Join columnist Ben Frederickson for a live chat from the MLB Winter Meetings at 11 a.m. Tuesday

Join columnist Ben Frederickson for a live chat from the MLB Winter Meetings at 11 a.m. Tuesday

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

    Hello all and welcome into a special Winter Meetings edition of The Chat. I'm here in San Diego, where the Cardinals continue their pursuit of a catcher and other moves that are less obvious at the moment. The National League if flexing again, this time led by the big-spending NL East. No surprise there. League keeps getting tougher it seems. We can go wherever you'd like, from Mizzou bowl drama to Blues blues. Fire away.
    Do the Cardinals kick the tires on trading Flaherty this off season? After all, JF seems very likely to be as good as gone entering 2024 with nothing but some draft compensation coming back IF he has BOTH a solid season and is offered a qualifying offer. For example, an 1 x1 trade for Joc Pederson where at least you get a guy who might enjoy it here and become a longer term asset here in St. Louis. P.S. Then adding Quintana immediately makes a lot more sense to boot...
    The Giants seem to have plans for Joc Pederson after his success last season and their willingness to offer him the qualifying offer, which he accepted, boosting his salary quite a bit from the single-season bet he took on himself entering 2022.
    As for Jack, there was a time when he was in the untradeable zone for the Cardinals. I don't think they're actively looking to deal him but I don't think they would refuse to if it helped them fill a need. I'd imagine most teams would want to see him stay healthy and perform well for a full, strong season before giving something close to fair value for him. If I were the Cardinals, I would lean toward valuing that kind of season from Jack in St. Louis more than what I could score for him in a trade when his value is still lower than expected.
    Does former Cardinals catcher Carson Kelly with two years of control left have any curbside appeal these days?
    The Cardinals see 3-5 guys as being decent options as the primary catcher in a post-Molina world. Kelly is not one of them. Sean Murphy is at the top of the list it seems. Whatever catcher the Blue Jays decide to deal could be up there. Willson Contreras and Christian Vazquez are free-agent options. It will be one of those guys, I think. And based on how the A's were all but talking about Murphy in past tense yesterday, he could be moved relatively soon, wherever he's going.
    It appears that the birds are thinking out of the box this time at the winter meetings. After reading several reports, and DGs chat yesterday it looks like most people were talking catcher. I for one was hopeful that there was more than a catcher coming if the birds were going to increase payroll. All that being said.... if the Cardinals are looking for a left handed bat and I say IF, why not just keep Gorman and Nootbar and trade from the other resources they have. If the birds sign a free agent shortstop and I think that is a great move we can trade a very good and up and coming minor league ss to help get the catcher we all want, and not named Wilson Contreras. Your feelings about these new moves??
    Thank you for your time on these chats.
    I don't think the Cardinals are going to add a catcher and stop there, but their focus is on adding a catcher first and then seeing where things go from there. The catcher is the obvious need. Other things are more wait-and-see. How the catcher is acquired could dictate what comes next. If, for example, it's a trade for Sean Murphy that requires Brendan Donovan to be moved, the Cardinals could move Tommy Edman to second base and go shortstop shopping in free agency. That seems to be where the much-discussed Dansby Swanson talk stems from, that possibility. If it's a free-agent buy at catcher, then trading could be an emphasis for a left-handed bat of some kind. The Cardinals are always watching pitching, and sound more interested in starters than relievers, which considering how well they have done at producing relievers from within seems wise.
    The comments Mozeliak made repeatedly about the payroll rising could come back to bite him some. He really made that a buzzworthy line of the end of season press conference. And payroll will go up. But most fans equate a comment like that with splash and sizzle, and compared to some of the splash and sizzle some of the NL competition is producing here so  far, it's going to be hard for the Cardinals to match in wow factor.
    At least the Trea Turner pipe dream ended early. I don't like being the wet blanket guy, but I tried to tell The Chat that was not going to happen.
    Mizzou basketball, if we can compete with Kansas that would be a step in the right direction. They are on a different level than us and got way to much fire power, but we do compete hard so a 8 to 12 point loss would be really good. That will be difficult. Kem Pom has us forecasted as 10 and 3 non conference and 7 and 11 conference. 17 and 14 overall I hope gets us in the NIT. To me in Gates first year that would be fantastic.
    I think Mizzou making the NIT in Gates' first year would be a very strong season.
    Play KU tough and maybe the ceiling can be higher than that.
    This stretch will show us what the Tigers are really made of.
    I like what we have watched so far, but it can't be ignored it's been done against one of the softest schedules in college hoops to this point.
    That was by design, to build confidence for this brutal stretch.
    No. 6 Kansas, 6-2 UCF, No. 17 Illinois, No. 16 Kentucky and No. 9 Arkansas are all on the schedule before the first week of January comes to an end.
    Buckle up.
    Dave Dombrowski has taken four organizations to the World Series - Red Sox, Phillies, Marlins and Tigers – including guiding three different teams to the World Series in the last 12 years. Seems he may know what he is doing. What lessons could the Cardinals learn from the way Dombrowski constructs championship teams? Thanks for your reporting and analysis.
    Dombrowski can win big, indeed. Sustained success is no really is brand, though, and it's important to the Cardinals. Very much so. But yes, something can be learned. The Phillies have made a point to a) identify their biggest need and b) go get the best available answer at that spot. This would be a GREAT time for the Cardinals to use that approach. Their biggest need is primary catcher. They appear to have a favorite target in Sean Murphy. Don't wait. Don't get beat. Go get him, and go from there. I like Willson Contreras as a fit for the Cardinals but Sean Murphy is really, really appealing. He's entering his age-28 season and he's already won a Gold Glove and produced three above-average offensive seasons, with the worst being an average offensive season. He is a strong defender with a bat that is improving. He could be a strong long-term answer for the Cardinals at a critical position. The Cardinals say they could find a fit with multiple guys depending on how things go, but the truth is they have a guy they like most. This would be a great time to take a Phillies lean and not settle until that guy is secured. And don't wait.
    The Braves and Cardinals match up well as comps. The last several years the Braves have fared better and won a World Series. Recent reporting indicates the Braves are considering exceeding the luxury cap threshold, which is $233 million. Most reporting expects the Cardinals to flex their payroll to about $185 million. Huge difference. Is Cardinal management seeing how the MLB environment is shifting and what it will take to be an elite team? It appears the Cardinal model is placing a hard cap on their level of performance. Is what we have seen the last several seasons, including playoff futility, all these Cardinals will ever be? Thanks and have a good week.
    I asked Mozeliak about this again yesterday. The question was how it settles with the Cardinals when they see the team that knocked them out of the postseason go and and land Trea Turner with a big contract. His response pointed to how competitive the NL East has become. And my response was that it's really about how competitive the NL has become. I wrote about that for my column in today's paper. Mozeliak didn't dismiss the reality, but said the team likes its model but knows it will be tested. It got tested last season and did not pass. Now fewer games will be played within the division under the new regular-season schedule. It's not going to get easier.
    I’ve read opinions/reports that the Cards are searching for starting pitchers with higher swing and miss stuff.
    Yet I thought the search for ground ball starters was the emphasis this time last year.
    That made more since to me as ground balls offer the opportunity for lower pitch counts than do strike outs. A factor that I feel is much more important with regard to starting pitching versus relievers.

    Swing and miss relievers make a lot more since to me than focusing on starters.

    Am I misunderstanding the reporting or have the Cardinals changed their approach?

    Thanks for your reporting and enjoy the San Diego weather!!
    The Cardinals need more swing-and-miss stuff on their pitching staff, in general.
    That's the best way to explain it.
    The 2022 rotation ranked 21st in MLB in strikeouts.
    The 2022 bullpen ranked 29th in MLB in strikeouts.
    The Cardinals want to play good defense. They want to keep the ball in the ballpark and on the ground when it's hit. But they are lacking in bats missed, and that's been one of the points manager Oli Marmol has been stressing for a while.
    Why do I get excited every year at the Winter Meetings only to be disappointed by March?
    It's the annual tradition.
    Mozeliak stirred it up a little bit more than usual this time around by making the repeated comments about increasing payroll at the end-of-season presser.
    And payroll will increase, but the bulk of fans no matter how well things are explained are going to translate comments like that into thinking big splashes are coming.
    If you'll entertain the comparison, it's kind of like Christmas shopping for my nephew, Oliver.
    We get him stuff he needs and hope he likes. He's usually not that into it when the presents get unwrapped. But when we see him next time, there's a good chance he likes the gift and is getting enjoyment out of it.
    What the Cardinals lack in sizzle this offseason they need to make up for in substance added.
    And, of course, everything is relative.
    If you thought Trea Turner was going to happen, nothing was going to feel as big.
    This could be the last chance for alot of years to land a shortstop. The Cards need to sign Swanson and be settled at that position instead of hoping for DeJong to rebound. We went through that with Carpenter. Time to get a hitter
    If the Cardinals don't add a shortstop, I would not assume DeJong is the starter there. Tommy Edman would be, and Mozeliak made that clear Monday, again. Could that change? You bet. How the Cardinals acquire a catcher, if it's a trade, could require someone from the current picture to be dealt, and then force the Cardinals to add a shortstop from the outside. Mozeliak said a few things about DeJong yesterday that are going to viewed however you decide to view them. One was that they're not ready to believe he's cooked. Another was that they've received some real interest in teams that would be interested in acquiring him. I didn't hear anything yesterday that convinced me DeJong is for sure back with the team when games that count are being played, but if he is it won't be as a guaranteed starter. He would have to earn that role back with performance in spring training and beyond, and something would have to happen that means Edman is not starting there. 
    Swanson could help. He's not in the same category as Turner, but few are. I wish he hit left-handed. Since baseball got more or less back to normal in 2021, he has produced a top-five WAR at the position (9.7), trailing only Turner, Lindor, Correa and Bogaerts. He's a really good defender with two above-average offensive seasons in his last three entering his age-29 season. He's become incredibly reliable and durable, which would fit in well with Goldschmidt and Arenado, who share those same traits. Based on Mozeliak's stated confidence in Edman at shortstop yesterday, a sizable shortstop addition -- and Swanson would be one -- only seems realistic if the Cardinals have to trade away some middle infield option to add a catcher. That's what I meant earlier by saying how the Cardinals acquire their catcher affects a lot of things here.
    Mizzou football , 600 players in portal yesterday, 10 big time QB. Do you think Drink can get some big time players. Got to get O Line, got to replace some great Dee players. Need some more playmakers. My fear is no QB will come to Mizzou thinking Cook is drink guy and they won't start if good enough. Your thoughts
  • Drinkwitz and his staff have had some good success identifying and landing impact transfers the longer they have been in CoMo. The biggest and best this past season came on the defensive side of the ball, and considering that defensive coordinator Blake Baker is back and the success of those guys can be marketed to potential transfers, I see no reason to assume more good players can't be added there. Mizzou can offer SEC caliber offensive linemen instant playing time. Same for running backs. Most interesting scenario will be QB. Cook improved this season, but it's still fair to wonder if he can be a winning SEC QB. If you go out QB shopping again, as Drinkwitz did last season, do you risk losing him? Cook stuck with Mizzou despite the Tigers bringing 3 transfer targets to campus last season. The Tigers missed on all three. I'm not sure Cook would sit tight and watch that play out again. Also now there is Sam Horn's future to consider. QB spot is tough one right now for Drinkwitz. He knows next year could be his make-or-break season despite the extension. You have to have the right QB leading things.
    Do you know if/when the Cardinals are going to have City Connect uniforms?
    I don't. The ones debuted last seasons were announced in March. I can ask around.
    Some teams sign free agents. Then, as that contract progresses, they find an internal solution, so they flip that free agent for prospects or missing pieces on their major league roster. The Cardinals have done the opposite. They refrain from signing free agents in the winter, then deal their prospects to get that same player 6 months later. Not a good long-term model.
    Under this ownership and front office, they are always going to aim, first and foremost, to be a pipeline-driven team, and view free agency and trades as ways to upgrade where they can't fill from within, supplement or plug holes. Just how they operate, and it's not going to change unless the philosophy changes. There are rare exceptions. The Cardinals had some intriguing third-base candidates when they traded for Arenado. One was included in the deal. Another, Nolan Gorman, was moved to a different position.
    The last time that the Cardinals signed the largest free agent contract in MLB in a particular off season was in 2009, and that was Matt Holliday. That contract turned out to be a steal, he significantly outplayed that contract. So let’s not pretend that the Cardinals have not had success shopping on the top shelf. Where they have been spectacularly unsuccessful is in shopping the middle shelves. Time to revisit the top shelf after 14 years, and a 10 year absence from the fall classic.
    I've been saying this for a while.
    Reports are saying the Jed Hoyer has been given the green light to "spend what he needs" to turn the Cubs around. If that turns out to be the case the Cards are going to have some actual competition in the Central this year.
    We'll see about that. The Cubs have stripped themselves of a lot of talent in recent seasons, with more likely leaving this offseason in catcher Willson Contreras. Adding a strong shortstop would help, but it's not necessarily a catapult back to high-level contention. The best free agents want to get paid, and also want to win. They should have some questions about how the Cubs, who should never resort to tanking or parting with players like Contreras, have been operating recently.
    Do you think Danny Mac ends up keeping his job after his latest arrest?
    I don't know. Honest. The Cardinals and Ballys will have to make their call. They are in the process of gathering information based on the statement they released  last night. There are a few questions today about the topic. I understand the questions. I'll share my thoughts here once and then get back to the other topics.
    First and foremost, I'm glad no one was physically hurt. Dan. Someone else. But that doesn't change the fact a lot of hurt is going to come out of Sunday night. For many folks.
    I think many of you know this, but Dan is one of my close friends. I love him like a brother. That's not going to change. Period. He befriended me when I was young and just getting started, and has always been supportive of me and my career. I'll never forget it, and I'm not alone there. He has multiple times reached out to encourage young people in the business he believes in, and it means a lot to those people. Dan is as loyal as they come. He is a relentless fundraiser for children with special needs, and as quietly generous of a person as you will find. An example: A friend of mine has a mentee who was at risk of having to leave a school because the family could not afford tuition. Dan found out and paid it, no questions asked, nothing in return expected. That's who he is. Dedicated husband, dad, friend, broadcaster.
    That doesn't change the fact he made a mistake he has repeated in the past, and must now deal with the consequences. He knows that. He is owning it. He is going to seek the help he needs, and I will support him in that and hope others do as well. It's OK to feel a lot of things at once. Disappointment. Anger. Sadness. I feel the last one the most. Yesterday, helping with the coverage of the news, was one of the worst days of doing this job.
    Some of you also know I've been open about my personal life experience from time to time. I don't drink anymore. Got introduced to it early and found out pretty quickly I was never going to be able to do it responsibly. Tried and failed many times before figuring that out, but am very thankful to have figured it out more than 10 years ago now, and I hope to keep figuring it out forever. I understand not understanding this kind of problem. If you have not dealt with it or had family or friends deal with it, it can be impossible to understand and try to explain. Because explaining can sound like an excuse, which it's not. There is no in-between for people who fight the fight. It's in, or out. Anything in between leads to bad, sooner or later. It can get easier, but it never gets completely solved.
    I don't know what happens next, but I know Dan knows he has put himself in a spot where there will be a lot of consequences, some that are not known now. I will continue to be his friend, because I know he would be by my side if I was in a bad spot. I understand the range of emotions people are feeling today, but if you enjoy his work or have benefited from your interactions with him, and I know many have, I do think it would mean a lot to him for you to keep him in your thoughts as he starts the process of trying to address this.
    Stepping back from the Verlander deal, with its super high AAV over just a few years, and I'm wondering - do you think that the Cardinals should consider that type of deal more readily? It seems like the elite pitchers that do still preform in their later 30s are worth the short term investment - they're proven, they bring intangibles to your team, and they don't come with as many years. Honestly, I suppose the Cardinals have been doing this in the budget lane with Adam Wainwright, but when he retires, should they make it more of a habit to make aggressive High AAV/low year bids on top tier proven aces in their mid 30's?
    Ding, ding, ding.
    It's why Max Scherzer was such an obvious potential fit.
    Even Scherzer saw it before he signed with the Mets.
    But he was told he was outside of the Cardinals budget.
    He can opt out after this upcoming season, though.
    Hmm . . . 
    Hi. Mr. Frederickson. Thanks for taking the time to conduct the chat during your busy day, and thanks for all your great coverage of St. Louis sports.It's a lifeline for us former St. Louisans. I was happy to see McGriff elected to the Hall, and that Bonds and Clemens weren't. I was disappointed, though, that Don Mattingly and Dale Murphy were not chosen. To me, those guys are Hall of Famers. I'm probably just old-fashioned, but we need to get away from the overbearing sabermetrics. "Baseball Card numbers" should still matter. Sure, they missed time with injuries, but how many games does one need to play to be eligible for the Hall (the same argument goes for Dick Allen). Mattingly and Murphy were among the best of their time, and that should be worthy of election into the Hall. Plus, Mattingly and Murphy had something baseball needs more of today: some class and grace, and not all the silly "look at me" antics that permeate in the game today. Do you agree, or am I just being an old grouch?
    I can see Mattingly getting in eventually.
    Murphy doesn't seem very realistic these days.
    I agree Dick Allen should be in.
    What is the chances the cardinals catcher situation is resolved today??
    I'd describe Mozeliak as seeming optimistic the Cardinals can leave here with their catcher, if not very close.
    It seems like a lot of teams are looking for Catcher upgrades right now. Multiple teams have been reported to be interested in the A's Murphy, which might lead one to assume that if they are unable to trade for him that they would seek other opportunities (the same as St. Louis). I'm wondering what the odds are that the Cardinals come home empty-handed--especially if they're not willing to push past their "puke point" as Mo so delicately put it years ago...
  • They see a handful, tops, of trade or free agent options being able to fit what they need. They could have to move down that list, though that would be disappointing. But they will be adding a catcher eventually. It's a must.
    I’d love to know: What’s a typical day like for you and/or Derrick at an event like the Winter or GM meetings?
    Today will be online column, baseball writers meeting, Manfred Q&A, Marmol availability, Mozeliak availability, print column and then a newsletter. Maybe a video, if there's time.
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