Exit Interview: John Mozeliak

For the fifth 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.

This year’s Exit Interview series is “being brought to you by” some of the various Cardinal podcasts that are out there for your listening pleasure.  Our focus this time is STL CardGals.  Laura and Holly recap most every series and usually bring a very positive approach to whatever is going on with the Birds.  Find them on iTunes and check out their website for some totally biased baseball.

GM: John Mozeliak

Overall grade: B-

Positives: Was able to shore up the bullpen at the trading deadline without a major shakeup, getting Zach Duke for Charlie Tilson….modified the plan on Alex Reyes and Luke Weaver and got them to the majors before many expected them….didn’t sell the farm for a quixotic run at the Cubs, instead stuck to the general plan that has been fairly successful.

Negatives: “Came in second” is now the new Cardinal meme after falling short on David Price and Jason Heyward….seemingly overcorrected for missing Price by signing Mike Leake for five years….saw the two-year extension handed to Jordan Walden become completely a waste when Walden was again hurt all year.

Overview: For the most part, #InMoWeTrust still works as a mantra.  There’s still faith that there’s a long-term plan and that the moves that are made are careful, calculated, and in service to that plan.  The Cardinals did miss the playoffs for the first time in five years, but there aren’t many teams that can say they’ve been to the playoffs five straight years, even with the wild card(s).  Things could be a whole lot worse.

Unfortunately, sober and calculated maneuvering, while intelligent and successful in the long term, don’t exactly make for a whole lot of excitement.  The pursuits of Price and Heyward were about the most you could hope for with this club.  A run at Chris Sale?  It’d be nice, but does anyone think they’d actually do it?  Making a run at Bryce Harper when he’s a free agent in a couple of years?  Don’t hold your breath.  Look at this past trading deadline, for instance.  While the Duke move was a smart move and a good move, it didn’t exactly move the needle when it came to excitement.

The grumblings for the club to “do something” get louder when they have an October to gain purchase.  Mozeliak is not likely to take much heed of those speaking online, but the fact that the club attracted less than 40,000 to some games at the very end of the season for the first time in years will have him taking notice.  Ultimately, you don’t want Mo to sacrifice what’s been working for some cheap thrills, but it’d be nice if the two paths could cross every once in a while.

Outlook: Mozeliak’s made his first real move of the offseason, signing Brett Cecil to a four-year deal.  It would seem unlikely that Mo is done, but we’ll see if the moves that he does make will quiet the drumbeats or just add more fuel to the fire.  No matter how much people talk, though, Mo’s here for as long as he wants to be here, it would seem.  If Mike Matheny‘s job is safe, Mozeliak’s is even more so.

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