BenFred: Molina’s much-discussed place in Cardinals roster will say more about roster than veteran receiver | Ben Frederickson

Here are highlights from sports columnist Ben Frederickson’s weekly conversation with St. Louis sports fans.

Q: Is it finally time for the Cardinals to move Yadier Molina down the lineup? Like, seventh or less?

A: Ah, this is one of my favorite pre-season talks.

It is a testament to Molina’s longevity that we have waded through these waters so often.

Another popular: is it finally time for Molina to rest more?

I digress. Sorry.

My first question to your question: Who is going to tell him?

Joking aside, he didn’t reach sixth place last season in a game he started.

People like to push Molina down the lineup because of his offensive slump, but let’s not ignore the fact that he’s consistently ranked in the top four RBIs (66) for the Cardinals. last season, which was higher than he had at bat (440, sixth).

People also read…

If you say that says more about the team’s attack last season, good point. More on that in a moment.

Molina is still one of a dwindling number of players who can adapt to multiple situations at the plate, and he’s still pretty reliable with runners in scoring position. These strengths are valuable, especially if an offense is struggling.

And while I’m not defending him for any roster spot, to get him down you gotta feel good about the guys hitting in front of him. Too often this is not the case. Another reason to get another proven bat for the range, right? Because in an unproven formation, Molina is doomed to climb.

Q: Is Travis Ford’s seat hot at all?

A: There don’t seem to be many signs from the SLU administration, and there are high hopes for what next season could look like if Javonte Perkins decides to return with just about everyone . I think there’s a good chance of that happening. I wouldn’t want to make a coaching change before that happens.

Q: What do you think of Michigan coach Juwan Howard’s suspension after the slap/punches? Too light or too hard? Just right?

A: I think he should have been suspended until the end of the season, playoffs included.

Labeling it “until the end of the regular season” was a nice branding; there are only a handful of games left before the Big Ten tournament.

I think letting him come back for the conference and the NCAA tournament makes the punishment watered down.

If Howard does that in any other area, he’s fired, no questions asked.

But whether we should or not, we just don’t treat sports like normal work.

Players and coaches fight sometimes, and we are guilty of celebrating it sometimes and being very offended at other times.

We are part of the problem in this regard.

Howard made a foolish decision, and he’s now one further away from Michigan, having no choice but to let him go.

And please spare me the complaints about what was done to Howard to bring about the situation. He messed up.

Q: Do you think the recently announced partnership between the NFL and XFL makes it less likely that St. Louis will win the BattleHawks back?

A: No, I don’t think so, but I’m afraid that kills some of the B-Hawks buzz.

Tell me if I’m wrong there.

Part of what made the BattleHawks so fun was that they weren’t affiliated with the NFL.

Now it looks more like a minor league team or something, although I know that’s not really how it works. This partnership seems to be more about rule changes being tested in the XFL game and stuff like that.

Still, it feels like the NFL, and the NFL isn’t a good feeling for a lot of people here.

Q: It’s starting to look like Cuonzo Martin’s job is in jeopardy. If a change is made, what type of coach would you like to see Mizzou follow? Favorites?

A: There is blood in the water, yes.

I thought Martin was the right recruit, so I’m not sure anyone wants to hear from me about who should be next.

If a bad season – and there’s no doubt it is a bad one – is enough to fire a coach who runs a clean program after helping Mizzou out of the ditch, then the Tigers should lean on the riskier side. of sports.

Go get someone who can have the players no matter what it takes.

Get a coach who asks for forgiveness, not permission, when it comes to pushing that NIL leeway as far as it can go, and more.

Martin is for NIL but I don’t know if he’s comfortable pushing beyond the strictest interpretation of the rules.

There was a time when this position was taken into account positively in the evaluation of a coach.

Q: What are the chances that the discussions between the union and the league this week actually lead to the season starting on time?

A: It is somewhat discouraging that the luxury tax issue has not been discussed much, as there seems to be a lot of separation. The owners position is that it should not be changed. Players want to change it significantly, increasing the cap and decreasing penalties, so fewer teams have an incentive to treat it as a hard cap. The other issues were seeing some movement towards the middle, which is great. And the tone that emerged from this week’s encounters at Roger Dean Stadium was more encouraging than what we have seen in the past. Deadlines tend to spur action.

Q: Does Mizzou football have a chance with either of the quarterback transfers from Daniels’ last name?

A: JT (Georgia) has been there for a while, so I think we would know now if there was a perceived mutual fit there, and there hasn’t been a lot of buzz.

Arizona State’s Jayden is reportedly coming with some baggage, based on video of his former teammates celebrating while emptying his locker after his decision to enter the gate.

So maybe not a Daniels, but that doesn’t mean maybe not a QB.

There will likely be another wave of transfer QBs, once the guys get a feel for the depth chart after spring training.

Drinkwitz did not close this door.

Q: Seeing a lot of talk about Mizzou football only expected to win four or five games this season. If it’s the floor, could the ceiling be? The defense should be good.

A: Backfield uncertainty is going to affect the Tigers in preseason picks and predictions, not that preseason picks and predictions are worth much. (Just rewatch a few of mine from recent seasons!) There’s also considerable uncertainty on the defensive end, given that no one outside the building has a clear idea what new coordinator Blake Baker will bring him. after replacing Steve Wilks.

It’s big things — new QB, new primary RB, new defensive coordinator — that make this a wait-and-see year for Mizzou. Expect these to be cooked in safe and/or low expectations from the outside. I find it hard to see a ceiling too high without knowing who is playing QB.

Q: Any thoughts on Arch Madness as it rapidly approaches downtown STL?

A: Missouri State appears to be the wild card, given that the Bears can be off or colder than ice depending on the night. Isiaih Mosely of the Bears is a name to know. He’s scored over 40 points a few times this season, but he’s been a lot calmer lately. He shoots an absurd 50% from the field.

It should be a good tournament. Five teams within two conference wins of each other in the standings. Loyola is trying to protect what could be a package deal. Usually I’m in spring training during this time, but maybe not this year, depending on where the baseball negotiations are.

Check out highlights from Ben Frederickson’s weekly chat with St. Louis sports fans.

BenFred: Will Carlos Beltran's connection to the Astros sign-stealing scandal hurt his Cooperstown bid?

Check out highlights from Ben Frederickson’s weekly chat with St. Louis sports fans.

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