I hope you are doing well, and gearing up for a fun weekend.

Get your NCAA Tournament brackets out. It’s almost go time.


Cardinals manager Oli Marmol is impressed with the professionalism and maturity of center field prospect Victor Scott II. “He carries a notebook, and he’s always making notes to himself about what he’s learned, and what he needs to work on,” Marmol told me. “We see him going up to veterans and asking questions. And they’re good questions. He’s determined to learn and make himself better. Everyone notices that.”


I offer this just to show you how Binnington has returned to form in goal for the Blues. I’m going with the Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA) metric used by Evolving Hockey. Here is Binnington’s season-by-season GSAA when playing goal at all strengths:

  • 2018-2019: 13.73
  • 2019-2020: 3.45
  • 2020-2021: 2.55
  • 2021-2022: minus 6.46
  • 2022-2023: minus 19.16
  • 2023-2024: 13.08

As you can see, Binnington is providing his highest level of quality in goal since his remarkable rookie season. And that’s kind of a big deal, especially considering that Binnington was minus 26.06 goals below average over his two previous seasons coming into 2023-24. I don’t know how the Blues managed to win as much as they did (not enough) over the past two seasons.


The Detroit Tigers are buzzing over Flaherty’s work in spring training. The Tigers signed the former Cardinal starter to a one-year deal worth $14 million, and thought they were getting him at a good time in his career. A new place, a new start, and some new ideas to help him improve.

Flaherty’s exhibition-game ERA is deceiving – 5.19 in 8 and ⅔ innings – but that’s mostly irrelevant. The Tigers are pleased with some other developments. Flaherty’s fastball velocity is up. He averaged 95 mph in one start with a max speed of 96.7 mph. (He averaged 93.2 mph for the Cardinals last season, the lowest of his career.)

Here’s Detroit manager A.J. Hinch: “We loved the ingredients. He’s hungry to learn. He came here to help us win. He came here to get better, and he’s attacked it wholeheartedly since the day we signed him. He’s going to really help us.”

What does Hinch like about Flaherty’s pitching?

“(He’ll) show his power and strength, his ability to pitch, and change speeds with both breaking balls.”

Off the field, Flaherty is dating model Natalie Buffett. They revealed their relationship on Instagram during the holiday season. She’s the former girlfriend of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.


The former Missouri quarterback left Seattle to sign a one-year deal with the New York Giants. Lock will be paid $5 million guaranteed in 2024. Was Lock recruited by the Giants to compete with Daniel Jones for the starting job? Or was Lock brought in just to be a No. 2 QB?

Seahawks GM John Schneider gave his view of the situation. “They basically sold him on the opportunity to compete to be a starter, and he felt like it was the right opportunity,” Schneider told a Seattle radio station. “He looked at Baker Mayfield’s opportunity last year and felt that this could be something similar.”

About the Mayfield angle: The well traveled quarterback signed a one-year deal with Tampa Bay last year and won the starting gig over Kyle Trask, a second-round draft pick in 2021. Baker took advantage of the opportunity to lead the Buccaneers to the NFC South title and a playoff win over Philadelphia before losing to Detroit in the divisional round. Mayfield just signed a three-year deal to remain with Tampa and the contract could be worth as much as $115 million.

Daniel Jones is going into the second season of a four-year, $160 million deal with the Giants. But he’s also coming back from an injury-ravaged season that included a neck injury and a torn ACL. In six starts for the Giants last season Jones threw for only two touchdowns and was intercepted six times. He posted a career-worst 70.5 passer rating. In 60 career games for the Giants, Jones has fumbled the ball 46 times – and the opposing defense recovered 33 of them. Jones also has gotten picked off 40 times in his NY career, but did lead the Giants to a playoff victory in the 2022 season.

Lock, 27, was the 42nd overall choice (selected by Danver) in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Broncos and Seahawks were 9-14 in Lock’s 23 career starts. Overall, Lock has 28 TD passes and 23 interceptions during his four NFL seasons.


Good luck to our friend Chris May, the St. Louis U director of athletics. The search for a new men’s basketball coach to replace Travis Ford won’t be easy. These are volatile times in college basketball, and SLU has to convince attractive coaching candidates that the NIL funding and university’s financial backing is up to the changing standards. It can’t be faked. I’m rooting for May to pick a winner. SLU basketball should be much better than it has been. The potential is there.

It’s long past time for Aaron Rodgers to go away.

Last season the Cardinals had 60 starts by a pitcher that lasted at least 6 innings. They should do much better in this area in 2024. As I keep saying, when you get a six-inning start (minimum), your team’s chances of winning increase by a surprisingly substantial amount. Last season when the Cardinals got a six-inning start they were 10 games over .500 at 35-25. When they didn’t get a six-inning start, they were THIRTY games under .500.

Research: last season, when the 30 major-league teams got at least six innings from a starting pitcher, their winning percentage was .644. And when a starter worked fewer than six innings, the winning percentage in those games was .397. And people try to tell me that there’s nothing special about a six-inning start? Good grief.

Sonny Gray, Lance Lynn, Miles Mikolas and Kyle Gibson will increase the number of six-plus innings starts by the Cardinals in 2024. And a healthy Steven Matz can add to the count.

As mentioned, the 2023 Cardinals had only 60 starts of six-plus innings. So why do I think that number will rise? This: Mikolas, Gray, Gibson and Lynn combined for 76 starts of six innings or more last year. Matz had four, which brings the total to 80.

Congratulations on an extraordinary career to Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who was taken 13th overall by the St. Louis Rams in the 2014 NFL Draft. Donald enjoyed his two seasons in St. Louis and made sure to thank the fans here when the franchise relocated to Los Angeles. In his two seasons with St. Louis, Donald was voted NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2014, was named first-team All-Pro in 2015, and was selected to the Pro Bowl in both years.

I sincerely believe Donald is the best defensive tackle in NFL history, and that’s no hype. He’s decided to retire 10 award-winning seasons in the NFL, and opposing offensive linemen and quarterbacks won’t be crying to see him go. In his 10 seasons Donald made the Pro Bowl every season, was a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and was named first-team All-Pro in eight seasons. He retires with 111 sacks, 176 tackles for losses and 260 quarterback hits. Teams couldn’t block him with one lineman; it took a village of linemen to stop Donald.

Late in Donald’s rookie season, I said on my radio show that he’d be a Pro Football Hall of Fame player as long as he stayed healthy. And I wasn’t crazy. I really meant it. Donald was absolutely dominant. And one of the hardest things for an NFL team to find is a defensive tackle who can take over a game in both ways: defending the run, and getting to the quarterback with a fast-and-furious inside pass rush that made him unblockable at times.

My gosh, right-handed pitching prospect Tink Hence has impressive talent. There’s hope for the future. And because of last summer’s offload at the trade deadline, the young pitching in the St. Louis organization is as good as it’s been in a long time.

I apologize for being positive.

– The Cardinals are fired up by how good Steven Matz looks in spring training. The regular season is the real deal, and Matz has to show he can hold up to make 25+ starts in 2024. But manager Oli Marmol and staff love what they’re seeing from the lefty …

Once again, I’m sorry for being positive.

Huge stretch for your St. Louis Blues. Their 3-1 win over the LA Kings began a stretch of The Note playing eight of 10 games at home. After collecting that victory, the Blues will set up at Enterprise Center for seven of the next nine games. St. Louis trails Vegas by six points in the bid for the second wild-card spot in the West.

The Blues also must get by Minnesota, which is two points above STL in the wild-card standings. That adds extra importance to Saturday’s meeting between the teams at Enterprise. The Blues will also play at Minnesota next Saturday, March 23.

According to Evolving Hockey, Minnesota currently has a 22.8 percent chance to make the playoffs. The Blues’ postseason probability is 4.4%. In final regular-season points totals, Evolving Hockey projects 90.4 points for the Wild and 86.5 points for the Blues.

Milwaukee lost closer Devin Williams who will be out for three months because of stress fractures in his back. That’s a big blow to the Brewers. His absence figures to give the Cardinals, Cubs and Reds an easier chance of winning the NL Central. The Clay Davenport projections give Milwaukee a 19.2 percent chance to win the division.

San Diego acquired starting pitcher Dylan Cease from the White Sox … and that move will make it more difficult for the Cardinals to grab a wild-card spot. The Padres now have a top-four starter alignment of Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove, Cease and Michael King. The latter, an underrated starter, came over in the trade that sent outfielder Juan Soto to the Yankees.

Chocolate covered pretzels are the best.

I watched “Poor Things” and wondered whatever happened to the “X” rating on movies. But Emma Stone absolutely deserved to win the Oscar for best actress. The performance was incredible.

Whatever happened to Saturday Night Live? Is it still on?

Kansas City Chiefs GM Brett Veach made a great signing in making a one-year deal with free-agent wide receiver Marquise Brown. For a cost of $11 million guaranteed, Veach upgraded his receiver position. The idea of Brown teaming with promising you wide receiver Rashee Rice is exciting. The Chiefs made a potential high-upside move at minimal risk. With all due respect to Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, Brown has never played with a quarterback that comes close to matching the overall talent of Patrick Mahomes.

My favorite free-agent signing was RB Derrick Henry joining the Baltimore Ravens. Perfect fit.


Award-winning baseball blogger Craig Calcaterra weighed in on the idea of the Cardinals having something of an old-school type of starting rotation because of the group’s capacity to pitch a lot of innings. (At least by today’s standards.) Calcaterra mentioned a Lance Lynn quote that appeared in The Athletic. Ken Rosenthal’s piece put focus on the age of the St. Louis rotation. And Lance Lynn explained why an average starting-pitcher age of 35 can be a good thing.

“Obviously, with the older age, people are going to say certain things,” Lynn told Rosenthal. “But younger guys can’t cover the innings anymore. That’s a proven fact. Because that’s how they’re taught. We were taught differently. That’s why we’re still here.”

Calcaterra’s take?

“I actually hope Lynn is right about that. I love traditional starting pitching,” Calcaterra wrote. “My favorite part of watching baseball games for basically my whole life has been watching the battle between two starting pitchers. The build and the flow of the game as the innings progress and you wonder who will break or tire first.

“It doesn’t even have to be a strong pitcher’s duel between two aces. I just love and understand the game best via 6-7 innings of starting pitching before the bullpens come into play. Though these days I more often have to scratch the itch with five and there’s no guarantee of even that anymore.

“Which is to say that I want the Cardinals’ approach to this season to work. I want to see rotations of four and five established starters without resort to bullpen days or a constant carousel of callups making spot starts. I want Lynn to be right about the older guys simply being better-geared for taking the ball every fifth day and giving their skipper some innings. And no, I don’t care if the numbers or projections back that up as the best approach. I simply want that to happen purely for aesthetic and cosmic purposes particular to my own personal desires.

“But I’m also a jackass blogger, and that part of me is bookmarking this article. Because folks, I am super skeptical that the Space Cowboys approach to pitching is gonna work in 2024 and I feel like Lynn’s quote is gonna look bad in a few months. Though I hope I’m wrong about that, of course.”

Enjoy the weekend …

Thanks for reading …


A 2023 inductee into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, Bernie hosts an opinionated and analytical sports-talk show on 590 The Fan, KFNS. It airs 3-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 4-6 p.m. on Friday. Stream it live or grab the show podcast on or through the 590 The Fan St. Louis app.

Please follow Bernie on Twitter @miklasz and on Threads @miklaszb

For weekly Cards talk, listen to the “Seeing Red” podcast with Will Leitch and Miklasz via or through your preferred podcast platform. Follow @seeingredpod on Twitter for a direct link.

All stats used in my baseball columns are sourced from FanGraphs, Baseball Reference, StatHead, Baseball Savant, Baseball Prospectus, Sports Info Solutions and Cot’s Contracts unless otherwise noted.