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. Hope everybody is hanging in there. We can talk sports, cabin fever, whatever floats your boat. Most importantly, hope everyone and their loved ones are healthy. Hang in there, and I hope this chat helps. Let's roll.
    Do you think Ayo will be back for Illinois and, if so, what is their ceiling for next year?
    If he's back, their ceiling is very high. The latest NBA mock drafts have him in the 30-something range. There are only 30 picks in the first round. If he's not a guaranteed first-rounder, he should come back, because chances are he would be a first-rounder with another year of college experience. Underwood has some good freshmen coming in, but a junior season from Dosunmu could be the difference between a good season and a special one. Perhaps missing a shot at this year's tournament will factor into his decision, but he should honestly just stick with what most coaches believe. First-round guaranteed, go.
    Anything else, come back.
    Can't imagine how the Cardinals offense will be good enough to compete - it's a shame to waste good pitching efforts and have the pitchers pitching under the gun because the offense isn't consistent or can't score early or often enough.

    Your colleague Jeff thinks Carlson, Lane and others will impact the OF situation eventually but how long will the Cards trot out O'Neil, Bader and Fowler?

    Not only do the Cardinals FO mismanage assets, they seem to trade current MLB ready players - and can help the current club - for those who are years away...

    e.g. Pham, Mercado and now Arozerena/Martinez

    I know you have to fill the pipeline with prospects and I like Libertore and Cabrera as LH pitchers (which we need) but if you goal is to win consistently every year, you have to manage the assets better and assess the current value vs future value better.

    e.g. would you rather have Mercado, Pham or Arozerena batting at the top of your lineup and playing CF vs Bader batting at the bottom and getting on base primarily because he bats 8th.
    How long the Cardinals play O'Neill, Bader and Fowler depend on how those guys play, and how the team plays.
    If the outfield under-performs and the team is losing, change will come quick.
    If the outfield under-performs, and the team wins, change will come not so quick, but it will still come.
    You are right to mention Pham, Mercado and Arozarena as players who could be playing over Bader in an alternate Cardinals universe. Same for O'Neill and Fowler.
    That's the thing the Cardinals are hoping to prove entering this season -- if this season comes.
    That they didn't start three opening-day outfielders who turn out to be none of the three best options.
    Having to admit that would make the ones they sent away look that much more regrettable.
    I've got a video of my son when he was 1 naming the Cardinals all time greats by recognizing their caricatures on a deck of cards. Now he's 3 and the other day he said "what in the name of Julian Javier's going on here?" He pretends to work on cars with Scott Rolen and Joe Medwick. He told us he was best friends with Dizzy and Daffy Dean and Keith Hernandez and Boyer were bringing him tools to fix the shed. Have I created a monster?
    Sounds like you need to get this kid on air.
    Saw the article on Drew Lock... they seem to be building around him which is a good move. Doesn't Drew Lock remind you of Midwestern version of John Elway? i.e. big arm, natural leader, etc...

    Hope he has a long run there - Denver is crazy about football. They cover the Broncos like we cover the Cardinals.
  • I have to think Elway sees flashes of himself in Lock.
    The swagger. The way his teammates rally around him.
    I remember watching Elway watch Lock during that Mizzou-Arkansas game Elway attended years ago, and it was unique how focused Elway was on the Mizzou QB.
    Yeah, he watched the plays. But he also studied Lock's behavior on the sideline, after good plays and bad.
    Lock's not perfect. A comparison to Elway is a heavy thing no young player should have to carry. He's got a long, long way to go before that fits. But Elway sees something in him, and there's a reason he's working hard to upgrade the offense now that Lock has been named The Guy.
    Should be a fun story line for Mizzou fans when football gets going.
    Thanks for doing the chat again this week. Hope everyone is staying well.

    At this point I don't see how the projected NHL cap for next year doesn't fall back down to around where it was this year. This greatly limits the Blues ability to resign Petro without making other cuts or trades. Since many other teams will be in the same boat, do you see this limiting the market for free agents at the same level as him?

    If that's the case, do you see any way maybe the Blues work out a one year deal with him to fit under the cap with the understanding that a long term deal could be worked out next year when the cap could very well rise to the levels previously expected for this off-season? It requires Petro to take on a LOT of the risk, but if he truly prefers to stay here, this would be his best path to a long term deal closer to the levels he wants. I have a feeling most teams will be having to do some serious cap gymnastics during a hopefully shortened off-season (due to some amount of hockey still being played).

    Great question.

    If I'm Petro or his agent, I'm not sure I would want to bet so much on a single season. He's had his platform season -- the one that shows he's worth the money -- and he's made the most of it until the coronavirus curtain dropped. Why do it all over again if it can be avoided? What about an extension that pays him not so much for the upcoming season then jumps up significantly once things are back to normal through the end of the deal? That would be more appealing to him I imagine.

    You're right that this will impact free agency and teams' pursuit of them around the league, but it's also worth remembering there's an level-playing-field effect in place. Every team is going to be feeling a similar pinch, more or less.

    The NHL cap is calculated as a percentage of the NHL revenue from the previous season, and NHL officials have said no matter what, there's going to be significant revenue drop this season. That will affect the cap.

    The idea you suggested sounds GREAT for the Blues. Probably not so much for Petro.

    That said, finding a way to meet in the middle should sound better to both than ever before. I still think that's how this turns out.

    Hi Ben! I saw that construction is going ahead, but any update on the MLS4THELOU name and colors?
    Not at this time. Hoping to get another Q&A with the ownership group in the near future. But nothing new to share at the moment.
    Your wife tired of you being home all the time? I'm running out of yard work to do.
    Ha! This will be a record-setting season for green, beautiful grass.
    Cassandra, my wife, is not working from home, though.
    She works in marketing/PR for a local hospital and has been moved to the team's coronavirus task force, so she's there every day.
    I'm just her cheerleader right now.
    What do you think of the NCAA's decision to grant an extra year of eligibility to spring sport athletes but not to winter sports athletes?
    I'm glad they did the right thing for the spring athletes, and I think it was wise to open the door while also saying schools will need to determine out some of the specifics in terms of what works best for each school.
    That's smart, flexible and unlike the NCAA's normal idea of blanket-ruling bluster.
    Personally, I'm still bummed for the seniors of winter sports.
    I would have liked to see winter-sports seniors -- not all classes -- be eligible to the same ruling.
    I don't think that would have turned everything on its head, at all.
    Some would have decided to go pro. Some would have decided to pursue careers outside of sports. Some would have jumped at the chance, and I don't think it would have been that big of an obstacle if those returners were not counted toward scholarship limits.
    Just my take. I realize there are no easy answers here.
  • With a reduced MLB draft and the announcement of granting extra eligibility for spring sport athletes in D1, do you think many of the seniors will decide to return for another year based on a reduced likelihood of being drafted? The top High Schoolers will still be taking up spots in how ever many rounds they do, so only the top college performers will probably stand a good chance to be taken.
    I think it's going to affect both sides.
    More rising college seniors will want to stay.
    More graduating high school seniors will head to college instead of jumping at the draft.
    The competitiveness of college baseball should increase.
    What do you make of the proposed 7 inning double headers? I figured that you can fit in two, 9 inning games in a 24 hour day but what do I know.
    I don't hate it.
    Something's gonna have to give in order to play as many games as possible.
    The players could protest based on the statistical fallout, because those numbers are used in arbitration and contract negotiations, maybe it happens.
    Again, for one weird season, some weird things are going to have to happen.
    What I worry about more is the change-the-game types in MLB using the foothold of 2020 to keep big changes moving forward.
    Usually, things don't move backward once they arrive.
    Another example: I'm good with a neutral site World Series for 2020 if it helps the season happen and lets the season run later.
    Do I want that all the time?
    Heck no.
    Make your best guess on when the Cardinals season starts.
    I'm no Dr. Fauci.
    Guesses are just that -- guesses -- until people smarter than me, smarter than Rob Manfred, smarter than anyone who works for MLB decide when big events get the green light.
    Baseball's big decision could be on whether it wants to play earlier with no crowds, or wait until it can have the full experience.
    But even playing in front of no crowds, there is travel. There are all of the people it takes to play a game, from players to coaches, to front office types to medical and training staff.
    And what if one player tests positive for the virus after the all-clear comes? What happens then?
    You can see why some think it's going to be a long, long while.
    Do you expect the coronavirus to have any impact on STLMLS? In terms of when they can begin work on the stadium? Is it possible they delay their first season? Or is it possible this extended delay causes the MLS to retract the franchise due to uncertainty in a poor economy?
    Coronavirus is going to impact anything and everything
    Nothing will be untouched by this.
    As for now, the site prep and construction work at the stadium is to continue as planned, with precautions in place.
    Construction workers and their projects were exempt from the mayor's stay-at-home ruling.
    Could that change?
    Everything could.
    But the plan, for now, is to keep rolling and have things ready for the first game in 2022.
  • Good morning,

    Not having baseball absolutely’s torture.
  • P-D teammate Derrick Goold and I wrestled with the topic in a podcast that's out today. Would you rather have baseball back ASAP, even if it means TV games only and no crowds allowed -- or would you rather wait until baseball can be back in its full form, crowds allowed? I posted a poll and pinned it to the top. Let me know how you feel.
  • Many people in both St. Louis and around the country don't know that the NBA used to be in St. Louis. In 40 years, will people in STL and around the country forgot that the NFL used to be in St. Louis?
    I think you answered your own question.
    The longer a city goes without a team or league, the less people in that city remember.
    That's life.
    My hope is St. Louis, if nothing else, becomes an important footnote in the history of NFL relocation by using its ongoing lawsuit to expose and alter the way the league does business.
    But, I'm an optimist :) 
    so if baseball does start sometime does that mean we see the first time service manipulation by cards for Carlson?
    Baseball would have to start, and Carlson would have to not be on the team. Then we might have something to discuss. It sure seemed to be heading that way before spring was canceled. The Cardinals are going to argue that Carlson could use more seasoning and that the competition is still stacked up in front of him. I'm curious to see how fast that tune changes when service time is no longer a factor. But again, getting too fired up about that now is premature, considering gobs of things could change between now and then.\
    I don't understand the fretting over past players that aren't good. Mercado was below average last year, playing in a tiny ballpark that inflates offense. Arozarena may or may not be great. In 2018, he wasn't so hot. Lets see what happens for a few years first. Pham was my favorite player but, remember how he was playing when he got traded (terrible) and he has this eye issue. Why is it so many "Cards fans" make up fake reasons to bash them?
  • I think it boils down to the unknown.
    No one can say today that the outfielders the Cardinals sent out are better than the ones they had in-house.
    No one can say today that former Cardinals outfielders from recent seasons will not be better than the Cardinals' starting outfield this season.
    Some rush to celebrate how good the former guys have been, perhaps too much so.
    Others rush to diminish how those guys have played, perhaps too much so.
    It depends on your angle, on the narrative you want to build.
    Pham has been Pham, and it looked like the struggles he had during the time of his trade from St. Louis were a blip more than the beginning of the end. He's always going to be a bit of a long-term risk, because of his age (32) and his injury history and, sure, the unknown about his eye condition. But his numbers are there.
    You say Mercado was below average. He had a 96 OPS+ as a rookie. That's four points below the MLB average. Harrison Bader's career OPS+ is 90 after two-plus seasons in the majors. 
    Arozarena is still unknown, but he flashed when given opportunities in STL, and some wondered why he wasn't getting more. He had a great spring training. People wonder.
    If Bader learns to lay off the junky breaking stuff, and O'Neill mashes 30-plus homers -- or whatever that equivalent is in a shortened season -- then people won't talk as much about the other guys.
    But as long as the other guys look like they are as good or maybe better than  what the Cardinals kept, people are going to talk about it. 
  • Do you have a sense of how deeply leading figures in the sports world have dived into Covid-19 information and predictions? Are they reading the New England Journal of Medicine and the Imperial College London paper and following gubernatorial press briefings to try to game out what's likely to happen, or are they pretty much just waiting for a green light from government authorities?
  • As with anything and anyone, some are following it more closely than others.
    The shutdown was a staggered thing that left some leagues -- like MLB -- defying orders from state governors for a short period of time.
    I don't think that will happen when it comes time for games to return.
    Leagues are going to get the all clear for a resumption of play, but don't underestimate their political influence in their quest to get that approval when time comes.
    In seeing people like Coach O from LSU, make PSA's about Covid -19 what coaches or managers or "leaders”' that you covered would you want leading in a time of crisis. Not just sports, but maybe their leadership skills transcended sports. I think TLR would be a great leader during a crisis, he constantly sought out leaders not only from other sports but military and other walks of life. Yourself, and writers D.Goold and D. Matter, are worth a subscription especially from a person who lives out of state like myself.
    This won't be a popular pick, but I'll take Nick Saban.
    I'm amazed how he can get a group of teenagers to buy into "The System" annually.
    He doesn't pretend to care about anything other than football, because he doesn't have to, but his leadership style and program building have been studied by people in various fields, because it works.
    Seeing how many kids transfer because of playing time issues elsewhere, it is remarkable he has so many uber-talented teens buy in on playing scout team and reserve reps for two-three years before they get their big chance as juniors and seniors. Sure, there are some exceptions. But every time a stud freshman plays, some guy who put in more work waits. And those guys even tend to stay.
    So, I'll pick Saban, and take my lumps for it.
    I know you don’t follow the NFL much, but Goodell over ruling the GMs on moving back the draft struck me as the height of arrogance. Do the owners want to pretend or project that the NFL is on schedule and won’t be impacted by this pandemic? Well, they might have a rude awakening. The head of the CDC said yesterday that even if the virus goes away this summer, it will rear its ugly head again in the fall and early winter months, right in the middle of the NFL season, and that new restrictions will be required. So much for the Super Bowl.
    I think "the height of arrogance" is that little fine print that appears beneath the logo in the NFL shield.
    Nothing should surprise you.
    Goodell will push forward on as much as possible until someone stops him, and it won't be the owners.
    He works for them.
    Anyone hear any updates concerning Jimmy E and hows he's doing?
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