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.

    Not unless Jeremiah Tilmon snaps out of it, and quick. Losses at Xavier and against Butler and Oklahoma on what will be viewed as a neutral (though heavily Mizzou favored) court were significant misses on the NCAA tournament resume. That can be made up in conference play but, again, we're talking fantasy land unless Tilmon figures out a way to be productive, or the Tigers figure out a way to be productive without him.
  • Ben, The all MLB team has Jack on it :). It also has some SP on it that is obtainable right now. The Cards are unlikely to turn into a juggernaut on offense this season. IF you were GM, knowing that this is a unique opportunity would you consider moving Carlos and his money for a whatever and then getting one of these aces going all in on what you are doing best?
    I thought the Cardinals' best-case scenario at the last trade deadline was to add the best starter they could come up with, sharpening run prevention and defense to help out a struggling offense.That strategy could still make sense now. I'm not sure the Cardinals or Cardinals fans would like the return offered on Carlos Martinez at the moment. The question marks the Cardinals would have about his status as a starter would be shared by other teams as well. The Cardinals have said they view Carlos as part of their rotation, and seem willing to make corresponding moves based on how those early returns shake out, so if they decide to trade him after this offseason, you would have to think they could not sell him via trade as a starter -- or else he would be starting for the Cardinals, right? Trading Carlos is not the only way to get a pitcher, though. Tons on the free agent market as we chat.
    I attended the Blues/Lightning tilt last Wednesday, what a game.
    Our boys have the "eye of the tiger". The boys know they can win several cups, get ready come April for another wild ride, assuming Binner is healthy. Binner the Winner is the key.
    They also knew Barry, Blues fan in Orlando, was going to be in the house. That helped them turn it up a notch.
    Is MU still shooting for a head coaching decision by the end of next week?
    Considering Mizzou's last unofficial but hopeful timeline was months off when it came to the NCAA appeal, I don't put much stock into that. We usually know things are close when the board of curators have a special meeting, which has to be public. That's kind of like the white smoke.
    Seems like the last few years talk around Tilmon has been that people are flopping around him and he's not playing poorly, he's just a victim of his size and style of play and he wouldn't have issues like this against NBA competition (not that he could play at that level). Now this year it seems like people are tired of making excuses and are saying that by now he should have learned to adjust. What gives?
    It's a combination of both.
    If you watch the games, and I have since he's been a freshman, he clearly gets officiated differently than other bigs.
    Calls that other guys get away with, he rarely if ever does.
    He also makes some really foolish fouls. He gets fouls miles away from the basket. He gets fouls trying to set bad screens.
    At this point, it's year three. The officials are watching him. That's not going to change, clearly. He has to change, and it's fair to wonder at this point if he can. 
    And it's not just the fouls. It's his response to them. Here's a trivia question: How many games has Tilmon fouled out of this season? Answer: Zero.
    But there are times when he gets hit with two early whistles, and it might as well be five. He just shuts down. That's what happened against Butler.
    Can't happen if this team is going to be very good.
    Ben, Thats why I said for "whatever". The Cards would gain 2 things by moving him. One a spot that Carlos currently holds and you turn the page. Two Carlos is a player that is earning enough money that those savings mean something. Besides I asked what you would do not the Cards or Cards fans liking the return on Carlos.
  • My apologies for not giving an adequate answer. What would I do with Martinez? I would not trade him at a loss, because if he can't start, and I'm not sure he can, I could still use him in my bullpen, perhaps as closer, considering Jordan Hicks is still recovering from Tommy John. He is not holding a spot in the rotation as much as he is auditioning for one.
     
    On top of the wait-and-see with Martinez, I would consider adding a left-handed option for the rotation, like a Dallas Keuchel, because that would be nice to have, and I'm not sure how Austin Gomber will pitch after last season's injury. If things work out great, and Carlos rocks as a starter, and Keuchel rocks as a starter, and every other rotation option rocks, then I would figure it out after that happens. Trade one away. Put one in the bullpen. Someone always gets hurt during spring training, and some competition would be a good thing for rotation spots.
     
    That assumes Keuchel, or another good left-handed option, would be willing to sign somewhere where his place was not cemented in stone. I can see why he would prefer other options over that. When the Cardinals brought back Wainwright, they committed to him for another season. They're not going to make a move that pushes him out. If they were planning on doing that, they would not have brought him back.
    That leaves Martinez trying out for one spot -- a spot that could be improved if he can't hold it -- but it's fair to wonder what options the Cardinals will have left when they get that answer from Martinez.
     
    There's the rub.
     
    It's not ideal, but I don't think trading away Martinez -- at least right now -- for peanuts is the answer, either, because he can shift into the bullpen and be a plus pitcher there.
  • No need to post this, just wanted to say thanks for the chat and for being super responsive. You're a real credit to The Post and along with your colleagues in the sports department, are the reason I continue to subscribe to The Post even as I've moved away from Missouri. Keep up the great work!
    Thank you!
    The chats are good.
    They make me think, defend my stances, change my opinions at times.
    Thanks for being a part of them.
    I think you are on to something Ben. Barry - the Blues fan from Orlando could become the next Ash Gibbs of Ontario (think the lone Blues fan in game 5 in Winnipeg) or Ben Friedman? Sign this man up!
    I'll start planning the next parade
    If the Blues make the playoffs is Vladi an option? What's the time table on Steener and Sunny?
    Yes. Until we are told otherwise. April is the most updated month believed to be possible for Tarasenko's return from the shoulder injury.
    Steen started skating this week with an eye on returning sometime this month.
    Sundqvist is on the trip, which is a good sign. Maybe tomorrow? We'll see. He will be the first one back, and the Blues seem to have caught a break there. A rare break.
     
    With the depth of the free agent starting pitching market and the team's hopeful mindset, this would seem to be the ideal offseason to sign a starter to a buy-low minor league deal. These types of deals work out for teams all the time, and when they don't they've lost next to nothing. It could apply for the offense too. Why do the Cardinals never seem to make these signings?
  • The Cardinals do these things along with other teams.
    It's just that the ones that work out are the ones you wind up hearing about and remembering.
  • Cardinals plan on selling hope but no change as a slogan?
    That needs to be work-shopped a bit. Not as catchy as #TimeToFly.
    Gordo wrote "You can even understand the team playing him [Moustakas] at second base, since today's extreme infield shifts can help mask his lack of fielding range."

    Does this mean Wong is less valuable now than he would have been in a shift-free universe
    Shifts can be used to provide defensive aid at any position.
    I'm not sure that means having a good defender at that position matters less.
    Having an elite defender can have the opposite effect. A first baseman can stand closer to first base. A shortstop can make a riskier through when attempting a double-play turn. This can be argued any way.
    Based on what DeWitt and Mo have given for a blueprint for this off-season, specifically related to payroll limitations, is it safe to say that we can also count on another trade deadline where guys "get healthy" and John "stand pat" Mozeliak does nothing again?
    I'd like to see what the Cardinals do or don't do this offseason before we start worrying about the next trade deadline. I can only handle so much angst.
    You brought up Odom's questionable assistant coach hirings. It seemed like he was trying to turn the page from Pinkel from the very beginning and hire his people. That's somewhat understandable. I know he kept a couple people around, but seems like he wanted Kulogowski gone and fast, even though that was the one unit that excelled.
    It seems to me he wasn't really ready for the HC position because he really didn't have an idea of the assistants he wanted or what he wanted them to bring to the staff.
    There were reasons other than football reasons that led to Kuligowski's departure. I don't think he was ever going to be OK with working under Odom as his head coach. There was friction there dating back to when Odom got the defensive coordinator job. I don't blame Odom for nixing that. If guys are not on board, they have to go. And I think it's fair to view Kuligowski's bouncing around since then as a sign he's not always the easiest to work with. Hiring DeMontie Cross was a bigger mistake. There were those who cared about Odom who would have told him that Cross wasn't ready for that job. Dooley was a mistake. It worked out year one, but then came down hard. Dooley's coaching style -- heavy on the negative -- wore guys down. I don't know what the heck happened to the offensive line this season, but I do think Brad Davis' constant shuffling of players along it did more damage than good. Continuity is harder to come by now than it was in the Pinkel era, but it can happen. And if it doesn't, the head coach has to make sure he's making the right assistant hires regularly. Odom seemed to miss on too many, or have a hard time keeping the right ones. I don't consider Kuligowski in that department, though.
    Is the 2020 season essentially a now or never for Alex Reyes to remain a Cardinal over the longer haul?
  • I don't understand the ultimatum. Its' been disappointing, what's happened with Alex and the injuries. It would be more disappointing to let that frustration turn into not being the team that benefits when -- and it's more of an if -- he figures it all out and stays healthy. I think the best approach is to not expect to rely upon Reyes until he proves otherwise, but I wouldn't cut ties with him just because I'm upset he hasn't become a star yet due to health issues.
    Ben, Odom was a bad hire for a team that should have been looking for a coach as good as Pinkle or better. Why take several steps backwards when wanting to be competitive in the SEC. I know good journalist shouldn't dump on a decent man who they want to see succeed. But the hire was below what Mizzou should have done.
    You seem to be forgetting Missouri's situation when Odom was promoted to defensive coordinator. That was the 2015 season, the one where the campus had a race relations nightmare that went national and included the threat of the football team boycotting a game while a student said he was on a hunger strike until the university system president stepped down. Mizzou did look around and found no better options than promoting Odom. If anything, Odom deserves credit for helping Mizzou get out of that hole. It was not a good situation for the football program, especially in terms of recruiting. Coaches were saying the campus was toxic. Some names who would be looked at as non-starters in this current search wanted nothing to do with the opening back then. That's the truth.
    Ben,
    As much as anything I think Sterk had to make the choice to move on from Odom because of momentum. Everything was trending up with attendance, south end zone, Byrant, etc. Interest and the associated dollars were going up then the season flat lined. Now he has to reinvigorate the program. I don't see how he could accomplish it by bringing Odom back.

    I agree with you that Healy, or someone similar, could do it. As you mentioned, it needs to be someone who relates to 18-20 year olds. People think U of Minnesota was kind of quirky, but I'll take their results any day.
    That's the PJ Fleck Effect.
    Healy has some Fleck in him, for sure.
  • I have been a huge Shildt fan since day 1. Stuck with him during the early parts of 2019 when everyone was down on him. Very happy for him winning NL Manager of the Year. He seems to resonate with Cards fans in a way no one has since Whitey. Think he has a chance to become an all-time beloved manager in STL like Whitey is?
    Winning will of course dictate a lot of this.
    But in terms of his ability to relate, his appreciation for this opportunity and his  genuine love of baseball and talking about the game, I do think he has a chance to have a special and lasting relationship with Cardinals fans.
    He's one of you all, and he doesn't hide that.
    It's rare. And special. And I'll shutup now and I'm labeled a Shildt Homer.
    Hello Ben. I like your work but could you explain the point of your Saturday column about "the focus being on Sterk?" Of course it is. That's his job and why he gets paid big bucks. He determined things weren't working out with this coach and it was time to make a move. Now he has to go out and find his Gary Pinkel. Isn't that what athletic directors are supposed to do? I mean, it's not like the dean of the journalism school made the call. I think you can make an argument on both sides about either keeping or canning Odom -- and I, for one, was tired of all the undisciplined play and how Missouri is now closer to the Vanderbilts of the world instead of Georgia and Florida -- but that seemed awfully forced and stated the obvious. Should we rather have one of the assistant athletic directors make the call and put the focus on them?
    The point of the column, as I guess I should have made more clear, was that Sterk didn't have to fire Odom. He had enough reasons, if he chose to use them, to stand pat. He could have cited the NCAA cloud. He could have played up Kelly Bryant's injuries. He could have asked Odom to fire Derek Dooley and scapegoat the offensive coordinator. He didn't do that. He instead said, look, I don't like the way this is trending. It's year four. I said I want a top-25 team. It's not happening. So, I'm making a change. There has been a lot of discussion about Sterk, and if he was willing to make a non-safe choice. If he believed in himself enough to go hire the coach. He answered that question by firing Odom and putting it on himself to go make a better hire. I'm sorry I didn't deliver that message in the column.
    Any new rumors or news on soccer operations hires or who they're interested in from our MLS group?
    Haven't heard anything on that front lately. Sorry, Blake.
    Ben, Why will the PD send 2 journalist to SD next week if the Cards aren't going to do anything? Cheer up bud, the off season has just started.
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