Bill DeWitt Jr. has "turned general manager John Mozeliak loose" to find a starting pitcher, writes Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In a Q&A with the Cardinals' chairman, Strauss asks about the team's approach to the trade deadline and Albert Pujols' future in St. Louis, among other topics. Here's what DeWitt had to say:
- The team's farm system isn't as deep as it was at this time last year, but they still have a few "premium prospects" that other clubs are interested in.
- Giving up a lot of talent to rent a player whose contract expires at season's end isn't something the Cardinals want to do. However, they do have some prospects they'd make available in the right trade.
- The team has financial flexibility to take on salary, in part because their attendance this year has been slightly stronger than expected.
- It sounds like the Cards would prefer taking on salary rather than parting with blue-chip prospects: "Dollars is one thing; talent is another," said DeWitt. "Talent is harder to get."
- Even taking into account Pujols' upcoming extension negotiations, the team is confident they have room to add a "quality player," as long as it's not one with a long-term, backloaded contract.
- The Cardinals would never consider trading Albert Pujols this year, and view this coming offseason as the "optimal" time for contract negotiations.
- DeWitt hasn't discussed with Tony La Russa whether the Cards' skipper will be back next year. They'll wait to see how La Russa feels after the season.