St. Louis Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak spoke with Bloggers & Podcasters covering the club for 45 minutes prior to Saturday’s game at Busch Stadium against Colorado. The interview covered a range of topics, including his future, a role for Yadier Molina, the looming draft and trade deadline, and if a hot dog is considered a sandwich.

On the Triple-A Memphis rotation and Cards need for fifth starter

“When you think about Memphis right now, there really hasn’t been that one starter that just jumps out and grabs it. There are times where you get a good start out of one of those guys but then they just don’t have the ability to repeat and do that consistently. And that’s been frustrating because as we’re looking for that fifth starter, it would be nice for one of those young guys to come up and grab it.

If you squint hard enough you probably end up seeing a couple of those guys look more like relievers than starters, but in the end, we need some of those guys to contribute, and contribute soon.”

On the approach to the trade deadline

“As the calendar turns to June, the opportunities to do something on a more proactive front start to open up. I think teams are starting to really understand who they are, what they are, and where they are going. You’re starting to see clubs that realize that breaking up their team now, or in July, probably makes the most sense. We are not one of them.

Even if they are just small wins, and I would define small wins right now as maybe trying to find someone to give us some innings in that fifth (starter) role. Is there some righthanded bat we can add that can play centerfield from time to time? That would be helpful as well.”

On number of teams over the MLB salary cap

“I just think a lot of teams are being much more aggressive. What’s sort of interesting about the whole thing is, right now revenues are almost static – there’s a lot of uncertainty in the TV market and where that’s going. I’m pretty optimistic of the future of baseball, especially if you go to a more streamlined streaming model.

We have to square that circle. Once we do that, I think there’s going to be brighter days ahead. Ultimately, as revenues grow, so should the luxury tax. It’s almost like a handicap in golf, if done right and done honestly, it should be effective and helpful.

On his future

“Change is inevitable. Things are going to happen within this organization. I’ve been here for 29 years and, you know, as I tell ownership – it’s probably going to be helpful to have a new voice at some point. That’s coming sooner rather than later.”

On a role for Yadier Molina

“I don’t want to get into details, obviously he’s dealing with some stuff at home and that’s why he’s not been around. But the door will always be open for Yadier Molina. At some point, I would imagine he’s probably going to want to jump in with both feet. But right now, he just doesn’t have the time to do it, but yeah, I do communicate with him pretty regularly.

St. Louis Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak speaks at a press conference announcing that the Springfield Cardinals have been sold by the St. Louis Cardinals to Diamond Baseball Holdings on Monday, May 1, 2023.
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On Jordan Walker

“Up here is about production, you either do or you don’t. I don’t look at it as a demotion – he got rushed and now he has to get himself to where he can be a productive player. I get this question a lot, what do we need to see? It’s really two-fold. There are some physical adjustments he has to make to be a productive, consistent hitter here. The other thing you would like to see is just some performance – he shows signs of it on given nights, but when you look at some of the more successful hitters in this league, when you look back at what they were able to do at the minor league level – it’s a very simple saying: hitters hit.

He’s an amazing physical athlete that I wouldn’t bet against him. He’s not one of those guys I’d want to give up on because I know he’s going to do it.”

On Masyn Winn

“Masyn Winn, I think, is a future superstar, he’s a complete player. I think last year, as miserable of a year as it was, the one blessing was we were able to get Masyn up here. And so he got two months to sort of understand what this is about and made a lot of adjustments this offseason to prepare himself for the season. And I think we’re all getting to enjoy watching those skills – its amazing.”

On the 2024 MLB Draft where Cards hold the No. 7 pick

“Randy Flores is knee deep in preparing for the Draft. Obviously, we got to hit it this year – we can’t have a swing and miss. Look at a lot of his college drafts, they haven’t been what we had hoped or moved as quickly as we hoped. His 2020 draft is going to end up being historic (Masyn Winn, Jordan Walker, Tink Hence).”

On the reduced Minor Leagues footprint impacting player development

“The reason you saw a reduction in minor leagues was because at the ownership level, they felt like there’s a lot of waste going on in development. When you think about success rate of a draft, and you’re sub-20 percent, you’re looking for a better ROI. Reducing teams, number of players, and hopefully increase that percentage. What ends up happening though, you do start to speed up (advancing players in the minor league system).

You’re also seeing a new breed of ownership come into the game and how they address their own payrolls is different. The evolution of that level is also going to start to change.”

On Cards approach to developing pitchers

“It’s not hard to understand what people are having success (with) and how. I think the tradeoff is, we built our team on defense. Obviously last year we didn’t show it, but the intention was that. Putting the ball in play, we valued. We think that’s ok. But as you look at what’s happening around the league, swing-and-miss is still something that’s driving a lot of decision-making. And the other thing you think about is velocity. Tie those two things together and then try to balance that with injury risk.

There are teams that are much more experimental, where you see somebody throwing 70 percent breaking ball, 30 percent fastball. But there is some unintended consequences there and it usually ends up being injury risk.

But now think about yourself as that player, you’re that individual – you find yourself stagnant or not moving. What are you going to do? You’re going to try to do something different.  Ultimately that made us start to think internally, shouldn’t we be more experimental? Especially with someone that’s been two years at A-ball.”

Is a hot dog a sandwich?

“I would say no. But I haven’t really thought about it.”

 

 

Andy Carroll

Andy Carroll

Andy Carroll is a freelance sports writer living in the Ozarks with his wife and four great kids. He loves St. Louis, toasted ravioli and minor league baseball. You can follow him on Twitter @carroll_sgf and Instagram @andycarroll505