For the fourth straight year, we’re taking some time in that time between the end of the season and the winter meetings to discuss each player that made an appearance on the St. Louis roster this season. Whether they played almost every day or never actually got into a game, they get covered in this series. All stats are exclusively their time in St. Louis. Just think of this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s (or, in this case, Bill DeWitt’s) office for a quick evaluation before heading home for the winter.
GM: John Mozeliak
Overall grade: B
Positives: Continued to be proactive in filling needs of the club….didn’t hesitate to make the Jason Heyward for Shelby Miller deal last November….seemed to read the market well, signing nice complementary pieces such as Mark Reynolds and Carlos Villanueva and seeing them produce in line with expectations….used the Memphis shuttle well to help out a club ravaged by injuries….didn’t panic when Adam Wainwright went down, instead filling the slot with internal options….was proactive moving Stephen Piscotty to first and then bringing him up to the big leagues.
Negatives: His trading hand was a little rusty, as it is possible none of Steve Cishek, Brandon Moss, or Jonathan Broxton will return to the club in 2016….folks were also stunned to see Rob Kaminsky be the one heading to Cleveland for Moss, even though he was just in Class A ball….left Jon Jay on the postseason roster, though perhaps with the knowledge that Matheny wasn’t going to use him frequently….made the trades for Cishek and Broxton rather than forcing Matheny to use the talent on hand.
Overview: We use the hashtag #InMoWeTrust a lot, but that took some hits this year. There were some that were even criticizing the Heyward deal early in the season when Miller was on a run to the Cy Young (it appeared) while Heyward was hitting .217 and Jordan Walden went down with an injury. The deadline deals, which weren’t flashy by any means, also didn’t seem to produce that Cardinal Devil Magic, as it were. Broxton and Cishek were better than they’d been in their prior stops and Moss was improving as well, but none of them just lit the world on fire a la Will Clark in 2001 or Edward Mujica a few years back. Which may be a high standard to hold Mo to (especially since the Clark deal wasn’t even his), but one that we tend to use nonetheless. That Colby Rasmus deal leading to a World Series title may have spoiled us.
Through it all, though, Mo has been one of the more accessible and open general managers in the game. He’s always been great to come talk to the bloggers during Blogger Night at the ballpark and he did so again this April, with his major trade acquisition scuffling. He’s already agreed to answer some emailed questions from the bloggers in the next week or two, and while he’ll not likely break any news in his answers, he’ll come at them with as much explanation and knowledge as he can share. He also did not let the hacking scandal cause chaos, but he and Mr. DeWitt met it head on and dealt with it openly, even when it cost a high-ranking official.
Outlook: Mo’s on the short list for greatest Cardinal general managers already and another title might get him into Branch Rickey/Bing Devine territory, given all the other aspects to his job. This is going to be a challenging offseason for him, what with the need to resign Heyward, the hole created by Lance Lynn‘s injury to fill, and an offense that could use a jump start. There is money to use, but that won’t be the only tool in Mo’s arsenal and I, as well as most fans, can’t wait to see what he does next.