Cardinals GM John Mozeliak addressed questions from fans and media during the club’s Winter Warm-Up event this weekend. Here are some of Mozeliak’s hot stove-related comments, courtesy of Derrick Goold, Jeff Gordon and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch…
- After failing to reach agreements with Carlos Martinez or Michael Wacha before Friday’s arbitration filing deadline, the Cardinals won’t pursue further negotiation with either right-hander and will instead go to arbitration hearings. Martinez asked for $4.25MM while the Cards countered with a $3.9MM offer, and Wacha filed for $3.2MM with a $2.775MM counter from St. Louis. As Goold notes, this will be the first time the Cardinals have gone to an arbitration hearing with any player in 17 years. Mozeliak explained that the Cards had explored using the “file-and-trial” strategy in the last couple of years before finally taking the stance during this winter’s crop of arb-eligible players.
- Martinez and the Cardinals were discussing a multi-year extension this winter, though obviously no agreement was reached before Friday’s deadline. The hearing “would not put a chill” on the relationship between the two sides, as Goold put it, so talks could very possibly resume during Spring Training once Martinez’s 2017 salary has been decided by the arbiter. For his part, Martinez said (via an interpreter) that he wants to spend the rest of his career with the team.
- St. Louis was rather surprisingly linked to Brian Dozier’s name in trade rumors last month, though later reports downplayed the Cardinals’ interest. Mozeliak said his team’s pursuit of Dozier “was news to me.” As Goold explains, the connection could have been due to the Cards’ discussions with teams in order to properly gauge market values, rather than an actual interest in acquiring Dozier. “If [the Cardinals] knew what a top-tier second baseman was going to command on this pricey trade market then they also could evaluate their own players, and they could evaluate their own offers,” Goold writes.
- Left-hander Marco Gonzales said he is feeling healthy and is hoping to begin the season in the Triple-A rotation. Gonzales, picked 19th overall by the Cardinals in 2013, quickly reached the bigs to toss 34 2/3 innings for the club in 2014, and injuries have since derailed his progress. Shoulder problems limited the southpaw to just one game in 2015, and Gonzales missed all of 2016 due to Tommy John surgery.