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. Thanks for stopping by today. Man, what a couple of weeks. Cardinals Winter Warm-Up straight into NHL All-Star Weekend. Spring training will be here before we know it. Plenty to discuss on all fronts. Let's roll.
    Who do you think is the starter in LF opening day?
    Same one I've predicted all along: Tyler O'Neill.
    He's the most experienced, and he's the one the Cardinals have slotted at the top of the depth chart.
    It's his to lose.
    Cardinals projections love the potential of O'Neill. They have for a while. O'Neill was one of the reasons the Cardinals felt so confident about not going far down the Bryce Harper road. But unless he can stay healthy and on the right side of the power/strikeout line, the projections don't mean much.
    Could you give your analysis of why the Cards let Ozuna go, when he was willing to take a 1 year deal for about what the Cards had already offered him?
    Sure.
    I don't think the Cardinals were all that interested -- clearly -- in keeping him around on anything but the qualifying offer, and maybe not even that.
    They knew he was going to decline the QO when they offered it, so it was a no-risk move that netted a draft pick.
    A draft pick the Cardinals valued with $18 million saved as more valuable than another year of Ozuna.
    This is one of the rare moments where we've observed quite different stances between the manager and the front office.
    Shildt wanted Ozuna back. He made that clear at Winter Meetings. His tone had changed at Winter Warm-Up. It was as if he knew Ozuna was gone, and a day later, he was.
    The front office gave zero signs it was all that interested in an Ozuna reunion -- other than the usual "no shut doors" comments that come with any free agent, in part because teams are not supposed to publicly take away from a player's free-agent stock
    But compare the comments made about Ozuna to the comments made about, say, Matt Wieters, the catcher the Cardinals made known they wanted.
    Compare it to the recruitment of Paul Goldschmidt.
    The front office is serious about creating opportunities for the young players. Ozuna's two seasons were a roller coaster between his spikes in performance, his standoff with the club about his shoulder, his oversleeping a game in season one, and so on.
    I said again and again and again in these chats that were was nothing indicating the Cardinals would be willing to offer him more than another team, and even though Ozuna didn't get nearly what he wanted, the Cardinals still didn't match it.
    I do think Ozuna was truthful about wanting to stay in St. Louis.
    Who do you think bats 4th on opening day?
    Folks around here used to say, "Wouldn't SLU basketball be better off in the Valley?" I now say, "What about Mizzou basketball?"
    by Shirley in Fenton edited by Mike Smith 1/28/2020 5:12:22 PM
    Mizzou's current roster has more MVC type players than SEC players.
    I won't disagree there.
    Lots of development and more importantly some talent influx needed in CoMo.
    As for which conference is better, it's the one that makes the most money: $EC.
  • I just really find it hard to believe that the Cards are done adding. They have to see what we all see and hopefully understand that they have a very frustrated fanbase. And not like before frustrated, I mean extremely frustrated. This makes me think they are more involved in Arenado than they are playing off. Any thoughts??
    They value what they see over what anyone else see, and their read on the frustration of the fan base is not determined by what they see online. It's determined by ticket sales, attendance, etc. Those two things are important to remember. As for Arenado, the Cardinals have not played off their interest as much as they have pointed to the roadblocks they see standing in the way. Some of that is to downplay the idea. Some of it might also be to get the message to Colorado. We've discussed the challenges here at great length -- the asking price of the Rockies, the opt-out of Arenado after two seasons, the commitment to Matt Carpenter, etc. The other big road block was the one chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. spoke about during WWU. He says the team is not in a position to take on a $35 million per season contract -- like Arenado's -- without dumping some of the cash from the current payroll. That would likely mean the Cardinals would have to have Colorado take Matt Carpenter and/or Dexter Fowler and large portions of one or both of those contracts back in the deal. That stance could discourage the Rockies from making that deal -- especially if the Cardinals refuse to add, say, Dylan Carlson or Nolan Gorman in the package. It's not dead. The Rockies tried to make it so with their public "closing" or trade talks, but Arenado re-opened the door with his comments about his fraying relationship with the front office. Next chapter: Spring training. Again, Cardinals are around it, but it's best to remember all the things they see standing in the way, and their confidence in Carpenter.
    With Yadi probably staying at least until 2021, could Knizner be on the trade block, especially if an Arenado trade becomes a possibility?
    Sure.
    The longer Molina plays, the more likely the chance Knizner gets to Carson Kelly territory, and is moved before his value starts to drop by languishing in the minors.
    I’m looking forward to the MLB Network documentary tonight on the 1980’s Cardinals (7pm CT). A good opportunity for younger fans to see what was so special about that era. Plus, a reminder that an owner could turn over the team to baseball people, rather than bean counters, and then get out of the way and have the organization be successful.
    Have heard good things about the movie.
    There was an early showing during Winter Warm-Up.
    Look for Commish in his plaid pants. Legend.
    As for the bean counter comment, I'm guessing that's a shot at the current front office?
    If so, it misses.
    The Cardinals are one of the few front office is baseball not filled with Ivy League types.
    President of baseball operations John Mozeliak never played Major League Baseball, but his climb to his seat in it was far from the bean-counting route. It was actually pretty similar to Mike Shildt's climb, another non-player who so-called "baseball guys" describe as one of their own.
    Do you think the Arenado talks are dead for the season, or could they be revived before opening day or the trade deadline?
    Spring training should tell us plenty.
    An unhappy Arenado could force the issue.
    Or, if things can be repaired, that should come during spring, too.
    All eyes on Arizona.
  • Why is it deemed so completely ridiculous for fans to look for the Cardinals to approach, not exceed, the luxury tax threshold annually?
    Never said it was.
    The Cardinals' stance on this is that they target a payroll that grows with their revenue, that they target a range that allows them to compete for a division championship annually, because they want sustained success and teams that get in can go on to win it all.
    Could they spend more?
    Sure.
    Could they spend more and continue the consistency and sustainability that has become revered across baseball?
    They argue no.
    Everything the Cardinals do is calculated, budgeted and thought about in the big picture.
    That doesn't mean it always works.
    It does mean that they are likely to avoid a level of spending that results in penalties they would view as crippling toward their mission.
    It's just not their nature.
    My stance? The Cardinals are not in this position because of their hesitancy to spend. They are in this position because of their hesitancy to misspend. Their free-agent misreads on contracts for guys like Dexter Fowler and Brett Cecil helped them get here. An unnecessary and large extension to Matt Carpenter helped get them here. These were misspend, not fear of spending.
    I've said this a lot and will repeat it here again. Because the Cardinals are so good at producing pitching and solid but not elite position players, it makes a lot of sense for them to limit free-agent and trade acquisitions to elite position players in their prime. Those are the costliest moves to make, but they are also the players the Cardinals have had the most trouble producing. If you don't spend on the Cecils and Fowlers and Carpenter extensions, then you have more room to splurge on a proven albeit expensive star.
    But I wouldn't expect that splash now, considering the contracts already on the table.
    Hi Ben . I still want Arenado.. i know hes not coming but i sure miss the days of a stacked line up [ Albert, Jimmy Scott Rolan ]. Love the Goldy deal but will we ever go get a premium free agent or two to go with him ?
    A premium free agent or two to go with Goldschmidt?
    No, I would not expect that.
    Consider the Cardinals' track record when it comes to the kind of contracts it takes to get those players.
    BenFred, what are your thoughts on Kobe Bryant and what he meant to St. Louis?
    His impact and influence was great on some of the greatest players to come out of our area.
    Jayson Tatum studied him closely.
    Brad Beal looked up to him.
    Sophie Cunningham leaned on a piece of advice he gave her.
    Jack Flaherty tries to put the Mamba Mentality approach into practice on the mound.
     
    For me, Kobe was the ultimate competitor. I fell in love with basketball watching Michael Jordan in my basement as a kid. I didn't think another player would ever grab me like that. Kobe did. And because I appreciated the game more then, his impact was even greater. I don't think we will ever see another basketball player like him, ever. He was a killer on the court. He was the opposite of the AAU NBA, where top players take paycuts to combine on super teams. He wanted to be the man. He wanted to have the ball in his hands at the end of the game. He wanted the big shot, and he usually made it. He was a rare example of someone having a God given ability and maximizing it totally through a work ethic that was unmatched. Honestly, he was the last athlete I was a true and unabashed "fan" of, and the one who taught me even those legends are flawed, sometimes greatly so.
    Commish believes the cards will carry three catchers but that seems contrary to everything we’ve heard so far. Do you think knizner will be in the big leagues as a third catcher?
    Carrying three would make it more likely to maximize Matt Wieters bat off the bench.
    I imagine Knizner will be up and down over the course of the season depending on the need and Molina's health, but I think the Cardinals want him catching instead of sitting most of the time, meaning he will spend a good chunk at Class AAA. 
    Who would you put on your all time St. Louis sports Mount Rushmore? For me it’s Bob Pettit, Stan Musial, Brett Hull, Marshall Faulk.
  • Hard for me to not find a place for a representative of, you know, the first Blues team to ever win a Stanley Cup.
    And Jackie Joyner-Kersee belongs.
    Total hypothetical question, if an Arenado trade were to happen, would the Cardinals lack of movement in the offseason to shore up the lineup be a detriment in the decision for Arenado to waive his no trade clause? One of his beefs with the Colorado front office was that they weren't making any moves to win, I realize the Cardinals have a better roster currently, but would he need to see more of a commitment to winning?
    No, I don't think Arenado would hesitate to wave his no-trade for the Cardinals.
    Whether he would waive or alter is opt-out is a more interesting question to me.
    Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post, the reporter who broke the news of the Rockies tabling trade talks for now, has said he thinks Arenado would waive his no-trade for the Birds.
    The Illinois basketball team is rolling, do you really think they could really stay atop the big ten for the remainder of the season?
    I'm not sure how that team lost Braggin' Rights to Mizzou.
    Crazy.
    Caught the end of the Illini-Michigan game the other day, just in time to see Dosunmu play the killer role perfectly again.
    He's so confident, and his team is riding it.
    Illinois has six of its last 11 regular-season games against teams that are currently ranked, so there's a lot of basketball left to be played, but considering Underwood's team seems to be one of the few that have figured out how to win conference games on the road, I think a top-3 conference finish is now a safe bet.
     
    Ben, I would love to have Arenado but not at any cost. I'm ok with seeing how the kids shake out and if you need Arenado in June, he'll be there. How do you feel about it?
    That seems to be a much more realistic scenario to me.
    See if Carpenter hits. See if left field finds a good answer. See if the asking price in Colorado drops.
    Reconsider before the trade deadline.
    There are a couple of risks.
    One is giving up too much ground during that figuring-out stage.
    The other is someone else taking Arenado first.
    Will you be in Jupiter this year? If so, what particular story lines interest you?
    Yep.
    As usual, I'm headed down toward the end.
    The left field scramble and Matt Carpenter's bounce-back attempt will be at the top of the list.
    Interested to see what steps forward Hudson can take -- Adam Wainwright is betting on a big year from him.
    Want to see Justin Williams, because some think he's a sleeper candidate for winning the left field job.
    And it will be fun to sort out who is climbing toward the closer role. Tons of good options there.
    Also: How does Nolan Gorman look at third? He was a little clunky there last spring.
    Those are a few off the top of my head.
    What do you make of Doug Armstrong's comments about being in the market for a top 6 forward? Does this mean he doesn't think Tarasenko will be ready come playoff time? Could it be that he is trying to free up future cap space for Pietrangelo? Or simply a GM wanting to cash in on his Stanley Cup window?
    That's now how I read it.
    I read it as him saying he wants, above all, for Tarasenkno to be back and playing well for the playoffs, but that he will consider top-six upgrades if that's not a certain development.
    JT explained it well in the link below.
    One thing Army took of the table was depth moves for depth's sake.
    Sounds like it's going to be a big fish, or nothing.
    But the preference is Tarasenko.
     
    Does a minor league deal for CarGo make sense? Lefty bat and seems to always intrigue the Cardinals. I know he's not the answer, but just seems like a fit.
    Not really.
    He's 34 and has been in a pretty steep decline since 2017 season.
    If the Cardinals' internal outfield options are as good as they say, this would be an unnecessary move.
     
    The Cards will start the season minus their clean up hitter and best bench bat from last season. They have no designated closer until Hicks returns late in the season, a concern the team continues to downplay. Wacha is gone either to be replaced by the oft injured Martinez or a Korean pitcher with AAA equivalent talent. Wainwright and Hudson winning a combined 30 games again is highly improbable. The aging core players of Carpenter, Fowler, Molina, and Goldschmidt just got a year older. On the plus side, the Cards have a potential yet unproven star in Carlson and one of the best pitchers in MLB with Flaherty. Net all this, seems like a repeat of 91 wins is a stretch with more downside than upside. Would you agree?
    I'll disagree about the closer complaint. I'm not worried about that. The team has no shortage of arms it can throw at that role until someone thrives, and it could wind up being Carlos Martinez anyway. 
     
    As for the other stuff, pretty fair read on paper, which I'll just remind us is not where the games are played.
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