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. What a day to talk sports. Arenado rumors flying. Astros tarnished. Blues can’t lose at home. Huge game for SLU coming up. Mizzou plays tonight. LSU did it for the great state of Louisiana. So much to discuss, debate. Let’s roll!
    Continues to be the big topic in town. As he should be. Transcendent talent. Would be perfect fit here. If he’s determined to be traded and the Rockies see this as a problem that must be made the best out of now, the Cardinals should do everything in the power to make it happen. The opt out after the 2021 season is still the big hurdle, not the no trade clause.
    Thanks for the chat. Always appreciate your insights.
    Any idea how Mike Fiers is perceived by the rest of MLB players at this point? On the one hand, what he did was best for baseball and the players as a whole, but on the other, he had to betray his teammates to do so.
    My experience with players tells me he will be viewed as a rat — a guy who benefited from the cheating when it helped him, then exposed it when it couldn’t hurt him. I don’t agree with that view. It’s much more complicated than that, but clubhouses and locker rooms have a code, and he broke that.
    "the opt out after the 2021 season is the big hurdle, not the no trade clause"....That sounds very promising that this will get done.
    I think that’s your hope more than my intent. I’ve said from the jump I have a hard time seeing the Cards ultimately willing to make this deal happen, based on what the Rockies would ask to sell it to their fans, based on the commitment both financially and verbally to Matt Carpenter, based on DeWitt’s statement that he doesn’t see a significant payroll increase. Things can change. Maybe they will. But my stance hasn’t changed.
    Jeff Albert was on the Astros staff in 2018. He had to have known about (and been involved in) the cheating. 2019 Budaska was fired, as the Cards wanted all players and coaches to 'buy-in' to this new 'hitting philosopy'. Plus a lot of players regressed or were just inconsistent (Carp, DeJong..etc..) Could this 'philosophy' include this same sort of cheating that Budaska and some players just didn't want to buy-in to?
  • We can only go off the facts we have.
    Jeff Albert was interviewed by MLB during the investigation of the Astros.
    He cooperated.
    He was not punished for any wrongdoing, which matches the explanation he gave the Cards when the story came out.
    Albert is on the clock to get a better offensive performance from Cardinals hitters in 2020.
    But it’s unfair to connect him to the sign stealing scandal when the report didn’t confirm that.
    Most of Albert’s work was with Houston minor leaguers, and the bulk of the sign stealing happened in 2017, before he joined the major league team.
    Did he know about it? He will be asked that eventually. Whether he answers, we will see. Clearly MLB liked his cooperation and answers.
    Don't get me wrong, the Arenado talk is exciting, but I'm having a hard time figuring out why the team wouldn't just go after Rendon in the off-season. The length of deals and dollars are really similar, and Redon only cost money. Arenado is a year younger, which is not nothing, but is it worth all the player capital it would take to get Arenado vs just cash capital to get Rendon?
    I raised this question in my recent Arenado column.
    Why would a team that felt compelled to go get the best third baseman in baseball — in my opinion — not show a shred of any interest in other third basemen in case they were not successful in their pursuit?
    If you are seriously hunting Arenado, you think third base needs help now.
    But the Cards didn’t get involved with Rendon, didn’t get involved with Donaldson this time around that we know of, didn’t sniff Moustakas.
    Doesn’t make a lot of sense.
    If the cards truly believe they may have a hard time locking up Flaherty to a long term deal, could he be a piece in an Arenado trade? Jack hasn't been shy about being underpaid so far. And while I believe this team should do whatever it takes to lock him down, could this be something the cards consider?
    Im not sure what you mean about Jack not being shy about being underpaid?
    I think it’s everyone else that has made that point.
    Even when Jack was renewed by the Cards to better protect his leverage when arbitration arrived, he didn’t complain.
    Said he didn’t agree with the system but that it wasn’t specific to Cards, and he was right.
    He is underpaid. We know it. He knows it. He’s gonna make up for it no matter which team pays him, if he performs like this or better moving forward.
    Flaherty isn’t going anywhere.
    The Cardinals would be crazy to trade him.
    He’s one of the few untouchables.
    Do you think that the Astros got off relatively easy? It seems like since they get to keep their WS title with no official revisions from the MLB, that the Astros organization is sitting pretty happy. It reminds me of the debate years ago where players were miffed that caught PED users only got a 50 game suspension for cheating - even though they had already used the cheating years (e.g. Dee Gordon) to cash in on lucrative contracts. The small suspension wasn't much of a consequence when tens of millions could be made by simply cheating for a year, and that's how it feels now with the Astro's scandal
    Count me as one of those who thought the punishment was pretty severe. Those whining about the players not getting punished are conveniently forgetting the players union exists, and that many of the players who could have engaged in the cheating — good luck finding out for sure who did and who did not — have moved on to different teams. Try punishing player X from the Astros 17 team when he’s playing for Team Y. Is that fair to that new team? You punish the team at the top, because respect for the rules trickles down. Manfred knew the year suspensions would lead to the firing of Hinch and Luhnow. You can’t go a season with a suspended manager and general manager. I guess he could have taken more draft picks. I don’t like the idea of limiting international spending. How does decreasing money available for foreign players desperate for a shot at the majors help anyone? The five million dollar fine is the biggest baseball allows. Should it be more? Sure. But Manfred has to work within the rules. Whether the championship is vacated or not doesn’t matter. It’s forever tainted. Baseball isn’t college basketball. Tainted titles are not shrugged off. The asterisk stands forever. Byproduct of a romantic sport.
    What celebrity would you like to have on your voicemail? I would want Ed Orgeron.
    Of the Big 4 sports leagues, which are most likely to have a lockout in the 2020s?
    Baseball. Don’t let the Boras Bonanza fool you. Still a lot of tension between players and owners.
    Of course, the terrible year that Carpenter had last year is a major factor in the Arenado interest. The fact that they are talking to Colorado about Arenado indicates to me that they aren’t as optimistic about Carpenter as they say they are. Neither am I. I don’t buy that his bad year was due to wearing down, he was bad in the beginning of the year too.
    Wait. You’re telling me the Cards saw what we saw? That it’s not horrendous and awful to think there could be a better option at third? I’m shocked. #SarcasmFont.
    If the Arenado deal doesn’t happen, and just to be clear I’m in the see-before-believing camp here, there’s gonna need to be a fresh coat of happy paint applied to the Carpenter bounce back campaign.
    And fans are still going to see through it.
    As they should.
    BenFred, what are your thoughts on targeting in college football? Do you think ejecting the offending player is too severe a punishment?
    It’s so hard to determine intent, but I wish there were two categories and someone assigned to try. The difference between a hit with ill intent and a hit that was accidental should be clear to a neutral party. I get that the penalty is ratcheted up to encourage reform, but punishing that hit last night the same way a head-hunting blow is punished just doesn’t really seem to sit right. The game has changed. My high school football team used to hand out Slobber Knocked shirts for the biggest hits of the game. That hit last night would have earned one, not a penalty. That is hard to square for fans like me.
    I thought the punishment for Houston was too light. Ask the 29 other owners if they would take that punishment for one trip to the league championship series, two trips to to the World Series, one title, and packed stadiums for three years, and you would get 29 “yes” votes. The punishment had to be something that would make Houston a second division team for a decade to deter other teams from doing the same. This wasn’t it.
    I don’t think 29 other owners would sign up for a World Series that is forever tainted by cheating.
    Some would.
    Not all.
    Another thing worth mentioning?
    Manfred works for owners.
    Owners tend to protect owners.
    Again, MLB suspended Hinch and Luhnow for a season, but they more or less fired them.
    Denver loves it's star players . Do you think the Cardinals are just blowing smoke up the fans butts to say yeah we tried but the price is too high. Yet again!
  • No, I don’t think the Cardinals see much value in being connected to Arenado if a deal doesn’t get done.
    They would probably get more criticism than praise for that.
    I think they’re interested but that it’s a complicated thing that their track record and current situation — and Arenado’s current contract — makes unlikely until there is hard evidence, not speculation, that this is something beyond a discussion about how it could work.
    BenFred, it has been 4 full years since the Rams left St. Louis. Have your feelings toward the Rams or the NFL changed since then? What about your feelings towards the league's potential future in this market?
    Personally, no.
    I watch as little NFL now as I ever have in my life.
    The league and the city are in a massive legal fight that is not going away any time soon.
    I don’t think the NFL will be back soon, if at all.
    I know people love to think the relocation lawsuit could end in a relocation or expansion team but there is zero proof of that being an option
    Thanks for taking the time to do the chat.

    Regarding re-signing Ozuna...

    Given the shape (or lack there of) that he showed up in last spring, can the Cardinals protect themselves by stipulating an off-season program in the contract? I swear, the first time he came up to bat, I thought that Mo Vaughan had come out of retirement.
    Players get offseasons. Players union protects offseasons. Teams can suggest and encourage and hope, but no, you can’t pull back a contract because a guy spent too much time on the couch during his offseason. What you can and should do is factor previous offseason experiences — good and bad — into the kind of contract you are willing to offer.
    Do you think the Cardinals’ front office feels better about the the level of punishment for breaking into the Houston computer system? Seems the front office could have lost a few executives for failing to detect the criminal acts given the rationale for Ludlow’s suspension.
    Perhaps. Manfred does seem to be more interested in rooting out on-field, in-field game wrong-doing than the off-field variety. That’s not surprising. One is right in front of baseball’s face, being investigated real time by Twitter. Logging into someone else’s account is a lot easier to hide — and for the crowd to move on from — than banging a trash can in a dugout hallway on games in which the broadcast was picking up the sounds. MLB investigation of Houston proved Hinch knew. MLB investigation of Cards didn’t prove anyone other than Correa knew. Might have been different if he cooperated with investigators, but he didn’t, and took a lifetime ban because of it. As for Luhnow’s suspension, worth remembering he was also admonished for cultivating a toxic culture. The Brandon Taubman stuff was mentioned in the investigation, for example. Another thing: The Cards punishment was the first of its kind for something like that. The Astros continued their cheating after the Red Sox Apple Watch scandal. A precedent had been set. That’s why Red Sox and Cora will be hit harder than the Astros. Repeat offenders.
    The Fighting Illini are finally ranked again, which was surprising after watching them play Mizzou and Michigan State, but they played pretty well after those duds. Do you think they will be able to get into the tournament this year?
    A ranked Big Ten team gets in, so if they can keep that foothold, sure.
    They’re so up and down it’s hard to predict.
    Morosi just had an article on saying that the Rox and Cards were "exchanging names" in a bid for an Arenado trade. How valid is this? Or is this just another rumor to throw in the trash? I'd love for Arenado to be in a Cardinals uniform, but have to wade through all of the reports and/or rumors is starting to become exhausting. Your thoughts?
    I’m no media critic.
    You tell me what you got from that post.
    We know the Cards and Rockies are talking about Arenado.
    Of course they are talking about names, swapping ideas back and forth.
    What else would they be doing?
    Do you think the Blues are making a statement this year after winning the cup to show the league that they are deserving of the cup win? With so many injuries they continue to win and seem to have a new confidence to them that I haven’t seen in the past.
    Um, yes.
    Someone tell the folks in Boston who managed to convince themselves they lost to a lighting-strike, flash in plan fluke.
    Local media got mocked when we suggested the Blues were built to last.
    No one laughing now.
    What coach is getting more out of his team? What team would you rather bet on right now?
    Have to disagree with your assessment about the Cards interest regarding other 3B dictating their interest in Nolan. While a very good player, Rendon is coming off a career season that saw him hit career highs in every offensive category, numbers he's unlikely to achieve again next season. Donaldson is old with an injury history and why take Moose for 3 years when you can hope that Carpenter bounces back?

    But with Arenado, the Cards have a chance to acquire a top 5 player in a trade where they can potentially move some money back to Colorado. A guy they've been drooling after for years. A guy that reminds them of the heyday of having Rolen man the hot corner. So, sure, the Cards are content to start the year with Matt at third when compared to 99% of the other options, but Arenado is that 1% where they would be willing to scrap their old plan for a new one. It likely won't happen, but at least the team is kicking the tires on a transformational deal.
    Please don’t do the thing where you try to convince me Nolan Arenado is awesome. I don’t need convincing. Awesome, he is!
    And again, he would rock here. St Louis would love him. He would love St. Louis.
    But considering the many hurdles to a potential Arenado trade — not going to run through them all again for the millionth time — it’s worth mentioning the Cards do not appear to be a team desperate for a third baseman right now, considering they were not involved with some really good ones that have already moved.
    It might take a team desperate for a third baseman to pull off the trade for Arenado, not one that likes Arenado a lot.
    That’s all I’m saying.
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