This morning St. Louis Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak went on KFNS to discuss the current team roster and the organizations prospects ahead of the 2013 season. The short interview revealed many of the GM’s plans regarding potentially key players ahead of spring training. The full interview can be listened to here. A summary appears below.
- Mozeliak was first asked how much of his work is “still ongoing” as he looks to fix the roster in January. Mozeliak responded by saying the month is busy as the club attempts to finalize five arbitration cases that will “hopefully” be wrapped up by January 18. However, Mozeliak stated there is a possibility that the cases could “spillover.” While saying he was focused on these, current players, Mozeliak said they are still looking at possible “tweaks” to the roster, though he did not anticipate anything happening in the near future.
- When pressed on what kind of tweaks he would be looking at Mozeliak mentioned the vulnerabilities of middle infield if the team is not healthy. Mozeliak said the medical reports on Rafael Furcal are positive and that he appears in better shape than he was even at this point last year.
- On Matt Carpenter’s progress at second base Mozeliak sounded optimistic given Carpenter’s work ethic. Mozeliak stressed that the club wants to find a way to get Carpenter’s bat in the lineup. When pressed on how many games Carpenter might play at second base Mozeliak refused to answer saying everything was speculative at this point.
- When asked about organization prospect Kolten Wong, who many see as the long term answer at second base, Mozeliak stressed that the team does not see Wong as the answer in the early part of 2013, “I hope we don’t see Wong, because if we do that means somebody has probably been hurt.” Mozeliak said he would like to see Wong get a full season at AAA this year, though he would not be surprised if Wong made it to the Major Leagues at some point this year.
- Addressing top prospect Oscar Taveras, Mozeliak said, “The day he gets here is the day he stays.” Mozeliak stated that once Taveras gets a big league opportunity with the Cardinals he will have that opportunity “for a long time.”
- Asked whether he can expect the same performance from Carlos Beltran next year, Mozeliak said that the club would not be wise to have the same expectations and that they will be prudent in protecting Beltran, Matt Holliday, David Freese, and Yadier Molina. Mozeliak lamented the decline of these players in the second half last year, which may signal an intention to use them less early in the season in 2013.
- On the subject of Adam Wainwright’s possible contract extension, Mozeliak stated that negotiations have not begun but that it would be in the club’s “best interest” to try to keep him. Mozeliak said talks would probably begin in late January or February, and that he preferred not to be negotiating long into spring training. Mozeliak did not seem concerned about Wainwright’s age and previous injuries, saying that even if Wainwright’s stuff does not return he is the type of pitcher who will always find a way to be successful.
- When asked about the possible return of Kyle Lohse Mozeliak said “it would be very difficult given what we have in our rotation right now, and also what we have in our bullpen that’s capable of pitching in the rotation.” While saying he would not totally close a door, Mozeliak said a return was not probable.
- The interview got a little testy at the end when the interviewers asked about former player complaints that Mozeliak did not communicate with them regarding the team’s future plans. Mozeliak said that he did not really see the issue as a problem since it only involved a handful of players, but then later backtracked and said it must be an issue since he is now hearing about it. Mozeliak said he has an open door policy with all players, and has had direct discussion with many of them about how the club views their free agent value.