St. Louis Cardinals: The mockery that is John Mozeliak

ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 14: St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak (R) introduces Mike Matheny as the new manager during a press conference at Busch Stadium on November 14, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 14: St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak (R) introduces Mike Matheny as the new manager during a press conference at Busch Stadium on November 14, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images) /

John Mozeliak has been the General Manager of the St. Louis Cardinals for years. While he is generally praised, he has made nothing but mediocre moves recently.

When Marcell Ozuna came to the St. Louis Cardinals prior to the 2018 season, he was heralded as the savior of the city and the middle of the lineup. Management hyped him up to the point of being a perennial MVP candidate and the solution to our offensive problems.

To make room for Ozuna, the St. Louis Cardinals sent Stephen Piscotty to Oakland for a couple of prospects. The interesting thing? They were just about the same ballplayer in 2018. I would even argue that Piscotty was slightly more valuable for the Athletics than Marcell Ozuna for us.

To start, the offensive slash lines. Ozuna: .280/.325/.433 with 23 homers in 148 games. Piscotty: .267/.331/.491 with 27 homers in 151 games. The biggest difference? Ozuna had 16 doubles to Piscotty’s 41. 41 doubles! And we called this man offensively deficient to the point of shipping him out.

Piscotty overcame a horrid start and the death of his beloved mother to become an absolute force at the plate for the rest of the year. He became an integral part of an upstart A’s team that won 97 games and reached a postseason berth. After an okay April and an awful May, Piscotty hit .286/.351/.556 with 24 homers and 29 doubles in 102 games.

Piscotty became an absolute force at the plate while also holding his own in right field. Piscotty was worth -6 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) in right field. Ozuna was worth 8 DRS in left field. In reality, the two provide the same level of fielding due to positional differences. Ozuna would be worth around -6 in right and vice versa. The big difference in the field is that Piscotty can throw a runner out if he needs to.

Anyone who watched a game last year can tell you exactly how well Marcell Ozuna throws.

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While I firmly believe no value was added to the team with these trades, I do understand why we sent Piscotty to Oakland. This gave him the opportunity to see his ailing mother, who lives in the area, much more often than if he were still with St. Louis. Odds are, he wouldn’t have had the same success without that connection/closure provided to him.

The point that I’m trying to make is that we were all deceived by the Ozuna trade. We thought we were getting out savior, but in reality, we didn’t even make the ballclub better. We may have even gotten slightly worse! This article is not an attack on Ozuna, but a revelation that we were deceived by marketing and fanfare from Cardinals brass.

John Mozeliak has made it a habit to do just enough to keep his job, but we haven’t had a truly competitive club since 2015. They haven’t drafted nor signed nor traded for superstars until Paul Goldschmidt this offseason. They had a chance to get Christian Yelich or Bryce Harper via trade last year. Instead, we got more mediocrity in Ozuna.

Ian Kinsler would have been a fantastic middle infield addition! There were limitless bullpen arms available everywhere, but we went and traded for Chasen Shreve. Boy, that didn’t work out. Mike Moustakas, Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ, Joakim Soria, Keone Kela, and Chris Archer were all traded last year. I would say that each and every one of those ballplayers would have made our club better.

Did we acquire anyone of significance? No. We trusted Dexter Fowler and Marcell Ozuna to be our lineup mainstays for the stretch run. Our biggest July acquisition was either Tyson Ross or Matt Adams. Neither made a sizeable difference and we missed the postseason yet again. Now, this would be almost tolerable were it only one year that we made bad signings and trades. But this has been going on for years now.

(Would this be a good time to remind everyone that we passed on signing Max Scherzer and David Price too?)

The only roster moves that John Mozeliak has ever done well were bringing in (and retaining) Matt Holliday, signing Carlos Beltran, and signing Lance Berkman. Maybe, just maybe, signing Jhonny Peralta goes on this list. Any other star that ever came through St. Louis was either drafted (and it’s been a while) or signed by Walt Jocketty, Mo’s predecessor.

Jason Heyward ended up being a disaster. So was Dexter Fowler. Marcell Ozuna has been mediocre at best. Jordan Walden and Luke Gregerson pitched a combined 29 games in a Cardinals uniform. All Brandon Moss ever did was strikeout with the occasional homer. I’m not going to even start on Brett Cecil or Greg Holland. Both Jonathan Broxton and Mike Leake were not good in their time here.

Mozeliak has seemingly always tried to find the bargain deal, relying on tremendous coaching (from Mike Matheny no less) to somehow improve these mediocre players. His talent evaluation has been awful and not one of his recent moves has worked out. Not a single one.

And yet, we praise this man in St. Louis. We gave him a promotion for being so good! What a load of crap! He has brought nothing but mediocrity to St. Louis. Jake Westbrook, Ty Wigginton, Khalil Greene, Matt Belisle, Randy Choate. Do I need to go back further?

The only single move that Mo has made in the past three years where I look at it and say, “Huh, that worked out really well!” was trading Tony Cruz to Kansas City for Jose Martinez. One. Single. Move. And I had to go back to December 2015 to find it. With the rest, it’s like, “Oh god, I forgot he was a Cardinal.” And for good reason.

If this team wants to make the postseason regularly, they need someone who can construct a roster at the helm. Not a cheapskate whose main goal is to keep his job and his bowties. Mo started his tenure in St. Louis well, but the game has left him in the dust. He has not read the data well and seems to be behind the curve in terms of analytics in general.

Next. How bad was the Luke Voit trade?. dark

The thing that makes this hurt all that much more is that Jeff Luhnow was the other option to succeed Jocketty in St. Louis. For those of you who don’t know that name, he is the man responsible for the juggernaut that is the Houston Astros. He and his club are examples of what we could have been. But instead, we get Captain Bowtie and Co… Disgusting.