The 2017 Cardinals’ postmortem is ongoing, as fans and media alike continue to pick at what went wrong this past season to keep the Birds home for consecutive Octobers.
A recent St. Louis Post-Dispatch report has clubhouse dissension between longtime Cardinals and those newer to the “Cardinal Way” as the latest reason the team ultimately underwhelmed everyone, but club president of baseball operations, John Mozeliak says it likely had more to do with the team’s play on the field.
“Simply put, when you’re struggling you’re trying to find a narrative or a storyline that explains why you’re struggling,” Mozeliak recently told 101ESPN. “Nobody ever wants to say it’s because you pitch poorly or because you don’t hit or you throw the ball around. It’s some other underlying factor. But the reality is it’s probably one of the first three (reasons).”
As far as veteran Cardinals potentially being irked by Dexter Fowler’s work hours or Jedd Gyorko’s ping-pong prowess, Mo says The Times They Are a-Changin’ in regards to how some modern players go about their individual training, conditioning, etc..
Mozeliak defended whatever Fowler’s regimen is and used the outfielder’s work ethic during game time as reasoning.
“There’s that fine balance between having respect for your peers and teammates, but also being able to do your job,” Mozeliak said. “I think Dex is more that modern player, but he comes in and he does his job. And what I mean by ‘his job’ is when the bell goes off he’s ready to play and from first pitch to last pitch that’s what he does.
The prez went on to say if we’re judging players mainly on their work hours, then we’re probably headed down the wrong direction.
“To take that and start determining what’s right, what’s wrong by when you show up; I think that’s when you’re going to start getting yourself into trouble because the modern athlete today and how they think about training, how they think about preparation, is evolving quickly. Changing quickly.”
‘Have to make some additions’
After every season’s postmortem comes the inevitable hot stove talk, which many Cardinal fans have already begun albeit in not such a bright way. There seems to be lots of worry in Cardinal Nation that the club’s brass won’t pull the trigger on a big-time player or write the accompanying check.
Mozeliak seems upbeat about where the team currently is at the MLB and farm levels, but acknowledged the need for change more than once while speaking with Bernie Miklasz.
“I understand that we need to do a few things differently. When people ask me how I envision the offseason, I do envision it being one where we have to be active in the sense of understanding the trade market, understanding the free agent market and deciding what makes most sense for us,” Mo said.
“There’s nowhere in where my mindset is or (Bill DeWitt Jr.’s) mindset that we plan on just throwing out the same 40-man roster that we had when we finished the season as what we expect to look like at spring training,” he added.
“If that gives you some encouragement, I hope it does, or optimism because we’re certainly going to try to change the look of this club at some level…I do feel our future’s bright, but I also agree we have to make some additions to ultimately get to where we need to go.”
President Mozeliak also touched on his relations with Tommy Pham in his 101ESPN interview, as well as what direction the front office may take in regards to offseason needs. You can listen to the entire interview below:
Stay tuned to 101ESPN and 101Sports.com for plenty of Cardinals offseason coverage and analysis.