Friday, July 25, 2014

Reading between the lines: Cardinals' GM John Mozeliak's thoughts on the trade market

In case you missed it, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak was a recent guest on Jim Bowden's "The GM's Office" video blog on  Steve Adams of has a nice synopsis of the highlights from the interview, but its worth checking out the video in its entirety.

Whenever I see quotes or hear soundbites from a GM around this time of year, I always like to try to think "what is he really saying", as you can often read between the lines and get to the underlying meaning of what they are saying.

With that in mind, I tried this exercise using some of the quotes from his interview and here's what I got out of it (your results may vary):

Quote #1:  It's "clearly a seller's market".

What he's Really Saying - "Don't expect us to make any moves anytime soon, until the asking prices come down."

From what we have seen from some of the early trades, the seller's are getting a pretty good return on the players.  Knowing how much Mo values his prospects, he is not going to make a move unless the asking price comes down.

Quote #2:  “We’re certainly not in this for the short term. I think one of the good things about the St. Louis Cardinals is the ability to have sustained success, and we want to continue that” (when asked about David Price).

What he's really saying - "We're not going to mortgage the future for a short-term fix."

While acquiring David Price would be nice and could certainly help this team this year and next, the Cardinals will not make a move unless they feel the cost is reasonable and helps the team in the long run.  In other words, the only way they would acquire Price is if the asking price is not too high and he agrees to a long-term extension before the trade is completed.

Quote #3: "…looking at the next two months, if we could find a way to sort of bridge that gap between now and the time we may get [Michael] Wacha back, I think we want to try to do that” (when asked about acquiring a starting pitcher).

What he's really saying - "Despite what I said before, we could really use some more starting pitching."

Mozeliak goes on to discuss Michael Wacha's unusual injury and the uncertainty surrounding it, making it all the more obvious that he's looking to add another starting pitcher.  However, the "bridge that gap" part makes it sound like he's looking more for a stop-gap type pitcher (i.e. Jake Peavy) than an ace (aka Price).

Quote #4:  “One thing we’ve always said is we’d like to see what Tony Cruz is capable of doing on a day in and day out basis. But having said that, we also want to give ourselves the best chance to win” (when asked about whether the team is comfortable with Cruz and George Kottaras manning the catcher's spot).

What he's really saying - "Cruz is a nice backup, but we need someone better to be our starter."

It doesn't help Cruz' cause that he's hitting only .167 (5 for 30) since replacing Yadier Molina in the starting lineup.  That is probably why the Cards' interest in Kurt Suzuki has increased recently.  Per Jon Heyman, the Cardinals are Orioles are both showing the most interest in trading for the Twins' Suzuki.  Mike Berardino of the St.Paul Pioneer Press indicated that the Twins and Sukuki are far apart on extension talks, making a trade more likely.

Overall, its pretty obvious from all the recent rumors that the Cardinals are looking for starting pitching and it appears they may be looking for an upgrade at catcher as well.  All-in-all, it should make for an interesting week leading up to the deadline.

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