The St. Louis Cardinals’ President of Baseball Operations thinks the baseball market will pick up this week and that the 2020 roster is not “complete.” Could a trade or free agency signing be imminent?
On Sunday, John Mozeliak joined KMOX’s Tom Ackerman for his weekly Sports on a Sunday Morning show. During the show, Ackerman peppered Mozeliak with questions about the strength of the St. Louis Cardinals, fixing the offense with Jeff Albert, and getting at-bats for minor leaguers Dylan Carlson and Randy Arozarena.
When asked about sorting out at-bats for Carlson and Arozarena (around 6:00), Mozeliak states:
"Those are names that come up a lot in conversations in what the future of the Cardinals’ outfield looks like. I think, like, before you can address them, you have to really sort of focus on what you have with Mr. O’Neill and what you have with Lane Thomas and because … you know, ultimately we are trying to determine who’s going to get those at-bats and so I think this camp is really critical for really all four of those names."
Mozeliak would mention that these players have to take into account that this is a try-out instead of being content with making the team.
"I think from our major league staff standpoint, they’re looking at it as who can fill the void of what we don’t have from previous years, so you know I think defense matters; I think offense is going to really matter in how are they going to get at-bats and figure out how that all blends."
Perhaps I am over-analyzing Mozeliak’s answer here, but I personally found it interesting that he did not mention Harrison Bader when discussing the future of the Cardinals’ outfield. With the Cardinals’ re-committing to Jeff Albert’s use of analytics, Bader has openly said he’s against analytics.
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At the end of the interview (at the 9:45-9:47 mark), Ackerman asked about both the trade and free-agent market now that the holiday season has passed, specifically whether or not there would be more activity.
"I would imagine. I would say this past week, you know, we’ve felt a little busier in the office in terms of talking with clubs, and you know, clearly…the holidays in baseball, which technically you’re not closed, you’re not off, but there’s always that ebb and flow of, ‘Well, do we have a moment to take a breath or not?’ and, you know, obviously as we enter the week of January 6th, Friday is when you have to make your…present for arbitration in terms of filing numbers.So I think you’re going to see a lot more activity. You’re going to see a lot more phones ringing, and, you know baseball I think as we normally see it will get more active."
So what do we take away from this?
Obviously, John Mozeliak and company are doing their due diligence to find ways to improve the offense. Right now, they are waiting and analyzing the market like all of the other teams before they make their move, i.e. not spending stupid money. The Cardinals know that the offense last year was not acceptable and are going to give their team a full year of working with one hitting strategy under one voice.
However, when Mozeliak talks about “filling the void,” I speculate that Ozuna will not be with St. Louis for 2020. Of course, that could change, but the Cardinals seem content with in-house options. Still, something could happen this week.