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 everyone is having a good World Series day. Plenty to discuss. Border War is back! Big tip of the cap to Jim Sterk and Co. for getting that done. And for Kansas, for realizing they should stop stiff-arming a good thing. Mizzou football blew it again. The Cardinals are done, with big questions ahead. The Blues are back on track, thanks to a trusty team meeting. The XFL is starting to take shape. MLS is headed to Sacramento along with STL. And I'm sure I missed a bunch . . . Oh yeah, that Cardinal Ritter thing. Let's roll.
    It's time to cut ties with Carlos Martinez. His off season conditioning and antics are growing old. Time to move on. I'm sure the Cards could get a nice return with him and either O'Neill or Bader in a package!
    Just to be clear. The operation he just had wasn't related to his offseason anything. It was waiting for him to begin the offseason.
    I get the C-Mart fatigue. And I know the team has felt it at times. He has been shopped on the trade market multiple times for that reason.
    Here's the thing, though. He was pretty effective as a closer this season. There is still a chance he could start again. And remember, Jordan Hicks won't be read at the season's start for the closer role.
    Martinez makes $11.7 million in 2020. Same as he made in 2019. Same as he made in 2018. He becomes much more expensive in 2022 ($17 million) and 2023 ($18) -- but both of those years can be sidestepped with a relatively small ($500k) buyout.
    My point?
    While frustrating at times, Carlos is still a relative bargain if he's a decent starter or decent closer, and the Cardinals are not big fans of eating money unnecessarily or trading at a loss.
    Could they move him? Sure. But it's going to be for something that helps the team.
    I don't think he's in any way untouchable, and has not been for some time now.
    Question is, what do other teams think of him?
     
    What in your opinion are two/three good books that go "behind the scenes"? Similar to Jim Bouton's classic "Ballfour". (Hence my screen name) I'm more interested in hockey or baseball, not so much basketball.
    I highly recommend The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O'Neil's America by Joe Posnanski. It opens the eyes to a side of baseball that is far too often forgotten. The Negro Leauge had some all-time great players, and Buck was one of them.
     
    I'm currently reading My Losing Season by Pat Conroy. It's good so far.
    When are the Cardinals going to realize that Bader and O'Neill are nothing more than good minor league players? Bader watches two fastballs go right down the middle of the plate and strikes out on a 60 foot curve ball. O'Neill is too bulky to stay off the IL. It's time to find two outfielders who can hit more than .205
    Bader and O'Neill, and what they are and can become, are certainly on the list of big questions the Cardinals will need to do their best to answer this offseason.
    The answer will factor into a lot of things, moves made and not made, offers made and not made, everything, really.
    You nailed Bader's weakness. He's a fastball mauler who struggles against offspeed/breaking stuff, and the word is out. If he doesn't adapt, he will be a one-dimensional hitter who jumps on pitchers who a) don't know better or b) can't throw non-fastballs for strikes. Those hitters don't last too long, though he helps himself with elite speed and defense.
    As for O'Neill, we were always told he is as athletic as he is strong, and that this would keep him away from the injury issues that often plague players with his body type. Well, that has not been true. He played in the same amount of games this season as he did last season, which is bad news for a 24-year-old who is trying to break through. Some think -- and maybe they are right -- that O'Neill will produce if given regular at-bats. But him  getting regular at-bats and forcing his way out the fourth outfielder role is going to be impossible if he continues the pace of landing on the inured list four times since 2018.
    The Cardinals put a lot of spotlight on Bader. They have promoted him relentlessly and continue to make him a focal point of their branding and advertising. Perhaps that makes them more likely to give him more chances. We'll see.
    O'Neill could be thrust into that long-awaited regular role if the Cardinals let Ozuna walk and slow-play Dylan Carlson, but as we've discussed here before, that's asking a lot of players who have not done much to this point.
    BenFred, what are your thoughts on the Cardinal Ritter fiasco?
    Are the Cards going to make a play for Mookie Betts?? Since the Cards won't sign a free agent this winter, the only way to get a outfielder who can hit is to trade a pitcher (C Martinez) and a major/minor league outfielder (Bader). We need two outfielders who can hit more than their weight!
    Before that could become a possibility, the Red Sox will have to determine their plan of action with who they are going to prioritize keeping as their spending drops. Many miles to go before we know trading for Betts is even an option. And the Cards, as mentioned earlier, are sorting through their own outfield issues. We have not yet heard from the Cardinals decision-makers about their early sense of offseason plans. That usually comes in some way, shape or form during the end-of-season press conference. That's likely coming after the World Series.
    NBA starts tonight. BenFred, what are you most excited for in the second biggest sport in America (NFL is first)?
    Right now, the most interesting thing NBA related for me is this incredibly careful song and dance commissioner Adam Silver and players are doing with this China situation. I did not realize just how much the NBA's pockets were lined by China, and it's been fascinating to see how the league known for speaking out on political and social issues here in America has, all of a sudden, started walking on eggshells because it fears more monetary punishment from China pulling out on deals, broadcasts, endorsements, player tours, etc. LeBron James is not the only one who has taken some lumps here. It's always interesting how stances change when the bottom line takes a hit.
    How many years will the XFL have to last for it to be an accepted part of the St. Louis sports community?
    That really depends on your definition of "accepted."
    I'm not sure the XFL will ever reach NFL level of attention here.
    Some people just won't get tuned into what they feel is a No. 2 league.
    But that doesn't mean XFL can't be successful. Clearly, the folks running the show in STL are going above and beyond to build connections with the community. I don't think the ink was dry on the QB's deal before he was out making stops around the city, mingling with fans.
    That approach will create a niche here.
    So will winning.
    I like that they got some Mizzou flavor in the draft. That helps, too.
    And they tapped Brian Stull to take on public and media relations, a smart move considering he's worked in the market and has a feel for what St. Louis sports fans like and want.
    Progress, for sure.
    With all the OF depth would the cards be willing to try to trade fowler to a different team?
    If there was a desirable trade available for Fowler, I don't think the Cardinals would be fighting it off.
    He's not exactly the most desired trade chip, considering his performance the past two seasons and his contract.
    He also has a full no-trade clause, so he gets to decide yes or no to where he goes.
    That makes for a hard contract to move.
    He's 33, and is owed $16.5 million in each of the next two seasons. He was better this year than last year, by a lot, but he was still one of the least effective regular outfielders out there in terms of production on offense. Adjusted OPS sets the league average at 100. Fowler was a 59 last season and a 98 this season.
    In both Fowler and Matt Carpenter, the Cardinals have two under-performing veterans that fans are going to want to see moved, for decent reasons.
    They are also the hardest-to-move kind of players out there at the moment.
    The Cardinals would improve their chances if they ate  a lot of money on those deals. The Cardinals don't like to do that, but may have to depending on their plan of attack this offseason.
     
     
     
    Hopefully, Ozuna takes the Cards qualifying offer and then they can trade him at the deadline for prospects.
  • I prefer wins and postseason to success to prospect hoarding, but I know I'm in a diminishing camp these days.
    If Ozuna is back, he is likely the left-field starter for a team that is competing to get into the postseason.
    Teams that are competing to get into the postseason rarely trade a performing starter at the deadline.
    Never say never, but if Ozuna returns on the QO I would bet he finishes that season with the Cards.
    Thoughts on the XFL schedule that was released this morning?
    I know it's out. That's about it.
    Mizzou being picked 13th in b-ball seems low. I know last season does not instill a lot of confidence, but they will be better, right?
    I'll just say I don't think this team finishes 13th if the key players stay healthy. The Tigers will have better guard play with the maturation and health of Mark Smith and Javon Pickett, plus the addition of Dru Smith. It'll be a guard-heavy team that is more prepared to play well if Jeremiah Tilmon lapses into his foul-trouble issues again. Last season, when Tilmon got on the bad side of the officials, it was a significant setback for that game. I think this team, because of its guards and depth bigs, will be better suited to play through that and around it. And if Tilmon finally gets his act together, then the ceiling raises considerably. Mizzou is not a sexy team because there are no new flashy recruits, but if every returning player got better, they should be a better team. A lot better than 13th in the 14-team SEC.
    Chances of carp and fowler both being a Cardinal nrxt year?
    I prefer not to guess.
    Based on a few of the knowns: their contracts, their recent performances, the Cardinals' distaste for eating money, then the safe bet is that they will return.
    I'll think that until we hear differently, and the Cardinals have not yet made public their plans.
    The top moves you feel that Cards should make?
  • I still think there is room for a plus starter for the rotation, with Wainwright's future uncertain -- though the Cardinals will have a sense of that before the rest of us -- and Wacha all but certainly heading toward the exit.
    Everything else is somewhat influenced by decisions that have not yet been revealed.
    If Ozuna does not accept the qualifying offer and leaves -- or does not get one to accept -- then the team likely gets worse if the band comes back as is with an internal promotion for the hole in left field.
    Depending on how the Cardinals decide to play it, there could be a whole new outfield next season.
    I doubt that, but no one out there has done enough to cement his position in stone.
    In short, I don't think the Cardinals can sell an internal fill for left field and more hope for both Fowler and Carpenter. That would be a false bill of goods. Go get a third baseman and/or left fielder, or shake up the outfield entirely.
  • This team is not NEAR as good as you and others make them out to be. They finally went up against a team that wasn't injured or tanking and look what happened. Complete sweep. Didn't even have a lead during the four games. Worst slash line in NLCS/ALCS history. I am glad a national audience was able to witness this humiliation.
    I'm confused by this stance.
    There seems to be this lust for saying the Cardinals were a bad team.
    They were not a bad team.
    In fact, they were an exceptional team in all phases but one: offense.
    They committed the fewest errors in the game.
    They pitched their way to a top-5 rotation ERA and a top-5 bullpen ERA.
    They ran the bases with the best of them, scoring high in baserunning metrics along with stolen bases and stolen-base percentage.
    They didn't hit well. They didn't hit consistently. Good and unknown pitchers made them look bad. They were shutout and limited to one run far too many times.
    All of these things are true.
    They were as  good of a team as a team with a bad offense can be.
    It's not hard to grasp.
    They were a table with three legs, and that rickety table --because of its strength in other legs -- wobbled all the way to the Final Four.
    That's the only honest way to view it.
    mizzou's offensive line was bad.In the vandy game..Did odom mention this
    Bad is an understatement. Lethargic. Lazy at times even. A terrible performance from a group that was challenged to beat Ole Miss, and followed through. That same starting five made the start against Vanderbilt, and no-showed. I'm sure there will be plenty of comments from the coach and the linemen about it this week. I saw today that center Trystan Colon-Castillo was defending Odom and asking fans who were upset with the coach to come find him. That's silly. He needs to block better, along with his teammates.
    What would you say the percent chance that the NBA returns to St. Louis in the 2020s?
    Until there is a) interest from the league in coming to St. Louis or b) an investor with the $$$ To make the league interested in coming to St. Louis, there's nothing to talk about .
    Do the Cardinals scout foreign baseball leagues, like in the Netherlands, Italy, Australia, and England? I know they found Mikolas in Japan but I was just curious if we actually had boots on the ground in those countries.
    Yep. They have continued to increase their net over the years. Recently they signed three teenagers out of Italy, Aruba and Australia. They will go where the players are, like most teams these days, some more so than others. As far as physical scouting, it depends. My understanding on Mikolas is that the Cardinals leaned on video as as opposed to watching him pitch in person in Japan.
    Do you think the cardinals see some of the in house options as possible back up shortstop options? Such as Edman, Sosa, or even Kramer Robertson. Or will they look outside the organization. I’m sure both sides will be considered I’m just curious which you think is more likely. Thanks.
  • If Edman is not the starting third baseman, he would be the best option.
    He's played there in the minors.
    But the Cards never tried him there once this season, which was interesting.
    If Edman isn't up for it in the Cardinals' eyes, than it might be time to add someone for that role -- because if they had it, where was he this year?
    Munoz played fewer innings at shortstop this year than last year, not a good sign for a team that was working a young shortstop hard and could have used someone to take some reps from him to keep him sharper toward the end of the season.
    BORDER WAAAAAAAAAAAAR

    So **** excited for this game to come back. Is there anything better than the Mizzou-kU rivalry? (It's a hypothetical question. There isn't.)
  • Few things are better.
    I'm really interested in the specifics that changed between now and then, but I'm mostly just happy for the fans.
    Increasingly, common sense in scheduling college sports is hard to find. 
    This is a big win for that.
    And it wasn't gone so long that it lost passion.
    It's right there, ready to come roaring back, as evidenced by last night's reaction to the news.
    When will the MLS team name be revealed?
  • Waiting.
    Waiting.
    If I knew, I'd tell you.
    But there are a lot of items in waiting for the MLS crew at the moment.
    Most important, in terms of getting things started on time, is the stadium.
    Ground has not yet been broken and finalized stadium renderings remain under wraps for now.
    That's the thing people should be most interested in.
    A team name can be cooked up in a day if need be.
    A stadium can't.
  • My theory with the empty seats and decreased playoff ratings are that, frankly, the Blues, MLS, and XFL hampered the Cardinals. People spent money/energy or the Blues or are planning to spend money on the XFL/MLS. The Cardinals will probably have a permanent drop in relevance due to the new sports teams.
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