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.

    Greetings, chatters. What a week. Cards baseball starts for real on Friday. The Blues will be headed to the bubble soon after that. MLS team name and colors coming next month. It's nice to have some real, live sports topics to discuss. Let's roll.
    Benfred,

    Outfield #'s are very concerning, even for summer camp. Small sample size argument is a little weaker considering this is an extension from last year. Do you think this offense is going to be any better, and if it is not, will they be quicker to react to slumping players?
    Concern about the offensive production from the outfield is more than fair.
    Dexter Fowler has been very limited in summer camp due to this back issue, and he had a pretty unimpressive spring.
    Tyler O'Neill has been handed the starting left-field job, but he has zero extra-base hits in summer camp intrasquad games.
    Harrison Bader has had the best offensive summer camp of any outfielder, and he's four-for-15 in the instrasquad games as of this morning.
    Not a lot of outfielders hitting hard line drives at the moment.
    Can the offense be better? Sure. Matt Carpenter looks locked in. Paul DeJong, too. If Goldschmidt starts fast, the infield can carry the bulk of the production. But that's asking a lot, and I'm going to need to see it before I believe it. Again, the Cardinals let Marcell Ozuna walk because they felt they could not just replace him, but improve from within. So, if that improvement is not evident from the outfield early in a 60-game sprint, giving opportunities to others would seem wise.
    Happy Tuesday BenFred. Thanks for the "Chat-O-Thon"!

    I read yesterday on The Hockey News website they wrote if the Oilers can go all the way given their talented roster.

    Wouldn't it really suck if your home team the Oilers win the Stanley Cup and you can't go to a game to experience it? What would the parade be like? No hugging, high fives between players and fans, your glasses fog up because of your mask just when you favorite player drives by. If the Blues win it again have the parade just like last year....the amount of beer consumed will kill Covid-19, 20, you name it.
    I can't imagine any team that wins the Cup having any sort of team-approved, city-approved parade. Bummer, I know. But considering the crowds that would gather, it could be problematic. From what we know, there's significantly less risk of spreading the virus outside. Masks would have to be a requirement. Still, though, that's a lot of people crammed into streets. I'm glad the Blues won their first Cup pre-COVID. That parade was fantastic. It will probably be a while before we see something like that anywhere, due to this damn virus.
    Hey Mr. Ben.. Good morning to you sir... I wanted to ask you about the 2020 Cards but also the broader question of... Do you think that young players really get the 'shot' to establish themselves as viable major leaguers? I'm older and seem to recall that teams just seemed to 'stick with' players till they figured out their game--- their swing, their whatever, over a course of time... Now, it's all about production "Now!" Imagine that, an immediate gratification desire in our current culture??? :) I wonder if someone like Lane Thomas, and others, will never get the time to just 'be' a player, and establish themselves due to the fast pace of things changing when it's 'not working.' Even in 162 game season, I wonder if Lane Thomas, if he slumped for a few weeks, would the Cards pull the trigger and just put someone else in? I think there are a number of players who are missing out on being solid, contributing major leaguers.... just because they never really got a chance... Thoughts? Thanks Ben..!
    It's not a great answer, but it's the true answer. It just depends. The reason Lane Thomas, for example, has not yet received a shot to play every day and settle in is because the Cardinals are attempting to give that opportunity to Tyler O'Neill. If O'Neill doesn't capitalize on it, then the opportunity could shift to Thomas. If neither capitalizes on it, then the chance could soon become Dylan Carlson's. Every time one of these guys gets the opportunity, it goes away from someone else. There are only so many spots in the lineup. The Cardinals are in a unique jam in the outfield because they have a bunch of young outfielders clustered together, combined with the pressure of an under-performing offensive outfield, combined with the pressure of being a team that wants to contend every season. If you were not sweating where you finished in the standings, you could give a player a longer amount of time to settle in. The Cardinals don't have that luxury. They do need production. They also want to give opportunities that have been earned. Finding out the right line between the two is the hard part, and it is harder when the production isn't there. Yes, I do think there are players in the Cardinals' system that are probably limited by the competitiveness and depth on the roster, and the way the Cardinals shift through it looking for answers. Austin Gomber and Daniel Ponce de Leon are answers. Those guys would probably be starters on, what, 20 other MLB teams? But for the Cards they will be relievers for now, and potentially for as long as they are with the team, because of the talent in the rotation. That might not be what is best for them, but it is best for the Cardinals. The trade-off, if things work, is that they get to be part of a better team.
    If they put Austin dean on the roster how do they explain that one to Carlson and Cardinal fans that have been waiting for him to be brought up.
  • They don't have to explain it. They can say Dean earned a shot and is ahead of Carlson on the depth chart. They can say whatever they want, but I expect the tune to change when Carlson is no longer guaranteed a full year of service time. It should. And yes, you can make a strong case that he's one of the best three outfielders available right now. I still don't expect him to make the opening-day roster. If the Cardinals miss the postseason by a game, and it becomes clear Carlson being promoted earlier would have made a huge difference, then that will be a hard question for the Cardinals to answer, won't it?
  • Really good/interesting article on Bleacher Report today about Flaherty. Ultimately, do you think the Cardinals pony up and give him Scherzer/Cole money to make him a career Cardinal?
    Indeed. Scott Miller is a must-read. I imagine Flaherty and the Cardinals will strike at least one extension together, likely before Flaherty can command one of those record-breaking contracts you mentioned. After that, who knows. It will depend on how he pitches. I admire Flaherty's views about the system, and respect that he's going to speak out about how his performance -- and other players like him -- is not getting its due under the current CBA agreement. He's right. But accepting a renewal is not the same as turning down a multi-year offer that can create generational wealth because you want to hold out for free agency. I imagine the Cardinals will make him at least one offer he can't refuse. We'll see. The negotiations could get spicy. Flaherty knows his value, and has not hidden his feelings about MLB ownership. The owner of his team has a track record of not appreciating comments like that.
    im wondering why cards named waino a number 2 starter. He is good but also inconsistent at times. Would figure cmart as number 2
  • Isn't it as much of a symbolic gesture as anything?
    The Cards will have five starters.
    Each is going to get the same amount of starts.
    If there's one guy who will be scheduled around to get more, it's Jack Flaherty.
    We don't think about the order much other than the first time through.
  • When it comes to MLS4TheLou team name and colors... you've ruled out some options but I'm very interested in what your choice would be for the team name and colors for the new MLS team in St. Louis? Personally, I'd love to see the city flag colors (with yellow being the dominant color) to balance out red Cardinals, Blues, etc. Hopefully we can keep the fleur de lis in the design. Keep the name simple. Saint Louis Soccer Club. Let a nickname grow organically from there.
  • I'm pro city flag colors, but would not want yellow as the main one. Yellow as a main color is hard to pull off. Yellow doesn't look very good on very many people.
    I like City and United, but I know they are popular in other MLS cities, so something different makes sense.
    I could get behind Archers.
    I liked Kings, but can't imagine that's going to happen considering the current discussion about statues and all that.
    I know it's not Legacy. I know it's not Confluence. Those can be scratched from the list.
  • Why are the Cardinals playing games with Dylan he’s their best OF right now but they won’t give him the time of day to start when others teams don’t care about the service time.
  • Other teams care about service time. These conversations are happening with multiple teams across baseball. And it's not just service time. The Cardinals feel compelled to give O'Neill a chance to prove he can be the hitter their projections think he can be.
  • Could Carlson be the Center fielder long term? The Cards need a 4&5 batter and finding them would be easier in LF & RF.
    I wouldn't rule it out. He's looked pretty comfortable there during intrasquad games. He reads the ball well off the bat. Has speed. Plenty of confidence. I think he could play any outfield spot the Cardinals put him in.
    Hi Ben. Very low positive cases so far for the NBA and NHL. Are you more optimistic about NCAA football? Thanks
    The news on the low percentage of new positives in the NBA, NHL and MLB has been encouraging.
    I'm hesitant to correlate that to college football, because we have not yet observed a comprehensive plan for that sport.
    The NCAA wanted no part in that discussion until just recently.
    The pro comebacks are continuing because of the work that is being done to keep the virus out.
    College football had a lot of time to come up with a plan, but the division between the conferences and lack of NCAA leadership is going to work against the sport I'm afraid.
    What have you noticed about Kim's pitching style and how it might play to MLB hitters? In the brief look I had in the intrasquad livestream, he seemed to work mostly at the top of the zone and above, especially to right handed hitters
  • He has four different pitches and it seems like more than that, because his can dial his slider speed up and down during an at-bat, making it seem like an entirely different pitch at times.
    He has a big, long stride that hitters say makes his fastball seem to arrive faster than it reads on the radar gun.
    There's some deceptiveness to his delivery.
    What I've noticed more than anything his how awkward and uncomfortable hitters, even his own teammates who have a feel for his stuff, look against him.
    That jumped out in his spring training start against the loaded Twins lineup before spring training was canceled. A lineup full of Twins regulars who helped set an MLB record for home runs last season looked flummoxed. 
    Will any of the Cardinals be taking a knee during the National Anthem?
    I don't think that would be something they would share beforehand if they plan to.
    I know players on the team -- heck, players on every team -- have talked about the topic.
    With the Giants becoming the first team to do it, I imagine more will follow.
    Gomber has been a beast in Summer Camp. Is he a long relief guy?
    He sure has. I don't know that I would label him with a long relief role. I would label him as guy I turn to when I need a locked-in left-handed reliever role. That could come if a starter burns out quickly, or if there's one tough at-bat later in a game. Putting him in the long-relief box means he gets used less. He should not be spared. He's ready to pitch, and he's pitching very well.
    Let's be real here - Missouri is a conservative state and many Cardinals fans are conservative. They won't like Jack Flaherty and the things he says. I think this will cause Flaherty is bounce from the Cardinals, what do you think? Also I hope Jack leaving causes people in this metro area to reconsider their politics and how others think about it.
    You're using a pretty broad brush to do your painting. Plenty of Cardinals fans have been supportive of Flaherty's recent comments about system racism and how he plans to help shed light on it using his platform as a pitcher. The Cardinals drafted and developed Jack. He is the epitome of what makes the Cardinals the Cardinals -- proof that the system works. Yes, the Cardinals let Albert Pujols go at one point. But he signed an extension before that. People tend to forget that part. I don't think Flaherty will be making life-changing decisions based on what he hears from fans, one way or the other. Flaherty should not have to leave to open eyes. He should be opening eyes now. If you like to watch this young man pitch for your team, take a moment to consider some of the topics he's speaking out about. It's not hard.
    Which St. Louis athlete is most famous in America - Jayson Tatum or Ezekiel Elliot? Both play for iconic franchises in the two biggest sports leagues in America, the NBA and NFL.
    Right now? Probably Zeke. Long-term? I'd go JT. NFL has the advantage in popularity but NBA's is growing all the time, and JT will play longer and have a better all-around career, I think. Running back is a hard job.
    If you’re making the baseball schedule and you play each team 10 times, how hard is it to have each team play 5 home and 5 road games? I’m absolutely floored Cards are playing their top Central rivals 3-7.
    If any team was going to have a real home-field advantage, I would agree with you.
    But they won't.
    Home-field advantage, as far as the numbers go, is not what it seems to be in baseball.
    And that's with fans in attendance.
    Getting to bat last is nice, but there's not very much hard data that suggests it's some massive advantage.
    What I can't figure out about the schedule is why it did not do more to minimize travel.
    I thought longer series and fewer trips would be the answer.
    I thought wrong! 
    In your interview with CKB (MLS4THELOU), she mentioned that they have a lot of interest in the jobs that they have posted. Do you know which jobs those are? Also, your thoughts on the franchise being pushed back to 2023? Thanks for your continued coverage.
    They're going to need someone to run the soccer operations side, whether they call it a president or a GM or both.
    They're going to need a coaching staff.
    And then there are other front office roles that won't get nearly as much attention.
    The delay surprised me, but I can see why the St. Louis group is OK with it, considering all of the uncertainty that is complicating matters right now. We know from watching MLS circle STL for so long that it's cautious and prefers to delay things until the moment feels right. I think that's mostly what is happening here. One thing that sticks out to me is sponsors. Expansion teams need to nail down sponsors for stadiums and uniforms, and more. This climate makes that a challenge. Financial uncertainty often makes sponsorships one of the first thing to freeze, whether we are talking newspaper ads, sports radio ads or much bigger projects. This delay allows all of the expansion teams more breathing room to negotiate deals -- and build stadiums and front offices -- during a time that is not so clouded by the coronavirus pandemic. 
    It's going to be much harder to ignore when games count. It should not be long if his spring training and summer camp trends continue. Fowler's not making much hard contact, and has not for a while. He will get a chance to flip the switch when the season begins, but the numbers that are being shrugged off now will mean a little more unless his performance trends up when the 60-game sprint begins.
    Thanks for taking the time to chat. Any word on a time-frame for Cabrera and Reyes pitching this season? Also, for the name of the new MLS team, I vote for St. Louis Association Football - STL AF!
    Neither are expected to be ready in time to make the opening-day roster. Their readiness could depend on their roles, which will likely depend on how the team pitches to start the season. Both could go either way -- starter/long relief or more high-leverage spots. But the fact that both are back and throwing is big news. I imagine it impacted the Cardinals' decision to lock in Carlos Martinez as the starter and send Kim to an unfamiliar role as closer.
    Hey BenFred! I'm curious about your opinion with NHL playoff goalies and how teams will treat them in this particular postseason. There is a good chance some very good goalies struggle to start because IMO they will be the last to find their form having not seen live shots for a long period of time. Do you think some teams will have a quicker hook? How valuable is Jake Allen who had a great year as a backup if so?
    That's a great point. I can't imagine too many teams feel better about their goalie situation than the Blues do right now. And you're right. Track record should probably take a back seat to hot hand at this time. The Blues have two goalies who work well together. Binnington gets first dibs of course, and we don't have many reasons to doubt he will answer the call. But if he can't get his rhythm, then Allen could find himself with the chance to be a hero. There's so much unknown, you can't ignore a goalie who is clearly outplaying another.
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