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. Hope all is well. Plenty to dig into this week. Cardinals trying to sneak into the expanded postseason. Blues and Petro at a standstill? Mizzou kicks off against Alabama on Saturday. Gulp. Let's roll.
    BenFred,

    I think reasonable people can understand that the Cardinals had a tough situation with the Covid outbreak, although I also think it is fair to say a lot of it was self inflicted (only 2 teams out of 30 having an issue with it, probably not a coincidence)...But this offense was always going to struggle, and it will probably continue to struggle next season, barring any big additions. If they go into next season with a similar offense, do you think the there will be a decline in attendance and TV ratings?
    Fair take. Let's start from the back end of it. We don't yet know what season is going to look like, in terms of attendance at games, season structure, or anything. Hopefully, things are back to normal. If they're not, players and owners will have to come to another form of agreement on what an altered season looks like -- and there's no guarantee they will, considering the bitterness between those two sides. But, for the sake of the argument, let's pretend things ARE normal next season. Yes, I think the Cardinals would have a hard time meeting their attendance hopes if they don't combat whatever hesitancy people will already have about attending games in big crowds with an improved offense. This team doesn't need an all-world offense with its pitching and defense, but it is scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to the caliber of offense that can be carried along by pitching and defense.
    Ben,

    The NFL head coaches sure do not seem to be taking the Covid protocols to heart huh? And did you see that brawl in the stands at the Browns game (shocking!). Do you think there is a covid outbreak on the horizon with an NFL team, or with the fans being allowed in the stands, given the issues we have seen already?
    I imagine more will if they keep getting fined $100,000 for not being complaint with the rules. Those hits add up fast. Most NFL stadiums are outdoors, which should help limit potential spread by fans, and mask rules are in place in those stadiums. If some sort of outbreak can be traced back to fans being in stadiums, and that's easier said than done, the NFL could stop allowing fans and keep rolling with games. I don't think there's anything that will stop the NFL season, and have said that from the jump.
    I would like to see some MLB team recreate the Sgt. Pepper's album cover with cardboard cutouts behind home plate. What do you think?
    If the Cards don't win the World Series, I would like to see the Padres win it. Do you have a second team that you are rooting for?
    No rooting here, but the Padres are a fun and fascinating team, for sure.
    Tingler, a Mizzou product, is going to get some love for NL manager of the year -- even though he had that rookie mistake of siding with the Rangers in their beef with his best player, Fernando Tatis Jr.
    Other than that, I'd like to see Luke Voit get a ring. I'm a fan of Voit. That, I'll happily admit.
  • Who do you think has more trade value, Bader or O'Neil?
    I would think O'Neill would have the edge there, because the same projections that have made the Cardinals so determine to see him work could be shared by other teams. The two were viewed similarly last season. We know that because the Mets were willing to give the Cardinals rental Zack Wheeler for Bader or O'Neill AND some minor league add-ons. I think more teams would be willing to bet on O'Neill figuring things out and becoming a dominant middle-order hitter than teams would be willing to value Bader's defense enough to risk taking on his unproven bat. Remember, the Cardinals traded Marco Gonzales for O'Neill. That has not aged well, but it shows how interested the Cardinals were in a power profile that has not come true, but done just enough to make folks wonder if it might still happen.
    I'm getting kinda tired of Shildt sugar coating his hitters performances. This isn't Babe Ruth league or travel ball where he still needs parents monthly dues paid. Or even the minors where its more instructional than results based. He talks in circles way too much. I'm starting to turn on him a little. To me, he's insulting my intelligence. MO needs to wear some of this as well. Don't tell me how good you think you are, show me!!
    I get where you're coming from, but I wouldn't put much stock into any comments from anyone that are attempting to make this offense sound anything but underwhelming and, frankly, just not good enough. It's as simple as that. Shildt's in the foxhole with his players and coaches in a season where the front office is saying very clearly that the motto is just hold on and white-knuckle this thing out to see how far it goes before some hard decisions are sorted out. So, he's going to try to protect his guys and keep spirits high. It's not like he's going to get new options at this point. The Cards have about a 75 percent chance of making the expanded postseason as of today. The showed last year even a meager offense can find enough groove to win a series. He's trying to keep spirits high, and it's hard to blame him for that attempt. But no, I would not buy his defense of the offense. It's not good enough.
    When does Moe finally get some blame For trading possible MVP in Voit, These two extensions three counting Michalis which hamstring the payroll and the Covid outbreak which hurt the Cardinals worse than any other team? If you’re the general in charge , you can’t say “well the captain made that mistake”!Do you resign and go into retirement disgraced.
    No, I don't foresee Mozeliak retiring soon. At the end of last season he was extended through 2023. Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. is the only person who can change that, and there's been no sign or suggestion he sees Mozeliak's missteps as outweighing the good. Mozeliak really only has to keep one person happy. DeWitt. That's it. As long as that's the case, and he wants to keep working in his current role, there is a long list of other positions that would change over before his.
    What's your gut feeling where the Pietrangelo wheel stops when it finally stops spinning? I feel at this point in the game both sides are just posturing and trying to squeeze out as much leverage as they can from each other. In the end I think DA figures out a way to shake another contract, and Petro ends up with 8-8.5M/yr for 8 years to stay a Blue.
    If a deal can't be worked out before other free-agent suitors get a chance to make their official pitches, and things seem to be moving in that direction of Pietrangelo going to full-blown free agency, then it's getting hard to imagine Pietrangelo hearing those pitches, some likely for more money, and circling back to take less with the Blues. If the posturing, and I agree a lot of this seems to be posturing, can have a breakthrough before Pietrangelo goes on the free-agent circuit, maybe there's a solution that keeps him here. The other unknown is the chance Pietrangelo might find out the value he hopes is out there is not, considering the COVID complications all teams are factoring in. But I do think there will be another team that offers more than the Blues.
    Kudos to Doug Armstrong and the Blues for bringing Jim Montgomery in. One of the good guys and a good hockey mind too.
    I think it's a home-run hire by Army, and I give a lot of credit to Jim Armstrong for facing his mistakes head-on and being candid and forthcoming about his road to recovery. That's a powerful story, and I'm glad he's telling it. Best of luck to him, and good on the Blues for giving him another chance. They could really benefit from it, too.
    Ben, When MO was asked by a press member about the seasons play and his response was to divert and say he was just trying to get through it I find that either a disingenuous response or he is just not doing a portion of his job. I realize there are added challenges but I do not think or appreciate anyone playing the added influences as a reason for a incomplete performance and some would say that I work on the front line. How did you see it?
    That press member has been me, multiple times.
    Most if not all invitations to analyze the team, the coaching staff or the season have been stiff-armed by the front office.
    It's been a distinct theme since the Cardinals' COVID shutdown.
    I don't interpret it as that they are not analyzing these aspects, but more that they are not going to weigh in on them at this time.
    That tune will have to change after the season, or the Cardinals are going to have to figure out how to sell frustrated fans on a do-over.
    That would be a hard sell, I think.
    Ben, looks like Petro will be moving on. What do the Blues do with all their newfound wealth?
    I don't think it's necessarily over yet. There's more than a week before October 9. Plenty of time to talk before other teams enter the mix. If he is indeed gone, it might be wise for Army to earmark that money for a scorer. Vladimir Tarasenko's problematic shoulder could lower the ceiling considerably for an annual 30-goal scorer on an offense that could use some help even if Tarasenko gets back to prime.
    After I read Derrick’s story this morning about the “No Slug” I am confused about a few things maybe you can help explain. Wong says, they have been grinding nonstop figuring out ways to scratch runs across. That’s bull. Over the weekend Carlson doubled and nobody tried to bunt him over to 3rd. Next inning the Pirates bunt a runner to third and hit a sac fly, 1-0 Pirates. This team is predictable and boring, much like its manager. Shildt said they do a lot of things pretty darn well… like what? They don’t steal bases, they don’t have timely hitting, they don’t hit and run, heck they flat out don’t hit. So help me, what is it they do pretty darn well? Then Shildt says they moved the needle in a couple of areas elite offenses do. Help me, what is he talking about?
    The Cardinals' doubleheader sweep of the Pirates was a good example of the scratching and clawing approach. They used walks, hard-hit gounders, sac flies and hustle before a home run that padded things out. That's how this team has to win, but it doesn't do it often enough. The Cardinals do indeed do a lot of things well, but few of them are offense-related. They pitch well. They defend well. In terms of offense, they get on base well. They see a lot of pitches per at-bat. They grind, if you want to call it that, but they don't bop. They don't do damage. They don't hang crooked numbers. That's the problem.
    Seems like from chats with hummel and gordo carp.is either part time player or traded or dfa candidate next year. Still got to get proven bat too
    A part-time player would seem more likely to me than a pay-to-go away, considering the Cardinals' reluctance to take that approach with players, especially home-grown players. Carpenter's on the hook for $18.5 million next season, with another $18.5 coming for 2022 if he gets a certain number of plate appearances. Avoiding the vesting option would be wise. Carpenter last season had an adjusted on-base plus slugging percentage of 91, nine points below league average. This season? It's down to 77. There's little evidence that Carpenter's going to climb out of this, but there's also little evidence the Cardinals will punt on the extension. A drastic change in role? That would make sense.
    Ben, I keep reading when Flaherty enters free agency in 2023 he will probably end up out in LA. If that’s the case shouldn’t we try to fleece the Dodgers over the winter asking for Lux, Gonsolin, May, Rios & Pederson and international money. With Lux you don’t need Wong’s $12.5 contract. The Cards aren’t built to win soon anyway so why not stockpile as much young cheap talent as you can? While you’re at it go ahead and sign Justin Turner for two years plus an option to bridge the gap until Gorman is ready. What we have right now is not working, let’s shake things up.
  • Jack Flaherty is the kind of player the Cardinals pride themselves in producing, the kind of player they try to keep from reaching free agency with an extension. There's a long time to go before 2023. Plenty of time to lock Flaherty into an extension, if he's interested, and it will be hard not to be interested when he gets to that point. If anything, this season has probably taught Flaherty why there is real value in security.
    Given the Cards anemic offense is there any chance the offer Puig 2 million for next year like they did Brad Miller?
    I like the notion. You'd have to have a good sense of where he is physically and mentally after a season without playing.
    I would draw perhaps a different conclusion. It makes me wonder why bats that under-performed (Ozuna) or got overlooked (Voit) are breaking out elsewhere. It's a talent evaluation and/or hitting instruction problem for me. Likely both. Ozuna's time in St. Louis is now bookended by stellar seasons in Miami and Atlanta. Voit was blocked, but it's clear the Cardinals did not see him becoming this kind of hitter. The Cardinals could make a case that they did try to insulate the lineup, like with the Matt Carpenter extension. But that has been a disaster. Again, the Cardinals' problems with the offense cannot be traced back to a refusal to spend. It's how they have spent, and have not spent. Carpenter extension. Fowler contract. Not attempting to keep Ozuna on what could have been a relatively cheap deal. Etc. And I'm not saying Ozuna would be hitting like he was in Atlanta i he was on this team. But he is the same guy, and that should raise questions about how the Cardinals never got the best out of him in two seasons worth of trying.
    Given the financial climate in baseball doesn’t it make sense for Arenado to stick with the Rox rather than opt out at the end of 2021? If that’s the case does it make sense to try and trade for Arenado for the 2022 season? I know Gorman will be waiting in the wings, but it may take him time to find his feet. Just look at Carlson as an example. Goldy will be gone after 2024 so Gorman could even play first base by then.
    I think you can make a strong argument that could become the case for Arenado. He might not like the financial reality that awaits if he does opt out. That said, the same financial climate you referenced makes it less likely that teams are going to want to take on his contract. The Cardinals just recently announced it was eliminating positions across the baseball and business side of the organization due to the combination of uncertainty about the future and the realities of the pandemic's impact on the bottom line. Knowing how the Cardinals operate, I can't imagine them deciding now is the time, in this climate, to take on that kind of contract. They were hesitant about the size of it before the landscape shifted.
    I like DeJong, I think he is a good piece for this team to build “with” but not “around.” He is not a star player, no matter how much this team wants to force him into that role. On a good offensive team he would be batting 5th or 6th.
    Yep. On a good offensive team there would be one or two outfielders in the prime part of the lineup. The Cardinals were the only MLB team to start the season with outfielders hitting 7, 8 and 9. Their outfield OPS (.657) is now second-lowest in the National League and only leading the Pirates (.553). The Pirates are 15-39.
    So here we are and the Cardinals offense is exactly as it seemed it would be heading into the season. I trust that I don't know as much about baseball as the Cardinals front office, but I think the fan frustration stems from the eyeball test last season would indicate this result and the front office plunged ahead (with further weakening the attack by allowing their cleanup hitter to leave). Do you have the sense that the Cardinals acknowledge their approach has not worked and calls for a different approaching to building an offense?
    The Cardinals are seeing the same results as the rest of us. As far as admitting or acknowledging their plan didn't work, no, they have not said that. And if they are going to, they have made it clear it won't be until this COVID-impacted season is complete. That's when the real thoughts will come. Until then, they have made it clear their priority is getting through this season with as little virus-related turbulence as possible moving forward. So, we wait.
    Do you think it is reasonable to have a great deal of respect and admiration for the players and the coaches that have soldiered through with this Cardinals season and still be deeply frustrated with the inability of the FO/ownership to upgrade the offense?
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