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. Monday.

    Greetings, chatters. Happy New Year to you all. Thanks for adjusting to the audible this week with the shift from Tuesday to Monday. We will be back to Tuesdays moving forward. This is just a one-time change due to there being no Cardinals chat this week. We can talk Cardinals here, or whatever else is on your mind, like the can't-lose Blues, year in review, or anything else, really. Fire away.
    BenFred, when do you think the Blues will “hit the wall” or have their Cup hangover as many (myself included) predicted they would? I personally think they look better than last year which is saying a lot considering their top scorer has been sidelined virtually the entire year. Amazing!
    If that big downward swing was coming, I think we would have witnessed it by now. I figured the Blues were due for some blues after Vladimir Tarasenko joined the long list of significant injuries. Didn't happen. And now the team is getting healthier again. It's so hard to keep winning like this for an extended period of time, but we haven't seen much if anything to suggest the Blues will not continue to be really, really good as long as no more big injuries derail the momentum. The system works, and the players' buy-in is high. Good combination.
    Your thoughts please on this proposed trade for Arenado.

    Ponce de Leon/Gomber/Woodford (choice of 2)

    Five players, four of them with a total of 24 years control for Arenado. In exchange, Colorado has to give Arenado $20M (or whatever it would take) to waive no trade clause and surrender his opt out in 2 yrs. No way we do a deal with the opt out still intact.

    • Carpenter may not be super appealing but his sure to improve his production at spacious Coors and provides a decent bat until Gorman is ready.
    • The Rockies want pitching and this would give them 2 starters that are controllable for 12 years total.
    • Knizner, though tough to give up, can be replaced by Herrera in a couple years. Immediately, re-sign Wieters who can back up Yadi until then.
    • If it were possible to entice Colorado in some other way than including Knizner, I would do so as I’d not be wild about giving him up but it seems to me that the only way to entice the Rockies would be to offer such a strong deal.

    Would this do it? If not, what would need tweaked?
    I'm sorry to be that guy, but the Cardinals are not shopping for a third baseman.
    They're giving Matt Carpenter the Dexter Fowler vote of confidence.
    Unless they are really, really hiding their intentions well, you can put the Arenado trade proposals away for now.
    I want to start by saying that I really enjoy just about everything you write, and I really appreciate the thought you put into answers in these chats. I have to say I really disagree with something I read last week. When you compared the Cardinals and Nationals. You used the example of their flawed bullpen to the Cardinals bad offense. I think that’s a false equivalency. On a simple level baseball is about scoring runs and run prevention. The Nationals had elite staring pitching, but poor relief. So part of their run prevention was elite. If the Cardinals had great power but poor on base, or vise versa, then I could get behind your argument. As it stands this offense doesn’t cut it, and that’s why fans like myself are disappointed.
    Having a lousy bullpen is a better weakness than having a below average offense.
    No argument there.
    For context, the answer you're referring to was in reference to a question that presented the Nationals as heavyweight World Series favorites like the Dodgers, Astros and Yankees.
    I didn't have the Nationals in that category before the season started.
    I don't think many did, unless there is some revisionist history going on.
    And I know not many had them in that category when they started the season with an anchor tied to their ankle.
    My point was then -- and remains -- that the Nationals' rise from wild-card winner to World Series champion does more to support the Cardinals' theory that a team that gets in can win it all than it does to debunk that logic.
    The Cardinals believe, and have said publicly, that they feel they were beaten by a team of destiny.
    They have been a team of destiny before.
    It takes some luck, some magic to win it all.
    In short, if you were expecting the Cardinals to drastically change their sustained success model, 2019 was proof of why they will not.
    Once Mozaliak awakes from his winter slumber, do you believe he will pull any tricks out of his sleeves to ignite an offense that some experts believe will rival as worst in the NL?
    The Cardinals said entering the offseason they were a) not going to bump up payroll much, b) look into some depth for the rotation and c) look at free agent or trade (likely trade) options for an everyday outfielder, preferably one who hits left-handed.
    Since then, they signed Kwang Hyun Kim on a two-year deal for $8 million. That will likely be the last of their significant pitching moves. The conversation about an outfielder will continue, I imagine. Involved in that discussion is Marcell Ozuna. The longer he waits to sign, the greater the possibility that he's not going to get the kind of deal he wants elsewhere ,meaning an offer from the Cardinals could become more appealing when combined with the familiarity he has in St. Louis. So, in short, Ozuna Watch is of interest, and the outfield conversations that are going to spin off of that. I think that's the rest of your offseason, barring surprises.
  • Benfred,

    Do you think the Cardinals offense will be better or worse than in 2019?
    If everybody returned, I think it would be better.
    The Cardinals had two non-rookies who performed above their career-average OPS last season. Just two. Kolten Wong and Marcell Ozuna.
    That's pretty rare. There's a good chance more guys will have better seasons than worse seasons next season.
    If you don't like to think older players can have better seasons, look at the younger players who should improve. DeJong. Bader. Edman, though he's going to have a hard time keeping up those impressive averages from his rookie debut. But his overall impact could be greater. 
    Now factor in what the new faces could add: Thomas, Arozarena, Carlson.
    And this is where you remember the first line of the answer.
    "If everybody returned."
    Right now, it's best to look at Marcell Ozuna as gone until we hear differently.
    That adds another pretty sizable gash out of an offense that needed all of the help it could get last season.
    If Ozuna doesn't come back, and there is no addition that offers a more proven producer to help fill that spot, there's no concrete way for me to believe the offense can be better in 2020, other than hope.
    There's a lot of that this offseason.
    Good morning Ben, I hope that you enjoyed the holiday, oh yeah, we have a another lesser one this week and then it is off to Spring training, well pretty soon. I'm not expecting any newcomers to the roster before ST begins, how about you, in all sincerity??
    There's one already. The new pitcher, Kwang Hyun Kim. I would not be surprised at all to see a trade or two. I don't think it will be for a headliner. The Cardinals had been pretty candid about warning fans they are not going to make big splashes this offseason.
    Shouldn't we expect more outfielders to be dealt this offseason? Does the glut of OFs weaken our bargaining leverage with other teams?
    The list already has been trimmed by one: Jose Adolis Garcia.
    If the Cardainals do pull the trigger on a trade or two, their right-handed hitting outfielders will be the chips pushed onto the table.
    So, yes, don't be surprised if more are moved.
    Dylan Carlson is not going anywhere, though.
    Can the Blues afford to keep both Binnington and Allen after this season? I know many fans are talking about the value in trading Allen, but I think it's pretty valuable to have two #1 goalies if its financially possible
    Yes, they can.
    And they probably should, unless a team in need of a goalie becomes so desperate for Allen that it is willing to make the kind of trade Army believes gives Berube an increased chance of winning another Cup -- a deal that is worth the risk of being one Jordan Binnington injury away from a collapse.
    Binnington and Allen can coexist in terms of their salaries. They already work well together and respect one another. Several of the best teams going today have a nice 1/2 combo in net, and its especially valuable when you are playing seasons that include long postseason runs. Those games add up.
  • Happy New Year Ben ! I dont expect a lot out of the front office due to their self imposed budget. My question is : what do they do with all these outfielders ? Fowlers contract will play that leaves one spot for 40 outfielders.
    Play some. Trade some. Store some.
    Spring training is going to be a competitive time for these guys.
    Question is, how many spots will be influenced by the competition.
    If the Cardinals really feel they have enough talent in this outfield wave of Thomas, Arozarena, Carlson, O'Neill and others, it would be nice to know more than one spot (left field) is up for grabs.
    Bader and Fowler did not play well enough last season to lock the door on competition, especially if the young outfield movement is supposed to be a significant reason the team improves in 2020.
    Assuming no more forward injuries, whose spot does Blais take when he returns? Both on the roster itself, as well as in the lineup?
    Not trying to dodge your question, but Sammy is a month (at least) away from returning. Somebody's going to get hurt during that span, most likely. There's not much sense in determining who's in and out of the picture when there is so much time for the picture to change. Ask me again in a few weeks.
    What are the chances the Cardinals are done making any moves this offseason? And by that, I mean, why do the Cardinals refuse to acknowledge that losing Ozuna will be okay. They needed hitting help even when they DID have Ozuna in the lineup. 2020 could be a loooooong season.
    There's a decent chance they are done. They have been pretty candid about where things stand. They're watching a bunch of things to see if there's something they want to jump on, and they're doing that because they feel good with what they have. And yes, they are aware that they feel better about what they have than many of the fans.
    One thing to keep in mind regarding Ozuna. The Cardinals haven't lost him, at least not yet. They're still in that conversation. And the market is not exactly carrying Ozuna toward long deals and piles of millions just yet. Some of the teams that had shown an interest in him, like the White Sox, have filled their needs elsewhere. That increases the chance of Ozuna and his camp finding traction with the Cardinals.
    The Cardinals can take this approach because they are OK entering spring training with the team as-is. If Ozuna is interested in rejoining on a deal the Cardinals like, he could be back.
    Like you and many here, it's hard for me to believe the improvements from within are going to be significant enough that this offense loses Ozuna, doesn't replace him with a proven producer, and winds up in a better place at the end of 2020 than it did in 2019.
    Happy Monday to BenFred and Blues Nation.

    Hangover? What hangover? I believe the only thing stopping the Blues from appearing in the final this year is an injury to Binnington. This team doesn't stop winning no matter the injury, except if its Binner. the Winner. If Tarasenko comes back late in the season it will take him a month to get back in gear. But by June he and his fresh legs will be ready to hoist the cup again, I can see him taking us to another parade. What say you?
    The idea of a banged-up Binnington is terrifying, and it's yet another reason to be really, really hesitant when it comes to the notion of trading Allen. It would have to be a great deal for the current team's chances to repeat, and I'm not sure what increases those chances more than a locked-in backup goalie for the second half and playoff run. Tarasenko is the X-factor. If he can get up to speed for the postseason, he would probably be better than any addition the Blues can make from outside.
    I love the chats and I'm hoping you can give me a reasonable answer so here goes. We need a 4 batter DESPERATELY! Joc Pederson/JMART gives you that given that JMART had a 1000 OPS against lefties. So why isn't MO interested in Pederson? The Dodgers need utility and a closer so Munoz/CMART for Pederson and a minor league pitcher or two. Your thoughts?
    The Cards said during Winter Meetings that they weren't interested in a platoon outfielder and preferred more of an every-day type if they make a move in that department. There wasn't an elaboration on why, and the team doesn't discuss specific trade targets and/or free agent outfielders in detail.
    I interpreted as Pederson not being of interest.
    As for trading Carlos Martinez, the Cardinals  had received no interest in C-Mart as Winter Meetings came to a close. If the Cardinals are not sure of what Carlos is (starter, closer, locked-in, losing it) then other teams can't be.
    Why don’t you folks in the media do an in-depth story about DISH removing the Fox RSNS and how Them and Fox are shafting the viewers
    Dan Caesar has written a ton about this for the Post-Dispatch.
    You can find his coverage here:
    Personally, I hate it.
    It affects my family in Sedalia, Mo.
    So, I feel your pain.
    The narrative of just make the playoffs and anything can happen gets brought up in chats like this quite a bit. If that’s true why did the Yankees just shell out over 300 million for a top of the rotation starting pitcher? It’s almost like they believe you have to have a well rounded team to have a real chance at winning a World Series. What’s wrong with them? My sarcasm aside it’s the fact that the Yankees have to put out the best possible product or people will stop showing up. I get as frustrated as anyone about the Cardinals refusal to “go the extra mile”, but they won’t because the market is tapped out. For example let’s say Arenado really is available, it’s incredibly obvious how he would help this team. The problem is how many tickets does he sell. Maybe the team goes from 3.5 to 3.6, and that is only for the first couple of years. Eventually the new wears off, and attendance falls back to where it was. It’s not that the Cardinals can’t afford it, or even that they are cheap. It’s that they have nothing to gain from it. That’s my opinion. Am I way off base here?
    I don't think it's that sinister.
    First, the Cardinals are not the Yankees.
    And St. Louis is not New York.
    It would be hard to imagine there being two more different approaches to building winning baseball teams, though the Yankees have become more Cardinals-like in recent seasons.
    But the two are connected in terms of being the two teams with the longest runs of consecutive winning seasons. Just one has a World Series in the past 10 years, and it's not the Yankees.
    Anyway, the Cardinals' plan, which has been described a million times here and in other chats and articles and columns and podcasts and everything else, is to build a team that is capable of winning the division every season, because a team that can win the division can go the distance if things break its way.
    This goal, the Cardinals believe, allows them to win and contend every season.
    Sustained winning is the goal, not spikes and spinouts.
    Could they be more aggressive? Sure. Do they believe that creates the risk of messing up the model? Sure. There it is.
    This strategy limits the Cardinals from being on the front lines of the free-agent bidding wars, and increases the importance of hitting on the big free-agent commitments they do make. It values smart drafting and internal development, and giving those internal options a chance to thrive before filling from the outside. We've covered all of this ground before, yet have to do it all over again every offseason.
  • Cardinal's gotta do something, right? They'll add somebody at some point, right? You can't go to the NLCS one year then head into the next year with the same team minus your cleanup hitter. Are they just that far away from being a true World Series contender? It seems like the Front Office wants to hold off a few years and wait for some overpaid veterans to fall off the books?
    They did something.
    They signed a starting pitcher who could beat out Carlos Martinez for a spot in the rotation.
    That's something.
    They're not going to make another move for the sake of doing something else.
    And based on their words -- not looking to increase payroll, happy with that they have, etc. -- I would have realistic expectations about that the other moves might be.
    I watched the Dallas Stars/Colorado Avalanche game from Saturday night both teams looked lousy, neither team looked anywhere near what the Blues bring to a game. The Stars were the fresher of the two teams as the Aves had played the night before, but the Stars were not good. Bishop let in soft goals and had no scoring punch. The Aves weren't much better, I see them as a slightly better version of the Jets but not up to the Blues. Which team(s) do you see as being the biggest threat to the Blues reaching the Final?
    I'm not ready to write off Colorado just yet. That +28 point differential is the third-best in the NHL.  Vancouver (+13) has won five in a row while the Blues are on their eight-game winning streak. Canucks seem to be getting their act together.
    Everyone thinks that we will head into spring training with what we have to u think this team as is can make a run in 2020.
    Considering the state of the division -- it seems to be taking a collective step back other than the Reds -- I think the Cardinals can compete to win the Central again this season. I don't think this team, as is, can win the World Series, if that's what you're asking. We all saw how this lineup looked against the team that won the World Series, and that lineup could lack Ozuna -- not that Ozuna did much against the Nationals in the NLCS.
    If the cards need offense then they need to bring up Carlson. Bader is a 4th OF the best. O niel is streaky and injured prone.
  • Carlson is going to get a chance to be in St. Louis, if not by the start of the season, soon, if he does what he needs to do during spring training. The Cardinals are not looking for reasons to hold him back. They are maintaining that there are some options above him on the depth chart -- Tyler O'Neill, Lane Thomas and Randy Arozarena -- that he needs to hop. My question is this: What if those names are performing better than Harrison Bader and Dexter Fowler? Are the Cardinals going to avoid fielding what could be its most productive outfield because of commitments made to Fowler and Bader? Spring training will be interesting in the outfield department.
  • Biggest question of the chat: Real or fake Christmas tree for your family?
  • Real. Give me some credit. Come on.
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