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 is having a good Christmas Eve. Thanks for making the time to stop by today. I'm armed with my mom's peanut clusters and the second-best Christmas movie (Christmas Vacation) on in the background. Number one, undisputed is, A Christmas Story. These are the kind of hot takes you can rely on here. Quick sidebar before we get going. If you're hunting for a last-minute gift for the St. Louis sports fan in your life, we are offering a three-month digital subscription for just $3, or a full year for $79. Link below. Let's roll. 
     
    With a 10-2 record going into a tune up to finish out the non-conference schedule against Bethune-Cookman on Sunday at Chaifetz, what do the Saint Louis Billikens need to do in A10 play to have an NCAA worthy resume?
    Splitting the Dayton series and beating VCU would help a ton.
    Those are believed to be the two A-10 teams with better shots at the tournament, where things stand today, than SLU.
    But this should be a deeper year for the conference.
    I doubt four teams get in, but three would not be wild.
    SLU has no bad losses.
    Seton Hall and Auburn were both ranked 12 at the time of those losses.
    Seton Hall has since beaten a top-10 Maryland team.
    Auburn is now 11-0.
    If SLU can upset one of the bigger dogs in the conference, it will be in good shape if not on the bubble, leaning in.
    Lots of upside.
    Lots of uncertainty.
    His team won 13 games, but he recruited few if any of those guys that were on the field this season. There's a risk in hiring a first-year head coach, because it's impossible to really know what is real and what is fools gold from his previous program.
    That said, I've loved the energy, enthusiasm and confidence he's shown since accepting the job. He's moving the needle, and this fan base could use some of that. It's easy to get fired up about a coach who hasn't coached a game, but he seems to know how to make folks want to watch.
    I don't  doubt his  offensive credentials We will see about his recruiting and ability to handle the deep waters of the SEC.
    Gary Pinkel has been really, really impressed, and not just by the comments he has said publicly.
    If the Cardinals take the current roster as-is into next season, what would you expect for a won-loss record? Better than last year's 91, roughly the same, or worse?
    A shade worse.
    I'm not quite buying the notion that Marcell Ozuna can walk, and a bad offense is going to get better just by simply turning to internal improvement and internal options for replacement.
    I'm also not one of the folks who has turned Ozuna into Babe Ruth. His numbers, compared to other cleanup hitters across baseball the past two seasons, are quite unremarkable.
    So, perhaps an offense that was unreliable last season is about the same, or a little worse.
    I do think it's hard, just based off what we know about baseball, to imagine every guy who had below-career-average production to do the same thing again this upcoming season.
    Some guys will be better.
    I think Paul Goldschmidt will be one of them.
    The Cardinals are going to pitch, defend and run well.
    The offense is a mixed bag.
    Sounds similar to last year, right?
    The other thing: I think the division takes a step back, which only helps the Cards.
    The ESPN article indicated that Kroenke's stadium complex was supposed be cost $2B, but will be somewhere between $5-6B. Have you seen any economic analyses on that, such as at what point does the project become an albatross or lose viability?
  • It has to be a historic undershot when it comes to cost projection for a sports stadium. A combination of unchecked bravado and bad luck -- like the surprisingly heavy rainfall that spent days filling the construction hole. Don't expect to get much info from the Los Angeles media on the true debacle the stadium has become in terms of cost setbacks. The Rams are spinning it as they please, and the people covering the team will not want to lose access to the team by digging into Kroenke's sore spot. It's wild, though. That ESPN story opened a lot of eyes to the Los Angeles side. St. Louis fans are following this side of it, and have been for some time now.
    Does trading García for cash only seem like another case of mid-management of assets...with others that don’t need to be on 40 man roster and no longer prospects
    More than anything, it indicates that the Cardinals has started to view Garcia as a disposable prospect, a declining asset. The Cardinals have a logjam of young outfielders that is not going to be able to be sorted through by playing time alone. There are too many. Garcia's rising age and still-spiking strikeouts put him at the bottom of the barrel. If you were expecting the Cardinals to keep him, or someone in his position, by eating a significant contract of a player they hope they can still get something out of, think again. It's not how they do business.
    Good morning, Ben. I am puzzled by what the Milwaukee Brewers are up to. At first, I thought that they were going in tank mode, getting rid of Grandal and Moustakas, but now they are adding pieces. In my opinion, they have not yet added talent equal to what they have subtracted. Do you think they will end up with a payroll about equal to last year? If so, then they are just trying to better position their assets. They were a strong second last year and closing fast, so if they are improved in 2020 they will be a substantial challenge.
    They're Brewers-ing. Trying to remain competitive with budget deals they feel adhere to the financial limits they have decided they're under. Some of the players they had acquired in  this same way had, because of their strong play, become more valuable. Now they aim to do it over again with new guys. I agree with you that the new additions don't seem to be better additions, but no one was shaking in their boots about Milwaukee's additions of Grandal and Moustakas when they happened, either. The Brewers are not stepping back as much as they are sidestepping. If they don't trade Hader, I think they'll be competitive again, but maybe not quite as much.
    Does acquiring "KK" make C. Martinez nervous? Will it Inspire Him to Work Harder, Concentrate more, Take Care of his Shoulder?
    It should! The Cardinals no longer have to weigh Carlos Martinez vs. A Pool of Young Pitchers. It can weigh Carlos Martinez vs. a proven left-handed veteran who pitched 190 innings last season. Kim is a solid option as a fourth or fifth starter. Martinez can be an elite starter. If he's not elite, he doesn't have to be far off it before Kim could get the nod. Especially when you consider Martinez's success at closer. Not much has to go wrong before the Cardinals start looking  for reasons to have Martinez pitching for saves instead of starts.
    First, congrats to Mizzou on the win. I hate writing that, but they took it to the Illini. Let me say that this did not surprise me as an Illini fan. This team does not react well during stretches where things do not go as planned -- like when Miami was up 27 in Champaign in the first half. They respond, but only when they wake up. They do not respond when the storm is passing through. Mizzou did not really let them wake up.

    My reason for writing is this -- I want to know how Illinois basketball is perceived by you. It's been a terrible ride for the last 10 years. Their Big Ten record in that span is 64-102. Only 2 trips to the NCAA tournament. I know a lot of Illini fans get slammed for having too high expectations, but man, that is a BAD decade of basketball. My expectations are to make the tournament 4 out of 5 years with one of those teams having a legitimate shot at a Sweet 16. And then I guess maybe every 10 years to have a legitimate shot at a Final Four. Am I crazy??? Your thoughts?
    Illinois is a sleeping giant when it comes to college hoops.
    Don't let anyone tell you differently.
    The passionate and loyal fans. The recruiting potential in Chicago. The history.
    Those components are the reason Underwood took the job, and the reason he coaches under the kind of pressure that makes losses like Saturday's chip away at his progress.
    Will the recent issue with funding for the MLS stadium location, is there a possibility of the deal falling through or do you think it would be safe to say we will 100% still get the team?
    I don't have a hard answer as of today. The MLS4TheLou ownership group is declining to comment on the setback from the state's rejection of the tax credits. We've asked them multiple times. Nothing shared yet. I do know the members of the group are not happy with this development, and they're not pleased with the public perception that the people they have deals with can pull out and just expect them to shovel more private dollars into a project that already includes a remarkable amount of private dollars. They're asking the same questions as anyone who followed this closely. Why would the state show multiple signs of support of the plan and then pull out the rug at the last second? If I had to make a prediction, it would be that a smaller amount of tax credits is negotiated between the city and the state, something bigger than what was suggested when the $30 million was officially rejected, but not as big as the $30 million. We'll see.
    Obviously the Cards need a hitter, but the idea of getting Clevinger might be too great to pass up. If the Cards start with Hudson in a package, shouldn't the Cards really be going for the best rotation in the league? It's not often an SP of this caliber is available.
    I don't expect the Cardinals to make any more significant pitching moves after the signing of Kim.
    We'll see if they add some sort of bat.
    The Blues are on a roll - do they even bother making a trade at the deadline for scoring - are they all in?
    They're all in. Blues GM Doug Armstrong has made that pretty clear. As the Blues get healthier and continue to win like this, though, there is a fair question to be asked: What is the potential downside of an addition aimed at improving scoring, and could the risk of imbalanced chemistry be greater than the need? Last trade deadline, Army decided to stand back and let a surging team continue to gel. This is kind of starting to look like that, isn't it? Especially if the Blues have a sense that Vladimir Tarasenko could be a contributing member of a postseason team. It's a great question and one that gets harder to answer as the Blues keep piling up wins.
    It seems to me that Missouri football is at an inflection point. If this is a good hire, we will see the team compete in the SEC East for the near future. If it is not a good hire, it will plunge them into a pit from which recovery will be very difficult to near impossible. Given how much is riding on it, do you think they could have gone for a hire with more certainty?
    Depends on your definition of the word certainty. Jim Sterk's initial list had what, I'm sure, he described as certainty. Proven head coaches who had a history of winning, some at places that are not easy to win. But those same coaches were non-starters with fans (and curators) because they didn't move the needle. If these guys -- Blake Anderson, Skip Holtz, Jeff Monken -- were so good, then why had they not gotten a big job sooner? That conversation steered toward the high-upside, big-risk option of Drinkwitz, he who had one year of head coaching beneath his belt, but had become known as a rising star in the profession. If you wanted absolute certainly, like Nick Saban absolute certainty, then Mizzou was never going to get it. It can't pay enough. The program is not appealing enough. Matt Campbell and the other most desirable options were not interested for what Mizzou could offer.
  • Which is more likely to make a return to St. Louis, the NFL or the NBA?

    Any rumblings of pro basketball?
  • Neither are realistic at this point
    I understand if the economics don’t make Ozuna a fit but please don’t tell me a guy who got benched during the season and then again in the playoffs is now the answer as the middle of the order bat. I know DeWitt and Mo think fans are mindless turnstile turners, but no one is buying in on Carpenter in ‘20.
    I'm not leading the Matt Carpenter Comeback Tour. Just telling you the front office has tickets on the front row.
    Will the offense be better or worse this year?
    Because I'm in the holiday spirit, I'll say it will be, at the worst, the same. It will be hard to get much worse.
    Where does Jingle All the Way rank on your Christmas movie list? Is Die Hard a Christmas movie in your eyes?
    1) Not on the power ranking.
    2) Nope.
    The Cardinals signed Adolis Garcia from Cuba, and did not pony up enough to sign Luis Robert. I guess Garcia was the value play, eh?
    The Cardinals talking themselves out of going above and beyond for Luis Robert has not aged well, considering his meteoric rise with the White Sox. Signing Bryce Harper would have ended the discussion about the vacant corner outfield spot as well. Instead the Cardinals will rely on internal options, with sky-high hopes for Dylan Carlson and anyone who can remain in front of him. It's the model.
  • Fair to say that while the Cards pride themselves on not being reactionary to Cubs/Brewers moves, they are absolutely using their lack of activity this winter as a reason to stand pat this off-season?
  • It is really, really hard for me to believe that any team led by smart people -- like the Cardinals -- don't take a look around as they build their projections for a team they believe can win the division, whether they admit it or not.
    Still can’t believe the Cards traded a Four tool player for cash when they simply could have cut loose of some other non-factors from the 40 man squad..while giving him a try in the spring like the rest of their young, unproven OFs

    Are they really planning on Cecil, Ravelo and others impacting their 2020 season or beyond..
    I'm not quite convinced Garcia is going to become The One Who Got Away.
    Can we clarify that the Cards did “make” the NLCS but they were never “in” the NLCS? Let’s celebrate an NLDS win, but Washington was built to win and in another weight class. That’s what happens when you are built to “just make the playoffs” and need everything to go your way to succeed.
    Washington started the season in a nosedive and barely made the postseason as a wild-card. The Nationals winning the World Series did a lot more to support the Cardinals' blueprint than combat it, whether you agree with it or not.
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