Mo Time

From all I can glean, it sounds like the new GM is going to be John Mozeliak. STLToday is reporting it as a done deal, and from what I’ve been told by a few different people, that’s certainly how it sounds to me as well.

First, personally, I want to congratulate Mo, who has handled himself gracefully through what at times has to have been a very awkward and uncomfortable time. He’s always been good to me, and I’m happy for him.

Second, to answer the question that already seems to be popping up quite a bit: Why let Walt go, then replace him with his second-in-command? The answer is that Walt wasn’t let go for reasons of performance or even, necessarily, baseball philosophy. He was let go for more personal reasons, that the situation within the front office became toxic. Divisions between different factions were allowed to fester, and it was not a healthy environment. Mozeliak should go about all of that very different. I believe he will work well with scouting and player development, with the "information department" (I believe that’s what TLR called it at his presser) and everyone else.

I’m honestly not informed enough about all the various candidates to know whether they hired the guy who will be the most successful GM. A lot of those guys have very nice resumes, but even so, it’s hard to know. Mo has a very nice resume too, having done a lot of different things within the organization. I’m curious to see how it goes.

-M.

26 Comments

Yeah, it does seem strange, but I hope this works out…

Seems to me the organization missed their chance to get the shakeup it apparently needed. Even the best of organizations can get stale at times–a fresh GM could have helped in that regard.

Hopefully Mo does a great job, though.

However, Mo seems to have been handling it very well so far. He’s picked up Izzy’s option, resigned Springer and Pinero and let Maroth go. All of those to me seem like great moves. Hope to see more in November.

Matt,

How much truth is there to the report that the Cardinals offered Antonetti the job before Mo? If true, as far as you can tell, did Antonetti turn it down because of his improved contract with the Indians, or did he turn it down because of the rumored “power restrictions” that will accompany the Cards GM position?

Thanks!

I hate to hear that grown men couldn’t put their personal differences aside for the good of the franchise. I don’t like this “move”. I think it’s basically a non-move, because all we did was push out a good GM and promote the guy that ran him off, right? Sounds ignorant to me. I don’t see this being good for the Cardinals organization at all. Hope I’m wrong.

No, incorrect…

Mozeliak most assuredly didn’t run anyone off. He did a good job of staying above the fray, so far as I know.

-M.

Well that’s good, at least. But SOMEONE ran him off. So who had such a big problem with Walt? Ownership? Are our owners going to start being like Jerry Jones or Steinbrenner? Walt seemed to have done an excellent job in all aspects. Is that not correct? Was he inept at one aspect or another? Like scouting or player development or what?

In one word, slforre: drafts.

It is edifying — and depressing — to look at the way the Cards’ first-round draft choices have done in the Jocketty era compared to other teams. From 1998 to 2006, the team has had 16 first-round (including “sandwich round”) draft choices. Only four of these have reached the Show, and only two — J.D. Drew and Chris Duncan have had real careers. Another, Daric Barton, will — but not for St. Louis.

By contrast, in the rest of the majors, 175 out of 373 first-round choices in this time have reached the bigs. That’s nearly twice the frequency that the Cards have achieved, and it includes guys like Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, Ryan Braun, C.C. Sabathia, Josh Beckett, Justin Verlander, etc., who have powered their teams to great things. Only three teams have had lower success rates than we have.

Yes, I know, we’ve done pretty well with talent from the lower rounds — Pujols must surely be the greatest 13th-round draft choice ever, and other contributors have gone low too. But drafting in the later rounds is a crapshoot, where for every case of catching lightning in a bottle there are 100 guys whose only claim to fame is that they were drafted ahead of Pujols or Piazza or whatever. The first-round guys SHOULD have a good chance at the bigs. But that’s not the way the Cardinals’ choices have worked out.

There are indications that this is about to turn around. Colby Rasmus was a first-round choice, and he has “prospect” written all over him. The 2006 first-rounders are looking good too. But you know what? Those guys were drafted under the exact conditions that got Jocketty crosswise with management. I will not say that they were picked “in spite of” Jock; I just don’t have the facts for that. But the track record when he had guys doing the work who were definitely “his guys” wasn’t nearly as good as the current crop looks to be.

Sorry this is so long, but I think it’s important to see the Jocketty era in a complete light. He did some things outstandingly well, like deadline trades. Others, not so well … and this particular thing, which BTW may have been the one that chased him out, looks like it’s going to be better on his successors’ watch, since Mo and Luhnow have been responsible in no small part for the dramatically improved drafts of the last couple of years.

Why did anyone have to “run” Jocketty off?

Isn’t is possible that the ownership and Jocketty mutually agreed to part ways? Or, alternately, isn’t it possible that ownership decided to go in a direction that doesn’t include Jocketty?

I am really baffled about the negative reaction to Mo’s promotion, not just here but everywhere. I’ve seen it at Viva and I’ve seen it at Bernie’s pressbox, too, so it’s not just you guys.

–Mrs. Dude

Mrs. Dude (or Dudette),

I can’t speak for everyone here, but I wasn’t really interpretting most of the comments here as negative Mo. I’m actually excited about Mo. I think if there is much of a negative reaction from most of us, it is based in the idea that an outside GM would give a completely different, fresh feel to the club – which is not a given. Hiring Mo, as some uninformed people may see it, appears to be “more of the same” from the so-called “Jocketty Era.” Unfortunately, the “Jocketty Era” ended on a low note with this year’s season record and the aging players, so people get excited about ‘fresh blood’ coming into the fold at the GM spot. I think they are just worried Mo won’t be all that different. It’s the same thing a Vice President has to deal with when he runs for office the next term…distancing himself from the former President to establish his own identity.

Personally, I’m more surprised by the gradually growing opposition to Jockety’s management style and tenure. And, I think the reason people doubt there was a TRUE mutual decision to go seperate ways is because of the way comments have been delivered, including La Russa’s, when they refer to “the way things went” with the Jocketty departure. It has too ominous a tone to it for us to view it as anything other than a veiled dismissal. Sure, they may have disagreed on direction and then agreed to part over that, but fans view that as ownership not being willing to budge and let Walt’s way lead the way. That equals Walt’s dismissal (Our way or the highway type of stuff).

But that’s just me…

oh, also…lots of fans may view the Mo hiring as ownership’s way of getting a guy they can “control” who won’t fight them over things even if he disagrees…I don’t think that’s true, but I can see the perspective of viewing Mo has a company guy.

I think the best thing to do know would be to accept that Mo is in charge now. W/e we think of how Walt departed, won’t change the fact that he is gone. All we can do now is hope for a bright future with Mo

See…this is what I don’t understand…

“Sure, they may have disagreed on direction and then agreed to part over that, but fans view that as ownership not being willing to budge and let Walt’s way lead the way. That equals Walt’s dismissal (Our way or the highway type of stuff).”

Ownership has the right to have the team run the way they see fit. If Walt isn’t doing that, he *should* lose his job. If I my “vision” of my job is different than the vision the owners of my company have for me and my job, the owners of the company have the right to get rid of me.

Walt’s way is *one* way of doing the job. And every other team has a general manager who has a way of doing the job. Why is Walt’s way better?

I don’t think it’s fair to say that Mo. is a “puppet,” advancing the agenda of ownership. But, ultimately, so what if he is? It’s their company so why shouldn’t it be run the way that they want it to be run?

I just don’t get it.

–Mrs. Dude

oh, don’t get me wrong…I was playing Devil’s advocate…mostly. I agree with the Mo hiring…and while I can’t say I agreed with the Jocketty dismissal, I certainly can’t say it didn’t make sense. I was just saying that I think those that are criticizing the Mo hiring or Jocketty dismissal so negatively are taking those viewpoints.

I will say this, however…I don’t care what anyone says, thinks, or does…The Cardinals are not owned by the owners. They own them financially, on paper, etc., but the Cardinals are owned by the fans. I believe this with every fiber of my being.

In many ways, the Cardinals are a publicly owned team, much the same way a company is publicly owned by purchasing stock. I have invested nearly 30 years in the Cardinals. I invest my support, my money, my hope, my tears, etc. I invest these things and trust the party with controlling interest (the owners) to run my investment. When I don’t like what I see, I have every right to demand an explanation or a change. I invested in this team.

Yes, the Cardinals are a company, business, or whatever you want to call them…but they are different than a retail store or a restaraunt…the owners don’t just ask us to invest money…they ask us to invest support, emotions, tears, joy, hope, dreams, and long term committments. They even ask us to choose to invest all those things on behalf of our children. Those are greater investments that demand a greater relationship between fans and “owners” of a team than just “owners” relating to “customers.”

The team should be run by the owners, but it should not be run without the obligation of answering to the fans. In a typical business down the street, if customers don’t frequent the store, the owner shuts down the business. It doesn’t exist without the owner. The owner is greater than the business. In the case of the Cardinals, if the team does poorly and the fan support drops (financially, etc.), the owners will sell. A new owner comes in, hopefully turns it around, and the fans return their support. Bottom line – the Cardinals and the fans have more staying power than the owners of any team will ever have.

Think of it this way…The President runs the country instead of the average American because, quite frankly, I don’t trust my brother to make decisions regarding war and the economy. But…if the President does poorly, the people will bring in another.

My bottom line is this: The Cardinals should run the way the owners want the Cardinals to run…but they are not like any other owned company. The owners should run the way the fans want them to run…and we will hold them accountable. No individual has the right to determine the direction of the Cardinals forever…they borrow that right temporarily from the fans until we decide to use our influence to remove it.

um…please don’t take that the wrong way…didn’t mean to sound so aggressive…you should see me go off about religion and politics…

Kevin, Thank you! You hit the nail straight down on the head. I’m starting to think you are in my head. Are you Kevin McReynolds or what? You sound like you have a lot of insight into the game and the Cards that most fans don’t have…No matter how long they are a fan. And I just want to add…To Mrs. Dude: Don’t take this the wrong way but your comment makes you sound like “the company man(woman)”, who does whatever the boss says regardless of whether it seems right or wrong. You seem to be saying that we as fans should believe every single thing ownership “tells us” as if it were the gospel. And I just think that the first thing every person should do is question what any leader says. It’s one of the principles this country was founded upon. It doesn’t mean you should automatically assume they are lying, but you should definitely question it.

Also I think that with a buisness such as a sports team, most often ownership isn’t necessarily qualified to lead the whole show.That’s why they hire professional sports men and women to run things, right?Is Jerry Jones capable of being the Cowboys head coach or head scout?Of course not. He knows football but that’s not what he does best.He’s a buissness man.You hire people who know the game and buisness aspects so you don’t screw something up that you don’t know enough about. That’s one reason it bothers me to see ownership dismissing someone over “personal disagreements”.
That and what Kevin said.

I don’t think I have seen such long blog posts before. OK, but it seems several of these posts fit better as editorials, than web blogs.

The first time I really paid attention to Mo was during pre-game interview last Aug or so. I thought: Who is this guy? He sounded like the general manager. I found out then that he was the asst.

I thought then that he seems smart and well-spoken. Perhaps if I hadn’t seen that interview I would have more reservations about his hiring. I know many of you may have seen much more of him. I also know one short interview does not prove he is the right person. But…

Who can really say? I do tend to support rewarding employees who have been doing a good job. Mo appears to be a good fit, who can blend old with new, and work in a more complex situation.

What’s Mo feeling like heading into his first GM meetings? Is he going to be too excited and make fairly rash moves?

I don’t think he will be too excited or make rash moves…he’s been to this party before. He handled quite a bit as Walt’s assistant. However, I do think you’ll see the Cardinals moving a bit quicker with a faster pace than in years past. Walt seemed to slow things down in the offseason quite a bit – which may have cost us a player or two playing the waiting game.

Kevin–I got your tone. It’s cool. It was a legitimate question that deserved a good answer and you certainly gave me that. I appreciate your candor and your passion. I enjoy the mechanics of the game and I enjoy hearing about the politics of the game, but I’m not a fan of any given baseball team. I don’t live or die with any given team, so fandom is truly a mystery to me.

slforrester–I don’t think I’m advocating the ‘fall in line with the status quo’ attitude so much as I’m asking why everyone is so upset about Walt being ousted. I’m all about questioning authority (ask my husband….) and not taking things at face value. I was honestly just curious why people are so ready to light their torches and carry their pitchforks over this decision.

Overall, I was just left scratching my head over people’s reactions to this decision and I wondered what was up. I’m not defending ownership or going against ownership. I’m not a Cardinals fan, honestly (don’t hurt me!), so I don’t have a stake in either side of the argument.

–Mrs. Dude

That makes sense. And everyone please call me Shaun.As for the torches and pitchforks, I’m not that upset about the hiring of Mo. I just would like to know the real reason a good man was let go.And when they admit that it wasn’t any specific philosophical difference or style difference, and also admit that it was based on personal differences…well that sounds like a front office in shambles to me.And firing(or parting ways) with the one dissenting voice sounds too much like our current gov’t administration. THAT scares me. Not the hiring of Mo. But one big thing that sticks in my mind when I think about this is why make a change that doesn’t change anything?If Walt wasn’t doing his job well, then he should get fired.Or if they just wanted a new direction,that would be a reason to “part ways” with someone who is doing a good job. But this hire isn’t a new direction, and Walt WASN’T doing a bad job. So what gives?Is this a sign of radical ownership or just two guys who couldn’t get along?

Whew! Yay, Mrs. Dude! Also – Mrs. Dude – here’s something I wrote for those who would like a bit of insight into the baseball fan :)

http://cards-n-stuff.blogspot.com/

Kevin–That’s a really great story with a lot of heart. I’m glad you shared it.

I appreciate all of you guys letting me hang around with you and ask silly questions. It helps me understand what’s going on.

–Mrs. Dude

Our pleasure. Baseball fans are much like Comic Book fans…the more women we have in the room, the cooler we look :)

Matt,

PLEASE give us your opinion on the Scott Rolen situation I’m reading about, now. Do you think the club will actually have to trade Rolen due to the rift between him and La Russa??? Man…I hope not…

Thanks!

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