Today on Twitter, a conversation began about whether John Mozeliak was a good General Manager. Outside of John Mabry, there may not be an employee of the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization that brings more mixed feelings from fans than John Mozeliak. Some see Mozeliak as an overrated GM who has ridden the coat tails of those before him. Others see him as a genius at team building. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have dealt 3B David Freese and RHP Fernando Salas to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for outfielders Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk. The most immediate effect of the deal is that it opens up third base for Matt Carpenter and, as a result, second base for prospect Kolten Wong.
Considering that Freese and Salas were widely considered to be non-tender candidates, this is quite the coup for General Manager John Mozeliak.
David Freese and the St. Louis Cardinals avoided arbitration, settling on a 1 year deal worth $3.15 million. That means the team continues it’s streak of not having a player case reach arbitration since Darren Oliver in 1999. It also puts the team’s projected Opening Day Salary Obligations at $113.9 million, up from $111.8 million last year.
Freese, the hometown hero of the 2011 World Series, had filed for arbitration at $3.75 million with the Cardinals filing at $2.4 million. They were due to meet up in a hearing over the next couple weeks to determine which salary Freese would earn in 2013, his first arbitration year. It ends the speculation of the team maybe being comfortable in their position going into the arbitration hearing and letting it get there.
It’s been a theme for the Cardinals all season. Missed opportunities. The most glaring from this afternoon being a bases loaded situation in the bottom of the seventh with no outs. Ground balls from Allen Craig and Yadier Molina ended the inning without the Cardinals scoring to extend their 2-1 lead. At that point, the momentum swung firmly in the direction of the Nationals.
In the top of the eighth, Mitchell Boggs came in and it all began to unravel for the Cardinals. A tough bounce resulted in a fielding error by Pete Kozma allowed Michael Morse to reach base. Ian Desmond singled to move Morse to third. Danny Espinosa sacrificed Desmond to second. With runners at second and third, Boggs managed to strike out Kurt Suzuki for the second out of the inning. It appeared the Cardinals might escape the inning.
As my Dad told me last night, “I was expecting a Wild Card Game, not a wild Cards’ game.” Major League Baseball’s first Wild Card Game, certainly lived up to the wild factor. The 94 win Atlanta Braves were facing off against the 88 game St. Louis Cardinals at Turner Field on Friday evening with a National League Divisional Series berth on the line.