Cardinals GM John Mozeliak Speaks

With just four days until the non-waiver trade deadline, the general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, John Mozeliak, answered two dozen questions prior to his club's Tuesday's game at New York's Citi Field.

On Kyle Lohse's first rehab start.


"Everything is very positive on Lohse. It is very good news for us. I think the best way we are going to look at this is to go day by day and if positive, hopefully we can circle a date for him to actually pitch for the big club. Yesterday was a big first step and you have to walk before you run. It is a good way to go."


(Note: Lohse has joined the Cardinals in New York and will return with them to St. Louis on Thursday with a tentative plan to re-join Memphis on Friday.)


On whether Lohse's health affects his trade actions this week.


"I don't think it necessarily has a lot of impact on how we look at the trading deadline. We are still looking at a lot of different options out there that we think can maybe help the club. When you think about those options, it doesn't necessarily mean you can get a deal done. Just trying to make sure we explore a lot of things and exhaust a lot of things, but having Mr. Lohse as the lynchpin of any of that would not be a fair way to characterize it."


On if he looks at Lohse as he will be healthy.


"I do look at him as someone who is going to contribute at some point this year and in the near future. I don't look at that like necessarily it would not allow us to look at a pitcher."


On whether his needs are very focused on one position this year.


"I think it is definitely more blurry."


On whether having no one glaring need makes his job easier or tougher.


"We have more flexibility, which gives us more options. It doesn't necessarily mean you are going to make a deal either way. Everybody looks at things differently. The one way we look – at the Holliday deal for example – yes, it was pretty obvious that we were looking to that type of player, but yet there wasn't a huge trade market for them. So it allowed us to get to a mutually-agreeable deal. Whereas here, we have more flexibility where we can allocate our resources and where those types of things are available. But there might not be the same incentive from their end to move the player."


On whether the organization is reluctant to trade youngsters.


"I think in fairness we did move a lot of young players last year. Where our minor league system now is that it has room to get stronger. With that said, we still have people below that people are interested in."


On whether there will be disappointment if a trade cannot be made.


"I would hope not. Obviously, we have to manage our own expectations but from the club's standpoint, on day one, we've always believed that this team should be good enough to win and as you approach the trading deadline, of course, there is always that hope or optimism that something could help. But with that said, these guys understand that we don't want to make a mistake and do something that we regret."


On the challenges of making a deal.


"I think every deal has its set of hurdles. Very rarely do they come together so quickly. There is usually a lot of work on both sides to finally get to some sort of an agreement. And in this case when you ask more about the minor league talent side… candidly, we are buyers. It is a lot different to look at it through that set of lenses to really upgrade for the future."


On whether there will be a lot of trades around MLB.


"I don't really get the sense of that. But in fairness, I don't know if I am the expert to answer that. I kind of work in a bubble right now and that is really all I see."


On whether signability of 2010 draftees affects his willingness to trade prospects already in the system.


"Not really. I don't think so. When you draft players, there is always the chance that they don't sign. We know that. When you draft a player, your hope is to sign him. When we pass this 31st date, we will work very hard on that next topic."


On whether there are still a lot of clubs that haven't decided if they are buyers or sellers.




On whether it may get down to the last day to settle on prices.


"I think that is a fair way of looking at it. Only time will tell. I do think you could see some activity on the final day."


On whether he has hypothetical scenarios if teams decide at the last minute to sell.


"This week, you spend as much time as you can with all clubs, just trying to make that if you thought there was an opportunity or a deal to be had that you are in a position to move forward. So the answer is yes, but it is such a fluid chain of events that it might come down to maybe a call that day. It is awkward to have to make a decision that quick."


On whether trading within the division is tricky.


"I do think it is tricky. Historically, we haven't had a lot of success doing that. I think there is a reason. Maybe in the offseason more than in the season where people are still playing each other. It seems to be tougher to do. It is not impossible, but it does seem trickier."


On whether not wanting to trade in the division is the elephant in the room hampering deals.


"I don't necessarily think that is the case. I think it is part of the equation. I don't look at it as the glaring one. When you sit in this seat, you need to explore all your options."


On whether multi-team trades are impossible.


"The transparency on these kinds of deals are pretty high now. Speaking of a third party club, it is certainly doable in any scenario, but it can also just complicate things as well."


On whether there is less appeal now to adding a depth starter vs. a front-line starter.


"No, I think there are a lot of ways to improve this club. It (a depth starter) is still a viable option."


On whether adding a utility infielder would be redundant.


"I think so at this time."


On whether he would be looking for a starting position player, if he adds a non-pitcher.




On whether David Freese's injury affects matters.


"Obviously it does. We've had to put Flip (Lopez) out there a lot and once Freese is back, the whole club benefits – allowing people to get a blow and stay fresh. In terms of how I look at it in the trade market, I don't feel it is affecting it one way or another. I am not looking at this on a short term basis. If we were going to go down that path (replacing Freese via trade), in hindsight, we should have done that a month ago."


On Freese's return.


"I spoke with the trainer this morning and he is encouraged. There is reason for hope, but we are not quire ready to put a date out there or a time when it is going to happen."


On Stavinoha's return.


"We will see how it goes over the next couple of days and re-evaluate it probably on Thursday or Friday."


On Penny.


"It is day by day. He is rehabbing, rehabbing."

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