St. Louis Cardinals: Mozeliak Financial Advisors opens November 1st
The St. Louis Cardinals President of Baseball Operations is not running this team like a baseball team, but a portfolio. Why not open his own business?
The 2019 iteration of the St. Louis Cardinals were supposed to be the year that the team went for it all. It was written in all the papers, all the blogs, but it seemed like it might’ve been just lip service, even at the time when it was said.
Looking at what was said at the beginning of the year right now, it was quite clearly lip service. After doing nothing at the deadline, the team has played uninspired and it’s not hard to see why. The front office let the team down when they said they were going to invest in the team and then did nothing. Despite his apparent best efforts, John Mozeliak failed miserably.
When you look back at the majority of John Mozeliak’s tenure, this shouldn’t have been too surprising though. I’m not sure why it took so long for myself to see it this way, but now it’s clear. John Mozeliak would be a great financial advisor. I’m not so sure he’s a great GM anymore.
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In my knowledge of the stock market, it seems that the smartest way to do things for the long term is to not try and beat the market but match it. You can’t sustainably beat it longterm and you know it’s going to go up eventually, so a smart way to do things is to aim for a solid 7-ish% return year for year and to do things like dollar-cost averaging.
For investors, boring is better. Indexing and not risking too much is exactly that, boring. But aiming for average over the career of your stock buying will lead to a lot of money and a happy retirement.
The sad thing is that this is exactly how Mozeliak has been running the Cardinals. The very clear difference here is that the Cardinals are a BASEBALL TEAM which in the end is an entertainment business, not a stock portfolio to manage.
Think about how many times Mozeliak brings up the long term success as being more important than winning now. Even when he says that “2019 matters,” he wouldn’t go out and risk too much to improve the team. Long term, giving up your farm system for one player isn’t smart, it’s a big risk, but for an ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY, long term success can’t always be the goal.
At the end of the day, that’s all the MLB is, it’s here to give fans joy. To give them something to love and to follow. All the great moments and excitement and emotions, it’s one of the best parts of being alive. For St. Louis Cardinals fans, the moments are engrained in every fan’s life.
But how many times in his tenure has Mozeliak gone out on a limb and made a big risky move? Trading for Matt Holliday was big, same for Paul Goldschmidt. In 2011, he made a big shakeup which led to a World Series and he did a similar thing in 2014 when he traded away Joe Kelly and Allen Craig. I may be missing some, but four risky moves in more than ten years just screams investor rather than GM/team President.
When this strategy works, we see the dynasty that this team was in the beginning half of the decade. The calculated moves work and supplement young talent and the team can be sustainably good/great, but when it’s bad, it looks like they don’t care.
As much as the front office has said they are “all-in,” doesn’t it just seem like they are aiming for 89 wins like always? “We just want to remain competitive.” How many times have we heard that? They aim for consistently slightly above average and won’t break their dollar-cost averaging to go above what their formula has said they should contribute for that year’s team.
It’s a great strategy for investing. Don’t get your emotions too far into a stock or two or you will lose the shirt off your back. I’m pretty confident the same strategy doesn’t look great for baseball.
If you want to see what happens when a team does go above what they think is smart for that year? Look no further than how the Mets have done since they bought at the Trade Deadline and everyone said they were crazy. 7-1. That is what happens for an inspired team that is backed by their front office with moves that shout, “WE BELIEVE IN YOU.”
For a player like Zack Wheeler, who probably was sure he was going to be traded, the front office’s faith in him to keep him has lit a fire under him. In his two starts since the Deadline, he has thrown 15 innings and not given up a single run. Isn’t it odd how that works? I haven’t done the research but I would bet the attendance and TV numbers since the Deadline has gone up.
So while the Cardinals continue to middle and spiral further away from the dynasty they were, enjoy watching what happens to an inspired squad like the Mets. The biggest thing that Mo’s lack of an action at the Deadline told the team was that he didn’t believe they were good enough to risk an addition. Now they are playing like it.
To be at least slightly fair to Mozeliak, it may not be his fault. This may be a DeWitt problem. He may be keeping Mozeliak’s wallet in a safe and keeping him from making more exciting moves. I doubt it though.
This team is being run like a financial advisory, not like a team that needs to draw in fans. We as fans might catch on eventually, but the #FIREMO riot is growing daily as the frustration mounts and Mo might see the writing on the wall that his days here might be numbered. If the team doesn’t make the playoffs this year, I wonder how willing DeWitt would be to move on from Mo…
If the Cardinals were a stock portfolio, Mo would be the perfect guy for the job. The team is not going to take any risks with him at the helm and this year proved that clearly. Dollar-cost averaging and boring investing doesn’t work with baseball and the last four years have been a perfect example of when it goes wrong. Mo needs to break his formula if he wants to calm the crowd, but maybe DeWitt doesn’t care either. Just one fan’s opinion…