In our weekly chat with Post-Dispatch readers, we tackled questions about Binnington's worth to the Blues, the Cardinals outfield situation and more. Here are some of the top questions.
Q: As I watched the Blues give up twice as many scoring chances last night and still win it keeps showing how valuable Binnington is (open up your wallet now Army before the cost goes sky high). If the team gets healthy it's reasonable to see another Cup run this year. A little side note ... after wins when the Blues go to center ice to salute the crowd Binnington does a twirl w his arms raised in a "V". It's reminiscent of Blues great goalie Jacques Plante in 68-70 as he left the Arena ice after every Blues wins.
Jacques Plante reference! That's old school. And, yes, the Blues will have to pay up for Binnington. He's showing he is the real deal. He lacks the size of the classic modern goaltender, but his athleticism and competitiveness carry him forward. Finiding true mental toughness with a goaltender is golden. Teams never really know what they have until they put guys under fire.
Q: Any potential new Arozarena’s in the Farm system? This team would sure look a lot better with a stud outfielder instead of a bunch of Questions. Of course that assumes Mo won’t trade them first
A: Beyond the top pick guys Nolan Gorman and Jordan Walker are raw power hitters like Jhon Torres, Malcom Nunez and Luken Baker. It will be interesting to see if any of them can progress against better pitching. The independent analysts are high on outfielder Trejyn Fletcher, who is a good all-around athlete. I'm not sure of his power potential and he's a long ways off.
Q: If you were giving out "Partial Season Grades", what would you give Binnington so far? I am thinking "B"..... solid, but not great. Perhaps 2019 Binnington spoiled me.
His numbers say A-minus at worst. That run he had in '19 was superhuman. Comparing him to that standard is unfair. I thought he was a B or B-plus last season until he struggled in bubble hockey. Now he appears to be back on track, just in time to get a big contract extension.
Q: It seems the Cards are committed again to seeing what they have with their young outfielders. But if the price becomes right (and that is a big if) what free agent outfielders are still out there do you think would help?
The top remaining free agents left after Jackie Bradley Jr., Brett Gardner, Yasiel Puig and 900-year-old Shin-Soo Choo. Bradley would obviously offer an offensive upgrade over Harrison Bader, but his agent is Scott Boras and his reported asking price was $50 million over four years. The Cardinals have essentially spent their 2021 budget, so I would not hold out hope of Bradley landin here.
The other free agents? Meh.
Q: Now that we've seen what the Blues are this year, who's on your protect list for the Seattle expansion? Seems like with the emergence (or resurgence) of some guys it's become a pretty clear cut list.
F: Tarasenko, O'Reilly, Schenn, Thomas, Kyrou, Perron, Schwartz (assuming resigned)
D: Faulk, Krug, Parayko
Q: The Blues are no longer a "heavy" team. Do you think, with smaller defensemen, the Blues can start playing a heavier game as the playoffs come into focus?
Interestingly, the smaller Coyotes were able to cause havoc against bigger Blues defensemen with their cutbacks and their edge work. The game is changing. The Blues stlll want to play strong along the walls, but they have to be better in the middle of the ice.
The top Blues defenseman this season is Justin Faulk, who lacks the wingspan of Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester. But he has played physical hockey and he's been strong with his stick. Niko Mikkola has big a wingspan, but it's not enough to keep him in the lineup.
Can you lend some reasoning behind the A10 moving up the men's tourney to the first week of March, except for the final game, which will be 8 days after the semi-finals, and in Dayton. There are Covid fingerprints all over this, of course. The 8-day delay makes no sense to me.
The title game is a big TV game, so that makes sense. Moving up the rest of the tourney creates extra time to make adjustments and still get the tournament completed. Unlike the power conferences, the A-10 has to play its postseason tourney to make its best case for multiple NCAA Tournament bids. SLU needs that tourney to make its case. The SEC and Big Ten don't need their tournaments to get several schools in. Those cases are made in conference play.
Q: Other than getting LUCKY, what's it going to take to 'stop-the-bleeding' for the basketball Tigers. There does not seem to be a very high level with confidence on this current mix of talent. Really having trouble closing out games. Talk to me.
If Missouri can get Dru Smith, Xavier Pinson and Mark Smith to play well in the same game, the Tigers can beat just about anybody, And Mark Smith looked more like his old self shooting the ball at Georgia. With Tilmon back, they have a chance to restore order. But again, it comes done to those guards playing more consistently efficient basketball. Teams are denying their drives, so lately we've seen a lot of penetration into the lane followed by a stumble-stop travesl, forced shots off balance or an errant pass.
Q: Do you have any bad experiences with your hair and glue that you would like to share?
Not really. I'm old, so I built a lot of model cars back in the day with airplane glue. I suppose that explains a lot.
Q: Looking past this season, Doug Armstrong expects to lose a good player to the Kraken in the expansion draft. Which good player (Dunn, Barbashev, other?) do you think the team should be comfortable with losing? Or do you see DA pursuing a deal to protect the team from losing a particular guy?
Dunn has a lot of trade value because he hasn't signed his bigger money deal yet, so I can see him getting traded for a future asset. I could see them losing Sanford or Barbashev and just moving on with life. At some point those guys make bigger money and they become harder to fit within a cap system. But Sundqvist and Scandella are definitely Chief guys.
Q: Do you believe the Tatis signing will open up the flood gates to teams locking up early the can't miss elite hitters when they are lucky enough to have one from day one?
There are very few players in that category. Among those very few players we may see more contracts this early in careers because the price for the truly exceptional player only gets greater. Also, look for the next CBA to get players to free agency a year or two quicker.
Q: Is this Jeff Albert's last chance to show he can help some Cardinal hitters? It feels like there hasn't been a single player improve during his two-season tenure,
His leash has been very, very long. It could remain slack if simply adding Arenado and removing a couple of bad hitters from the everyday lineup makes a big difference. But it will be interesting to see what happens with DeJong, Edman, Bader, Carlson and O'Neill this season. They all seem capable of doing more, but will they?
Q: At this point is Faulk as good as Petro? When did they change the boards, in hockey, to the wall? IMO most Blues players are better playing on their shooting side. (ie Faulk on the right side, Blais on the left). What say you? Thanks
No, Faulk does not measure up to Pietrangelo. Alex is better at both ends. But Faulk closed the gap.
Forwards like playing on their off wing because they are set up for the one-timer during sustained offensive flurriees. They can also cut to the midde of the ice on their forehand for a better angle. Defensemen like playing on their matching side because it's hard to advance the puck along the wall on the backhand.