The STL Sports Central team had the honor of sitting down with other Cardinals writers for a question and answer session with St. Louis Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak. Big thanks to @C70 on Twitter for setting up this annual event.
Here are some key takeaways from the Q & A that may give Cardinals fans more of an idea of where the season is headed, why the Cardinals have had such a bad season, as well as the future of the Cardinals in general.
- Cardinals’ approach to the deadline is undecided, but leaning towards adding
Last year we saw Harrison Bader get sent to New York for Jordan Montgomery, who was electric for the Cardinals in the backend of 2022. That trade was one of the reasons that St. Louis was able to secure the division last season. With the team currently in last place in the division, Mozeliak told us that it is likely we see new faces in St. Louis by the time the trade deadline rolls around. “There’s a very good chance, given this division, that we might be looking to add.” Mozeliak also pointed out the fact that the next couple of weeks could change the way they approach the deadline. Should the Cardinals have a resurgence, the team could likely see little to no changes.
- The WBC was a factor in the Cardinals poor 2023 season
The Cardinals had 13 players from their 40-man roster be sent off to the WBC, some notable players being Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, Miles Mikolas, Adam Wainwright, Giovanny Gallegos, Tyler O’Neill, Tommy Edman, and WBC champion Lars Nootbaar.
One positive to this was that it gave a lot of young players that wouldn’t usually get a lot of playing time in Spring Training the opportunity to show what they had to offer, which allowed for Jordan Walker to hit his way into the Opening Day lineup. However, John Mozeliak does believe that the WBC played into how the Cardinals season has been so far, noting that the team wasn’t able to connect as well, and some individual players suffered from it. “Adam Wainwright got injured [in the WBC]. I think Miles Mikolas didn’t get to pitch enough in Spring Training, so I don’t think he was prepared to start the season for us. We had 18 players participating in it [WBC], so I don’t think we had the traditional bonding. When I look at how we think about the WBC’s future, I think the league as a whole should maybe limit how many players actually get to go.”
It’s hard to deny the fact that being without almost all of your veteran players could have an effect on how the clubhouse comes together. Come 2026, we will likely see a significant drop in the number of Cardinals going to play for their countries to dethrone Japan as the reigning champions.
- Iván Herrera won’t be a career backup to Contreras
As he mashed his way through May, earning him the Cardinals Minor League Player of the Month award, Iván Herrera caught the attention of many Cardinals fans, as well as John Mozeliak.
Not just because of his bat, but he’s also improved defensively and is becoming a leader of the clubhouse in Memphis. “First off, Herrera has been amazing. All the feedback I get from Memphis right now is that he’s just a different player. Obviously, we can all look at his .950 OPS, and that’s great. He’s obviously hitting. But from a defensive standpoint, he’s really changed his profile. He’s taken on a leading role. He’s been very aggressive with trying to understand pitchers’ strengths and weaknesses and hitters’ strengths and weaknesses. He’s really evolved.”
Many Cardinals fans may be reminded of Yadier Molina when they hear this about Herrera, as Molina was known for his understanding of the pitchers he caught and the batters they faced.
While Cardinals fans may be worried that because of Contreras inking a five-year contract means that Herrera could be a perennial backup, Mozeliak assures fans that he will have his time to shine at catcher in the future. “I think the one good thing about Willson Contreras is he’s uber-athletic. If we have to move him around at some point to create playing time for Herrera, I think we’ll have the ability to do that.”
- Molina is welcome to return
Many Cardinals fans miss Yadier Molina. There’s no doubt about that. However, he just finished a very long career, one that saw him taking time away from his family and his home of Puerto Rico, which he has a deep connection with. But, Mozeliak reassured that “the door is always open” for Molina in St. Louis.
Molina took the opportunity to manage in the WBC with Puerto Rico, as a way to see whether or not managing in the MLB would be something he is interested in at some point in the future. Cardinals fans, and John Mozeliak, would welcome back Yadier Molina with open arms, whether it was as the manager of the Cardinals or in some other coaching role.
- Cardinals games may become pay-per-view
Mostly known in boxing, pay-per-view is a type of broadcast that requires you to pay a set cost of money, which allows you to have access to watch the program. Mozeliak hinted at the fact that this could become the new future of Cardinals TV, due to the fact that streaming has taken over the world in terms of television, and the issue with the Padres and Bally Sports has caused many other teams to start to wonder what their future in TV will be.
After posting this on the official @STLSportsCntrl Twitter page, fans were outraged at the idea that they would have to pay to watch individual games, rather than just watching it on TV.