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 from Florida starting at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

    Greetings, chatters. I hope everyone is hanging in there, and being smart about social distancing and all that. I'm back home after a crazy stretch of spring training and one very long drive. It's good to be back. We can chat about whatever is on your mind. Let's roll.
    Anybody home (or working from home) in the local MLS office? Wouldn't this be a great time to bust out some big announcements about the team name and colors and so forth? Or if the league won't allow that yet, maybe present some names to the locals and let them vote on it?Surely they don't want to sit back quietly while every other local team is forced to sit back quietly, do they?
    The #MLS4TheLou group, like a lot of sports groups, is trying to sort out its place in this time. I don't think it wants to be viewed as being opportunistic during a national health crisis, but I do tend to agree with you. When there are no games of any kind being played, it would not be a bad time to get people excited about the team that is building toward playing games. There has been no finalized decision on a team name, I was told yesterday. I imagine the ceremony that was going to be planned for early April is going to be rescheduled, considering the new limits on crowd sizes. That's all I've got at the moment. Will work on kicking those tires. One other MLS thing that stunned me this week? How does Dan Buck get $6 million in state tax credits for his Hazelwood sports complex, and MLS gets $5.7 million for its downtown stadium project? That's insane to anyone who knows the difference between the projects, and the people behind them. Governor Parson really screwed this up, though it shouldn't be much of a surprise, seeing how he's handled the coronavirus outbreak.
    Hey Ben, thanks as always for the chat. I don't actually have any question, but hope you and all the rest of the chatters are holding up in these challenging times!
    Thank you, Ryan.
    I'm good.
    I've got a lot of family members in the medical field, so I worry about them, more than anything.
    They don't get to avoid this. It's coming to them.
    Some of my best friends are in the restaurant industry, and I worry about them, too.
    I'm always amazed by their leadership, confidence and lack of selfishness during times that turn their industry on its head.
    We must all do our part, and keep looking out for each other.
    Why did Mo not try to get something for Munoz.? I mean he was half of the Piscotty trade
    That's one way of viewing it, I suppose.
    But it ignores the Piscotty trade was, first and foremost, about getting Piscotty back closer to his mom, who was battling ALS.
    Munoz didn't demand a trade from the Cardinals.
    He just left. Bolted. Adios.
    The Cardinals could have put him on the restricted list and haggled with it, but decided it was better to just cut ties.
    In doing so they didn't have to put him on the MLB injured list, as he hurt his hamstring just before his departure.
    I think from a bottom-line sense, they are fine with how it worked out.
    From an overall sense, I know for a fact that manager Mike Shildt was upset that it came to this, and frustrated that he did not have more time to try to smooth things over. He was close with Munoz and had stuck up for him in the past. He was hurt that Munoz didn't come to him before taking off.
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    This is a first for us. Never before have I witnessed emojis in the chat. New territory!
    Playing through MLB The Show, next year they have Brian Anderson coming to the Cardinals. Actually seems like a decent fit if our current configuration struggles. Any life to this simulation? (Sorry, I know it's far-fetched, but not a lot else to discuss.) Hope you're staying safe!
  • The Cardinals might be a little hesitant to trade for a Marlins corner outfielder, considering they are going to be playing under the Ozuna-Yelich cloud for years to come.
    But I do see the potential fit, and your point.
    Anderson plays a little more third base than right field, and third base and right field are two positions that -- as of right now -- are significant question marks for the Cardinals moving forward.
    They are also positions that currently occupy players with a lot of money left on their tabs.
    Matt Carpenter is making $18.5 million in each of the next two seasons.
    Dexter Fowler is making $16.5 million in each of the next two seasons.
    The Cardinals have plenty of young outfielders who could rise up to grab spots.
    They have a similar wave coming at third base, with Nolan Gorman and Elehuris Montero climbing.
    I think they will be more likely to wait for their prospects to hit prime time than add competition from the outside in these spots, but we will see.
    The ringer would be Arenado. He's a different topic altogether.
    Good morning, Ben. I have a few questions that likely can't be answered yet, because MLB is trying to figure out the answers - along with the union. But when they have it all in place, here are a few questions that you could ask:
    1. Are players being paid for the time lost? If a minor league player was in major league camp, is he paid as a minor leaguer or a major leaguer for the portion of regular season games lost?
    2. What about players who were on the DL - particularly someone like Luis Severino, who was having Tommy John surgery and would have missed the entire season anyway?
    3. How does this affect the years of control? Does this year count as a full year or a part year?
    Thanks.
    All great questions.
    Your third one is going to be a big one.
    Owners are going to see this as a way to limit service time.
    Players are wise to that act.
    I think this will be a hot topic in the discussions that lead to baseball returning, when it gets the all clear.
    I'm writing more about this topic for Sunday's paper, but this crisis comes at a crucial time for baseball.Β 
    The conversations about the topics, some of which you mentioned, are going to bring owners and players closer together before the next CBA is hammered out, or drive a bigger wedge between them.
    It would be a true bummer to watch baseball be put on the shelf for coronavirus, and then encounter a strike after the 2021 season because owners and players did not use the time off to realize baseball not being played is bad for all involved.
    Thanks for the MLS answer. I was thinking mainly in terms of what a boost/diversion that would be for local sports fans, but I reckon I didn't make that too clear. If they're expected to lie low because of the health emergency, then by all means, lie (lay?) low.
  • No, no. I got your point. And it's a good one. I've encouraged them to make some headlines during this time. I think they are somewhat reluctant to be seen as trying to capitalize on the coronavirus pause. They're also pretty buttoned-up, in general, these days.
    You mentioned you and Derrick driving back in rented cars. Why not share a car? Too much stuff? Not enough distance from each other? Just curious.
  • Different schedules. Different work requirements. And after running the numbers, it was actually cheaper to do it that way. Plus, we each got to pick our own music :)
    Arozarena is having a great spring. I didn’t see much to be too happy about with O’Neill or Bader. Did Mo swing and a miss again?
    Regarding my previous question we’re always talking about how the Cardinals are logical and businesslike. Cutting Munoz was like having a fit of anger. I mean who knows you might get a single A player of some value for him.
  • He was indeed.Β 
    Randy was eight-for-20 with a double, a triple, three stolen bases and nine walks compared to just two strikeouts before spring just down.
    Very strong.
    And don't forget what he did in limited chances last season, slashing .300/.391/.500 in 20 MLB at-bats.
    The Cardinals are very happy with their pick-up of prized lefty starter pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore, so they are not second-guessing that deal.
    What could be second-guessed, if Arozarena keeps performing like this, is why he was not higher up on the list internal outfield prospects for the Cardinals.
    Many have wondered that, even before he got traded.
    As for Munoz, the only fit of anger tag goes to the player, not the team.
    When you leave camp without alerting the right people, you tend to get cut.
    His trade value was not exactly sky high after that, you know.
    With less personal communication, do you have to lean more on already established relationships to report?
    by Did you see Derrick blow past you on the way home? 3/19/2020 4:37:35 PM
    Sure.
    This is a good time for people to know the number that is calling, and an even better time to have them want to answer it.
    It's a good time to sift through history.
    A good time to catch up with folks you don't talk to often enough.
    A good time to try to see if there's a way to write a story that's been on the brain for a long time.
    The good news is communication has never been easier. We can talk to one another, even see each other, all from our homes.
    It's not an excuse to not do good work. That's for sure.
    Just a thought - many of our favorite restaurants have gift cards. This is a good time to buy gift cards (which can be mailed to you). We can spend the amount that we normally would spend eating out on gift cards, put the cards aside, then when this is all over we can eat out twice as often until our supply of gift cards is depleted.
    A great idea for those who can afford to spend a little now.
    Not everyone is in the same boat, of course.
    But we should look out for one another, with a specific focus on our local establishments.
    Hi Ben. Hundreds of thousands are complying with CDC guidelines, thousands of households are trying to figure out how to meet their April mortgage and we’re supposed to hope MLB resumes soon so that Tommy Pham who makes $7.9M per year can replenish his stock portfolio? Are these guys that out of touch? Thanks
    Tommy Pham was on welfare growing up. I don't think he needs a lesson about the struggle. He lived it. He's also one of the more generous players you will find, with both his dollars and his time. I don't expect baseball players to be our country's best brains on coronavirus and how to stop it. He vented frustration about wanting to play. That's every player. Give him a break here.
    Jupiter to Atlanta, Atlanta to Memphis, to St Louis? Or did you take the scenic route?
  • Jupiter to Atlanta, Atlanta to Nashville, Nashville to STL.
    Rolled into my driveway at about 12:15 a.m.
    Not to be negative Nate, but the way things look, we could not have a season at all. What do you think is the latest date before they would call it? August 1?
    I think anyone saying they know for sure is full of it.
    My guess is July.
    I hope I'm wrong.
    Perhaps there could be games without crowds before then.
    I asked Commissioner Manfred about that, but he didn't want to comment on if the league is considering a staggered return of sorts.
    So much of this is still undetermined until we see if we can flatten the curve of the virus.
    When we get on the downward slope, I think the projected return dates will have a bit more substance to them.
    I did see MLS announced a hopeful return of May.Β 
    That seems quite optimistic, if fans are going to be involved.
    Group question - is the plural of Bigfoot...Bigfoot or Bigfeet? Asking for a friend...
  • There is a loud and aggressive propaganda movement for Foot, but I say Feet.
    There's only one group that can answer for sure, and its members can't be found.
    Dude, Bill Morrow, get over yourself. First, Tommy Pham hasn't made that much money in baseball thus far. If he is heavily invested in the market, he has every reason to be anxious about his next paychecks. Second, I guarantee that if you were due to make $8 mil this year and had about 3-4 more years of true earning power for the rest of your life, you would be worried, too. You're showing as little perspective as you claim Pham to be.
    Everybody is worried right now.
    Millionaires are worried about their millions.
    Middle class folks are worried about their mortgages.
    Those living paycheck-to-paycheck are worried about their next meals.
    It's all relative, and there is always someone who is in a worse spot than you.
    Pham knows that. He's been in those spots. I think piling on his quote is willfully ignoring where he comes from, and what he stands for. Just my two cents.
    While this shutdown is not good for anyone at all, it does give the Cardinals a convenient dead period to paper over the underwhelming spring training results of just about every outfield candidate not named Carlson. We know the team was going Fowler/Bader on Opening Day no matter what, does this make that an easier sell?
    As you said, that seemed to be the way things were leaning, so I'm not sure this makes it any easier. It was going to go that way, and it still probably will. The question will be how long it stays that way if those two don't produce at the plate, and if the team doesn't win. No matter when the season starts, there will be a secondary camp that almost certainly includes games of some sort. Now is a time for guys who did not find their swing this spring to figure things out. If Fowler's swing at Camp 2 looks like it did during the shortened spring training, he will probably not be the right field starter for long. That's just my opinion. Unless he's walking, his at-bats did not look all that competitive, and he's a day older every day, whether there is a game or not.
    Wainwright looked shaky for most of ST. I know he shutdown the Marlins the day before things were shuttered, but that line-up is abysmal. Do you have any concerns about his performance in ST?
    Nope. We know what Wainwright has to do. Command his stuff. Mix his pitches. Work the corners. Dance around the fire, not in it. And just compete. He's healthy. He feels good. If he can work his magic, he will be a fine middle of the rotaiton starter. If he can't, he's going to get hit hard and the Cardinals will have to consider other options. But none of that is based on spring.
    Definitely Bigfeet...
    Toward the end of ST it looked like Lane Thomas was warming up while ONeill was reverting to his strikeout ways. Any chance he could have won the LF spot or did they like him better off the bench?
    That's how I saw it, too.Β 
    Thomas had an additional home run and a 40-point advantage in on-base percentage.
    I think he was coming on at the right time -- until everything went upside down.
    Hard to say what would have happened, but I'm not counting out Thomas as the LF starter whenever the season starts.
    I do think the Cardinals will lean toward O'Neill if it's close.
    They remain in love with his projections.
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