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.

    If you view Tarasenko as one of the most compelling trade-deadline pick-ups, and you should, they are a defending Stanley Cup champion that just strapped on a heck of a jet pack by adding a 30-goal scorer at the deadline. Yes, they are a legitimate championship contender again. They did much more than weather the Tarasenko injury storm. They emerged from it stronger than most of us thought possible.
    If Carpenter fails to resurge during the first half of the season, does that shake anything loose for the Cardinals FO in terms of their current stance towards Arenado, if he's available at the deadline?
    It should, shouldn't it?
    The time between now and the trade deadline should give the Cardinals plenty of evidence about their belief that Carpenter is going to bounce back from a career-worst 2019.
    If he does, their need for a third baseman won't be as high.
    If he doesn't, that need could be drastic.
  • Bader, Carlson, O'Neill, and Thomas are all better. That makes Fowler the 5th best outfielder. I don't think Williams is better than him.
    They might all be better.
    But in order to jar Fowler from his spot, the names you mentioned are going to have to play well enough, and Fowler is going to have to play poorly enough, or some combination of the two, that the Cardinals decide to sit down a guy they have committed $33 million to through the 2021 season.
    We know how the Cardinals handle these situations.
    They hold on longer than most.
    They do not like to admit mistakes.
    They have examples of times their patience has paid off.
    This will be no different.
    That's the reality.
    Don't shoot the messenger.
    Y'all have reported that while the Cardinals aren't looking to explode the payroll, for the right opportunity they'd grow it...and its hard to see how acquiring Arenado wouldn't be that opportunity in spades. Assuming all other trade factors can be solved, how far do you think the Cardinals would be willing to stretch the payroll over the next two years to make an Arenado work? 175 million? 180 million? 190 million?
    I don't think it's much of a mystery.
    Bill DeWitt Jr. said adding an Arenado-type contract would require the team trading that player, in this case the Rockies, to take some money off the Cardinals' books.
    Some significant money.
    So, that is a pretty good guideline.
    Arenado is owed $70 million over the next two seasons.
    The Cardinals didn't budge when Marcell Ozuna circled back for a slight bump up from the qualifying offer he rejected.
    I take DeWitt's comments about the payroll to be his beliefs, not spin.
    You said not to sleep on Junior Fernandez. What is he doing better? I have images of that late season grand slam he gave up last year, I think against the Pirates.
    He only gave up two homers last season, and none against the Pirates. He did have a disastrous third of an inning in Arizona, allowing four earned runs in a mess of an inning that started before he entered.
    Sometimes the wheels fall off.
    Fernandez also completed 10 of his 13 appearances without an earned run allowed.
    In terms of what he's doing better, he's benefiting from more experience, more confidence.
    He's become more confident in his approach, using his changeup and slider to set up his scorching fastball.
    He's not short on swagger, either.
    All of this multi-inning pitching talent makes me wonder if piggybacking at least one or maybe two rotation slots wouldn't be an interesting way to maximize the innings of the Cards best current pitching talent?
    Don't hold your breath.
    Cardinals prefer their five-man rotation, and there has been no suggestion that's going to change anytime soon.
    Good Morning Benfred. Obviously, we have no idea about Miller's potential injury yet. Sounds like something nerve related. We'll see. If it turns out to be long term (no reason to jump to conclusions yet) could that be a blessing in disguise, given he only needs 37 appearances this year to exercise his option?
  • No, I think having a healthy and performing Andrew Miller would be better than not having him.
    Good Afternoon Ben,

    I know, I know....Not another Stanley Enos question but..... Had he and his cronies invested the original L.A. stadium costs into the near north side of the 314 (approximately where the Dome is located what do you he could've accomplished?) IMHO I'd think that amount of money would've regenerated that entire area and statues of him would've been erected. I know, I know it's all moot but something to look back on and ponder.
    No need to ponder.
    Kroenke has the kind of wealth that could have worked wonders for St. Louis and his home state of Missouri if he had more interest in steering it in that direction.
    It's his money. He can and should do with it as he wishes. He could have been a home-state hero, but instead chose to become a villain. And no, I don't think he cares much about that reputation. He's far too insulated from the real world to understand his perception among us commoners.
    The pitching is looking good so far this spring which is encouraging. Ben we didnt have much of an offense last year whats wrong with platooning in the outfield? Teams usee to do that a lot more than in recent years.
    The pitchers who have remained healthy have pitched well, for the most part.
    Injuries to Miller and Mikolas are a bit concerning on that front.
    I realize everyone wants a concrete answer on the outfield today, but I don't think any situation is completely out of the question at this point.
    Kolten Wong with an absolutely fantastic play.
    You won't find a better play this spring than the one Wong made earlier this afternoon.
    Dude's good.
    Hi Ben, who else is scheduled to pitch today? If not today, any idea when Alex Reyes will pitch next?

    P.S. Go Flyers... sorry Billikens!
    What do you think of DeWitts 154 game season proposal?
    Shortening the season doesn't bother me much.
    Watering down the postseason by adding more teams does. A lot.
    .500 baseball teams should not get a shot to win the World Series.
    Dayton is #3 in both NCAA men's polls and #2 in the RPI. If they don't get a #1 seed, should fans of mid-majors everywhere revolt?
  • Most bracket predictions I'm seeing have them as a two seed.
    Light the pitchforks.
    Solid win for SLU at Rhode Island. I'll be interested to see how the A10 tournament goes; my impression is that the only team SLU maybe _can't_ beat is Dayton, despite how close they've come.

    Unrelated: After the Rhode Island game, I caught some of Wichita St. vs. SMU and Colorado vs. Stanford. It seems that a few things separate SLU from other mid-majors and from major-conference programs: Floor spacing and ball movement on offense, in the first case, and ability to make open 3s and other assorted looks in the second.

    Any thoughts on what things Travis Ford needs to improve, from this year to next?
    I think SLU can get Dayton if they meet for a third time. The Billikens were one unlucky bounce away from beating Dayton at home, and played them closer on the road than that score indicated. It's really, really hard to beat a team three times in one season.
    Ford needs to find a way to keep the Billikens from being one of the worst free-throw shooting teams in the country. His team undercuts itself with that weakness, and it should be able to be improved.
    The other thing is just consistency. The Billikens can turn it on against VCU and Rhode Island and not show up against UMass on the road in a dead and empty gym. Really good teams are really good at bringing the same kind of energy and execution every game, whether it's a packed home game against a rival, or a lackluster opponent in an empty gym.
    Dude you're awesome. Thanks for your chats. The Cardinals won World Series in the 20s, 30s, 40s, 60s, 80s, 00s and 10s. Do you predict that this decade will extend the streak to 3 decades in a row? Or do you predict that there will be a World Series drought of 18 years or longer?
    History tells us to bet on red, especially when given this much time to hit. So I will.
    Not that this set of questions will be of great interest to all readers, but because SLU and Mizzou are the two men's college basketball programs I follow most closely, I'd be interested to get your take on a few comparisons:

    -If these teams play 5 games against each other on a neutral court (in Chesterfield?), how do the results break down?
    -Better coach: Cuonzo Martin or Travis Ford?
    -Better PG: Pinson, Dru Smith, or Yuri Collins?
    -Best player on either team?
    -More dunks in the next month: Parker Braun or Terrence Hargrove?
    -Best assistant coach on either staff?
    Oh, boy.
    I'm going to be hated on TigerBoard AND for how I answer this one, I'm sure.
    I don't know which team would win. Honest. I wish they would play so we could find out.
    Depends on which versions show up.
    Mizzou can go out and beat Auburn and lose to Charleston Southern.
    SLU has similar ups and downs.
    Cuonzo has more big wins in fewer games at Mizzou than Travis does at SLU.
    Travis has fewer bad losses at SLU than Cuonzo does at Mizzou.
    Ford has proven to be a more effective recruiter so far at his level.
    Mizzou's assistants are not wowing anybody, so I would give SLU the edge there by default.
    Pinson's a better scorer than Collins, but Collins is a better distributor. Depends on what you like in a PG. Both could be very special for their teams.
    TJ on the dunks.
    Javonte Perkins could play for either team, and I think he might turn out to be the best on both.
    SLU has a better feel at the moment, because it has been one step forward every season.
    Martin's best season, so far, was his first.
    Hi, Ben. Hope you are enjoying Florida. Has the Post-Dispatch considered making most of these chat subscriber-only? The tone (at least from the comments we see) appears to be more thoughtful, measured, and civil when it's subscriber-only. Besides, you writers should be compensated for your time, talent and information. Thanks.
    I think all options are on the table, but those calls are made above my pay grade. Thanks for your input.
  • Why don’t the players tweet more?
    Just depends on the player.
    Some enjoy it.
    Some tune out the negative stuff better than others.
    Some avoid it entirely because they don't see any good in it. Paul Goldschmidt, for example.
    Can't say I blame the guys who abstain. Check out some of the vitriol that comes their way. Why wade into that if you don't have to?
    If a baseball team has two players who are about an even match, which one is more likely to improve with consistent playing time? Player A is a veteran, over 30, who has had a couple of years in a row with results substantially below his career averages. Player B is a player who has performed well in the minor leagues, but has had very limited playing time in the bigs, and has not played all that well. Both players are currently performing at a level slightly below replacement player. Which one is more likely to improve with consistent playing time (knowing he is in the lineup for the next 3 months regardless of what he does today)?
    All things being equal, it would make sense to lean toward the youth, especially knowing what we know about the aging curve.
    When using the example of Dexter Fowler, though, it's necessary to mention the contract.
    People can throw a fit about that, and I can see why, but it doesn't change the situation.
    If a baseball team has two players who are about an even match, the one who makes $16.5 million is going to get the playing time.
    This is true in baseball, business, life.
    Businesses tend to believe in the employees they give big contracts to.
    Businesses tend to give employees with big contracts more chances to succeed.
    What forces a change?
    Someone proving that the match is not even, that they are better than the guy who makes more, and that it's worth the business admitting as much, making the change and working through the consequences.
    Can you think of another pitcher who has had the problem that Miller seems to have? If so, how did it go for that pitcher?
    We don't know what his problem is yet.
    He's undergoing tests today that should reveal more.
    The Cardinals have had multiple pitchers experience nerve issues, if that's what it is.
    Carpal tunnel can be a problem for pitchers.
    Thoracic outlet can be a problem for pitchers.
    Tough to know  until some tests come back, and not a good thing to guess about.
    Having read yours and the chats of the other writers the past few weeks after they were closed because of work obligations, I’ve finally had time today to pass along some food for thought on possibility of a trade for Nolan Arenado.

    I was stuck in traffic in a rental car in the southeastern part of Denver Metro in late September last years. I turned on the radio in the car and scanned the channels until I found the Rockies radio pregame show. The broadcaster began an interview soon after I tuned in. During the interview, the discussion turned to Arenado’s disappointment with the team’s performance last year, and his thoughts about how management should improve the team.

    The subjects of his no-trade clause and his opt out came up as well. Arenado was emphatic in stating that he did not want to be traded because he had no intentions of uprooting his family. And he said in so many words that the opt out was there to give him a chance to reassess at that point how much desire he still had. Throughout the whole interview it sure seemed that his choices were going to be based on what was best for his family. I have to admire that.

    Unless I’ve missed it, I don’t think he has since then ever said he wanted to be traded. What he has expressed is his displeasure with how he views the team’s effort to be a contender. Maybe people who think he wants to be traded are reading more into this situation than is really there. I can recall the Rockies shopping Troy Tulowitzki more than once when it sure seemed like they really had no desire to trade him.
    You're correct that Arenado has outright and publicly requested a trade.
    He has, however, stuck to the script of multiple star players who were angling for one.
    Public frustration with front office? Check.
    Expressing a desire over and over and over again to win big while questioning his current team's ability to do so? Check.
    He's saying a lot of the things Giancarlo Stanton said, and we remember what the end result was there.
    I've said all along the Rockies would be wise to fire GM Jeff Bridich if it clears things up with Arenado.
    One is much more replaceable than the other.
    Short of one of them leaving, it's kind of hard to see this retreating into non-story territory.
    Publicly frustrated stars don't tend to linger on the team they are frustrated with for too long.
    Thanks for agreeing with my thoughts, that the young player is more likely to improve as he adjusts to the big leagues. I have read that the biggest jump in baseball is between AAA and the big leagues, so it makes sense that a player making that transition would have some adjustment difficulties and might take some time to make the adjustments that would let his talent shine through. That is difficult, though, if he is sitting on the bench so that the team can start a declining veteran who is less likely to improve just so that they are not so embarrassed by their major mistake. Color me frustrated if that happens.
    Realistically Optimistic...things go "really well" considering floors and ceilings of the 25 man roster. Compared to the other teams likely in contention, do you think this team realistically has the ability to win a World Series?
    As currently constructed? No.
    Ben, why is Cuonzo sitting Tray Jackson? Let me know if I am talking nonsense. But why is Cuonzo going with Tilmon over Jackson when Jackson could be really great? Especially in close games, the boost Jackson could've provided would've been nice. I'm done with the Tilmon experience.Correct me if I am wrong, but if I am Sterk (after the (2021 season) and I see Tilmon keep getting plenty of minutes and not producing while other players like Jackson are producing with the little minutes they have yet Tilmon still gets to be a prime player,I am letting go of Cuonzo. Losses from this kind of stuff aren't on the players, that's a sign the coach doesn't know what he is doing. What are your thoughts?
  • Jackson has had some good moments. He's also had some conditioning issues at times, one of which included a request to be removed from a game while it was in progress. His defense is behind his offense as well. The problem with having a bunch of players that are similar in talent is that it's really easy to convince yourself playing the one that is not playing as much is the secret to success. Tray Jackson is not Mizzou's big secret. He's a young player with upside who is figuring out what he needs to do to be a bigger part of the team moving forward. Xavier Pinson went through it, and now look at him. He was not this player all along. He grew into being this guy, in part because he worked to earn the opportunity. He embraced the challenge, and now he's reaping the rewards. That said, I too would like to see Jackson on the court more. But I don't think Tilmon's playing time should be impacting Jackson's. Jackson should be getting minutes instead of Javon Pickett and Torrence Watson. Martin has said he needs to use Jackson more at the No. 3, suggesting Jackson could be cutting into those guys' minutes. Fine by me. I want to see Pinson, Braun and Jackson get a chance to see what they can do for significant roles moving forward. The other guys have had plenty of chances, and I like the energy when those three are on the floor. As for Tilmon, I would not be surprised if he moves on after this season. If he's back, the Tigers can no longer pretend he's a suitable option to center as the first option offensively. That would have worked by now if it was going to.
    Beating a dead horse...uh...dented trash can. Heard this speculated on another channel last week.The coaching for the Astros received considerable praise in 17 and 18 for the team's improved plate discipline. Later we learned it wasn't so much of a new hitting philosophy as it was cheating. Doesn't this new information put even more pressure on Albert, Girsch and Mo?
    The pressure is on Albert, and Albert alone.
    And it's hard to imagine there being more pressure on him than there is right now.
    He told the Cardinals he did not know about the sign-stealing and played no part in it. If something that contradicts that comes out, he's in trouble.
    He has the driver's wheel of an offense that must hit better in 2020.
    The dissenting voices in the coaches' room have been cleared of those who could not jump aboard.
    The Cardinals have a trend as of late. If a position group does not perform, change the coach that oversees it.
    All of these things are on Albert's shoulders.
    Do you think that if the Battlehawks open the upper deck at the Battle Dome, it will diminish the atmosphere that's been very impressive in their previous two home games?
    No, because that upper area is not curtained off or blocked off from the stadium experience at the moment.
    It's just empty.
    So, a few seats filled will be better than none, and I think more than a few will be filled.
    I am not steeped in all the baseball metrics, but everyone says Goldy had a down year last year. He had 34 HRs and 97 RBI which seemed good to me. What is it does he have to improve on to be considered a good year for him this year?
    Down year -- for him.
    He had an OPS at or above .900 in each of his last six seasons before last season.
    Last year he was at .821
    A return to .900 or above would be a good year for Goldy at 32.
    I think it's possible, too.
    It is almost like the FO refuses to admit its mistakes, and instead is saying to fans "here, watch our mistakes again in '20." I'm not suggesting that every time they make a bad signing that they should just paper over it with another high-priced veteran. But that is why for every $18MM player, you also have a $500k player. They are both on the roster, why not play the best one?
    Because the Cardinals are not as convinced that Dexter Fowler and Matt Carpenter are worse players than the alternatives you have in mind.
    They don't just have a lot of money invested in those guys.
    They invested the money because they believed in those guys.
    Gotta run folks. Need to get some interviews in the clubhouse and then switch gears to writing. Thanks for joining. I'll add some of your questions and answers for my chat recap that will post tomorrow at Cheers!
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