ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Free agency season has begun, Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings are approaching and the St. Louis Cardinals have signed some very new and very familiar faces to support Mike Matheny in the dugout next season. So now we check in with president of baseball operations, John Mozeliak, on the state of the Cardinals offseason.
During yesterday’s Sports on a Sunday Morning show with Mike Claiborne, he spoke with Mozeliak.
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Here are some of the topics Claiborne asked Mozeliak, and the answer he gave:
2017 World Series: “Most of those games you were watching them and not a lot of action in the first six (innings) and then, sort of the rest of the game became very impactful. It just shows you the pressure that’s put on bullpens and how deep starters can go makes a big difference and outcomes.”
What makes repeat championships tough?: “The biggest thing for being a champion is your offseason is far from normal. People want to invite you to chicken dinners, people want you to show up to things and the demand on your time, once you become a world champion, changes drastically. I think trying to manage that as you are preparing for the next season I think is always one the most difficult challenges.”
Willie McGee returns to the big leagues: “The biggest surprise for me was at the end of the year when Willie decided he was ready to go. It was always something that we sort of tease him on, but you know I did not know when the time would be. And I was excited that he said now.”
How did new pitching coach Mike Maddux come to choose St. Louis?: “I’m sitting back in my home office over the weekend and I read that Dusty Baker was let go, and therefore all of a sudden Maddox was a free agent. Long story short, Mr. Maddox and I have a mutual friend, and I reached out to him to see what was going on. He gave me some indications that (Maddux) was looking to to land somewhere else. I checked with Washington, they said he was free to talk, and so obviously things changed quickly for the Cardinals and by that Sunday night we were in discussions.”
What’s the next big move coming?: “I would imagine over the next week to three weeks you’re going to see lot of cleanup on that (40-man roster) because by November 20 we have to submit our roster for the Rule Five draft. So I think you know as we approach that date you’re going to see some movement on how we want that to look like. So I suspect early part of next week we’re going to be pretty active trying to get it to where we want to be.”
How will pace of play be talked about at the GM Meetings (Nov. 13-16 in Orlando): “As you know I sit on the rules committee, and pace and length of game is one of the No. 1 topics we face every year. There are some creative solutions, but when you sit down with a group of baseball people they tend to not like the solutions. I think maybe early December we revisit this topic, you and I, because I’ll have a little more insight on where it’s going, but I would imagine we’ll have a gathering at the GM meetings… Then of course we’ll probably revisit again at the Winter Meetings.”
Carlos Beltran: “I would definitely consider him one of classiest players that I’ve ever been around. But I really would just point, and if anybody hasn’t seen it, watch his reaction to what happened and very rarely do people cry and and it brought a tear… I think about my time with him, it was two short years, but it was, watching how he carried himself what he meant to others, it was unique and I guess when you think about these types of things you consider yourself lucky if you got to cross paths with someone like that and we both did so we were lucky.”