Tom Ackerman had Cardinals' President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak on his weekly show, Sports on a Sunday Morning, once again. The two touched on about a half dozen topics including the Richie Palacios-Andrew Kittredge trade, the current bullpen and rotation situation, players returning from injury, and Gordon Graceffo's progress. You can listen to the interview on Spotify or on Audacy.
In regard to the Richie Palacios-Andrew Kittredge trade, Mozeliak made it clear that Palacios didn't really have a spot on the major league roster. In fact, Mozeliak went so far as to say that Palacios could have even started the season off in AAA Memphis despite a strong showing down the stretch last year in St. Louis. When discussing Kittredge, Mozeliak highlighted the righty's "elite" performances in 2021 before Tommy John surgery.
"The thing I like most about him is that he throws strikes. He's definitely in the zone. I think when you look at his comeback last year, especially the last couple of weeks, he did find that swing-and-miss groove again."- John Mozeliak
Mozeliak once again was non-commital when discussing further bullpen additions. With the arbitration exchanges starting on Thursday, his focus is now turned to those, but he did say the team would keep tabs on the free-agent reliever market. Mozeliak did all but close the door on adding a free-agent starting pitcher, emphasizing internal options such as Zack Thompson and Matthew Liberatore.
After breaking news over the weekend that Tommy Edman had arthroscopic surgery on his wrist in October, fans began questioning the utility player's availability for Spring Training. In addition to Edman's surgery, fans have been concerned about Brendan Donovan's ability to start the season healthy. Mo quelled both of these fears emphatically.
"I'm very confident (Tommy Edman) will be fine. (He's) having a good rehab. I'm very bullish on (Brendan Donovan). Working hard down in Jupiter. We're excited to see what he can do next year."- John Mozeliak
Mozeliak also stated that Masyn Winn will be the primary candidate to start the season as the team's shortstop. He got a cup of coffee last year in St. Louis, and despite a poor showing offensively, the front office still believes in him.
Gordon Graceffo is one of the team's top pitching prospects. Consistency has been his major struggle, but his pitch mix, his size, and his potential are all tantalizing. When discussing Graceffo's 2023 season, Mozeliak stated that he was able to pitch very well for two to three innings only to struggle beyond that point. Mo went on to state that Graceffo could find himself as a very strong reliever should the rotation not go well for him next year.
This is the first time that Mozeliak has spoken on recent topics such as the trade for Andrew Kittredge and the progression of both Tommy Edman and Brendan Donovan. He reassured Ackerman of his confidence in this lineup.