His strengths (coaching defense and toughness) and weaknesses (inability to coach a team to consistent, efficient offensive success; unable to find ways to eliminate long scoring droughts within games) are clear.

    CM is a good man, and a solid, middle-of-the-pack coach. He will never embarrass the university, believes in the power of the scholarship to make some lives better, and there is a lot to be said for that. He's not going to relinquish his principles in order to land the highest echelon players, and I don't blame him. And maybe you just can't be better than a .600 coach and have ethics in this version of college basketball where supposed paragons of virtue like Tom Izzo (turning a blind eye to players who assault women) and Coach K (completely ditched his preachy "Duke culture" and "family" to hire one-year mercenaries in order to compete with the likes of Kentucky), and where, until now, coaches like Bill Self, Sean Miller, and Will Wade can cheat and joke about it with impunity despite taped phone conversations revealing their corruption and lies, and Bruce Pearl continues to be employed.

    But in a year or so, the school will need to decide about an extension (the classic "gotta keep the recruits confident coach will be there for a while by making sure the coach has at four years left on his contract" extension). I'm not sure I'd give it, but I'm not sure I wouldn't. I like having a no-drama, no violations coach, but I don't see him competing for championships on any level, conference or otherwise. What about you?

    PS: sorry, didn't expect this to get so long!
    I think Cuonzo will get an extension this offseason.
    This is his second NCAA Tournament appearance in the three seasons in which there was an NCAA Tournament to play.
    It's happened after he took over what had become the least competitive Power 5 team in the nation.
    Before he arrived, Mizzou had not gone dancing since 2012-13.
    The Tigers won a combined eight SEC games in the three seasons before Martin was hired.
    And there are some who want to focus more on the fact the up-and-down Tigers blew some leads and lost to some rotten teams more than they acknowledge that same team beat nine teams that are in this NCAA Tournament. Nine! 
    Some Mizzou fans have legitimately lost touch of reality, showing a lack of patience and understanding of the team's injury history that is surprising for a team that has never once been to a Final Four even despite its rich past.
    Reality check is needed.
    Martin is the man for the job.
    One more thing. He's 49 years old. He has adapted and adjusted more in the past three seasons than he has at any point in his career, as evidenced by the uptick in offensive tempo this season. Why assume he's at his ceiling? One thing that would help? A more positive vibe around the program. I mean that. Social media was full of fans advocating for their teams' seeding lines as the bracket reveal approached. One of the national analysts pointed out an abundance of Mizzou fans ripping their own team. It's odd. The Norm Stewart era was a long time ago. Mizzou chased him off, too, remember. Thought he had a set ceiling.
    Gotta jet, folks. Cardinals Zooms starting and Tom T needs chat space for Blues talk. Recap will be up tomorrow and I'll include some questions I didn't get to in our two-hour blitz. See you next week, back on the regular day (Tuesday) and time (11)
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