STL sports chat Ben Frederickson

STL sports chat 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 enjoying the World Series. I'd say the same about Mizzou football, but yikes. Speedy recovery to No. 91. Plenty to discuss. Let's roll.
    With Mizzou continuing it's rivalry with Kansas, do you think Mizzou vs SLU basketball could ever return?
    I hope so. I need to do the annual check in on this with both coaches. Last year, both Cuonzo Martin and Travis Ford were open to the idea. I got the sense both wanted to have their teams at their best before they brought it back. If any two coaches can get it going, it's these two. They have a good relationship. Travis' son is a walk-on with the Tigers. That doesn't happen without the coaches getting along. I don't know that there's anything imminent, but don't give up hope. I think it would have to be campus and campus considering the Braggin' Rights game exists. That shouldn't be a non-starter though.
    I disagree wholeheartedly with your article about ignoring the Chargers. Would you agree that the NFL is the most popular sports league in America and will be for at least the next 20 years (after that will be the NBA, another league we don't have, but that's another story). As a football fan, I'd rather have football rather than money that will probably be spent on a trolley or something as equally as stupid. The prestige an NFL team brings is unmatched. Imagine how well know cities like Buffalo and Green Bay would be without the NFL. Right now, those cities are more well known than St. Louis due to them having an NFL team as us not having one.
    As is your right. But I wholeheartedly disagree with you that a city that was completely conned by the NFL should continue to think its self-worth as a city depends on that corrupt league's view of it -- or people who think in that same fashion. If you make a deal with someone, and they leave you with a knife in your back, why would you go back and make another deal with that person? Don't let the NFL dictate your view of a city. That's a rather limiting view.
    Ben, Barry Odom was out coached so bad Saturday night in that monsoon, It was literally impossible to complete passes, and yet he bailed on the running game midway thru second quarter. That game required running over and over again, playing field position, etc. He just blew it and took his team out of the game, that was a poor coaching performance and not the first from BO.
    Tough yet fair assessment. Odom' does not call plays for the offense. That's Dooley's job. But Odom is the head coach, so he's the top of the decision pyramid or whatever you want to call it. At least he should be, right? What was more baffling to me was the defense continuing to respect the QB draw against a wide receiver who can't throw and only wanted to run. The rain also made it even less likely for him to pass. The Tigers don't play well on the road. They don't play well in the rain. They don't play well when the quarterback is unfamiliar to them. It's like Green Eggs and Ham on the gridiron.
    We need to change the offense, but,how, without drastic changes to the roster? Starting pitchers, would Wheeler or Keuchel peak your interest?
    What is your definition of drastic?
    A new third baseman?
    An entirely new outfield?
    A lefty starter for the rotation would be nice, though perhaps Gomber can become that guy if healthy. The Cardinals always seem to find pitching from within, somehow, someway, and they did it again this season.
    If Ozuna walks, they've got big offensive questions at third base, left field, center field and right field.
    You can plug one of those with Tommy Edman, but I prefer the idea of him bouncing around -- in part to spot DeJong at SS -- and getting a starter's amount of at-bats at a bunch of different positions.
    Wheeler and Keuchel are both interesting to me. Yes. I was down on Wheeler at the trade deadline, but he really finished strong.
    The lineup is more concerning though. 
     
  • Ben, why does your city keep trying to sue me! You can't economically support an NFL team! Baseball only town!
    Yeah, yeah.
    Let's see those phone records, fella. 
    I disagree with Trevor's statement. Having an NFL team doesn't make you an elite city. Thanks to the St. Louis Blues Stanley Cup season and the Cardinals run deep into the playoffs, I think we're just as well know, if not better than Green Bay and Buffalo.
    I think St. Louis, right now, is probably better known for the bad things that happen in St. Louis than anything sports-related.
    I hope that changes.
     
    Ben, What does the Mizzou football team need to do to increase the buzz around the team and increase the money flow from donors? Can Odom do that?
    Win.
    Simple as that.
    Missouri fans are, no pun intended, show-me fans. They tend to show their support after a team shows it's good. That's why the Wyoming loss was a flat tire of sorts, because it happened before the first home game. The Tigers had reclaimed some good will with five straight home wins. Then they punted it away with back-to-back losses to Vanderbilt and Kentucky. I would imagine the crowd for the Florida game will show the fan base's frustration in the form of empty seats. We'll see. 
     
    Thoughts on the NBA one week into the season?
    I get a kick out of the Warriors stinking. Especially because their new stadium prioritized their new, white-collar fans over the ones who would have supported a rebuild.
    Fun to lobby for now without a sense of the complications that could arise.
    Some reports have described how it could change the strike zone.
    For example, curveballs that dive out of the zone late but cross the front of the plate before the break are often called balls to hitters who are set up in the back of the box.
    There are some bad umpires out there. The ones who draw attention to themselves and work hard to become a part of the story need to be phased out. But these guys are good at what they do, and I don't think the people clamoring for tech to make it perfect realize that tech won't be perfect either.
    Think of all the problems that could occur. Malfunctions. Irregularities. God forbid, influencing factors that are different depending on the stadium. There's a lot to sort through. 
    I don't mind most umpires.
    Most players don't mind most umpires. 
    Obviously you can't replace a Tarasenko, but the injury should further perpetuate DA's philosophy of having many fairly well paid players, instead of a few very well paid players. Hopefully Thomas can take another step, and maybe a Kostin or Kyrou can get a fair shake.
    It certainly speaks to the depth of the talent on this team that Tarasenko goes out and no one is calling it a season-ender for the team long with him.
    And, who knows, maybe he can be back in time for the postseason.
    It's a blow. A big one. But hockey is such a team sport, that good teams like the Blues are not going to be derailed by the loss of any player not named Binnington.
    Their road just got tougher. They're used to tough roads.
    If Martinez indeed goes into the rotation,would you be okay with Helsley or Gallegos being the closer until midseason?
    Sure. Or someone else. Keep cycling through until someone sticks, then spin again when that guy can't get it done. I'm done with the idea of signing established relievers. The Cardinals can't do it right, so they should just stop and focus on making them instead. Carlos wanting to be in the rotation and Carlos being in the rotation are two very different things. The chances his road leads back to closer seem pretty high, based off of what we've watched recently.
    I'm not saying they'll do it but, to be an elite team, the Cardinals need upgrades at RF, CF, LF and 3b. Do you agree? Plus, why all the concern with replacing Ozuna's 90 rbi? Remember, he puts at least 20 runs on the board for the opponent with his defense.
    Ozuna's defense didn't cost the Cardinals 20 runs this season. That's hyperbolic. And the notion his offense is easy to replace is a bit shortsighted, in my opinion. Even with his disappointing 2018 and his injury-impacted 2019, his 89 RBIs in 2019 and 88 in 2018 marked the 12th and 13th-highest RBI totals by a Cardinal in seasons since 2010. Paul Goldschmidt (97 RBIs in 2019) is the only other current Cardinal with a season better than Ozuna during that time frame. I'm not suggesting Ozuna is irreplaceable, at all. I'm just pointing out that it's fair to wonder if that kind of production -- for a team that desperately needs more production -- is just going to appear out of the farm system, from a player who was not asked to help the team in 2019. Seems unlikely, right?
    A. Do you offer Ozuna a QO?
    B. Think he'll take it?
    C. If he leaves who's our left fielder?
  • A) Yes.
    B) No.
    C) TBD. Cop out, I know. But we don't yet have a good sense of how the Cardinals view this challenging roster. If it's go find a corner outfielder, we can go through those names. If it's, move Matt Carpenter to left field and go get a third baseman, then that changes things. If it's shake up the entire outfield and give Carpenter a bounce-back try at third base . . . You see what I mean. The Cardinals will talk after the World Series, and there should be some sense by then of what they would like to do to try to improve this offense.
    Ben if you’re Sterk what do you do when the season ends? You have a coach that has lost the fan base. But if you fire him you’re on the hook for his contract. Correct me if I am wrong but here are the situations below:

    Fire Odom end of season, risk getting a better coach (I am all for this option).

    Pros: you may be able to jump start the fanbase if the new hire can turn the program around. But how long will take take?

    Cons: if the new hire sucks you have bills to pay, plus Odom’s contract

    Keep Odom

    Pros: financially a good option.

    Cons: where do I even start?

    What say you Ben?
    In terms of SEC buyouts, Odom's is pretty meager compared to his counterparts, even after the extension he received last December.
    The buyout terms of that extension state that Odom would get $450,000 for each season that remains on the deal, which runs through the 2024 season. On top of that, he would get the money in his university controlled deferred fund, which is $150,000 for every year Odom is employed.
    Big numbers for us, but not for SEC football coaches, or programs that pay them to go away.
    Personally, I don't think Sterk can or should make a coaching decision based off of trying to score a win with fan reaction.
    The fans won't show support for a new coach until or unless he wins, so that's a mot point. It's just the nature of Mizzou fans.
    Here's the question Sterk has to answer -- and he won't answer it until he has time to digest the full body of work that is the season. He's been clear about that, so as much as we talk about the ups and downs between now and then, know that Sterk is not going to make a call until the season is in the books.
    Now, when that point comes, he's gotta decide this: He has talked time and time again since he was hired about wanting a front doorstep to the athletics department to be a top-25 football team, year in and year out. This is Odom's fourth season. He got his QB. He got the most desirable schedule an SEC coach could ask for. If you can't be a top-25 team with this team in this season, then when? That's the question. Sterk won't answer it until he sees the season through. 
     
     
    On the most recent BPIB, Goold and Hummel suggested a Bader for Charlie Blackmon trade might be attractive for both sides. Do you think this trade (or one like it) is in the realm of possibility?
    Only if the Rockies decide to dump salary and/or "rebuild"
    If they're trying to win, I don't see them having much interest in making that deal.
    Moustakas on a 2 year deal...appealing to you?
    It is, and I say this as someone who was against the idea of the Cardinals going there for the past two seasons. But now, it makes a lot more sense. And hey, I admit I was wrong about his ability to hold up. He's proven me wrong. Meanwhile, Carpenter has eroded. Moose at 3B with Edman bouncing all around -- while hitting regularly -- and Carpenter working his way off the bench if he's here, that's appealing to me. And ideally, Carpenter hits. And you have a good problem to have. But that's the spot the Cardinals should put themselves in. The one where Carpenter hitting is a great problem to have, not something they are counting on.
    BenFred-That Gonzales for O'Neill swap isn't looking like such a heist to the BFIB anymore, is it?
    I've been wrong about a lot of stuff, but I do feel like I have always tried to pump the brakes on O'Neill in these chats. It would be nice to have that lefty in the rotation, for sure. Though it's also understandable why the Cardinals reached a chance-of-scenery place with Gonzales. Fair to question at this point if they got enough for him.
  • Ben, two questions.

    1. If Mizzou plays Kansas in Lawrence right now in FOOTBALL, Kansas wins that’s how bad Mizzou is. Yes or no?

    2. What is the status of KB?
    You can't rule out that outcome, as crazy as it would have sounded a couple weeks ago. As for Bryant, it's a wait-and-see. There was no availability in CoMo this week due to the bye week. That should help his hamstring get tome to heal if it's not a significant injury. As for the QB beyond his hamstring, he just looks off. We have not recently watched the QB who tried to fire up his teammates on the sideline at Wyoming. He's not used to losing. He's not used to getting crushed behind a suddenly-hapless offensive line either. The lack of an on-field connection between him and Albert O. is bordering on bizarre. It just isn't working out like anyone thought it would.
    My biggest fear for the off season is the Cards front office feeling like they are forced and making another bad decision. The GM's recent record has been to overpay and/or trade players at the trough of their value.
    That said and given the commitments to Carpenter/Fowler, the surplus of young outfielders, the rise of
    Tommy Edmond, and the fact that so many of the starters hit well below their career average would not
    the wisest course of action be, on the position player side, to see how 2020 plays out and then reevaluate for 2021
    So, punt on 2020, the final season Yadier Molina has a chance to play for a championship?
    I don't think that's the approach, and I don't think that's the one that will be followed.
    The Cardinals, like they do every season, will try to make moves that they feel improve their team. Their goal is to be a postseason team every season. That isn't going to change.
    It may not be enough to satisfy some who want four new starters, but it won't be nothing. 
    There's a pattern here. Identify the biggest needs, then go work to address them as much as possible while adhering to the sustained-success model.
     
    Hey Ben, If no off-season acquisition is made then which of the two options for starting outfielders would you take?
    A. Carlson, Bader, Fowler
    B. Carlson, Thomas, Arozerena
    Would have been nice to see what Thomas would have done before his injury before picking this one, but what they heck.
    I'll take B, for the sake of seeing something new as much as anything.
    But I'll also point out that new isn't always better, especially when we are talking about internal fills for the outfield.
    These young guys will have growing pains.
    Asking A LOT to thrust them in without any veteran help and/or veteran hitting experience.
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