Join columnist Ben Frederickson for a live STL sports chat at 11 a.m. Tuesday

Join columnist Ben Frederickson for a live STL sports chat at 11 a.m. Tuesday

Ben Frederickson answers your Cardinals, Blues, St. Louis City, Mizzou and SLU questions in Tuesday's 11 a.m. live chat.

    Greetings, chatters. Hope your Tuesday is off to a fine start. I'm back after a couple missed chats due to vacation, and here in the chat saddle until I need to get headed down to the ballpark for the Cards game. Until then, the floor is yours. Let's roll.
    hi Ben !A lot of positives and a few negatives for the big league club this year, in terms of individuals and overall team results. looking at the big picture from the organizational stand point, I think we have to be pretty excited for the next 5 years. i'm hoping that we can make a deep run this year in playoffs, but i'm more optimistic for next year after the Cards churn the roster a bit. your thoughts on the next one to five years ?
    Yes, I think it's fair to be very excited about the future. The Cardinals are as energized about their farm system as they have been in a very long time. An impressive and still-growing group of up-and-coming position players with bats that can do damage is helping that feeling. Some of these guys are helping this team now, ahead of schedule. Others are churning through the minors at a fast rate. Just remember that time works both ways. Molina and Pujols are gone after this season. Wainwright could be. While Goldschmidt appears to be getting younger, he's 34. Arenado is 31. The Cardinals are going to need some helpful in-season tweaks to have a decent chance at a deep run this season. We'll see what, if anything, the Cardinals are willing to give up -- perhaps some of that future talent - to improve this season's chances. History tells us not much at the deadline. I'd adjust expectations accordingly.
    The Cardinals have two elite starting pitching prospects in Springfield in McGreevy and Graceffo. Would they be willing to promote them to the Cards this year if the cost of SP is too high? I completely understand there is a large risk they may not be ready. But, the starting position players this year seem to be good enough to contend. They deserve to be given a shot to win this year.
    I think Graceffo's stuff can play at this level right now out of the bullpen, and no, that would not surprise me if that's the route they go at some point.
    Hi Ben . Whats going to happen with Jack ? Is he going to pitch this year and will he be a Cardinal in 2024 ( no pressure) ?
    Flaherty and Mozeliak didn't agree on how they looked back at the altering of his initial rehab plan yesterday, but they both did agree that Flaherty should be back at some point this season. As for his long-term future after he reaches free agency, I think it's safe to say there will have to be some sort of a breakthrough in the pitcher's relationship with the front office for that to be realistic Yesterday felt like that spring training day all over again, when Flaherty and Mozeliak bumped heads over how his injury was described and the SLAP tear information being shared. There's a pretty trackable history of what happens to players who seem to get sideways with the front office for various reasons -- a common one being how injuries are treated and/or rehabbed from -- and those can be signs of two sides going their different ways down the line. Yesterday was just unnecessary, more than anything. It's clear there is not a lot of solid communication going on between Flaherty and Mozeliak, and it probably took the contrasting quotes to make that happen. That's not how it should work. Also, I thought Flaherty should have taken some more ownership of the situation. He did push to return sooner than the initial plan presented. The team made that happen. He then had two bad starts and left his teammates stranded after two innings of a big game that turned into probably the worst lost of the season. I'm not suggesting he should have pitched through the dead arm, but acknowledging that the plan he pushed for did not work very well might have been good. In his defense, though, there was no way of guaranteeing this same thing would not have happened in a big spot if he stuck with the original rehab plan. Marmol pointed that out in addition to Flaherty. Marmol often comes across like the middle man here, trying to be the neutral voice between the pitcher and the pres.
    The Yadi situation is weird. There has to be more to this than what fans know. He shows up late to spring training and is out of shape for his swan song season??? Then he leaves the team to go rehab in Puerto Rico? This is the same player who, as his skills have eroded on the field, has been hailed for his leadership and stewardship in the clubhouse and he just bails... in his final season? Something is not right.
    He hasn't disclosed the personal reasons that were attributed to his late arrival in camp but it was clear when he got there that he was not in his usual physical shape, and he was pretty candid about that. He was going to have to play himself into shape, he said, and he was also not going to play nearly as much as he had in the past. That was the news straight from Yadi at spring training. I didn't take it lightly then. He was saying a lot with a little. I think he is frustrated with how he feels, how he hurts and how he is performing after an offseason that was not normal for him. He's had treatment to address knee pain and is taking some more time now to attempt to come back stronger and in improved shape. The team is in contact with him and is up to date on where things stand. The end of careers are not always very pretty. Rarely are they pretty, actually. I don't think he has bailed. I do think he'll be back. Then we will see if the time at home helped.
    Death, taxes, and the Cardinals dragging their feet as long as humanly possible before making an external move to solve a glaring problem on their roster as they lose ground in the playoff race.
    They don't exactly like to beat the market.
    At least not during the season.
    During the offseason they do for relievers at times, and the last two were Brett Cecil and Drew VerHagen. Whoops.
    Mozeliak, entertaining a rare bit of deadline speculation, suggested innings-eater with manageable acquisition costs could be the area the Cardinals look for help if help doesn't emerge from within.
    That doesn't sound like Frankie Montas, folks.
    Do the players look like they are having more fun out there than past seasons or what?
    Winning is fun. I don't think it's more fun one season than any other, to the guys on the field. The young guys have a vibe on this team. That's noticeable.
    I wonder if Flaherty's season would have gone better had the lockout still allowed injured and rehabbing players access to the team's medical staff.
    Perhaps. Impossible to know.
    Here's a crazy idea, hear me out; what if the Cardinals didn't just build a team good enough to beat the Brewers? What if they actually pushed the bar a WEE bit higher and tried to compete with the upper echelon teams? Wild, I know. Breathe, breathe.
    Hey now, we don't yet know if they're good enough to beat the Brewers, do we? They are 6-6 against them this season with a combined score of 48-44, and the Brewers not the Cards are the defending division champs.
    Where does Flaherty go from here? He obviously wasn't ready to pitch in the big leagues yet, and his three starts proved that. It didn't really look like he wanted to be out there at all in his last start. He irks a minority of the fanbase with his views on social issues, and now he seems irked at the media, and perhaps the FO.

    The Cardinals are in desperate need of one more quality starter if the intend to make a deep playoff run, but I don't have confidence that the Cards are willing to make a trade like that.
    He has to get healthy, get back and pitch. Pitch well. Stay healthy. That's the only path forward for him now, whether his future is here or somewhere else. His body language on the mound after his return was not good, but I wouldn't interpret it as him not wanting to be there. High frustration in the first two. Physically not feeling right in the last one. Not excusing it, just trying to explain it. I do think that kind of energy can bring down a team -- just as an effective and quick-working pitcher can keep a defense on its toes, for example. That's something Flaherty has to improve on, I think. Only he can know the fine line between pitching through some discomfort -- something all pitchers must do in order to succeed -- and not making a bad situation worse, which is what he wrestled with Sunday. He and the team decided it was best to lift him after two innings. He doesn't seem to think it's a massive setback, which is good news, but a return before the All-Star break seems impossible now, and there are only 65 games left after that point this season because of the lockout-affected schedule. So, it is big.
    I Think the Alcantara/Gallen trade is worse than Arozerena trade.Pitchers should never be traded unless high quality is coming back.MO wanted Yelich from the Marlins.The Marlins said no.MO then should have stepped away.The Cardinals were looking for a lefthanded bat.MO settled for Ozuna.MO's obssesion with power caused him to give up two pitching prospects for a player that was about to become a free agent.I Don't think MO had any desire to re-sign Ozuna unless he would have hit 40-50 homers.It is this move,along with others that I think MO is one the worst evaluators of talent in baseball.
    If Mozeliak had two do-overs, I think he would undo the Matt Carpenter extension and not trade away Sandy Alcantara for anybody. If he had one, I think he would use it on keeping Alcantara. Hindsight is 20/20. The Cardinals desperately needed a power bat for their lineup, because back then they didn't have all of this rising hitter talent in their farm system. The Cardinals didn't think Alcantara was going to be this good -- clearly. But who did? He had a pretty high walk rate. He was not as physically strong and well constructed as he is now. You have to give the young man and the Marlins some credit for what he did and what they did for him after the trade was made. But, yes, dealing Arozarena and Zac Gallen in the deal that led to a short-time outfielder who was hurt upon arrival turned into a regret. If Mozeliak was as bad of a talent evaluator as you suggested at the end, there would be many examples of these kinds of trades. The Cardinals avoided regrettable trades for a long time and have made some really good ones -- Goldschmidt, Arenado -- at the same time as making a few ones (and some free-agent signings) they would take back.
    Is Arenado pretty much a lock to remain in St. Louis from what you see, hear and feel yourself?
    Sure seems like it. He would be owed $144 million through 2027 and sure seems to like it here.
    Cards FO gets an A for drafting and development, B for trades ( good and bad mix) but D for free agent signings and overall evaluating talent and resource management.

    Fans want a better team, deeper runs into playoffs, more championships but team just wants to be competitive.

    There is always going to be a disconnect between the two. Get used to it or get over it or get some new talent evaluators?
    Evaluating talent seems important to trading and drafting, no? I'd bump those grades up for that reason. The free agent mishaps are more than fair game to criticize. Especially with free-agent relievers. Whether the Cardinals pay a lot or a little, they've had a hard time properly projecting how bullpen guys are going to perform. A couple of relatively recent big acquisitions -- Leake, Fowler -- did not work out to the point of having to pay the players to play elsewhere; never a good thing. And this offseason's additions across the board have been mostly disappointing, even for cost effective additions. Pujols has done his job when used correctly. The others have not and/or can't stay healthy.
    I have no doubt fans want the Cardinals to win a championship. But they're not exactly refusing to support the team or enjoy this season. I don't think the tone of these chats always captures how the majority of fans feel. 
    BenFred -

    Watching the Avs only lose 4 games total in their stanley cup playoff run was both encouraging and discouraging. Great that half of those losses came to the blues, but also scary how easy it was for them to roll right through every team they faced. Which side do you feed more into as it pertains to the Blues outlook for 2023?
    The Blues don't have to worry about how other teams played Colorado. They have to feel pretty good, I imagine, based on the full results of the postseason, about how they held up when they had their number-one goalie. They are on the right track. They don't need massive changes. That's what this postseason suggested to me.
    At some point the expected numbers or spin rates or whatever else for woodford can’t matter more than the fact that he is actually getting outs. Analytics are a great tool until you allow it to cripple you. And Oli has let these numbers keep him from using woodford more often and in higher leverage situations. He’s managed a bullpen much better than he’s getting credit for in my opinion, but he’s missed the mark on this one.
    The anti-Woodford stance is really strange. His performance should present him more chances to continue to prove the numbers wrong. VerHagen's "stuff" is great on paper but he can rarely get the job done on the mound. That's why you play the game.
    BenFred -

    I'm pretty thrown off by the back and forth between Mo and Flaherty yesterday. Whatever his feelings may be, why would Mo throw Flaherty directly under the bus in front of the media? He doesn't need to explain himself to fans and media as we've seen time and time again, not least through the events of the past post season. Also it would be ridiculous to think that Mo carries no blame for the handling of Flaherty's game time.

    Even if Flaherty was to blame, completely insistent that he was okay and that he wanted to play, the whole situation could have blown over with a simple "injuries happen in baseball" comment. Did Mo simply wake up yesterday and choose violence?
    It didn't surprise me.
    This has become a bit of a theme, the latest example before spring training being how the injury was described by Mozeliak.
    The natural question after Flaherty got lifted from Sunday's start was, hey, was this a result of changing the rehab plan?
    It was known and reported that Flaherty pushed to make his return sooner than originally scheduled, and the team and the pitcher worked that out.
    So, when it does not work, there are going to be questions.
    Should Flaherty have stuck with the team's original plan?
    Did the Cardinals rush him back to soon?
    And so on.
    The two had pretty different versions of answers.
    Mozeliak suggested, yeah, you have to wonder about what could have been different if the original plan had been used.
    Flaherty didn't want to entertain that suggestion.
    Mozeliak described Flaherty being the one who steered the process this way.
    Flaherty made it sound like more of a collectively decided call.
    The track record is relatively established of the Cardinals reminding players who go against the team grain in preferred injury treatment and/or recovery/rehab that things might have been different if the team's plan had been followed.
    There are other players -- Tyler O'Neill -- who have been vocal about wanting to avoid rehab stints this season.
    That played a part in this too, I think.
    Ben Fred -

    I never thought I'd say this, but count me in the camp of wanting to run back last year's trade deadline script. Even with Flaherty's outlook uncertain, I'd hate to see the Cardinals ship away any young talent this year for a Montas or other big name starter. The offense is good enough and the top of the starting rotation is strong enough for us to forego splashy acquisitions and just add some innings eaters for posterity. As long as Mikolas and Waino stay healthy, we have a fighting chance in any 7 game series. Lets just make sure we get to the playoffs. Fair?
    The Cardinals should not have a hard time making the playoffs. They have expanded. I would be hesitant to assume the Cardinals can count on another MVP season from Paul Goldschmidt, and another season like this from Adam Wainwright on the mound. The Cardinals under this regime will never put all of their chips on the table, but I do think they can manage a more aggressive trade deadline approach this time around without ruining the future. Effective trades can be made for non-elite prospects. They happen all the time.
    Do you see McFarland and Wittgren making it through the season on the roster? Mcfarlands GB% is way down and his hard hit rate is way up. Wittgren, who already wasn’t coming off a stellar year last season, was brought in as a strike thrower but has increased his walk percentage. But to give him credit, his hard hit rate is way down. Unless things change dramatically while McFarland is out and Wittgren figures something out I just don’t know how to justify them having 40 man spots.
    I like Wittgren's chances more than McFarland's.
    Anyone ask Marmol why he didn't let the rookie pitch the ninth last night. Woodford in relief of Pallant today would have been my scenario, not one inning last night.
    They don't seem to trust Woodford to handle that kind of assignment. I don't agree with that read on him, but it's their view for now.
    There has been an ongoing narrative amongst cardinals fans/media that Goldy and Arenado have never been hot at the same time. This leads everyone to believe that once it happens they will be an unbeatable offense.

    In the month of June, Goldy has a 1.114 OPS and Arenado has a .851 (though not spectacular, still very good). During the month the Cardinals are currently 1 game over .500. Clearly this unbeatable duo is actually quite beatable. Can this built in excuse finally be put to rest?
    They were both hitting pretty well during the big winning streak last season, too.
    The numbers don't exactly match that narrative.
    The Cardinals have a very good offense against left-handed pitching and an OK one against right-handed pitching.
    Does Oliver Marmol have more leeway than this predecessors? If nothing else than for the reason that Mozeliak has hired 3 hand picked, inexperienced managers and fired two of them. Firing Marmol for any reason would really, really make the front office look very bad.
    In some ways, maybe. But probably more so in terms of public perception than anything else. The Shildt firing caused a lot of conversation about how the Cardinals view the role of manager these days, and how the job is more of an intermediary between the front office and the clubhouse than a silo. Fans who maybe used to think something was a manager's call perhaps now have a better idea of how information flows and how decisions are made -- ultimately by the manager but informed by the various departments working for the team. If the a scenario presented itself where the front office felt it needed to make another change, I don't think the turnover and past changes would stop that from happening, though, if that's what you're asking. I think the Cardinals are pretty happy with Marmol and plan on him being around a long while based on the results they have had to observe so far this season. He's kept his star players healthy. He's adapted to injuries to pitchers. He's sharpened up accountability and has done a good job welcoming newcomers to the fold, not as rookies but as contributors. On top of that his bluntness is pretty refreshing, though the media might appreciate that more than the front office at times.
    Ben, will the real St Louis Cardinals please stand up? They are 12-4 against the woeful Cin and Pitt clubs, yet dead even against the rest of the league. That would suggest this team really isn’t that good. On the other side, they have the third highest run differential in mlb but only 10th best won/lost record. That would suggest a team that is badly under achieving as they should have 5 more wins. Which is it with this club?
    I think they could be pretty good, but not good enough to run away with a division when they are not fully healthy and have to work around pretty important pitching absences. If Matz can hold up and pitch decently, if Tyler O'Neill can get back and hit like he did before his second injury, if some pitching help is acquired  or emerges. I know what you're thinking. A pretty good team if . . . and there are a lot of ifs. This is what the Cardinals do.
    Ben, still it does seem odd that Yadi left to rehab in Puerto Rico, doesn't it? Especially it being his final season, his influence on the team, etc. Do you not find it strange?
    He got to camp late because of personal reasons that kept him in Puerto Rico. He went to Puerto Rico during the season when he was placed on the bereavement list. So, no, it doesn't surprise me much that he's back there now during what is an undetermined amount of time off.
    This final season is not going as Molina or the Cardinals hoped, but the signs of it being pretty different from the norm were clear back at camp. And yes, his situation is being handled differently than another player's would be. Consider the player. Molina is working daily, per Mozeliak, but is apparently not yet ready for baseball activities. The team is not putting a timetable on it. He has received anti-inflammatory treatment for his knee issues and now it's a wait-and-see until he can start baseball activities again.
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