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.

    What is your take on Bigfoot/feet? Do you think they're real?
    I'm comfortable knowing there are things out there we can't begin to wrap our minds around.
    So, sure.
    Mo wears many hats, and he excels in a lot of areas of his job. But isn’t it concerning how poor his record has been in landing quality free agents? While handing out big contracts/offers may not be the M.O. of this team, you still have to be able to do it. And for every underwhelming big contract player that said yes, there is a line of players he offered that said no that is equally unimpressive.
  • The Cardinal's recent run of disappointing free-agent additions has been concerning, for sure.
    I'm not sure anyone could call it something else.
    Especially free-agent relief pitchers. That list is long and bad at the moment.
    Some have used the Mikolas forearm injury to raise questions about that contract and extension. I'm not going there yet.
    Fowler has not worked out great, obviously.
    Kim looks like a winner of a deal so far to me.
    But to answer your question directly, yes, I think if you were to grade the Cardinals specifically on wins and losses in free agency, then Mo would have a bad grade at the moment.
    It's also worth pointing out that free agency is not how the Cardinals want to build their teams, and that in order to reach up and get the top-tier free agents who are as close as possible to the surest thing, teams have to be willing to package the money with the commitment in years in order to land it. The Cardinals don't tend to play in those waters.
    Ok, just to regain a sense of normalcy, I'll play the salty chatter for a moment. I think we all saw Derrick's article that led with Randy A's spring performance. So, let's think about just how much the Dexter Fowler signing has cost the Cardinals. I think it's fair to say that directly or indirectly, having Fowler tied to his unwieldly contract has led to the departure of Pham, Mercado, and Randy A, an outfield we would all be far more excited about than our current one. If Fowler, weren't here, the Cardinals could have kept Pham, moved him to right while working through his 2018 struggles (which he clearly did. . . in Tampa) after they called up Bader. Mercado and Randy A were victims of the numbers crunch exacerbated by Fowler's contract. Of course, as you noted, BF, there is lot to question about how the Cardinals have evaluated/ranked OFs in recent years. They seem to bet far too much on potential (O'Neil) and what if (Bader) than proven performance
    I think that's a lot to tie directly to Fowler. It's also based on the other guys you mentioned. The Cardinals committed to Fowler, sure. They also continue to dream big on Tyler O'Neill's power and justify Harrison Bader's offensive struggles through the lens of his stellar defense. Less patience toward O'Neill and Bader would have created more opportunities for some of the departed outfielders you mentioned. Fowler is part of it, but not the only part of it. Five years from now, it will be fascinating to see who is playing in the Cardinals outfield, and which other starters elsewhere formerly played for the Cardinals.
    Yo, BF:I was clearly agreeing with you re: Pham. The "you" in my response was not you, but the earlier chatter who was taking Pham to task.
    With Mikolas likely ready to go by Opening Day, who is the odd man out in the rotation? If KK is as good as they say, they should put Waino or CMart in the pen, don’t you think? Imagine that, a starting LH pitcher for the Cards.
    Wainwright won't be going to the bullpen unless performance issues or an injury drive him there.
    If Mikolas is back and physically able to handle a starter's workload, the picture gets interesting again.
    How will Carlos Martinez respond to the down time?
    How will Kim?
    How will Mikolas hold up?
    We don't have these answers.
    They will have to be sorted through during that Camp 2, and how guys handle this crazy time is going to be a factor in the answers.
    If I had to guess today, I think it would be Kim to the pen.
    If tests become plentiful enough that all relevant personnel could be tested and confident that they would not contract this virus from each other, what else would impact the decision not to play without fans in the stands. All the teams could go to Arizona and play for TV. If the teams are paying the players anyway, it would seem to be a good idea and would give the rest of us something else to talk about.
    Right now, an MLB baseball game limited to players, coaches and the regular staff would create a gathering larger than what the CDC has asked us to avoid.
    That doesn't include the crew it takes to broadcast the game, the front office personnel on hand, etc.
    It's a big crowd before fans even get into the equation.
    Are they going to be tested before every game?
    The tests are not cheap, and not exactly available in large supply.
  • Changing subjects here (but you said anything) SLU was on a roll and I think would have had a good shot at Dayton (hard to beat someone 3 times theory). Do you know how many scholarships are available? I know recruiting must be totally shut down, but any tidbits out there for us to chew on? Two thoughts: I hope Fred Thatch can come back but mostly for his well-being and 2) SLU should be VERY good next year and maybe a top 25 team.
    Thanks for doing this chat and wellness BenFred to you and yours and everyone else here!
    I'm with you on SLU beating the Flyers in the A-10. I think it would have happened. Bummed they did not get their chance. Travis Ford has one incoming signee in Markhi Strickland, and one scholarship to spare. That number could grow to two, if Fred Thatch is moved to a medical scholarship due to his condition. SLU should be picked in the top-three of the A-10 next season. I wouldn't be surprised if they get some votes for preseason favorite. Lots and lots of talent coming back.
    Hi Ben! Enjoyed your article this morning...I've taken that drive many times as a kid, and as an adult. We would vacation in Daytona Beach when I was a kid and my folks moved there after they retired about 15 years ago. I noticed you're truck guy, I've got a 2013 F-150 myself...what's your pickup of choice?
    Thanks! I wasn't sure anyone would be interested in reading that, but I've received a few fun responses. Hoped it help brighten your day. I probably should have put air quotes around "truck" in that piece. I drive a 2011 Honda Ridgeline, and will until the wheels fall off. It's been with me since I graduated from Mizzou. Las Vegas. Laramie. Knoxville. Deserts. Mountains. Grand Canyon. It's a beast. The radio light went out a few thousand miles ago, and the brakes squeak pretty bad after it rains, and it's got a nice little gash on the back left bumper, but it's been good to me.
    You used a term for Waino “middle of the rotation starter.” He should be viewed as the #5. This team needs to have 4 better starters than Wainwright if they want to compete with this offense. He’s this team’s Powerball ticket right now - anything they get back from him should be viewed as excellent. But if they are relying on him to be a pillar on the field, things could collapse quickly.
    I guess we will find out. Hopefully sooner rather than later.
    As Belichick searches for his Beltran, could the biggest impact of Brady leaving be that Belichick can no longer point to Brady as the good standard for taking less? Belichick and Kraft will have to start paying retail again like everyone else.
  • If the Patriots continue to roll, then guys who want a ring will continue to take championship discounts to get on board.
    If they don't, then all bets are off.
    We are about to find out who the true goat is: QB or Coach.
    At least, that's how this will be played.
    The truth? I bet they both take big steps back without one another.
    Mahomes and Reid should be watching this carefully in KC.
    The Venn diagram overlap for Pham haters, Matheny apologists, and ______ (fill in the blank with other indefensible position) is quite large. While I am sad to see Tommy playing elsewhere he was always going to take heat in STL for speaking his mind, being open and honest, and not sugarcoating his and the team's performance (good or bad). Thank you for defending him here. Well said that it is all relative. For example, I was speaking to a friend who is solidly middle class, a police officer, who was fretting about investments and a carrying a 2nd mortgage as he just moved into a new house to accommodate an expanding family and is worried about selling the old, smaller house in the next few months. I doubt he'd be criticized as out of touch by the same contingent that look for any reason to pile on Tommy Pham for having the exact same concerns.
  • Tommy is always going to rub some the wrong way.
    He gets that.
    I do think this latest quote is being treated unfairly by some.
    How does 2 months of rehab (Mikolas) get a player back to performing when 4 months of off-season didn't improve his arm problem. I am perplexed how the team lets players determine their workout routines and injury healing w'o better results. Also the same could be said for Dexter, et al the others struggling with hitting. How are they confidently going to change their swing or whatever during this down time and expect lasting better results. Just seems like wishful thinking on the teams expectations.
    Players get hurt.
    Look around the league.
    It's not just Cardinals pitchers that go down with throwing-arm issues during spring training.
    Injuries that can he helped through rest and rehab are often calmed down before surgery is required. There's a progression for each injury. It's not a direct line from ouch, that hurt, to operation.
    The Cardinals did not send the players off without instructions when camp closed. Each player is getting a detailed set of things the team would like them to prioritize. Now, can they force guys to work on these things? No. Not when baseball is on the shelf. But the Cardinals have offered specific goals and points of emphasis to each player for a while now, and it's a process that was ramped up by Shildt last offseason.
    Regarding the NHL and the remaining season,could they just play the final four in the playoffs,or,would that be unfair to the other teams?
  • I'm not sure how you could fairly pick who is in and who is out.
    I don't think we are going to see an NHL postseason.
    Maybe I'm wrong.
    Hey, Ben: A slightly out of left field topic (see what I did there?), but no matter when sports ends up resuming, it's pretty clear that their fan bases will be much worse off financially. That's just a reality. A recession was probably coming anyway after so many years of gains, but corona is going to exacerbate things. So, my question is why more sports teams don't do the fans a solid and follow the Atlanta Falcons model. They priced a number of their concessions at normal prices (hot dog: $1.50; refillable soda:$2; chicken tender and fries: $6, etc.). Turns out that they made more money over the course of the first season they did this than they previous one. It would be a win(owners make more)-win (fans pay less)-win (good PR).
  • I think most teams would fall in line if they were convinced there would be more profit in that approach. It would have much more to do with the profit than the break for the fans. The best way for fans to demand lower prices on in-game concessions, and some of them are ridiculous, would be to abstain. Bring what you can through each venue's rules, and don't buy anything there. Enough people doing that would force prices to drop.
    Ok, since someone just mentioned bad free agent signings, here's food for thought, and I'd open it to all the chatters: have the Cardinals ever had a great free agent signing of three years or more? I mean true free agent, not a Matt Holliday situation where he had been with the team, rolled into free agency and then re-upped with the Cardinals. I've been thinking about this a lot recently, and I don't have a name. Surely, I've missed somebody.
  • I made a best-and-worst free-agent signings of the DeWitt era in 2017.
    Let me dig up the links . . . 
    It probably needs to be updated.
    Something to do without games, right?
    What you're going to find is a reminder that free agency -- good or bad -- is not where the Cardinals make their hay.
    It seems as though Albert is having a good effect on DeJong. But can we really rely on one guy to one of our top hitters and play 140-150 games at the toughest position?
    You can say that again. After expressing his opinion last season that hitting coach Jeff Albert was finding a hard time finding his voice, Paul DeJong has become the hitting coach's biggest public supporter. They are on the same page, and Paul continued to heap praise on Albert for Paul's strong spring. DeJong is going to play a ton, and likely will start the season hitting cleanup, but both he and the Cardinals are aware he has to find some rest days here and there. Edman will be spotting him at shortstop from time to time. The Cardinals are asking a lot of DeJong. A lot. He has a chance to become a true pillar of this team this season.
    Not to change the subject, and knowing you don’t follow the NFL closely, but what do you think about Tom Brady leaving NE? I guess one analogy is when Pujols left.
  • I think both he and Hoodie will regret not figuring out a way to stick together.
    Ben:

    They are trying to flatten out the coronavirus curve. Do you think thousands of people will show up at the ballparks in May, June, July, August for a virus that is airborne? With unemployment shooting through the roof? This virus seems to be as contagious as measles and influenza with no vaccine available.

    45,000 at the ballpark and no one is shedding the virus game after game? This is an economic disaster. They've talked about waves in which it dies down and then comes back.

    The Chinese said it already mutated into a second less virulent strain. Some years it may mutate into a more deadly strain. We may need to get annual shots like the flu.

    So baseball back in May with 400,000 people attend 15 home games? Hardly.
    There's a reason I predicted July, not May.
    Have you received any complaints about the Cardinals advertised ticket packages this year containing more "gotchas" and "teasers" than usual?
    The head of the NCAA is bemoaning the “financial disruption” of cancelling March Madness, but the NCAA should be swimming in $, given the millions from TV contracts and the fact that they do not pay college athletes. It is hard to say that major college sports are hurting financially when coaches are making millions a year.
  • Every person and business is going to be able to claim "financial disruption" because of this.
    Compared to the previous norm, it's fair.
    Of course, there are degrees to it.
    And one every person or business suffers the same.
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