The John Mozeliak era has been, by all measures, successful. During his reign, The Cards have been blessed with incredible talent, great drafting, spectacular attendence, and a winning-record. And all in a "small-town" market. Throw in a couple of rings, and I'd say that high praise.
Whitey Herzog remarked after The 1982 World Series victory that no matter how good a manager might seem today, he will soon be fired tomorrow. As good as Whitey was- and though it took eight years-Whitey saw the end coming. In 1990, he stepped down for the good of the team.
John Mozeliak has been with this team for a decade. We have all known and loved his chess-like moves and his impeccable style. He's been like the MENSA uncle who would always pull a rabbit out of the hat, just in the knick of time. Whether it was in the secretive behind-the-scenes maneuvers or the up-front 'measured' demeanor, we have all loved and been mesmerized by this man. MO never showed his Cards (no pun intended) and amazed the brightest analysts by suddenly showing his hand: a full house. Literally a full-house. Almost every night. Baseball pride came back to St Louis in so many ways. And we had the best manager and general manager in the game.
Even though we didn't understand MO, we at least knew we could trust him. In true Show-Me style, he would get "more" for "less".
But, in 2012 John Mozeliak began to make some odd moves. A mystery to other teams, gradually became an enigma to us.
The hiring of a rookie manager who had no professional coaching experience seemed risky, but saved the organization about $4 million a year which, we were told, would go to improving the team. And it first it seemed plausible. We lost Albert Pujols but gained about 25 million dollars per year, which we were told, would go to improving the team. And at just a fraction of this cost MO pulled another rabbit out of the hat in the name of Carlos Beltran. While this acquisition moved John Mozeliak's reputation into the stratosphere, some wondered where long-term impact players would come from.
But year after year the GM continued to stitch together a roster, all the while losing 2 WAR per year -every year- because of that "$4 million savings" named Mike Matheny. I think Mike's a good man, but he's not a good baseball manager, especially play-off caliber baseball manager.
But almost magically MO compensated and produce a team designed to succeed without a competent manager. At times, it seemed to work, but more often-for six years now- we would have prefered to have that 2 WAR back. Or, could you imagine a +2 WAR manager? We had the opportunity. That's a potential mistake of 32 WAR over six years, and counting.
But at least we had a team that could pitch, and even hit, from time to time. All the while ignoring key needs.
Yet now, it seems, that the magic is gone. Many temporary players have come and gone at blinding speed, saving dollars but prolonging the agonizing re-build.
This winter we were promised an outfield upgrade. We got Matt Adams. There are many other examples.
This ship is clearly running out of steam, even though this ship continues to accumulate dollars at a maddening pace. I'm glad The Cardinals are rolling in cash. But cash does not mean success. And the saddest reality is how so much cash sits on the sidelines, purchasing short-term contracts and taking chances on rebounds while ignoring core bats and gloves.
This cost-savings model (while rolling in the midst of greenery) is not serving The Cardinals or its loyal fans, who are responsible for the teams financial success.
If John Mozeliak was operating a mutual fund or I.P.O, we might want to congratulate him on all the money savings, while the stock price- The Cardinals Organization- soars.
But MO isn't just operating a business for profit, but part of the public trust for portions of three centuries.
It's time to deliver to the 'real owners' of this team: the fans who support it, to deliver to them the keys to the treasury, and to upgrade our team in a more powerful and determined way.
Even though MO has served us well, there is time when all organizations need new blood circulation in order to not "just keep it floating" but to breath into it new life.
And its becoming more obvious every day that new life is needed. The team is floundeing. But more concerning than all is that long-term direction is lacking.
We are a beautiful large ship floating at sea in increasingly icy waters with little forward thrust.
This is the Show-Me state. And unless I'm greatly mistaken, we are no longer getting 'more' for 'less'.
Or, as Whitey Herzog said, every manager- and general manager- has his day. And when it is time to step down- for the good of the team - it's time to step down.