John Mozeliak addressed the media this morning to lead off the series of Winter Warmup interviews to the media. He answered a wide range of topics, from how he feels about the team in the playoffs to what hiring Chaim Bloom means to his optimism towards Masyn Winn.
First off, what’s different this year that should help the Cardinals avoid what happened in 2023? And he had an interesting answer that I’m not sure everyone would agree with. However, it would certainly boost the rationale for the offseason signings of a two 10-year vets and a 12-year vet to replace the rotation losses.
“The biggest change from a year ago today is the veteran leadership. We didn’t really calculate losing the voices of somebody like Pujols or Molina or even Waino to some extent and what we tried to do this offseason was somebody to bring that voice. It’s one thing to have a voice, but you still have to do the job.”
Speaking of the rotation, Brandon Kiley asked about the Cardinals targeting starting pitchers who can throw innings, while the rest of baseball seems to trend towards shorter outings. I managed to capture this one on video, though I can’t guarantee the quality will be ideal.
Mozeliak was asked about the Cardinals going for longer outings from their starters while the rest of the league seems to trend towards shorter starts. It turned into a commentary about the bullpen as well pic.twitter.com/GIU4rKTWIz— viva el birdos (@vivaelbirdos) January 13, 2024
He was also asked about what he thinks about the fact that most would not necessarily call the Cardinals’ rotation “playoff caliber.” I’m paraphrasing but basically amongst the group of people who believe the Cardinals can make the playoffs in a weak division, some of that group doesn’t believe they have a shot in the playoffs.
“Well I definitely feel in a short series, with the type of arms we have, we can definitely shorten starts. How you do it, you just have to get the outs. I think this group is capable of that and we think about a short series, just imagine someone doesn’t get to start, but can come in the 4th or 5th and buy you time.”
Will the Cardinals make more moves? He doesn’t indicate they will, but as you can probably guess, he’s not ruling anything out. Obviously, the big elephant in the room is the budget with regards to any future possible moves, and he at least indicates there is some wiggle room.
“The budget question always comes up. It’s probably not as black-and-white as people think it is. Depending on what type of investment it might look like, we can always take it to ownership. Do I think there is some room in the payroll if we needed to? Yes.”
A couple of behind-the-scenes moves got brought up by members of the media, namely Chaim Bloom’s hire and Yadier Molina’s future role.
Mozeliak says he plans to talk with Yadier Molina soon and give him exposure to front office work. He adds, "Anything he can do to help our younger catchers, we'll certainly welcome."— Joey Schneider (@joeyschneider95) January 13, 2024
Questions from @luisminolla17 & @dgoold. #STLCards pic.twitter.com/EpW5o1G3fZ
I’m not someone who believes Yadier Molina is being targeted to replace Oliver Marmol, but he was asked about the concern that a manager in the last year of his contract working with a franchise legend will understandably lead to questions, he said he understood why there would be that question. But he didn’t think it would be a problem, that he believes in Oli and said “I guess we’ll see.” Alright!
He didn’t suggest Bloom was there to replace him and said he was happy with the “bench” of people behind him to possibly take over his job. If anyone is concerned with Michael Girsch being essentially silent, he said that he’s not a control freak, but that he feels messaging is a very important part of his job and that it’s important to have one voice. So for those wondering about that, there you go. How did Bloom influence the acquisitons?
“Certainly when you have a resource, you need to tap into that. Obviously, his title is going to be used in an advisory role. But as you can imagine, trying to think about how we want this organization to look, having him help us or having a better understanding: you know how do we look relative to industry.”
That should please people who’ve wanted the Cardinals to go outside the organization within the front office to get different voices.
I don’t have a great transition to the next part, (The press conference did not go in the order I’m sharing), so Masyn Winn came up as part of it. And if there was any doubt about him making the MLB team, well you can probably remove that doubt.
“We’re pretty bullish on where Winn is. I think you look at his history and he usually gets off to a slow start and then sort of meets the league over time. Now, he had a small mirror last year to see what this league was about. Obviously he had some struggles offensively, but we believe having that ability to get him to the big leagues is going to help him in 2024.”
It also doesn’t really seem like Paul Goldschmidt is on the verge of being extended. He was asked about that possibility. Not that it won’t happen, but it at least seems like it won’t happen until the regular season starts (when many people have thought it would be during spring training).
“I think right now everyone just wants to see how the season starts. Obviously we want to get off on the right track & then we can address things like that.”
Lastly, Mozeliak was asked about having to evaluate himself and I think he gave a pretty good answer honestly.
John Mozeliak just finished up his media availability at Winter Warm-Up.— Brenden Schaeffer (@bschaeffer12) January 13, 2024
A thoughtful question from @kyler416 asked Mo to address his own self-evaluation process following last season's disappointing results for the Cardinals.
Here was Mozeliak's response: pic.twitter.com/H6frJywchn
I’ll try to provide updates as they come. Definitely am not writing a post for every player, but I was able to capture a lot of the press conference on video and had a big gap between him speaking and Sonny Gray, so I used that time to share Mozeliak’s thoughts. I may or may not have a post about some players, though it’ll certainly be combined if I do.