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, everybody. I hope you all are safe and healthy and staying put as much as possible. We can talk about whatever is on your mind. Let's roll.
    Ben, at this point I don’t think I’d be too upset if the NHL decided to just cancel the remainder of the season and not award the cup. Unfortunately this pandemic is going to get worse before it gets better. Chalk it up to an Act of God and move on and start getting ready for next season. Even if they resume hockey in June or July it won’t feel like a real season and the league will be competing with baseball starting up as well as football. I understand it will affect the salary cap but we’re only talking about one season. Players that are up for renewal can sign a one year deal and wait for the cap to rise. If the money is not there you move on from Petro and invest in the future with Perunovich.
    I hate to say it, but it would probably be wise for fans to prepare for this option.
    I would not expect that kind of announcement soon, and it doesn't need to happen right away.
    The league has time to see how this plays out a little bit longer.
    Gary Bettman's recent comments, to me, sounded like he was preparing us for the potential of a skipped postseason.
    That's how I read his emphasis on not messing up the following year's schedule, and not changing the postseason format to something that felt like cheapening the path to the Cup.
    The big thing to keep in mind is not just the salary cap, but the postseason purse.
    Players and owners split that pretty evenly, so both sides will be pushing to play the postseason, somehow, someway.
    It might be different if one side got a lot of the dough compared to the other.
    It's pretty even in hockey, and it's a lot.
    Stay tuned.
    Ben, with the halt of play in the NHL do you think the Blues will try and enter into serious negotiations with Petro’s agent or do you see him testing the free agent waters? I have to believe with the loss of revenue for all the NHL teams that money that was once on the table is gone now, or is that not the case when it comes to top tier free agents?
    I imagine, right now, the Blues are more concerned -- as is every team -- with figuring out when the season will come back, if it will come back, how to best prepare its players for the return if there is one. The team is also concerned about, you know, health. Already, a team employee's family member has been diagnosed with coronavirus. It's shortsighted to think this won't become a bigger problem for the team, for all teams, for all of us. So, I would be surprised if hammering out the Petro extension was front of mind for anyone involved at the moment. The Blues are not the only team that is going to lose money because of the pandemic. Every team will. If the season doesn't come back, the entire league will face a decreased salary cap, meaning all teams have less cash to throw around. Players' values are going to shrink before their eyes. I've said it before, but I'll say it again here. I don't think the Blues let Petro get away without a very compelling offer that makes him think long and hard about staying in St. Louis to build upon the legacy he has here.
    Another reason to cancel the Cards/Cubs London Series is more important. The stadium workers, vendors, ticket takers, concession stand workers are going to need that money from those 2 home games, played in St. Louis, not London.
    The counter argument would say those same people in London could use the work, but I get your point.
    Baseball has followed in every phase of this, so I'm not surprised to see them dragging their feet again here.
    They can afford to change plans late in the game, but it's not fair of baseball to expect its fans to do the same.
    I'm hearing from folks who are worried about cancelling flights and hotels. It's an added stress that is just not necessary when the outcome is very predictable. The Olympics have been postponed. They start later. In a country that has fewer confirmed coronavirus cases than the United States and the United Kingdom.
    I have no doubt baseball will postpone the London series, but don't understand the delay.
    I asked Manfred and DeWitt to confirm it before everyone left Jupiter.
    Neither would.
    I saw where sportswriter Ben Nightingale spoke w Arenado, who said he thought he would be traded at the deadline and that he was “high” on the Cardinals because of their winning tradition. Any thoughts on whether the Cards should inquire again w the Rockies about his availability? He sounds like a man itching to get out of Colorado and on a train to St Lou.
    You're referencing Bob Nightengale of USA Today, who recently did a radio interview with 101ESPN.
    Bob said then that he talked with Arenado at length, and said Arenado thinks he will be moved at the trade deadline.
    No surprise there.
    Stars who are publicly feuding with their general manager tend to get traded sooner or later.
    That Arenado would be open to playing in St. Louis, compared to Colorado, should not be much of a surprise either. He wants to contend and win big. The Cardinals tend to be in the mix annually. Plus, Arenado is close with Matt Holliday, who has been one of the Cardinals' biggest advocates to current players who are considering the team in free agency.
    The fit is there. It's always been there. The price will be the hard part. And Matt Carpenter's performance might have an objection.
    It would make a ton of sense for the Cardinals to see how Carpenter/Edman perform, then revisit the Arenado situation as the trade deadline nears.
    The price could go down a bit by then.
    The need could be more obvious.
    The situation in Colorado could be more inflamed.
    If you're talking about pulling off the trade now, I don't see it.
    We don't even have an answer from the league on if trades are allowed during this shutdown. The union and commissioner's office have to figure that out. I hope they are, because we might see some interesting moves if teams got to start wheeling and dealing after 30 days of spring training to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.
    Do you think there was/will be a push by teammates to have Carlson on the roster opening day? Sort of like San Diego teammates did with Tatis Jr.?
    That's a possibility P-D colleague Derrick Goold and I kicked around while we were in Jupiter.
    Would the veterans who saw what we saw take a stand for Carlson?
    There's a recent example with the Cardinals.
    It was Yadier Molina going to bat for Jordan Hicks.
    His lobbying was a significant reason the team broke camp with the young fireballer.
    It's a little different for a position player, considering a public push for Carlson would mean a clear statement about those the players are putting down to push for him.
    Tyler O'Neill and Lane Thomas don't have a ton of time in the major league clubhouse, but they are more familiar than Carlson.
    Bader is more familiar than both.
    Fowler is an established vet.
    A player-led push for Carlson could be perceived as a put-down of someone on that list.
    Not saying it's not going to happen.
    But it is different than lobbying for Hicks.
    No one seemed visibly displeased as Carlson's at-bats started to dry up toward the tail end of the shortened spring training.
    Except the writers.
    Odds MLB cancels entire 2020 season? Starting to look better by the day.
    I don't know about odds, but it's a real possibility, sure.
    Here's my big, bad fear: That the tension between the owners and the players that existed before this stress was introduced results in hostile negotiations about how to bring baseball back in a shortened format, and that the strike we all feared starts early. 
    I hope it goes the opposite way, that the two sides realize they are both better off when the games are played.
    Where did you get the energy to drive 16 hrs straight? Lots of coffee? I would last about 10 hours at most before having to stop for the night and I am not that old, I don’t think.
    Lots of coffee and unsweetened tea. One sugar free Red Bull. Two migraine-strength Excedrins. Plus a burning desire to get home. That's the ticket. The hard part, for me, is getting through the afternoon. I'm good in the mornings and once the sun goes down. Driving through the sunset phase is the sleepy part. This might have been my longest one. I made it from Laramie Wyoming to Kansas City in one trip once. I guess I should see which one wins.
    Ben, I believe your colleague Jim Thomas covered Missouri football back in the day. Here is a suggestion for your bosses and I would appreciate you passing it along: Ask Jim to write a remembrance of covering Woody and Missouri football at the time. There's obviously not a ton going on now and I would read that in a second. I'll bet Jim would have some great stories. As bad as the Woody era was, the Tigers were just a couple of plays from going 7-4 in 1987, maybe even 8-3. Who knows how that would have changed things.
    I will inform JT of your request.
    He's pretty busy staying on top of what is next for the Blues, but I like your suggestion.
    I think our online guru in the sports department, Mike Smith, would have some thoughts, too.
    JT has always praised Woody as a person, along with his recruiting chops. 
    I bet he has some good stories he could dust off. 
    I'll send this his way.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This is Mike Smith butting in: Yesterday I actually asked JT this very thing -- if he'd consider writing a Woody remembrance. He's up for it but has other assignments, so he said "I'll see what I can do."
    All of which sent me down memory lane. I covered the Tigers 1981-84, and now it was JT's turn. So much hype ("Hitch A Ride On Woody's Wagon"!), so much excitement. And what a tandem we had that opening Saturday -- JT in the press box and me in charge of the P-D Sports copy desk. And then Northwestern 27, Mizzou 23 happened. "WAGONS, WHOA!" was the giant headline we put on JT's game story, which included a money quote from Widenhofer: "I'm sure there's a lot of bullet holes in Woody's Wagon right now. The thing may be falling apart, I don't know.'' 

    Do you see Martin being retained if the men’s b-ball team has another .500
    Season next year as well?
    I don't see Jim Sterk handing Cuonzo Martin $6 million to walk away after the upcoming season, and that's the buyout he would be owed if that decision was made. Sterk hired Martin. He has lots of reasons, not just the buyout, to want to see this through. Kim Anderson got three years as the Tigers became one of the least competitive Power 5 basketball teams in the nation. Martin just finished his third, and has one NCAA Tournament appearance in the bag, along with 23 more wins than KA had during his three-year span. No, Martin was not hired to simply be better than KA. But when you're digging Mizzou hoops out of the hole it was in, it's going to take some time. There are going to be steps forward and steps back. Martin got a long-term commitment. I don't see that disappearing after year four.
    Thoughts on the football record for mizzou this upcoming season?
    I'd like to find out if there will be a college football season first.
    It sounds like some, notably Mack Brown, are starting to wonder about that.
    I'm at .500 for Drinkwitz's debut until I find out more.
    We don't know about QB, or any key position at the moment.
    He's reorganizing the depth chart, and he should.
    Too much unknown to have much of an opinion at the moment.
    I will say this: I've said the coronavirus pause helps the Cardinals, because of how this is going to endanger pitchers across the league, and because the Cardinals' strength is pitching, in both how they coach them and how many they have. Depth matters now more than ever.
    On the flip side, I think the coronavirus pause hurts Mizzou football, because of the newness of Drinkwitz. It's not his fault. But he's trying to introduce his systems, and he can't be around his players. Teams that already knew what they were doing under previously established coaches are going to have an edge this fall, if there are games.
    Could the cards benefit from
    Zobrist or Puig? I wish we made a better splash with our FA’s
    The Cardinals are in a jam today because they paid for free agents who were not all that much better than what they already had in house.
    Dexter Fowler is the best example.
    Looking back, the Cardinals probably had outfield options in the system that were as good, if not better than what Fowler has provided.
    It does seem the Cardinals have learned from this a bit.
    Why add Zobrist when Edman needs more, not fewer reps?
    Why add Puig when Carlson exists?
    The Cardinals, more than any other team, should target free-agency for the kind of players they can't draft or develop, or specific needs that lack depth in the system.
    Puig and Zobrist don't represent either of those categories, just name recognition, which has not been all that kind to the Cardinals as of late.
    Has there been any comment out of the Taylor family regarding the new deal for the MLS stadium? I'm curious as to how they've had to adjust their proposal based on the new financial reality.
    The MLS4TheLou ownership group has been pretty quiet.
    I'm using my persuasive powers to try to get an update of sorts.
    We'll see how that goes.
    It's a great question -- How does this shutdown affect soccer plans?
    If you were specifically referencing the difference between the money requested and received from the state in terms of the tax credits, it's important to remember there are two rounds of that request.
    There was a $15 million ask for 2020, and there was a $15 million ask for 2021.
    The state agreed to about $6 million in 2020.
    We haven't yet heard about the 2021 request, or if it could grow because of the amount not granted for 2020.
    We don't yet know if there will be noticeable changes to the project because of the difference in state money requested and provided.
    So the Rams cut Todd Gurley who won his rookie of the year in St. Louis's final year of having the Rams (and probably final year of having an NFL team). Did you feel anything from this. Are you, at all, preparing for the inevitability that the NFL will have a roster where 0% of it's players played when St. Louis had a team?
  • I felt something, sure. Gurley is an interesting dude, but I appreciated that for someone who was very new to the situation, he always seemed to have compassion and a real respect for his supporters in St. Louis. That was genuine, I thought. Running back is a brutal, short-lived position in the league. Gurley got his money, in part because the Rams were shortsighted in his extension. Good for him. You bring up an interesting thing to track. The final former St. Louis Ram playing will be a good story to write when that day comes. Thanks for the tip :)
    Just curious: Have you heard anything from people in the NCAA orbit re: whether they think fall sports will happen?
    Nope.
    Lots of questions.
    No available answers.
    People just don't know.
    North Carolina football coach Mack Brown spoke out about it this week, mentioning just that.
    He quickly walked it back, which suggests he got a heads up that raising those questions publicly is not great for business.
    But the cat's out of the bag in terms of worrying.
    Thing is, it won't be conference commissioners, athletic directors and coaches deciding these things.
    It's going to be governors.
    If the CDC is suggesting no crowds, it's going to be hard to justify 11-on-11 football games that are played in front of 100,000 people.
    And if you are a governor in SEC country, good luck telling your constituents you are for not playing games.
    I never thought I'd say this, but these are unprecedented times, so her goes: The best leader on this topic has been LSU coach Ed Orgeron. He's used his platform to reinforce the importance of combating coronavirus, reaching a population that might not take it seriously if he didn't speak on it.
    Who has been better so far. Ford at SLU or Martin at Mizzou ?
    The popular vote will say Ford, but let's take a closer look.
    Ford was 52-50 after three season at SLU.
    Martin is 50-46 after three seasons at MU.
    Ford got better every year, which is encouraging, and he has had better bang for his buck in recruiting.
    Martin, unlike Ford, has shown his teams can jump up and knock off Top-25 teams.
    Both have been to one NCAA tournament, then lost the first game.
    Both have had head-scratching bad losses, though Mizzou more than SLU.
    The Billikens have a conference tournament championship in their bag.
    One program (SLU) is benefiting from a positive, optimistic buzz more than the other (Mizzou), and that seems to have a lot to do with each fan base's expectations.
    The linear growth of SLU bodes well, while a step back from Mizzou after the first season has caused frustration.
    People also forget the headaches Ford had to weather early in his tenure, when off-the-court problems generated a lot of stress for the program and the school.
    People also seem to forget Ford has been at SLU a year longer than Martin has been at Mizzou. It's not really fair to compare three years to four. But if you do that comparison, and consider the trend lines, the answer would be Ford.
    Not sure what the problem is with the Cards keeping Carlson in AAA for a bit to gain another year of control over him. Bryant lost his case, so a precedent has been set. I think they would be stupid not to do it. The guy will likely be in the Cards OF mix for years to come, anyway.
    The Cardinals seem to share your opinion.
    Perhaps Carlson is called up after the service-time loophole is satisfied, and he become a difference-maker for this season and years to come, and everyone is happy.
    Another option is Carlson is called up after the service-time loophole is satisfied, and he becomes a difference-maker for a team that misses the posteason by a few games. That would leave the Cardinals to answer the question of if they fielded their best possible team from day one.
    Another option is Carlson, like Kris Bryant, is miffed that a team that touted an internal competition slow-played one of the best candidates who spent the spring suggesting he belongs in St. Louis. There's a reason Bryant and the Cubs have clashed as he's gained more leverage. There's a reason he's the team's players' union rep.
    For years, teams have told us these things just disappear in the long run.
    They don't. Not now.
    Flaherty and the renewals could be come another example as he gains more leverage.
    Until Fowler is moved to the bench, Carlson will remain at AAA. Until Fowler or Carp are moved off the roster, there is no chance Arenado will be here. Put it to rest until then.
  • There are other outfielders not named Fowler, for the record.
    Carlson could play over others, notably the left-field options the Cardinals said were competing for reps this camp.
    Glad we have so many health experts here who can see the future. Maybe they can give stock tips as well.
    I can give you a stock tip: Don't look at your stocks.
    I know there are much more serious concerns, but how worried are the Cardinals about this delay stunting the development of some of the young players? For example it looked liked Gorman was progressing and now he’s sitting. Could we see this break have some greater long term side effects?
    Every team and every player is dealing with the same thing.
    The Cardinals sent their guys home with instructions on things to work on.
    They're trying to make the best out of it.
    I don't see this stunting a prospect's long-term development.
    The biggest concern is pitchers.
    They are so schedule-oriented, that it's somewhat risky for them to drastically change that schedule.
    I think we will see a lot of arm injuries when baseball comes back.
    A follow up on the Arenado question. Say he is traded next winter and he has only 1 year left before his opt out. How would that change the Cards’ calculations on him? Would they take a chance they could convince him to stay or insist he waive the opt out? If the Cards could get him for the price of one year (and not give up top prospects) and then convince him to stay, that would be ideal.
    The Cardinals have insisted that they will only build a trade package around what they know they can get in return, not what they hope they will be able to get in return, like an extension agreement from a rental.
    The question would then become would the Rockies treat Arenado like a rental in a trade?
    Probably not, right?
    That's why Arenado agreeing to drop his opt-out would probably make things more likely, whether he's being traded  to the Cardinals or elsewhere.
    Again, I'm not sure why he would be willing to drop the opt-out if he feels he can make more money and pick his best place to win a championship by reaching true free agency.
Powered by ScribbleLive Content Marketing Software Platform