Cardinals practice patience at Meetings
GM Mozeliak anticipates moves will pick up before Christmas
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- When John Mozeliak was hired to be Walt Jocketty's successor as general manager of the Cardinals, he was asked what traits Jocketty brought that he could learn from. He answered with a single word: patience.
Mozeliak's first Winter Meetings as the GM re-emphasized that virtue, as the Cardinals got the lay of the land but didn't execute any major transactions. They still hope to add at least one starting pitcher and ideally an offensive upgrade, likely through trade, though possibly in free agency.
"As we look back on the last few days, I think what it allowed us to do is have a much better understanding of who really has interest in some of our players and how they value some of those players," Mozeliak said Thursday as he made his way back to St. Louis from Nashville. "We have a much better gauge of the free agent market and what we can expect it to look like now."
The Cardinals made two transactions while they were in Nashville: releasing So Taguchi and replacing him with Rule 5 Draft pick Brian Barton. Aside from that, they were quiet as far as actual movement.
But they spoke to plenty of agents and plenty of other teams over their four days in Tennessee. The hope is that something will be accomplished within the next two weeks.
"It's very hard for me to gauge or handicap the timing of things, but with that said, I do anticipate some things happening probably before the Christmas break," Mozeliak said. "I sensed today, talking to about a half a dozen agents after the Rule 5 Draft, that they felt like this was a very slow few days, but with a sense that they don't really want to see this go into January."
The Redbirds also departed with Scott Rolen still on the roster, and likely to remain so. For the first couple of days of the Winter Meetings, the club gauged what packages it might receive for its seven-time Gold Glover. The determination was that none of the offers was satisfactory, so no deal is imminent or even particularly live.
Essentially, if the current offers are all that the Cards can get for Rolen, then he's not going anywhere. It will take something new or improved to cement a trade.
"The resolution is, he's on our team," Mozeliak said. "Nothing has changed there. Clearly if there was an organization that placed a value that we felt was fair on Scott, we would look at it. But the stance of our organization hasn't changed."
Deals done: St. Louis selected Brian Barton in the Rule 5 Draft. The Cards released So Taguchi but made no other moves.
Rule 5 activity: The Cardinals drafted Barton in the Major League phase and no one in the Minor League phases. They didn't lose any players.
Goals accomplished: Barton fills a couple of needs. He adds right-handed balance to a heavily left-handed outfield, and offers a potential leadoff man, at least against right-handers.
Unfinished business: The main story is the same as it was coming in: the Cardinals need a starting pitcher. Whether it be by trade or through free agency, the club is motivated to bring in someone who can stabilize a somewhat shaky starting five.
GM's bottom line: "As we head back north, clearly we got a lot of positive information and feedback. But when you look at it in terms of success, we're not there yet. We didn't change the complexion of our club and clearly we still think we have to address some of those needs we had going into the Meetings. That's reality. We did not accomplish that, but I don't look at this as a failure. I look at it as we have a better idea of what we need to do to accomplish those things." -- Mozeliak
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.