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.

    Between the restrictions created due to the cheating scandals, and the COVID concerns, there are new limits on what can be viewed by players during the game. They can't run back to the video room between at-bats and watch the film. They're allowed to view whatever they want before the game, and after it. I hope this rule sticks. That's how it should be. Prep as much as possible before the game. Study that game as much as possible after. But during the game, play. Teams have had different critiques. Some have said the changes have led to more chatter in the dugout, more focus and player-to-player dialogue about pitchers and their pitches. As far as the Cardinals, it does not seem much as changed. Their numbers are pretty similar to last season's.
    In baseball today, pitching dominance is judged by strikeouts. The Cardinals rotation has a top five ERA but also ranks in the bottom five in terms of strikeouts. Are you worried about rotation regression, and can a team with such a meek offense win without dominant starting pitching?
    The Cardinals have good pitching and a good defense. These are good combinations. Strikeouts are great, but so are groundball outs and balls hit right into the teeth of a shift, things the Cardinals have been good at handling this season. I'm not worried about the Cardinals' pitching or defense much, though they need a better situation as the fifth starter at the moment. The defense is good as long as Wong is at second. Things start to get shaky with Brad Miller in the field, but I understand the urge because of the bat, and the lack of them elsewhere in the lineup.
    Reading all these chats it seems a lot of people want to get rid of Wong. Why???? Wong is a Gold Glove 2nd baseman, and a very serviceable lead off hitter. I've heard people mention cost savings, but It's not like he is making Altuve money. I'm sure just about all the 29 other teams would jump a Gold Glover locked in for only $12.5M next season.
    His option for next season is 12.5 million, certainly not a break-the-bank commitment.
    An extension could be explored.
    Or, the Cardinals could decide to shake things up and go different directions, but that would go against what Shildt has said he wants the pillar of this team to be -- good pitching and strong defense, especially up the middle.
    The Cards have that in Goldschmidt, Wong and DeJong.
    DeJong and Goldy aren't going anywhere soon.
    You'd think the Cardinals would like to keep Wong in that group. I would.
    Wong's critics pop up when he goes cold at the plate, and he's cold right now.
    After Covid, the Blues seemed to be standing still while the other teams rolled over them. I have heard the call of "Lack of effort", but it seems to me the Blues simply don't have enough guys with speed and speed seems to be the new mode for success. Thoughts??
  • It's hard for me to believe the team that won the Stanley Cup a season ago is suddenly outdated now. The Blues are "heavier" than some teams but that is the style that can work best in the normal, grueling postseason, one that does not include a long stop before it starts. And the Blues do have speed on their team. Robert Thomas. Jordan Kyrou. They don't have cinderblocks as skates.
    This is going to be both an observation and a question.
    Wong-realistically could be a good lead off hitter
    Edman- same as Wong
    Goldschmidt- legit 3 hole hitter
    Dejong- could realistically be a good 5 hole hitter
    Fowler- legit 6 hole hitter
    Molina- at this point in his career quality 7
    Bader- possibly 8/9 with his other skills
    Carlson- tbd but I know many view him as a potential quality 2 hole guy

    My question is how do the Cardinals hope to compete with the top teams when they don’t even have a player who even has a chance to be a 4 spot run producer? The lazy answer is quality pitching. The reason I say that’s lazy is there is truth to it, but the other good teams have pitching too. Would you agree with my evaluation?
    We are saying the same thing over and over again. The offense is a problem, yes. It was a problem. It's still a problem.
    Playing Devil’s advocate here: Some (Mo) would say these guys have fought like crazy through COVID to get back to this point and have earned the chance to play for it. The Cubs/Reds would argue that’s also the reason to go out and add pieces to the ball club. Your thoughts?
    Both are fine arguments, but neither seem to be to be the truth. The Cardinals were not going to make any moves at the deadline that prioritized the outcome of this season over their stated interest in sorting through what they already have. The Reds already went for it this season, and so it made sense for them to do that again, as much as they could, even though they're not playing very well.
    BenFred, do you think Mo has learned his lesson for giving out inflated contracts to marginal players? He has nobody to blame but himself for Carp, Fowler, Cecil and Leake. In a year when even a team under .500 can make the playoffs, if the Cards fail to get to the post season, is Mo living on borrowed time? I mean he messed up big back in 2017 when he let Luis Robert slip through his fingers because he overspent on the international money, $2.5 mil to Adolis Garcia for starters. I know he’s found some diamonds in the rough, but it seems like he’s had a lot of swing and misses the past few years. Also, if Mikolas never returns to his 2019 form and turns out to be a subpar pitcher does the go from being a diamond in the rough to a swing and miss?
    Mozeliak was extended through 2023 less than a year ago.
    No, I don't think he's at risk of being fired.
    Yes, those deals you mentioned have not gone well, for the most part.
    Hi Ben. What do you make of the dumpster fire that is the B1G? First they cancel the season because of the threat of lawsuits over myocarditis and now they may play because of the threats of lawsuits over not playing. I’m so glad Mizzou never begged to get into that mess. Thanks
    Pretty embarrassing all around.
    They did not need to make their cancellation announcement when they did.
    There was no reason, other than to celebrate being out front of others.
    Their handling of this -- whether you agree with their decision to play or not -- has been a mess.
    Have some guts and stick with the decision you made.
    I applaud the Cards desire to go to the playoffs every year, but this is not a normal year. I wouldn’t have been the least bit upset if they miss it in lieu of giving the younger players more playing time. At least this way going into the Fall you know who you want to keep and who can be moved. Even if the Cards get to the post season, they are one and done. Carlson is starting slow but that’s ok, he’s getting experience. I hope Gorman gets a shot before the season wraps up. The future is bright for this team after you can get rid of all the bad contracts.
  • Nolan Gorman is 20. The Cardinals are not going to start his service-time clock this season. I'd be very surprised if he plays in the majors this season.
    What’s status on Puig? I understand the 40 man issue but is there a way? He had COVID but so did a handful of cardinals, could be a fit for the playoff run here.
    Again, I think the Cards are sticking with that they have. They've made that pretty clear.
    It seems like after his promotion to "Pres. of Baseball Ops.", Mo's job remains the same and is still the face of the Cardinals front office. So what is it exactly that GM Girsch does?
    It wasn't the promotion. It was COVID. Team decided to have one voice through the COVID season. That voice is Mozeliak. Girsch is working, same as usual -- as usual as usual can be at this time. Talked to him just the other day.
    Forgetting Carlson's struggles at the plate and accepting everyone's prognostication that he will adapt and be a good MLB hitter, he has looked bad in the outfield to me. Is he a future DH for us?
    That judgement is a bit harsh on his defense, in my opinion. No, I think he's going to be just fine in the outfield. It's not exactly the easiest thing to do, playing three different positions as a rookie. He has good instincts, a good arm and good speed.
    Ben, do you know or have a guesstimate of who will be the starting pitchers for the Cards/Cubs 5 games coming up?
    Johan Oviedo is sliding into the spot vacated by Ponce.
  • Which three outfielders do you believe give the Cardinals the best chance to win?
    Right now? Depends on the day and who is starting against the Cardinals. That's not an ideal answer, I know, but other than Fowler no one has really separated himself -- and Fowler is not exactly Babe Ruth or anything. Again, and I've said this before, but I'd like to see Lane Thomas get some chances now. He's in the lineup tonight, in center. Fowler in right, and Tommy Edman in left.
    So, with Tyler O'Neil last in MLB in batting average (when he qualified a few days ago) what do the Cardinals do with him now? Trade him, bench guy? Watch him turn into Voit once he leaves. And, the common denominator of bad hitting over the last two years is the new age batting analytics from the batting instructor genius, Jeff Albert! Usually if a team loses the manager is at fault, so since the hitting is anemic why isn't Albert getting any heat?
    Tyler O'Neill has nearly three times the amount of MLB at-bats with the Cardinals (338) than Luke Voit (125) did before Voit was traded. And while the Cardinals are happy with Goldschmidt and certainly with Giovanny Gallegos, who was part of the Voit deal, they cannot truly say they gave Voit a chance to prove he could be a first baseman; that was back before the NL welcomed the DH, which could have changed things. O'Neill is getting his chance. That's what this season, although strange, was about. He has not made the most of it. 
    Heat on Albert seems more than fair to me. We heard a lot about how this season was about proving his method would work. There are no minor leagues for him to be focusing on, either. 
    At this point why not try out something new in Left Field? I would go in the order of Ravelo, Dean (if he returns), Williams, Nowgoski, Sosa yes Sosa because he was starting to show some power last year and lastly Montero what the heck do you have to lose? If Carlson gets to bat sub 200 then these guys deserve a shot too. I would put Thomas in center because he's probably just about as good as Bader defensively. Really what do they have to lose at this point?
    I think Justin Williams could get a shot at some point.
    Edman is in left tonight, which is a return to an old look we haven't seen much of, with Thomas in center.
    I never understood the purpose of the Austin Dean addition and imagine that has ran its course by now.
    With the banner that is displayed with the on-line chat I recognize Wainright on the left and Pietangelo on the right. Who is the person in the middle?
    Carolyn Kindle Betz, St. Louis City SC CEO.
    On the Luke Voit trade, some argue that the Cards could not have known Voit would be that good. Isn’t that their job, to know if a prospect was good? They make a lot of money to know that.
  • They argue that he didn't have a spot on the team. Seems to me like a guy who can hit like this has a spot on most teams. But, then again, the Cards went and got Goldschmidt, so that's no small move. If it was still Matt Carpenter and Jose Martinez attempting to hold down first base, things would be different. Also have to point out that while Chasen Shreve was a bust, Giovanny Gallegos, also acquired with Shreve in the Voit deal, has worked out great for the Cards. Yankee Stadium is perfect for Voits swing. The American League  -- before the NL got the DH -- is perfect for him. He's blooming in pinstripes, and I'm not sure he would have with the Cards. Still, the Cards didn't think he could what he's doing now. Clearly.
    Enjoyed your article about Alex Pietrangelo this week. Hoping a deal gets done. Do you believe the initial issue was his agents slow playing the market? Given the salary cap has changed, do you sense a deal is more likely given $9-10M/yr is tall order for teams now? If Alex signs, I say Army should ask Faulk and Steen to list 10 teams they want to go to free up the cap space.
    Agree that Faulk, Steen and Allen is where you have to start in terms of attempting to ship players out if Petro comes back.
    I think there's some two-way frustration here, but nothing that can't be solved.
    Army can say Petro might have had an extension in hand if he would have been more willing to play ball earlier.
    Petro can say he's frustrated that Army handed out extensions to defenseman, complicating the current situation.
    Both can say he is right.
    Again, this should be fixable.
    I hope it is.
    What kind of an effect on next year's salaries are you expecting since it appears baseball revenues are going to be way down next year too ... at least at this point? Fans, advertising, merch, MLB shared revenues of all kinds etc etc ... has to be at least a 40-50% reduction. Will the Cards look to reduce payroll significantly if possible or do you think they bite the bullet and stay the course? Certainly doesn't look good for adding new additions next year.
    Great questions that I don't know, and no one can really know, because the answers are going to depend on how things play out. If COVID strikes and derails the postseason, different conversation. If players decide to stop playing because of social justice reasons -- a factor that seems to be fading now but could turn back on any instant -- then it's a different conversation. There's just a lot of unknown, and teams usually tend to attempt to refrain from spending big in a time like this.
    Luke voit is playing like a monster but people are acting like he was hitting like this when he was with the cardinals. And he was traded at the time that carp was on fire and he wasn’t going to play over carp then. It looks bad now but no one knew he was going to mash like this.
    The Yankees saw something in him they liked. Worked out for them. But yes, there is some revisionist history going on, and I'm the biggest Voit fan you'll find.
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