Those of you listening to 1380 in St Louis today may find this duplicative, same if you read Bernie’s Press Box over at the STLToday forums.
If you fit into neither of those groups, this may provide helpful for you. I listened to Bernie’s segment with Cardinals GM John Mozeliak this afternoon, and there were some great tidbits in there that I think go a long way toward providing us with insight into the Cards’ roster for Opening Day and beyond.
Bernie has already posted his own synopsis at the Press Box, and I thought I’d add/duplicate to his list with the notes I wrote during the segment.
Below are the notes I jotted down from Mozeliak’s comments, in relative order as they were discussed:
He has been very consistent this spring.
He “looks” like he’s back to normal. Good bite on the breaking ball.
Carp has not been throwing any differently then he was before injuries.
Mo is excited *for* Carp.
Not concerned about a lack of at-bats because of World Baseball Classic.
Yadi was one of the hotter hitters before leaving for WBC.
Cardinals aren’t putting a final date on deciding if Schu will stick at second base or not.
Skip continues to work hard to be a second baseman.
Mo is comfortable with Skip playing 2B into May before any decision has to be made whether it will work long-term or not.
Skip is making “significant progress,” and his reactions to plays are getting better.
Schu’s instincts are good, he makes plays when he doesn’t have time to think and athleticism takes over – needs to focus and improve on making the routine plays.
Good news is that offense hasn’t been affected by his emphasis on learning a new position.
Second base position
High probability that he breaks camp with the Cardinals.
On the left-handed hitting slant of the Cards’ OF
Progressing as expected.
Still projecting a mid-April to early-May return, but difficult to predict exactly.
Both have proven they can get left-handed hitters out.
LHRP was an obvious area where the 2008 team scuffled, so upgrade was necessary.
Talked about Jason Motte making progress with his slider, says it has become a true secondary pitch.
Cards have four guys (Motte, Chris Perez, Josh Kinney, and Ryan Franklin) throwing well in camp.
Mo could see both Motte and Perez in the Cards bullpen, he likes the power arms. (“The more the merrier!”)
Of course, it was not long after Mozeliak and Bernie were done that Joe Strauss broke the story that Chris Perez will be shut down for a bit with shoulder issues. Curious that Mo made no mention of this during his time on the air, especially when Strauss seems to indicate in his article that Mo was aware of the situation.
Assuming Colby makes the team, Mozeliak is not worried about his exposure.
Tony LaRussa is one of the best at manipulating lineups to ensure everyone gets their at-bats, and Rasmus would be no exception.
Appears fully healthy for the first time in a while.
Hitting the ball hard, with authority.
“Candidly,” Mo said that if Duncan could keep it up he really likes Cards’ outfield.
Payroll talk, and the Strauss article on payroll
Bernie, Brian McKenna, and Mo all had a chuckle when McKenna brought up “dry powder” and “low hanging fruit”.
Mo danced around the idea of having some payroll flexibility come trade deadline time in July.
Cards projecting lower attendance, lower revenue, and adjusted payroll accordingly.
Mo thinks the Cardinals will maintain a stance of being “opportunistic but realistic”.
Economy and the Cardinals
Cardinals entered the off-season cognizant of the direction of the market and how it would affect their ballclub.
This of course had an effect on the approach the Cardinals could take with free agents.
Mozeliak inferred that because of conditions, an early big-time closer signing may have pre-empted a shortstop move (Greene trade) or being able to sign lefty relievers (I assume specifically referring to the late signing of Reyes).
E-mail about payroll
Bernie read an e-mail he received from an irate fan wondering how payroll can decrease while tickets are going up 10%.
Mozeliak responded that most tickets are staying flat, but the ones that are going up were pre-determined at the time the stadium was built.
I’m with Bernie on this one, not entirely sure what Mo was referring to, whether season-ticket holders agreed to a graduated increase, or if the plan all along was to increase the ticket prices of certain seats for X amount of time after Busch III opened – I’m sure someone forgot to read the fine print on this one.
Mo expects Greene to make a contribution to the 2009 Cardinals.
May make team out of camp, but if he’s on the fence, he’ll go to Memphis.
Is a guy that must get regular, every day at-bats.
Memphis is going to have a good team because of improved organizational depth.
Mo was asked if there has been any interest in Cardinal outfielders in trade talks, because of surplus at those positions organization-wide.
Spring has been quiet, most teams working through their own squad to see where they have holes.
Not been a lot of calls on the outfielders (as if he’d tell anyone if there were).
Cards will likely have a lot of tough decisions to make at the end of camp.
So there you have it. Some excellent information in there, also some typical dancing – can’t say I blame the guy, he truly has a thankless job.
A few other items of note while I’m tidying up around here:
1. The UCB continues our reign of terror on the Blog Talk Radio airwaves tonight at 10pm Central. Listen live at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/UCB-Host/2009/03/19/United-Cardinal-Bloggers-Radio-Hour and join the fray by calling in via (646) 929-1758.
2. Derrick Goold has a Vuch Report up over at Bird Land. From Derrick’s post:
Cardinals director of minor-league operations John Vuch compiles the numbers and anecdotes from that day’s games and passes them along to the readers of this blog. Will do my best to pass them along as swiftly as possible each day. Remember: The numbers and details of the game are provided by Vuch. The comments and backgrounds provided about the players are mine.
That’s all for today, hope to have you all listening tonight!