John Mozeliak’s new comments on Paul DeJong further indicate a return in 2023
After another extremely disappointing season from Paul DeJong, many expected the St. Louis Cardinals to let go of their once promising shortstop this offseason. From the looks of it, DeJong will be getting another shot to make an impact on the club in 2023.
While speaking to reporters at the MLB’s annual GM Meetings in Las Vegas Tuesday, John Mozeliak had this to say about DeJong (per John Denton’s story on MLB.com).
"“With Paulie, this spring is important,” “He has to make changes. When you think back to when he came up [in late July], he brought a lot of energy and some impact with his bat for about three weeks. Then, he regressed back to where he was prior to getting sent down. So, I think, for him, he’s got to figure out how to get back there, what he can do differently, and he’s obviously got to make some changes. Do you want someone that’s a defensive replacement at $9 million a year? No, that’s not ideal.”"
Fans can read this comment in a number of ways. Even if Mozeliak had zero confidence in DeJong, good management is not going to come out and trash on a player that they may want to try and move off of if possible. The offseason just started, so if an opportunity eventually presents itself to move DeJong, the club may do so.
The concerning way to read these comments is that the Cardinals may stand pat at shortstop once again and see if DeJong can regain his spot on the club. This runs in line with comments Mozeliak made just a few weeks ago. There is no doubt that Tommy Edman is currently the starter over him, but it appears Mozeliak would like to see DeJong make the roster, and preferably not just as a defensive replacement.
To be fair, Mozeliak was critical of DeJong, and made sure to point out that Spring Training was going to be a major test for him. If the 29-year old cannot regain his former form during February and March, it would be shocking to see him in St. Louis come the spring.
For those who are dreaming of the Cardinals bringing in an impact shortstop this offseason, this at least tempers those expectations, but should not completely rule it out. Mozeliak said himself that the Cardinals are looking to add some “thump” between their veterans and young guys, and a late 20s to early 30s superstar shortstop could surely fit the bill.
Keep an eye out on more comments and rumors surrounding St. Louis as the offseason continues to unfold. Things change and new opportunities could present themselves, so I have a feeling this is not the end of this conversation for Cardinals fans. You can stay up to date with all transactions, rumors, and payroll outlooks by checking out our Cardinals offseason tracker, which will be updated all offseason.