The Trade History of John Mozeliak, 2010

We’ve come to the third of our continuing series of posts looking back at the trades John Mozeliak has made since he became the full-time general manager in October of 2007.  While not all of them are memorable or notable, 2010 was the year Mo made more trades than any other single year.  Some of the groundwork for 2011 was formed in the deals of this season.

Trade 10: Julio Lugo to Baltimore for a player to be named later or cash

Date Outgoing bWAR w/New Total bWAR Incoming bWAR w/SL Total bWAR
4/1/10 Julio Lugo -0.8 -0.9

Reaction Post: Talking Cardinals

We discussed the acquisition of Lugo last time around, but this is a great example of buying low and selling high.  Lugo only got 312 plate appearances over the next two years with a .232/.284/.260 slash line before retiring after 2011 with Atlanta.  With Brendan Ryan fully established at shortstop (at least at the moment) and plenty of middle infield types to back him up, plus the addition of Felipe Lopez, Lugo was extraneous and there was no reason to gamble that his production at the end of 2009 would carry forward in 2010.

Rating: It’s a win for Mo because he got something, probably cash, for a player that wasn’t going to be needed and wasn’t going to be productive.  Can’t argue too much with that.

Trade 11: Future considerations to Washington for Andrew Brown

Date Outgoing bWAR w/New Total bWAR Incoming bWAR w/SL Total bWAR
5/24/10 Andrew Brown -0.2 0.1

Andrew Brown’s main claim to fame in the Cardinal system is that he crashed into Shane Robinson terribly hard in a game for Memphis in 2011, a collision that crushed Robinson’s orbital bone.  While thankfully that didn’t stop Robinson’s ascent–after rehab and such he made it to the big leagues–it was a legendary collision.  Brown wound up with the better end of the deal, only gaining a concussion.

Other than that, Brown’s career in St. Louis wasn’t really noteworthy.  He played in 11 games for the Cardinals in 2011, then bounced around to Colorado and the Mets before ending his career in 2014.

Rating: We don’t know what the future considerations were, but it couldn’t have been anything that made a dent.  It’s an entirely forgettable deal, which means we’ll rate it a tossup.

Trade 12: Ryan Ludwick to San Diego for Nick Greenwood and Jake Westbrook (from Cleveland)

Date Outgoing bWAR w/New Total bWAR Incoming bWAR w/SL Total bWAR
7/31/10 Ryan Ludwick -0.9 0.1 Nick Greenwood -0.2 -0.2
Jake Westbrook 1.3 1.3

Reaction Post: Did I Miss Anything?

For reasons relating to work and school, I typically spend the latter part of July in Ohio visiting my wife’s family.  That’s where I was in 2010, when I checked my phone in a McDonald’s (seriously, that area is terrible for cell signal) and found out this deal had been made.

Most of you probably remember the angst around it, especially afterwards as the Cardinals slipped down the stretch and were overtaken by the Cincinnati Reds.  There was outcry about how Mo could make a deal that shipped out a bat when the offense was just barely holding its own.  In August and September, the Cardinals went two games under .500 and people were not happy.  (Ironically, though, the Cards averaged 0.2 runs more in that span than they did the earlier part of the year.)

And it’s not like Jake Westbrook was any great shakes.  I mean, he’d had a couple of good years, but was sporting a 4.65 ERA when the Cardinals acquired him.  If you are going to go for pitching depth shouldn’t it be, you know, good pitching depth?

Again, though, Mozeliak showed that he was a fairly good judge of talent.  Ludwick didn’t take to the West Coast, though he rebounded some when he returned to the National League Central, first to the Pirates via trade and then the Reds via free agency.  Still, he never was much more than a replacement player, which many who followed Ludwick in St. Louis would have been surprised to learn.

(Personal note: I’ll always remember his return to St. Louis, because I was actually in the press box and couldn’t join in the ovation.)

Westbrook, besides being the answer to the great trivia question of who got the win in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, turned out to be a pretty solid pitcher.  He was no ace, but he filled in nicely in the back of the rotation, winning over 10 games in both ’11 and ’12.  Most of that positive WAR, however, comes from 2012, when he was worth 1.1 wins above replacement.

Nick Greenwood was pretty much an afterthought on this deal (and the least heralded, especially now that the pitcher the Indians got in this deal was San Diego prospect Corey Kluber) but he did provide a little value for the Cardinals in a bullpen role in 2014.  I’ll always remember him, though, as the guy that got the last minute start in Arizona on the last day of the 2014 season instead of Adam Wainwright once the Cards found out they had clinched the division.  It’s the strange things that stick with you, you know?

Rating: An easy win for Mozeliak here.  I loved what Ludwick did while he was in St. Louis, but he never gave any real cause to regret bringing Westbrook in.

Trade 13: David Carpenter to Houston for Pedro Feliz

Date Outgoing bWAR w/New Total bWAR Incoming bWAR w/SL Total bWAR
8/19/10 David Carpenter 0.1 2.0* Pedro Feliz -0.4 -0.4

*–Still active

Reaction Post: Have the Cardinals Bounced?

This is one of the rare trades where not only did nobody like it at the time, there was never any reconsideration of this deal.  Pedro Feliz had had a pretty decent career with the Phillies and the Giants and was known as a premier glove.  However, by 2010 the offense had fallen precipitously.  As I said in the post, he wasn’t even starting for Houston, which meant something back then when the Astros were piling up 100 loss seasons and trying to get as high a draft pick as possible.

In 40 games with St. Louis, Feliz wound up with two extra-base hits and couldn’t even hit .210.  We suffered through Pete Kozma, so we know you have to have a very, very solid other hitters to be able to cover that kind of a black hole.  I’m not sure there was any team that had the hitters to handle that, but the Cardinals sure didn’t.  He wasn’t exactly Scott Rolen at third base either and the whole package led to him only starting about 65% of the time in September, as the Cards faded out of contention.  He signed with the Royals the next spring but didn’t make it out of spring training.  A stint with the Padres at the end of the year also didn’t see him return to the bigs.

Trade 14: Blake Hawksworth to Los Angeles (NL) for Ryan Theriot

Date Outgoing bWAR w/New Total bWAR Incoming bWAR w/SL Total bWAR
11/30/10 Blake Hawksworth -0.4 -0.4 Ryan Theriot 0.1 -0.2

Reaction Post: Cardinals Turn On the Stove

Brendan Ryan has floated through a few of these recaps, as the shortstop position always seems to be one that the Cardinals need to address.  In 2010, even though he’d kept playing his strong defense, his offense had slipped to a .573 OPS.  At the time, there was still an idea that he could bounce back from that a bit, though looking into the future now we can tell that .573 was really in the ballpark of the true player that Ryan was.  And when Chris Carpenter does this to you, you might not want to put down firm roots.

Afterwards, it came out that there were others that had issues with Ryan, so in hindsight a deal for a shortstop isn’t too surprising.  Ryan Theriot definitely had a better offensive profile, though bringing in a former Cub is always an issue.  (Well, hopefully not always, right Dexter Fowler?)  Theriot would be the shortstop to start the 2011 season for the Cardinals, a team many remember well.

Of course, Theriot didn’t really end the season as the starting shortstop, a fact he highlighted late in the year by noting the team was winning when he was out there at the six position.  Theriot’s offensive profile was actually fairly in line with his career norms when you take the season as a whole, but he hit .236/.293/.325 in the second half of the season and saw his playing time basically eliminated when Mo made a deadline trade to bring in another Dodgers shortstop (teaser!).  Theriot was on fire against the Phillies in the NLDS, hitting .600 over the five games, but only had two hits more in the rest of the playoffs.  When the season ended, he was granted free agency, moved on to San Francisco, and won a ring there in 2012.  Yes, Ryan Theriot is a two-time World Champion.  I know, it’s mindboggling.

So we can see that the Cards didn’t exactly gain a lot from this deal, but they didn’t lose anything either, besides the pitcher in their organization with arguably the coolest name.  Hawksworth had always been a guy people had kept an eye on and he had a pretty decent rookie year for the Cards in 2009, going 4-0 with a 2.03 ERA out of the pen.  Anytime a player makes his debut at 26, though, you do wonder how much of that will stick around once the league adjusts and 2010 showed that the league had truly adjusted.  He was a tolerable low-leverage reliever for the Dodgers in 2011, but wound up with arm problems that eventually cost him his career.

Rating: Theriot was actually worth a positive WAR and did help the Cardinals out at least some in the first half, so we’ll give Mo a win on this one.  If you wanted to rate it a toss-up, I’m not going to argue with you.

Trade 15: Brendan Ryan to Seattle for Maikel Cleto

Date Outgoing bWAR w/New Total bWAR Incoming bWAR w/SL Total bWAR
12/12/10 Brendan Ryan 7.3 6.8* Maikel Cleto -0.7 -0.9*

Reaction Post: Scrooged

So I had just written a Christmas Carol parody where Mozeliak, visited by the Ghost of Christmas Present, decided that Ryan’s glove was worth keeping when Mo went out and shipped Ryan off to Seattle for an A-ball prospect.  If you ever thought the front office read this blog and considered what I said, I really don’t know why.

We’ve talked above about Ryan’s drawbacks, but there’s no doubt that if you can put up with the bat (which, granted, is easier in the American League what with that DH thing and all, meaning Ryan can be the only black hole instead of being the black hole in front of the pitcher) he can flat out pick it.  Look at that WAR number with Seattle.  Around 70% of that comes from his defense.  Baseball Reference shows oWAR of his time in the Pacific Northwest to be 2.3 while the dWAR to be 6.9.  (Why those don’t add to the 7.3, I don’t know.  I assume they are slightly different measures.  I look forward to someone schooling me.)

Ryan had worn out his welcome in St. Louis, but flourished in Seattle.  Then he got the chance to go to New York and be the backup to Derek Jeter, which isn’t a terrible gig when it comes right down to it.  (No word on if he filled in on any of Jeter’s dates if the Captain needed a rest.)  Last season, he backed up Andrelton Simmons, which is one of the rare times where he might have been a step down defensively from the starter.  This offseason, he signed with the Detroit Tigers, so he can keep plugging along.

Cleto had a blazing fastball, but he really didn’t know what to do with it.  The Cardinals moved him quickly up the ladder in 2011, bringing him to the big leagues after a middling run at Memphis.  Command was never Cleto’s friend–in his 45 major league innings, he’s walked 30–and the Cardinals got less than 16 innings out of him in the big leagues over the three seasons he was with the club.  His ERA in those innings?  10.34.  And that wasn’t skewed by one bad outing.  Only five times (out of 13 appearances) did he escape without a run.

The Cardinals lost him to the Royals when they put him on waivers early in the 2013 season.  The White Sox took a flyer on him in 2014 and that’s where the bulk of his major league experience comes from, getting into 28 games in 2014.  He’s bounced around since and last month signed a deal with the Chicago Cubs.  The odds of him returning to Busch Stadium in the blue pinstripes, though, is long.

Rating: I get why the deal was made.  I get that the Cards might not have been able to get as much out of Ryan as some American League teams could.  But when Ryan was even the better pitcher in the deal (two innings, no runs for the Yanks in 2015), it’s hard to chalk this up as anything but a loss.

We’ll probably try to tackle 2011 and 2012 together next time, as there were only three deals in ’11 (though one you might remember).  Hope you are enjoying this stroll down memory lane!

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