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.

    Is he supposed to sell sunshine instead?
    He gets ripped when he says he doesn't know -- because there's so much unknown -- and he gets ripped when he makes predictions, even while admitting there are things he does not know, because no one can know them.
    He can't win.
    The season is in Manfred's hands, and we know he cares more about what the owners want than he cares about the soul of the game, so I expect him to do what the owners want in the end. If a majority want the season canceled, I think it will be.
    Does your utopian vision of baseball include a lineup of nine hitters and nine separate and distinct fielders?
    Nope. I''ll gladly stop with the DH :)
    Is there a reason why the MLB schedule has not been announced. I assume there will be lots of 4 and 5 game series to reduce travel?
    Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. The assumption is the league is going to wait to see where things stand after players report to camps and go through the initial rounds of testing for the virus. The later you announce it, the more time you have to make tweaks that take into consideration the most recent virus numbers and trends in cities with teams.
    I have always been curious why Mozeliak the GM speaks publicly about who will start and where, when Shildt makes that decision, right? His remarks on Carlson being behind ONeill and Thomas is the latest example. And a related question: why did the Cards mute Shildt during the pandemic? He has always been responsible and measured in his public remarks.
    Front office controls the roster. Manager controls the lineup. That's the message the Cardinals present, though it's safe to say the front office has more influence on the lineup than the manager does on the roster. It will be interesting to see how Shildt increases his leverage as he has more leverage to increase, and he has more than he did when he was hired. Mozeliak has been the point person for pretty much all Cardinals comments since the shutdown. I think you will see Shildt saying more now. Why Shildt faded from the discussion for such a long period of time during this wait between camps, I'm not entirely sure. He seemed interested in keeping up a regular dialogue with media when spring was shut down, but then it never happened. He was cautious about weighing in on speculative stuff, like potential comeback scenarios. I do know that. He didn't do many interviews other than his regular radio program on KMOX.
    Any rumblings of any other news or progress on the MLS front, or is everything focused on the stadium and name/branding? Just curious if they are working towards identifying a GM or filling out the front-office staff.
  • They're making progress on creating the structure of their front office roles and the filling of those roles. Some of that work has been complicated by the virus, considering it requires travel and, ideally, in-person introductions.
    Ben, assuming there is baseball which appears more unlikely by the day, the Cards would field one of the worst offensive lineups in baseball. The DH would expose their soft lineup even more. Would you agree?
    They were one of the most ho-hum offenses in baseball last season, and by far the least impressive from a playoff team.
    From that group they lost Marcell Ozuna, one of the most reliable (though not all that reliable) hitters in the lineup.
    So, yes, I don't know why we should assume things will be different in 2020, considering the DH is also going to come from within.
    The Cardinals are betting big on bounce-backs and breakthroughs.
    And if those things happen, a better offense will be there.
    But even then can it be more than just OK?
    It might not need to be if the pitching and defense is as sharp as it was in 2019.
    Anyone expecting this team to become an offensive juggernaut is going to be disappointed.
    Man, judging from these comments, I thought Mo was the general manager of the Padres or something. I don't agree with every move either but these Cardinals fans complaining this much over a team that's an annual playoff contender and is the best franchise in the National League during the last 20 years is why people outside St. Louis view the "Best Fans in Baseball" tag as a joke. Stop acting so entitled people.
    The Cardinals set a high bar, and fans are fair to hold them to that. Fans pump in their money, time and energy into the team. They expect a lot, and they should. But sometimes the criticisms of Mo miss the point. Some of the team's recent trades and extensions are fair game for criticism. Totally. His recent rep with relief pitchers, for examples, is rough. But if you're going to rip the Cecils and the Gregersons, you can't pretend Brebbia, Gant and Gallegos don't exist. And so on. It's kind of like being mad about the offense being so bad in 2019 while also refusing to admit the other aspects of the team were good enough to lug that offense to the NLCS. Cardinals fans' problems are still in the realm of first-world problems. But the bar is not Padres. It's annual contention and a World Series championship once in a while. 2011 feels like a long time ago for this fan base, and I'm not going to say that's wrong.
    I think Mo made a stealthy and positive move signing Nunez the other day. Could pay dividends down the road. These under the radar signings are his strength, not pursuing and signing big time free agents who do not pan out, or who luckily do not decide to take the Cards offer.
    We shall see. Certainly seems like an intriguing arm, and the Cardinals have proven they know what to look for in older (relatively speaking) prospects from the Dominican Republic. Carlos Martinez is an example. 18 years old and triple-digit fastball? Yes. Color me interested.
    Since you have been around a lot of professional leagues, do you think there will be differences between the leagues in terms of player buy in to the health restrictions and isolation they are asked to live under?
    I think it has a lot more to do with age than sport.
    Younger guys tend to be more social. They tend to be more single. They are more likely to go with the I'll-be-fine method and take more risks. 
    Older guys are more likely to have families and make decisions during this time that revolve around insulating those people.
    We're talking in generalities here, and there will be exceptions.
    But again, I'd say it has more to do with age and season of life than it does with the sport.
    My early comment about being glad the team was only playing 60 games was not about me wanting to see the team fail, but just not believing in the talent that has been gathered. I think this team often wants things to happen so badly that they refuse to acknowledge the truth about individual players.
    If ever there was a time for the Cardinals to break free from that kind of thinking -- and I admit it can hold them back a times -- this would be the season.
    The "it's a long season" mantra is dead on arrival in 2020.
    Teams that create opportunities for the best players here and now will be rewarded, and those that delay it could be in trouble before they wake up.
    A 60-game season invites urgency from day one. How the Cardinals adapt or don't, I think, is going to be really interesting.
    They say they are playing to win this year, so their actions should reflect that in a 60-game manner, not a 162-game manner.
    I am still a bit confused about the playoff format. So there will be 3 groups of 10 teams that will play each other correct? But the regular divisions will be used to determine playoff status, ie division winners and wild cards? Why don’t they just go with top 10 best records?
    Because the conversations that would have adjusted the traditional playoff structure ended when talks of a compromise between players and owners broke down, and the plan moving forward reverted back to the March 26 agreement.
    So, unless there is some sort of compromise coming that allows an expanded postseason, the format will be what it has been in the past.
    Ten teams. Three division winners. Two wild-cards per game.
    The traditional divisions do not change even though games will only be played between American and National League teams, for example.
    How come so many people appear to be balking about the perceived youth movement in 2022. Certainly Yadi could be back, but not as big a role. I seriously doubt Waino has a year and a half left. I can't see Fowler being back. If Carpenter bounces back he could fill a role, especially if the DH goes full time, but for planning I don't see him back. Wong might be gone. Youth is settling into the outfield this year. I can't see Mo pulling in several veterans to fill spots. Unless the youth fail miserably I think Mo has to go with them until proven otherwise.
    Who is balking about a potential youth movement in 2022? Carpenter and Fowler are off the books after the 2021 season. Molina and Wainwright are down to one-year deals at the moment. A lot will be riding on a new wave by then.
    How about you just stick to sports, and shut up about the stupid virus and vaccines. You could easily tell those asking questions about those things, that we are discussing sports here. No comment.
    I'll stick to the questions asked that interest me.
    Thanks.
    Can’t wait to see a walk off dinger and everyone stays in the dugout doing air fives. “Nice hit, buddy, see you at warmups tomorrow.”
  • I mean, this is really an opportunity for Carlos Martinez to work his magic.
    Surely he can come up with an elaborate, socially distanced celebration, right.
    What if he pretends to throw pretend water on the home run hitter?
    He can do better than that.
    Our faith is in your sanitized hands, Tsunami.
    I saw where the KBO plays up yo 12 innings and then call it a tie.That only happened 1 % during the past 3 years they've done that.Isn't that better than starting a runner at 2nd?I totally dislike that new rule.
    I'm with you.
    It's junk.
    The worst thing about the runner on second in extra innings that it is inevitably going to become a showcase of how bad some teams are at situational hitting.
    You get three outs to get down a good bunt and hit a good sacrifice fly.
    It will be alarming how bad teams are at that, I'm afraid.
    I'd rather have the KBO rule you mentioned.
    I think this fan base looks at the last 7 years and they don’t a Larry Walker trade at the deadline, they don’t see an MV3... they only had the MV2 (Ozuna & Goldy) for one year. The organization does just enough to say it did enough but they haven’t gone for the jugular since Albert left.
    And where did Pujols come from?
    He was not acquired in a blockbuster deal or free agent signing.
    He emerged from within, and the Cardinals rightly maximized their run with him.
    The Cardinals' self-imposed restraints on long contracts (10-plus years) and league-record-breaking contracts (the $ given to each position-playing free agent every season) is going to continue to limit their ability to secure in-their-prime star players.
    They are committed to developing them, not acquiring them at their highest price point, and developments like Pujols don't come around very often.
    There's the rub.
    We've covered it here many, many times.
    I think RC Cola has a point but I think it has more to say about the fan base than about the front office. I think it's hard to form a team around elite players. I think it's also hard to have an elite team with no holes. I would argue they have an elite team with no real holes, even as how many feel about the offense. I think that fans love stars and it's fun to have elite players like the MV3. It's also fun to have an elite defense and elite pitching and go to the NLCS.
    I'll add something: I think the argument often shifts. If the Cardinals had been an offensive force but could not pitch or play defense very well, but still managed to clobber its way to the NLCS, then there would be a lot of complaints about how focusing on the offense ignored the real problems -- pitching and defense.
    The truth is the 2019 Cardinals were a very well-rounded team but its weakest point was its offense, and that weakness was carried a long ways because of the other strengths.
    How can the offense improve, through changes in approach or players, without sacrificing run suppression as a strength?
    That's the question that could not be answered well enough in 2019.
    It's the same question that is going to hang over the baseball side of 2020, as much as 2020 is about baseball and not just avoiding coronavirus.
    What chance do you give the cards making the playoffs? 50/50? 40/60? 30/70? Thanks for the chars!
    50 percent, though my guess on the chance a postseason arrives for any team is probably lower. Hope I'm wrong.
  • Gotta run, folks. Thanks for the debate as always. See you next week.
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