- The Cards will be looking for a middle-of-the-lineup slugger this winter to boost the lineup. “For us, we have a talented team, but when you look at our club, no one stood out as an All-Star, that threat,” president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said. Seven Cards regulars were above-average run-creators in 2017 as per the wRC+ metric, though injuries and a lack of regular playing time impacted that group. Josh Donaldson has been rumored to be one of the Cardinals’ offseason targets, and would certainly fit the bill as a big lineup upgrade if St. Louis is able to pry him away from the Blue Jays.
- With Trevor Rosenthal sidelined by Tommy John surgery, the Cards will look into adding ninth-inning help, even if they’re wary of shopping at the high end of the free agent closer market. “Ideally, you don’t pay retail for closers if you can avoid it, and we’ve been lucky for the last long period of not having to dip into that end of the market. But we don’t have an heir apparent at the moment, so we will have to evaluate what our options are,” GM Michael Girsch said.
- Flexibility seems to be the key word for this Cardinals’ offseason, as with so many multi-positional players on the roster, the club has several options in deciding who could potentially stay or go. (And who could be added, in regards to acquiring that big bat.) Mozeliak said that catcher Yadier Molina is the only position player who has his spot on the field firmly established for 2018. This means that Dexter Fowler could potentially move out of center field, which Mozeliak said will likely be discussed in the coming weeks. 2016 was the only season of Fowler’s career that saw him post positive numbers in the Defensive Runs Saved and UZR/150 categories, as he struggled to minus-18 DRS and -9.9 UZR/150 last year over 933 1/3 IP in center field.
- The Cardinals have yet to decide whether or not to issue a qualifying offer to free agent starter Lance Lynn. If Lynn rejected the QO, the Cards would be in line for compensation (an extra draft pick just prior to the third round) if he signed elsewhere. If he accepted, then he’d return to St. Louis on a one-year deal worth in the neighborhood of $18.1MM. After missing all of 2016 due to Tommy John surgery, Lynn returned to post very solid numbers this season and pitched 186 1/3 innings, which could quiet concerns about his post-surgery durability. Even with such a major recent injury on his record, Lynn is likely to find a good multi-year deal on the open market, so one would think he’d reject a QO.
2:02pm: Both executives are now under contract through 2020, MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch tweets.
12:24pm: The Cardinals are set to promote John Mozeliak from general manager to president of baseball operations, while assistant GM Mike Girsch will be promoted to the post of general manager, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Cardinals have called a 2:00pm press conference to announce the move.
Mozeliak will still, of course, oversee the team’s baseball operations decisions and will remain heavily involved in all facets of the department, Goold notes, though he’ll now have a title that is perhaps more commensurate with his considerable experience. Mozeliak has been the general manager of the Cardinals for nearly a decade, and in making this move, the Cardinals will adopt what has become an increasingly popular front office structure throughout the game. Among the teams that utilize the president of baseball ops/GM hierarchy are the Dodgers (Andrew Friedman/Farhan Zaidi), Cubs (Theo Epstein/Jed Hoyer), Athletics (Billy Beane/David Forst), Rays (Matt Silverman/Erik Neander) and Indians (Chris Antonetti/Mike Chernoff).
It’s not immediately clear if Mozeliak will receive an extension with the new title, though Goold notes that chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. has recently suggested that extension negotiations and talk of a new title for Mozeliak have been ongoing. His current deal runs through the 2018 season, though it certainly stands to reason that with the elevation in title will come a lengthier deal.
The 2017 season, of course, hasn’t been a strong one for the Cardinals, although the organization has generally prospered under Mozeliak. Since he took the job following the 2007 season, the Cards have made six postseason appearances, including a World Series victory in 2011 and a second World Series appearance two years later in 2013. Mozeliak, of course, also had a role in the Cardinals’ 2006 World Series championship, as he previously spent five years as an assistant GM to Walt Jocketty and has been involved in the organization’s scouting department dating all the way back to 1995.
Girsch, meanwhile, has held his AGM post since 2011 and has been with the organization since serving as an amateur scouting coordinator back in 2006. He’s spent six years directly assisting Mozeliak in nearly all facets of the game, including: contract negotiation, player evaluation, amateur scouting, player development and international operations.
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