Mozeliak on position players
The Cardinals’ outfield situation is murky, and Mozeliak admitted that the season hasn’t progressed in the way he or the front office expected regarding the outfield situation. Originally projected as a strength of the team, the outfield has seen injuries to Tyler O’Neill and Dylan Carlson along with Jordan Walker’s demotion, so the team has had to utilize its players’ versatility by placing Brendan Donovan and Tommy Edman in the outfield.
The most glaring takeaway from Mozeliak’s comments about the outfield is his pointed comments about O’Neill and the implication that O’Neill isn’t showing up to play every day even when he isn’t feeling his best. There can be debates over the severity of the pain that a player needs to play through, but it seems clear that Mozeliak is unhappy with O’Neill’s effort. This issue with injuries compounds the controversy earlier in the season when O’Neill was blamed for not hustling in a play at the plate so he would avoid injury.
The other major controversy this season was with Willson Contreras and his removal from the catcher spot. Mozeliak said that Contreras needed to get on the same page with the pitchers, but this once again is deflecting the entirety of the blame onto Contreras, which isn’t fair. The Cardinals seemed to take Yadier Molina’s production for granted after so many years, and although Contreras came to the team as the same catcher he always was, that wasn’t enough for the Cardinals brass.
The pitchers needed to execute with Contreras behind the plate, and while Contreras’ preparation or lack thereof was cited as something he needed to work on, maybe the pitchers also needed to do their part in their preparation with Contreras.
Mozeliak is very good at providing answers to questions while keeping the Cardinals’ inner workings close to his chest. However, fans could still gain a few insights into his perspective on the team through this interview. It’s been a tumultuous season for Mozeliak and company, but despite a few wrinkles still needing to be ironed out, it appears things are beginning to click on the field and in the front office.