John Mozeliak and the Cardinals' Front Office have done quite the makeover this offseason. The Cardinals had championship aspirations last year but instead finished with a 71-91 record. For such a storied franchise, this was a total embarrassment.
When grading students, it is best to look at where each individual student is and grade them on their individual progress. If a typical "A" student writes a "C" level paper, that stands out. But if a student who typically scores a "C" on an assignment writes a very similar paper, the second student will probably score higher. He or she exceeded expectations and performed above his or her standard level.
Expectations for John Mozeliak were low this offseason; why should we as fans trust a man who told us last year that they had six starting pitchers? Mozeliak, in that same interview with John Denton of MLB.com from last offseason, spoke of remaining prudent and working within the free agency market. He wanted to avoid rash decisions. Sound familiar?
That same man is the one who was tasked with rebuilding a depleted and underperforming roster this offseason. Expectations were right to be low.
However, Mozeliak exceeded those expectations. He went out and signed three starting pitchers, traded away an outfielder who had fallen out of favor with both fans and management and reversed a downcast clubhouse culture. If Mozeliak had signed just Sonny Gray and traded away Tyler O'Neill, this offseason would've outstripped expectations.
The team is much better now; for as modest and unpretentious as the moves John Mozeliak made were, they were just as necessary. The team truly has depth in its rotation now that is reliable and proven. The bullpen could use some improvement, but it's playable for the time being. The roster has defensive versatility and offensive firepower.
Things will be much different in 2024. John Mozeliak set a goal to add "pitching, pitching, pitching", and he did it. He also cleared up logjams in the outfield. The coaching staff was expanded as well with the additions of Yadier Molina, Daniel Descalso, and Dean Kiekhefer.
I would give John Mozeliak and the Front Office a B for their efforts this offseason.
Higher-end pitching would have been nice, but the roster remained intact, the coaching staff will be stronger next year, and the team has true depth in its rotation now. Mozeliak exceeded expectations by adding a top-tier pitcher; he has earned his grade this year.