John Mozeliak: General managerial genius or luckiest man on earth?
When you look at John Mozeliak’s track record as a GM as we have often done, you will find numerous amounts of both good and bad moves, but what sets him a part so far is that the good moves that Mozeliak has made have been more like GREAT moves. So is Mozeliak really a genius or has he just really lucked out? Let us take a look at some of Mozeliak’s best moves so far and take an inside look:
In one of Johnny Mo’s first moves as the Cardinals GM, he took a huge risk by trading aging veteran and major fan favorite Jim Edmonds away to the Padres for an unknown third base prospect David Freese. Edmonds went on to bat below .200 with the Padres before he was released and later he signed with the Cubs, while in the minors David Freese began to hit. It wasn’t until 2011 when David Freese really made a name for himself as he became a post season hero winning the NLCS and World Series MVP for the Cardinals in their magical 2011 World Series run. But it hasn’t ended there, so far this season Freese has continued his success batting around .300, having 8 homers, and 29 RBI.
Signing free agent Lance Berkman:
After a career low season in 2010 many thought that Lance Berkman‘s career was done and at best he would be a DH. Some possible locations were the Texas Rangers, the Oakland A’s, and possibly a return to Houston. No one and I mean no one expected the Cardinals to swoop in with an alarming 8 million dollar deal, which Mozeliak played off smoothly naming Berkman the teams starting right fielder. “RIGHT FIELD?” screamed Cardinal nation of the 35 year old man who just a year before had a costly knee surgery as well as him dealing with a severe calf strain. But in the end the fans of the Cardinals fell in love with Berkman so much so that Mozeliak decided to re-sign him mid-season by giving him 12 million dollars to come back in 2012. Berkman not only won the NL Comeback player of the year award, but was a contender for the MVP. Best of all Berkman was able to stand by his teammates and win his first ever World Series, a World Series that never could have been accomplished without Berkman and a certain trade that we will get to next.
The Colby Rasmus trade:
One of the most controversial moves in the last decade of Cardinals baseball was the infamous Colby Rasmus trade. After a year of a TLR-Rasmus feud, La Russa would remain victorious as John Mozeliak pulled off a pecuilar move. He traded Colby Rasmus, Trever Miller, PJ Walters, and Brian Tallet to the Blue Jays for Edwin Jackson, Octavio Dotel, Marc Rzepczynski, and Corey Patterson. Many fans were distraught with this trade, but in the end without the trade the Cardinals would not have come close to the post season and TLR’s last season with the Cardinals would have been one of his worst. Instead Dotel and Rzep became legends in the bullpen, Jackson became a reliable fourth starter, and well Patterson didn’t do much. Meanwhile Rasmus struggled in Toronto, Tallet and Miller were released, and Walters was just an average arm for the Jays. Once again Mozeliak took a major risk by trading a future star in Rasmus but he once again ended up on top, blowing kisses from his suite as the Cardinal won the World Series. Since then even though the Cardinals lost Dotel, Jackson, and Patterson to free agency, Zeppo has become a valuable weapon out of the pen, while Rasmus has struggled in Toronto, he is currently batting .173.
Signing Free Agent Carlos Beltran:
After Albert Pujols shockingly left St. Louis for more money and less home runs to play in Anaheim, Mozeilak seemed to make a desperate move to please fans by signing former Royal/Astro/Met/Giant Carlos Beltran. Beltran seemed like just another publicity move, but so far Beltran has turned into an exact replica of the Berkman signing a year ago. He is on a RED HOT tear, winning the NL Player of the week last week, he is batting around .300, bombing home runs seemingly every day, driving in runs, and even stealing bases. He has turned back the clock and then some and he has quickly become one of my favorite players in the game, so did Mo get lucky on this one or did he somehow know that Beltran would put up these monster numbers so early on. I mean Beltran is making a case to be the starting right fielder in the All star game as well as an MVP candidate. He is already leading the NL in home runs with 13 and he ranks second in RBI with 32, if this guy can keep hitting and more importantly stay healthy, the Cardinals will be in a great place to recapture the World Champion title.
Re-signing Rafael Furcal:
In what seemed like yet another desperate move by Mozeliak, he decided to re-sign veteran shortstop to a two year 14 million dollar deal. One that seemed enormous for an aging, injury proned, short stop who hit just barely over .200 last season. But so far so good, Furcal has looked healthy and is leading the team with an enormous .360 average, and oh yeah he is hitting extra bases, stealing, and scoring runs. Like Berkman and Beltran, Furcal seems like his deal is a bargain and that he is turning back the clock, pretty neat stuff to see.
Whether it is pure luck, or some sort of genius for the most part, love him or hate him, John Mozeliak has become a pretty good general manager. Who knows he might have some magic stored away in his lucky scarf, like something out of Fantasia. He already has one ring and he is likely to get some more, it appears with his relationship with Bill Dewitt that Johnny Mo will be a Cardinal for a long time. Hopefully Mo can make some more spectacular moves and lead the Cardinals to more championships.