St. Louis Cardinals fans are a fickle bunch, demanding a lot from their team on a yearly basis. 2017 hasn’t gone as planned, with the Cards four games below .500, and only contending for a playoff spot because the Central Division is a house of cards itself.
The outrage has led many to believe John Mozeliak-the same General Manager with a record of 851-685 with the Cardinals-should be fired or not given a promotion. A promotion that will make Mozeliak President of Baseball Operations.
According to fellow Redbird Daily scribe Kyle Reis, no Cardinals team has ever finished less than ten games above .500 in a season since Mozeliak took over as General Manager after the 2007 season. The Cardinals have won a World Series and competed in another while making the playoffs six times during Mozeliak’s tenure. The 86 win mark has been met or climbed over in every season on Mozeliak’s watch. Doesn’t that deserve a raise?
While you think about that, let’s look over a few of his greatest hits:
The Matt Holliday Deal
When fans clamored for a trade after his hiring, Mozeliak went out and pulled off a deluxe blockbuster transaction with Oakland, acquiring Matt Holliday for a few players no one even remembers. Holliday provided the team with seven plus durable seasons.
Ryan Ludwick Sighting
Remember Luddy? The injury prone Cleveland Indians outfielder was found by Mozeliak, and led to then General Manager Walt Jocketty bringing Ludwick in, only to have him flourish in Mozeliak’s first season as General Manager. That was like going to a car dealership, and finding the Chevy with a hundred thousand miles on it, but still some life left in it.
The Colby Rasmus Trade
When Mozeliak acquired Edwin Jackson and Octavio Dotel for Rasmus along with some other components involved, fans scratched their heads. That was until Jackson provided valuable innings down the stretch and Dotel became a bullpen stalwart that singlehandedly humiliated Ryan Braun in the 2011 National League Championship Series. Small moves that led to a big payoff.
The John Lackey Transfusion
Can we just applaud Mo for getting the Red Sox General Manager to take Allen Craig’s contract that is still being paid out as we speak? Along with Joe Kelly, Mozeliak got premium John Lackey for a the 2014 stretch run and the 2015 season. It was a deal that rightfully shook the Cardinals clubhouse, setting it up for a big run.
Jedd for Jay?
The Padres will be paying a portion of Jedd Gyorko’s contract while they don’t even employ the services of Jon Jay any longer. Gyorko cranked 30 home runs for the Cardinals last year, and has been their most consistent slugger this season. Another low level move largely looked over due to the misses on David Price and Jason Heyward.
(Yes, Mozeliak wanted to pay Heyward 200 million dollars, but not everyone’s perfect, and plenty of people liked the idea, including yours truly.)
The Dexter Fowler and Brett Cecil signings need to marinate for a while before a proper temperature can be pulled, but the turnarounds of each player after rough starts is encouraging. When fans demanded he spend money on talent, Mozeliak went out and signed the top free agent outfielder on the market and the second left-handed bullpen arm.
2016 was a disastrous season in many ways, but the Cardinals managed to win 86 games, and did so with a ton of help from Memphis. If this is a rebuilding period, every single ballclub in the league would take it.
Now that the Cardinals are struggling for the first time in ten years, people want Mozeliak’s head. They want this before allowing him see what can be done at the trade deadline. He’s made quality moves during the turbulent period of play, cutting Jonathan Broxton and Jhonny Peralta while trading Matt Adams. Sure, Adams could have stayed and played more here, but Busch Stadium isn’t Turner Field and I’d take Matt Carpenter at first base all day over Matt, so cool it there.
If you want to pile drive on top of Mike Matheny, go ahead. The player turned manager is suffering a wicked downtown in managerial ability as his roster has gone through transition, and he can’t manage a bullpen for his life, even if the unit is troublesome.
Take a minute before you want to can Mozeliak, because any fanbase in the country would kill for his services to find their club. Is he perfect? Ty Wiggington says no, but not one General Manager is in this game.
If anyone has deserved a promotion, it’s Mozeliak. He now moves on to President of Baseball Operations, while Mike Girsch goes from Assistant General Manager to General Manager.
Now, seeing what he can do with this faulty roster that is in need of a potent lineup bat and true star to complete an overhaul will be interesting. With the large amount of television money coming via the Fox Sports Midwest deal, the timing is definitely ideal for Mozeliak to make his stamp on the franchise’s next ten years.
For now, give him time to reshape under his new title. I think he’s earned it.