The Redbird Report 11/02

One John Mozeliak's first orders of business as the Cardinals new GM is seeing if it's feasible to re-sign SS David Eckstein, a fan favorite, to a long-term deal. The Chicago Sun-Times has reported that the White Sox are interested in Eckstein as a possible leadoff man and starting shortstop.

Cardinals ownership was impressed enough by what it saw in the 28 days that John Mozeliak was interim general manager that he received the job on a full-time basis on Oct. 31. Mozeliak, who was brought in to assist Walt Jocketty 12 years ago, has now taken Jocketty's place.

Mozeliak, 38, beat out Cleveland assistant GM Chris Antonetti, whom the Cardinals pursued but who withdrew his name from consideration after conversations he had with Indians general manager Mark Shapiro and club president Mark Dolan.

Antonetti said he never rejected a formal proposal, and Cardinals president Mark Lamping said the job was offered only to one person.

"It was offered to 'Mo,'" Lamping said.

Antonetti, 33, called the Cardinals opportunity "a phenomenal opportunity. There has seemingly been an undercurrent about reservations I had or someone had. I had no reservations about St. Louis."

Mozeliak, who has a three-year contract, stressed during the press conference announcing his hiring that he was his own man. And while praising the help he received from his predecessor, Mozeliak said, "I'm not Walt Jocketty Jr."

One of Mozeliak's strengths has been the ability to work well with amateur scouting and player development director Jeff Luhow, with whom Jocketty had disagreements.

Manager Tony La Russa, previously rehired for two years, saluted the club's choice of Mozeliak.

"How he got the opportunity isn't as important as the fact that he has the opportunity," said La Russa.

Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and Lamping both liked the way Mozeliak conducted business during his time as interim GM.

"Extremely impressive in every way," DeWitt said. Mozeliak picked up the $8 million option on closer Jason Isringhausen's contract and re-signed free agent right-handers Russ Springer and Joel Pineiro before they became free agents.


--One of new GM John Mozeliak's first orders of business is seeing if it's feasible to re-sign SS David Eckstein, a fan favorite, to a long-term deal. Edgar Renteria, once their shortstop and briefly another Cardinals option in the offseason, was traded to Detroit.

--Mozeliak indicated he intended to maintain much of former GM Walt Jocketty's support staff, which included Jerry Walker, vice president of player personnel; and special assistants Mike Jorgensen, Cam Bonifay and Alan Benes.

--Shortly after manager Tony La Russa was rehired, it was announced that La Russa's coaching staff, a veteran group, would return in its entirety. The staff is comprised of pitching coach Dave Duncan, third base coach Jose Oquendo, first base coach Dave McKay, hitting coach Hal McRae, bench coach Joe Pettini and bullpen coach Marty Mason.

--RHP Mitch Boggs continues to excel in the Arizona Fall League. Boggs held opposing hitters to a .141 average in his first four starts and gave up only two earned runs in 13 innings.

--RHP Stuart Pomeranz, a Cardinals farmhand in the Arizona Fall League, didn't allow a run in his first three starts, covering seven innings.

--INF Rico Washington was atop the Venezuelan League leader board with 14 RBIs a couple of weeks into that winter league's season.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2 -- Number of general managers the Cardinals had from 1985-2007, Dal Maxvill and Walt Jocketty.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Knowing that he felt comfortable with me as the next general manager made me feel very good about this. I would have been very hesitant had he not." -- New Cardinals GM John Mozeliak, on the endorsement of manager Tony La Russa.


Entering a longer offseason than they usually have, the Cardinals know they need at least two starting pitchers, one of them being better than anybody they have other than new staff ace Adam Wainwright. Also, despite a respectable .274 team batting average, they need one more impact bat to add to an offense that often fell short.

BIGGEST NEEDS: With the free agent market for pitchers all but dry, the Cardinals new GM already to re-sign potential free agent RHP Joel Pineiro. The Cardinals may have to explore the trading arena, in search of someone to shore up the battered starting rototation like Florida LHP Dontrelle Willis or even Minnesota LHP Johan Santana, who probably is out of their reach.

They also need to decide quickly if SS David Eckstein, who had a strong finish, is the answer or if they need someone with more range and power.

FREE AGENTS: RHP Kip Wells, RHP Troy Percival, INF Miguel Cairo, INF Russell Branyan, SS David Eckstein, C Kelly Stinnett, C Gary Bennett, OF Preston Wilson.

The Cardinals have interest in retaining Eckstein, although not necessarily on a long-term basis. Edgar Renteria, once their shortstop and briefly another Cardinals option in the offseason, was traded by the Braves to Detroit.

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE: OF Rick Ankiel, OF So Taguchi, INF Aaron Miles, C Yadier Molina, RHP Todd Wellemeyer.

Molina, a potential Gold Glover, will get a considerable raise now that he is arbitration-eligible, and so, too, will Ankiel, though he is at a different position now. Miles and Taguchi both made in the area of $1 million this year, with the younger Miles more likely to come back. The Cardinals have interest in Wellemeyer, behind whom the club lost only two of 11 starts.

IN LIMBO: OF Chris Duncan and disappointing RHP Anthony Reyes represent the Cardinals' most attractive trade bait at the major league level.

The Cardinals have too many left-handed-hitting outfielders in their picture, and Duncan, who had 21 homers and 70 RBIs before his second half was short-circuited by a sports hernia injury, would be attractive as a power hitter who also could play first base or be a designated hitter in the American League.

RHP Brad Thompson, who had more success as a starter than a reliever this year, also might have value, as would OF Skip Schumaker, who batted .333 as a part-timer.


2B Adam Kennedy (knee surgery in August 2007) was taking groundballs at the end of the season.

3B Scott Rolen (shoulder surgery in September 2007) said he had more freedom of movement in his left shoulder after the operation.

RHP Chris Carpenter (Tommy John elbow surgery in July 2007) isn't expected back until midseason.

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