STL sports chat with Ben Frederickson

STL sports chat with Ben Frederickson

Bring your Cardinals, Blues and St. Louis sports questions, and talk to Post-Dispatch columnist Ben Frederickson in a live chat starting at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

    Greetings, chatters. Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. Plenty to discuss today. I'll be with P-D colleague Derrick Goold at upcoming winter meetings in San Diego, so we can get ready for that. The Blues are trucking along, somehow. Jordan Goodwin is a rebounding beast. Oh yeah, that other thing. Mizzou needs a football coach. Lots to dive into there. Let's roll.
    BenFred, do you expect the next Mizzou coach to be someone who has experience coaching a power 5 program?
    Mizzou AD Jim Sterk mentioned that as a big plus when he talked about the search for the first and last time, but he made sure to point out it wasn't a must. He said he would consider high-level coordinators and head coaches who were not at the SEC or Power 5 level. I think his preference would be a HC with Power 5 experience, but those coaches are hard to get -- at least if they are good.
    Why do you think there hasn't been much interest between Mizzou and Norvell at Memphis? Were both parties not interested? Or could Norvell be eyeing another job?
    I'm sure there is or at least was some interest in Norvell from the Mizzou side. Any decent program that has an opening has to be impressed by what he's done there. Norvell at Mizzou would always be a little odd because Memphis hired him after Barry Odom turned Memphis down. I'm sure fans could move past that, but the optics are a bit weird, hiring the guy who was the runner-up to the guy you just fired. Norvell is coveted by Ole Miss. Matt Luke was fired for a reason. Most of the big Ole Miss boosters live in Memphis, where they have had a front-row seat to Norvell turning Memphis football into a bigger deal than Ole Miss. Problem is, Florida State also likes Norvell, and he might like Florida State more. I think Norvell jumps -- if he jumps -- to one of those two, and I'm not sure Mizzou sees much point in trying to get into that mix or change his mind. If Ole Miss fired Luke to get Norvell and Norvell goes to Florida State, that sucks for Ole Miss.
    If a player doesn’t perform as expected, he is DFA or traded to the bottom feeding team. If you make bad trades and assign bad contracts you get extensions. Talk about your white privilege. They should’ve got the Odom treatment. Comments?
    A white football coach getting fired is an odd example to pick for white privilege. I'm guessing you are comparing Odom getting canned to the Cardinals? Matt Carpenter did not get designated for assignment or traded to a bottom-feeding team, and he didn't meet expectations. What are we really talking about here? Bosses don't usually fire themselves or their right-hand partners, especially after what they feel like was a good year.
    What do you think the ceiling is on Hudson?
    If he can cut down on his walks, and I think he can, there's no reason he can't be that rock-solid No. 2 in a good rotation who takes the lead here and there.
    Ben - Bortuzzo's words regarding his suspension do not come off well at all. If a guy has to play "right on that line" of causing harm to other players, maybe he should re-evaluate some things. I don't expect the Blues to do anything about it currently. But if another situation/suspension happens, any chance the Blues look to cut their losses?
    If he becomes a public enemy No. 1 type whose game is impacted by the spotlight he's placed on himself, maybe. But remember who he plays for (Craig Berube) and the style Berube likes his team to play. Berube doesn't mind some excess physicality here and there. I don't think he loved the cheap hit on Viktor Arvidsson, but I doubt Chief lost sleep over it. The Blues succeed because each player has a role. Bortuzzo has a role. The Blues aren't in a position this year, injury plague considered, to run off helpful players because they are getting a bad rap for questionable hits. Bortuzzo just needs to keep a low profile for a while.
    I can't speak to what he does or does not do away from the field, but I do think it's just a matter of time until he gets a shot at another Power 5 gig if he wants it. Those who cover Kiffin think he would prefer a job in Florida (Miami, Florida State) or California (UCLA, USC again?) over something in the middle of the country. He apparently hates the cold; not that millions of dollars could not make him change his mind on that. His buyout is, I'm pretty sure, something like $2.3 million until January 1. That's steep. Arkansas seems to be hunting him hard, and can throw around some serious money. Florida Atlantic will come up with a big push to keep him. If it's not Florida State, would not be shocked to see him sit tight for another year. We'll see. In terms of Mizzou, I'm not sure I see the fit and the cash to get Kiffin to jump. And I'm not sure Jim Sterk, who is like a godfather to Florida Atlantic AD Brian White, would poach White's coach.
    Any hope for a Brett Cecil rebound?
    Why not? It's December. Hope abounds. I wouldn't let that hope get to high though. Kind of hard to imagine him being much of a factor even if he can stay healthy. Expectations are pretty low. Perhaps he can contribute in some meaningful way.
    Do you think that the Brewers window for contention is closing, Ken Rosenthal was reporting that they said Hader could be available?
    I'll slow-play the Brewers in decline angle until I see results that suggest it. We are always way too quick to write them off, and I've learned from those mistakes. Dangling Hader isn't crazy. The relief market is pretty thin right now, and he is young and elite. It does make you wonder if the Brewers question his longevity. He's been pitched hard, and we know how that tends to hold up in high-leverage arms. Considering the financial limitations Milwaukee puts on itself, it's not all that shocking to see it gauging interest in what could be a really nice deal on the return. Hader is affordable, too, which would mean they could ask for even more. Would be somewhat surprised if this trade actually goes down.
    I know it's early but is it just me or are you more concerned about the Reds than any other team in the Central?
  • That concern level should be growing, sure.
    I thought the Cardinals should go after Moustakas on two or three-year deal if he was open to it. That would provide a sure-thing starter at third base and let Tommy Edman bounce around. If Matt Carpenter did bounce back as the Cardinals hoped, then that would be best-case scenario. There would be a real competition. There would be an asset that could perhaps be traded during the season. Didn't happen. And Moustakas got a better, longer deal to play second base for the Reds. Good for him. I would not have loved giving him that many years.
    The Reds should not stop here. They should sign Marcell Ozuna and try to grab the division. Just go all in on offense and aim to score more runs than a really shaky defense would allow. Why not?
    Am I wrong in thinking if Mizzou doesn't hire a guy like Will Healy, it will be kicking itself five years from now? This seems like too good of an opportunity to pass up.
    That is the theory that supports Sterk taking a chance on the Charlotte coach. He's 34. I get it. That's scary. But Healy shows no signs of being Quin Snyder 2.0.
     
    He has experience. He's been a head coach at Austin Peay and Charlotte. Before that he worked as the QB coach, receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Over his final four years with the Mocs and Governors, he landed four top-five FCS recruiting classes in five years. The turnaround at Austin Peay was amazing, and the Governors are still winning since he left. That was the worst Division I program in America, and he rescued it. And now Charlotte is doing things it has never done before, like playing in its first bowl game.
     
    He has a background in offense. Played QB at Richmond. Has coached multiple offensive positions.
     
    He has an attractive, appealing all-around philosophy. Scoff at the positive-energy stuff if you choose to, but it does work with 18 to 20-something college football players. It works at Clemson under Dabo Swinney. It sells in recruiting, where Healy has the rep of being an amazing in-home recruiter.
     
    This would be an out-of-the-box hire in that Mizzou would be picking a guy it planed to invest in and grow with. Sterk would need to make sure there was some experience on Healy's staff. His current group is young, energetic, but some mature wisdom mixed in would be a must.
     
    I don't hate the idea, and I like the idea of it a lot more than some retread. No one will be ripping Mizzou if it does not hire Healy. He could be one of those names that everyone looks back at and wonders, what if, years from now -- if the Tigers pass on a chance to grab him before he becomes a star somewhere else. The coaching community is convinced he's gonna be special. 
    Benfred,

    I believe that STL will be receiving documents for discovery by the middle of this month, according to an article I read, the Judge is forcing the NFL and the Rams to turn over their records. Think we will be getting some bombshells this holiday season?
    The interest in the case, both locally and nationally, does finally seem to be building. That's great news. I've been trying to point and shout and holler that this is worth paying attention to -- certainly more worthy than silly speculation and the Chargers coming to St. Louis. The NFL fought tooth and nail to keep the STL laywers from getting the phone records dating back nearly a decade. There is some confusion about what those phone records include. They are not transcripts of text messages or recordings of calls. They are essentially phone bills. From there, lawyers might be able to trace call activity as the NFL moved toward relocating the Rams to Los Angeles. As we all know, that process went back years. At the same time the league was promising STL it would get a fair shake, it was greasing the tracks of relocation. Those involved having to answer for a pattern of calls that proves that is really interesting, if it comes to that.
    Is Jake Allen a Blue at the beginning of next season?
    If Blues GM Doug Armstrong can get a killer deal for a backup goalie when he's got a great starting goalie, I think Army makes that trade. Will probably depend on who gets hurt on other teams, and how desperate those teams might be to swap. And if that swap helps this current team. Army has made it clear the Blues are in a championship window. That's how he's playing this. He traded Fabbri because he was not helping this current team, and he wanted to get someone who could. He didn't worry about what Fabbri might do elsewhere. He's locked in on winning now, with this bunch. So the Allen trade  would have to fit that, and be more beneficial to the current group than having a backup who is playing really, really well.
    Is Mizzou seriously considering hiring a triple option/service academy coach? Has anyone thought about the fact that our state produces top-quality d-linemen who aren't going to want to stay home and get cut blocked in practice all week?
    I hope not. And don't stop there. What other recruiting footholds have the Tigers created in recent years? Quarterbacks and receivers. Chase Daniel doesn't come to Mizzou to run the triple-option. Blaine Gabbert doesn't. Drew Lock doesn't. Jeremy Maclin doesn't. I'll stop there. I realize that triple-option coaches are not only capable of running the triple option, but hiring a triple-option coach who has not coached another offense for years doesn't make a ton of sense to me. And whether he pledges to run the triple-option change it, that coach will be recruited against using the old triple-option stereotypes. Defensive linemen will be warned against cut blocking. Quarterbacks will be warned they will never get a chance to show off their arm. Receivers will be warned they will never be used. SEC rivals would tear into it.
  • With all the names being rumored and reported for Mizzou, I'm excited about the possibility of Harsin, Healy, and, um... that's about it. Think it ends up being one of those two? Is there a wild card Sterk's holding close to the chest? I can very much see this going the way of the basketball search, where Harsin plays the role of Cuonzo Martin - the guy who turned out to be Sterk's clear top option from start to finish.
    Well, the number one rule of a coaching search is that the AD swears the coach he hired was the only coach he wanted all along. And if he is found out to have interviewed others first, than the AD trots out that familiar line of -- "it just made us that more more sure we wanted the guy we hired." It's the playbook. Coaching search 101.
     
    I do think Harsin and Healy would be my top two, too. 
     
    Harsin is the no-brainer. Do everything in your power to get him. He's proven. He's still young. He knows offense. His program churns out NFL talent. He inherited a good program but he's made it even better. Boise State, for the first time in the program's history, did not lose a single conference game this season. Throw the best package available at Harsin and hope he decides to jump. That would be my play. I do wonder if he would leave, and I do wonder if he's waiting on a Pac 12 gig. He played at Boise. He has other family ties to that city. If he was easy to uproot, he would not have been there six years. But his buyout is crazy low, Mizzou could come close to doubling his salary I think, and he has shown some interest in Tennessee and Oregon openings in recent years. Make him say no. If he does, bet the house on Healy.
    What do you think of the theme “We Work Harder” or “Men at Work,” for the 2020 Cards marketing campaign? It would appeal to the working man and be consistent with the stand pat posture and messaging of the front office. Powder blue collar, if you will. The pic could be Fowler, Carp, and Cecil carrying their lunch pails into the clubhouse with hard hats on, their bad contracts under their arms. Pretty inspiring right?
    I guess I'm not the only one who is sensing that the lack of buzz surrounding this Cardinals offseason is leading to some increased negativity from the locals. Personally, I would rather the Cardinals be candid about their offseason blueprint than naming an unrealistic shopping list that is left unfulfilled by the season's start. The Cardinals can't be criticized for telling it like it is, at least not by those who said they wished they would. They don't at the time see one massive hole on their team. They don't think that hole is third base, because they are re-committing to Matt Carpenter. They don't think that hole is the rotation, because they re-signed Wainwright and are monitoring Carlos Martinez's return and want to see how it plays out. They don't see that hole being the lineup, even if Marcell Ozuna leaves, because they think multiple guys and new additions from within will raise the offensive bar in 2020. We don't have to agree with all of that. I imagine most here don't. But better to be upfront than mislead. The potentially interesting and realistic free agents for the Cardinals -- some notable relievers and Moustakas -- are mostly gone already. If there's a shakeup coming, it will probably need to come via trade. Perhaps Mo and Co. have some surprises up their sleeves. We'll know more at winter meetings.
    Kevin pillar was an interesting non tender. Do you see him as an upgrade over Bader or some of the other young options we have in the mix for center field? He doesn’t solve the clean up spot but he provides a little more certainty offensively, although I’ve read his defense isn’t as elite anymore.
    I don't see him as an upgrade for the Cardinals. If Pillar is an upgrade to what sticks from the cycle of young outfielders the Cardinals seem poised to sift through on the fly this season, than the Cardinals are in trouble. Pillar hit a career-high 21 homers in 2019, but he's never been an above average hitter in terms of adjusted OPS in any of his seven seasons. He's got a career average 87 OPS+.
    All I want for Christmas is a soccer team with a name. Over/under: 60% chance that becomes a reality?

    Speaking of...any other pertinent updates on the MLS front?
    Carolyn Kindle Betz said don't expect a name or team colors until the first half of 2020. That means after Christmas. Here's the latest on the soccer front. Not as sexy as team name and colors, but the attention has turned toward finalizing the state financing side of things. Link here: https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/with-construction-looming-state-financing-on-tap-for-st-louis/article_c45a0322-c9fd-57c7-ab1d-899ab6302b35.html
    Can you please comment on the moose signing by the reds?
  • Sure. He got a good deal. The Reds went above and beyond what I think most teams would have felt comfortable with. I figured he would get two or three years, not four. The Reds, clearly, are prioritizing offense over defense. Not a bad move for their ballpark. Gonna be an interesting team.
    Interested in your take on how MLB clubs should handle a situation like Addison Russell? While I wouldn't want him to be a Cardinal, how would a team go about signing him without looking like the Astros did with the Osuna deal if he's on a better path and trying to better himself. In football, it feels like situations like this happen with more frequency and so they get less of the spotlight, but for baseball I'm sure there would be a magnifying glass on the situation.
    Is the juice worth the squeeze? It's that simple. The Astros believed the addition of Osuna would lead to a performance on the field that outweighed the backlash off of it. So, they made the move, taking advantage of being one of the teams that were willing to take that risk. No different here. Any attempts to spin redemption, or whatever else can be dismissed. You make the move if you think the player, in part because of his attainability, outweighs whatever reaction follows the addition. It's easier in football because the teams are much more upfront about not caring about anything but on-field performance.
    I'm pro Tommy Edman, so don't tar and feather me here, but it might not be realistic to expect him to average .300 and slug .500 in his sophomore season. Just saying.
    White Sox are going to be the breakout team of 2020. You heard it here first! And we Cardinals fans are going to look longingly at Luis Robert for the next decade
    But will Marcell Ozuna be with the White Sox, or the Reds?
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