John Mozeliak Rumors

Mozeliak Talks Furcal, Kozma, Lefty Relief

For the most part, the Cardinals are well-positioned for the 2013 season. They’ll consider upgrades in the middle infield and hope their injured players recover quickly. Other than that, their biggest offseason need might be left-handed relief. GM John Mozeliak addressed his team’s offseason plans at the GM Meetings today in a conversation with MLBTR. Here are some highlights:

  • The Cardinals like internal middle infield options such as Rafael Furcal, Pete Kozma and even prospect Kolten Wong. Mozeliak said he’s “very hesitant” to seek a long-term answer in the middle infield at this point. “We feel like we do have some depth there, but clearly if Furcal were injured we might have to look at it a little differently,” the GM said. The shortstop dealt with an elbow injury late this past season.
  • Kozma’s late-season performance “definitely saved him” his roster spot, according to Mozeliak. The Cardinals like the shortstop’s energy and enthusiasm. 
  • Mozeliak said the Cardinals would offer free agent relievers multiyear deals under the right circumstances. “It really comes down to seeing if we can find the right fit for the role we’re looking for,” he said, acknowledging that the Cardinals are interested in adding a left-handed reliever.

NL Central Notes: HOF, Garza, Cards, Brewers

Barry Larkin and the late Ron Santo were inducted today into the National Baseball Hall of Fame as the Class of 2012. The ceremony in Cooperstown was marked by the moving acceptance speech given by Santo's widow, Vicki, and the singing of the National Anthem by Larkin's daughter, Cymber. Larkin spent his entire career with his hometown Reds while Santo spent his entire 15-year career in Chicago, 14 of those with the Cubs. In other news concerning teams from the NL Central:

  • The Cubs' Matt Garza told reporters, including the Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan, that he feels better after being forced from Saturday's game with triceps cramping. "I don't think it's a bone contusion or a bruise or anything," Garza said. "I think it's just a cramp that's stiff, just a stiff muscle. I have better movement today than I did yesterday, so that's positive. I can move it today, so that's a huge plus." Several teams have Garza on their radar as the trade deadline approaches.
  • Cardinals GM John Mozeliak told reporters, including Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, that there is no urgency to add a starting pitcher with the increased production from the rotation and the encouraging health of Jaime Garcia. "It clearly takes a little pressure off as far as feeling like we have to do something," said Mozeliak. "We feel very confident that (Garcia) is going to be back by mid-August. If you were to go after another starter, who are you really bouncing out? That's why the urgency isn't quite there for rotation help as it was three or four weeks ago."
  • After being swept by the first-place Reds this weekend, the Brewers may be inclined to become sellers at the trade deadline, opines Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (via Twitter). Zack Greinke is the Brewers' most discussed trade candidate. 
  • The Brewers have reached an agreement with 16-year-old Venezuelan right-hander Yosmer Leal for $370K, according to's Jesse Sanchez. The bonus would be one of the largest ever given by the Brewers to a Latin American player. Leal still must pass a physical and a MLB age investigation. The investigation is standard procedure for all Latin American signees.

Cardinals Notes: Berkman, Mozeliak, Jackson

The Cardinals edged the Braves out for the National League Wild Card and are now preparing for their Division Series matchup against the Phillies. Here are some Cardinals-related links, as we await tomorrow's Kyle LohseRoy Halladay contest…

Odds & Ends: Molina, Machado, Wood, Montero

Saturday afternoon linkage…

  • Bengie Molina has had an immediate impact in Texas, writes Gordon Edes of
  • The Orioles won't sign Manny Machado before August 1st, Baltimore's director of scouting told Brittany Ghiroli of (via Twitter).
  • The Indians placed closer Kerry Wood on the disabled list with a blister on his right index finger according to's Anthony Castrovince. The move is retroactive to July 12th, so unless he needs more than the 15 days off, Wood will be back just before the trade deadline.
  • Meanwhile, ESPN's Buster Olney says Wood's actual trade deadline is August 31st, because he will clear waivers next month given the $4MM still owed to him this season (Twitter links).
  • White Sox GM Kenny Williams often approaches his veteran players to get their opinions about potential moves, but he has not yet pulled Paul Konerko aside to discuss scenarios according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun Times.
  • Bernie Miklasz of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says that Cardinals' GM John Mozeliak was well-deserving of his contract extension.
  • In a video on ESPN, Olney says the Yankees have determined that they would not trade catching prospect Jesus Montero for any player available on the trade market. They were willing to move him for Cliff Lee because it was a special case.

GM Trade Histories: NL Central

Brendan Bianowicz continues to update the GM Trade History series, covering the NL Central today.  Click below to download Excel spreadsheets chronicling trades, free agent signings, and top draft picks for each GM.

Cardinals: In-Season Payroll Flexibility?

Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted this morning that the Cardinals' payroll is down about $8MM heading into the 2009 season.  In that article, GM John Mozeliak defended the cut, but provided no indication that the team is stocking up for an in-season acquisition.

Well, Mozeliak conveniently appeared on Bernie Miklasz's radio show this afternoon and gave Cards fans everywhere a bit more hope.  The general manager said that his organization likes to have its "payroll parallel with revenue."  Miklasz has the full synopsis over at the Post-Dispatch's website, but here's the basic gist:

If things go better they can adjust accordingly. If things go worse (economy, attendance) then it could go the other way. But he hopes to be able to make a move if they need it.

Ticket prices have gone up, and the new Busch Stadium is almost always full, so it's fairly safe to assume that the Cardinals will have some loose change in June or July.  Plus, St. Louis is hosting the All-Star Game this season and that typically brings in gobs of revenue.

Cardinals Far Apart With Ankiel, Ludwick

As reported by’s Matthew Leach, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said Wednesday that little progress has been made with arbitration-eligible outfielders Rick Ankiel and Ryan Ludwick.

"There’s not a whole lot to comment on," Mozeliak said. "Right now we’re just preparing. I think if there is a settlement before we enter in, it would be a [last-minute] type of thing."

Both players are pretty far apart in negotiations with the club.  Ludwick asked for $4.25MM and was offered $2.8MM, while Ankiel asked for $3.3MM and the Cardinals countered with $2.35MM.  The Cards haven’t required an arbitration hearing since 1999, but it looks like that’s about to change.

Odds and Ends: Prospects, Alfonzo, Zimmerman

Links for Wednesday…

  • Cardinals GM John Mozeliak subjected himself to all kinds of questions from fans today in an online chat.  It sounds like he might do a little spring tinkering.
  • It seems that the Angels will go with internal options for the fifth starter job.
  • The Rangers, Rays, and A’s are atop Keith Law’s farm system rankings, with the Tigers, Nationals, and Astros bringing up the rear.
  • Orioles infielder Oscar Salazar is likely on the chopping block to make room for Gregg Zaun.
  • Kyodo News reports that Edgardo Alfonzo will try out for the Yomiuri Giants.
  • Dave Sheinin says Kevin Youkilis is a good comp for Ryan Zimmerman.  The midpoint between Zimmerman’s and the Nationals’ arbitration submissions would be a $3.325MM.
  • I sincerely appreciate all the submissions for the Saturday evening writer gig.  I’m happy to welcome D.J. Blatter aboard as our newest blogger.

Wellemeyer, Cardinals Close To Deal

Matthew Leach of believes the St. Louis Cardinals and right-handed starting pitcher Todd Wellemeyer are close to a deal to avoid arbitration.

This from Wellemeyer himself: "I know it’s getting close, I’ll tell you that much."

Wellemeyer, 30, went 13-9 with a 3.71 ERA in 2008.

Leach notes that deals might be close for Chris Duncan and Brad Thompson, too. General manager John Mozeliak said he would like to avoid arbitration with Duncan and Thompson, as well as Rick Ankiel and Ryan Ludwick.

Mozeliak is hopeful that none of the five players will actually go to arbitration. Ankiel is especially challenging given his short tenure as an outfielder, Leach writes.

Odds and Ends: Howard, Cormier, Gerut

I am currently evaluating Phil Hughes‘ playlist.  Some of it is solid.  Let’s get on to the odds and ends…

  • Bill Conlin thinks it’s a mistake for the Phillies to pay Ryan Howard at a rate commensurate with his service time.  It’s a slippery slope – shouldn’t Cole Hamels be earning $15MM instead of $500K, then?  The system may be broken but it doesn’t make sense for the Phillies to start ignoring service time.
  • John Mozeliak is not done yet.  Meanwhile, Albert Pujols continued to direct his ire at KTVI-TV of St. Louis. 
  • The Orioles agreed to a minor league deal with 27 year-old righty Lance Cormier worth around $450K.  Cormier doesn’t have much to show for his 244 big league innings, whether starting or relieving.  He has a decent groundball rate, at least.
  • The Padres signed Jody Gerut to a minor league pact that could be worth as much as $910K.  He’s 30 now; his best season was an .830 OPS for Cleveland at age 25.  Since then he’s had all sorts of knee problems and even had a grievance with the Pirates.