John Mozeliak dishes the dirt

by on August 22, 2008 · 1 comment

Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak conducted a live chat via STLToday.com on Wednesday (it was apparently the second such appearance he’s made over there).

I just saw it for the first time yesterday, and I have to say that I was surprised.  Not by the typical Cardinal organization ‘non-answer/generalizations’ like this one:

Jason Winders: Greetings, JM. After watching the Cardinals’ big league talent slide every year since the final out of the 2004 World Series, I gotta ask what it will be this off season: “Market gone crazy” or “Keeping our powder dry” for that trade deadline 2009 pickup?

Be straight with us, JM, we won’t hate you.

But the fans are growing tired of these lines. Why does the Cardinals front office/ownership refuse to play it straight with fans regarding everything from injures to trades? We’re suckers, we’ll still buy tickets.

John Mozeliak: My hope is that I am straight with all of you (but specifically YOU) now saying that I look at this off-season as an opportunity to build on this year, we will have a stronger rotation and and our outfield will have a full year of experience. I do think we need to look for more offense from the middle infield and also add left-handed to strengthen our pen.

But if I fail to deliever it was not from being straight or candid…it was from not getting a deal done.

Now, I’m not completely naive – I know that he surely can’t dish out the Cards’ blueprint for the off-season, but I thought the question about being dodgy with injury reports, etc was a valid one, even if the seeming non-response was expected.

All of that aside, lots of Mo’s responses caught my eye.  At the risk of duplication, here are a few:

Steve Earp: Mr. Mo, who can we expect to see showcased from our increasingly, majestic farm system come September? Will you offer Cards fans a taste of the future with Rasmus, Wallace, Anderson, D. Jones, Freese, Barden, Greene, et al? BTW, thanks for being disciplined at the deadline.

John Mozeliak: I have a meeting scheduled for Friday to determine who we think deserves the call-ups. I have laid out certian criteria that I feel needs to be met before we begin the promotion process. I do think we will benefit from the expanded rosters. At this point I will wait until everyone has had a chance to weigh in before making any public annoucement. Our young players have had a strong year and that is good news for Cardinal fans.

Not terribly shocking, but refreshing to know that Cardinal management is on the same page with a lot of fans.  They have forty slots available come September 1.  I would hope that we will see, at the very least: Colby Rasmus, Brian Barden, and Jason Motte.  This is not to mention the guys who have already flip-flopped this season like Nick Stavinoha, Mark Worrell, Mitchell Boggs, and Brendan Ryan.  Hell, we may even see guys like Kelvin Jimenez and Josh Phelps get some love.

This one is interesting for a couple of reasons:

BDAx2: Mr. Mozaliak,

Thank you for doing these chats..it obviously goes above and beyond your duties.

3 REALLY quick questions

1. Where do you realistically envision Colby Rasmus April 1, 2009?
2. Assume Carp and Waino healthy to start 2009, do you see a need to try and go outside the organization to add to the major league starting rotation in the offseason?
3. Do you see the SS position as a position where you are willing to accept below league average offense in exhcange for above league average defense?

John Mozeliak: 1. Rasmus will likely find himself competing for a major league job next spring, where he starts will be based on how he performs.
2. Looking at our ’09 rotation of Carp, Waino, Wellemeyer, and Pineiro it would make sense to add another arm. I do like what we have seen from Boggs but I do not want to rush him if we do not have to.
3. I would prefer above average offense and above average defense…that is much more desirable.

I’m glad to see the response to the first question.  Rasmus should get a shot, and I suspect he’ll wind up on the roster as the team heads north next spring.  Answer two is kind of another ‘duh’ answer – “we’ll add a pitcher if we see fit” – thanks for the insight.  And number three was another ‘duh’.  Great Mo, Cards fans would love to see that too, except there are only about three of those playing professional baseball right now.  Ok, so maybe only one of those answers was interesting for a good reason.

Finally, this was the one that spurred me to write this post.  This answer speaks volumes, in this scribe’s humble opinion:

Steve: Have you announced who will be replacing Izzy on the roster yet??

John Mozeliak: We have not made a roster as of today and with the off tomorrow it will likely wait until Friday.
Izzy had a great career with the Cardinals, he cared and wanted to compete at a high level. It is a disappointing ending but if he decides to pitch again, I only wish him the best.

Jason Isringhausen *had* a great career with the Cardinals?  I’m not saying I disagree, or that I’m upset at the implication that statement makes, but *had*?  That’s a major league slip of the tongue at this stage of the season and shortly after his injury, don’t you think Mo?  Especially with your manager apparently stumping for Izzy to rehab and pitch again next season?  You’re wishing him the best *if* he decides to pitch again, and wishing him the best?  Sounds like Mo has turned the page…

I’m not saying that Mo is wrong.  I suspect the Cardinal chapter has ended for Izzy’s career, regardless of whether his career has ended or not.  But it strikes me as unorthodox to make that statement now, with the guy, one who had a lot better career wearing the Birds-on-the-Bat than most fans will remember, perhaps riding off into the sunset.  It’s important for Cardinals fans to remember the good Izzy, the one who was dominant from 2002-2005.  Not the injury-plagued struggle it was for Izzy to even pitch, much less succeed in the last two or three seasons.

One way or another, this organization is clearly poised to move on with young players coming up through the system.  The self-sustaining program is likely going to be a must for the Cardinal organization going forward, and they have a great start on it.  I think it’s important though, not to forget those who have gotten the franchise to such an elite status in the Major League Baseball annals.  Let’s celebrate the Izzy’s of this team’s last decade.

Cheers Izzy – I hope you do pitch again.

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Writing about the Cardinals and other loosely associated topics since 2008, I've grown tired of the April run-out only to disappoint Cardinal fans everywhere by mid-May. I do not believe in surrendering free outs.
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{ 1 comment }

PHE February 6, 2009

This post makes me sad.

What will Isringhausen’s Cardinal legacy be?

That he was a fearsome competitor and wildly successful when healthy, or that fans turned on him when he tried to push through injuries and failed?

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