St. Louis Cardinals: John Mozeliak’s forgotten masterpiece
By Brett Ramsey
John Mozeliak has made some good and bad moves for the St. Louis Cardinals. One underrated trade could prove to be a forgotten masterpiece.
While the St. Louis Cardinals have pulled off big trades for players like Matt Holliday, Paul Goldschmidt, and Nolan Arenado among others, sometimes it is easy to overlook some of the hidden gems of John Mozeliak’s tenure as the primary decision maker for the team.
One such trade, that I am calling his forgotten masterpiece, was the trade of Jaime Garcia to the Atlanta Braves in December 2016. In return, the Cardinals got three players, most notably John Gant.
Gant has been a hugely important pitcher for the Cardinals and has been utilized as both a starting pitcher and a relief pitcher.
In 2018 he got his first extended look with the Redbirds, appearing in 26 games with 19 starts. He put together a 7-6 record with a 3.47 ERA. The next season he was used out of the bullpen and put together perhaps one of the best seasons by a Cardinals reliever in a long time. He went 11-1 with a 3.66 ERA in 64 games.
As the 2021 season is set to start in about a month, it seems like Gant will again have an essential role in the bullpen. It’s not out of the question that he finds himself back in the starting rotation but it’s unlikely in my view. He has found astounding success in the bullpen and helped turn the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen into a strength and among the best in the sport.
On the other side of the coin, Jaime Garcia was only with the Braves for half a season. He was traded to the Minnesota Twins in July 2017 who in turn traded him to the New York Yankees six days later.
Garcia had a successful career with the St. Louis Cardinals but never found the same success after leaving the team. He won just eight more games after his trade from the Cardinals.
Meanwhile, John Gant has become a huge piece in St. Louis. This trade was an underrated but fantastic trade by Mozeliak and company. Jaime Garcia was a good Cardinal and a part of the 2011 World Series winning team but it seemed like it was time to turn the page on Garcia’s tenure with the team.
At the time of the trade, Gant was the biggest name the Cardinals were getting back in the package, but I doubt even the team knew just how good he was going to become.
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Gant has this year and then 2022 under contract, but he will definitely be a player the Cardinals could be interested in extending before he hits free agency if his performance keeps up.
When the trade was made in 2016, who would have known that two years later Garcia would have appeared in his last MLB game. Five years later, John Gant would have emerged as one of the most important players in what is a borderline elite bullpen.
St. Louis Cardinals fans certainly have become fond of Gant, even getting him trending on social media.
Although far from the splashiest and most impactful moves the St. Louis Cardinals have made, the John Gant acquisition has proven to be one of John Mozeliak’s underrated trades. Truly, a forgotten masterpiece.