STREET. LOUIS — Making his boldest proclamation yet that a Cardinals club that has fallen far short of expectations will forgo its fate this season and focus on rebuilding by 2024, team president John Mozeliak, he didn’t even try to hide where the strategy is. will be changed to move on.
It will be an attempt to address an area that the Cardinals ignored last offseason and that will almost certainly define how quickly they can bounce back from a disappointing 2023 that will likely only get uglier as the team plays out the series of games in the final few games. 2 1 /2 months.
“I definitely think we’re going to treat the trade deadline as pitch, pitch, pitch, right?” Mozeliak asked rhetorically as he declared this season a lost cause and vowed to try and rebuild quickly so the Cardinals could potentially compete in 2024. “I think the goal would be to tackle as much pitching as possible.”
For a Cardinals franchise with a streak of 15 consecutive winning seasons and one that has been in the playoffs each of the last four seasons to declare itself out of the postseason hunt before August is frankly jarring to the system, Mozeliak admitted. . However, a 10-24 start and a June 8-15 fade were enough to convince the front office that a late recovery would be unlikely this season and that major changes are needed with roster construction.
“Well, it’s definitely different,” Mozeliak said of the Cards’ midseason rebuild after not posting a losing season since 2007. “I don’t know if I’d use the phrase, ‘not trying to compete.’ I mean, obviously, if there are people moving out of here, that’s just going to create more opportunities for someone else. I feel like with where this club is right now, we just know it’s not working intact, so we know we have to make some changes.”
The bulk of those trades will likely come from a pitching staff that has struggled to start and close games. Going into Monday’s game against the Marlins, the starting staff had a 4.74 ERA (25th in MLB), while the relievers had a 4.50 ERA (25th in MLB) with 21 blown saves (most in MLB). . Miles Mikolas and Steven Matz are the only two current starters under contract for 2024, while Adam Wainwright is nearing retirement, and Jordan Montgomery and Jack Flaherty are two high-profile pending free agents. While the Cardinals signed Mikolas to an extension, they did not seek deals with Flaherty or Montgomery and both could be traded before the Trade Deadline in hopes of long-term pitching help.
“I think from a payroll standpoint, we should have some room to grow there. [to add pitching] of the resources that are available,” Mozeliak said. “Part of it is that people go out [the payroll]. We’re thinking about how we evaluate pitchers and that’s something we’re looking at closely above. … More swing-and-miss versus ground balls [pitchers] would be baked into future thought.”
Mozeliak expressed disappointment with how the signing of free agent catcher Willson Contreras has panned out this season, with the veteran giving up time to Andrew Knizner and rookie Ivan Herrera due to staff management issues. With the benefit of hindsight, Mozeliak said the team also erred in not adding more shooting depth.
“I mean, it’s a fair question and I think I would add more starting pitchers and add more bullpens,” Mozeliak admitted candidly. “A lot of the decisions we make just haven’t worked out, a., because of injury or b., because of performance. I mean, you never have enough depth, and we always know that, but clearly this year he yelled it.”
Some of the Cardinals’ roster changes began Monday when the club designated disgruntled reliever Génesis Cabrera for assignment and signed reliever Ryan Tepera. The Cardinals also plan to return Tyler O’Neill to a starting role in left field, likely to showcase him for trade purposes. Manager Oliver Marmol said his starting outfield would feature Lars Nootbaar in center, prized rookie Jordan Walker in right and O’Neill, meaning Dylan Carlson and Alec Burleson won’t get playing time.
Mozeliak said he would not actively seek to trade key stars Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado as they would likely play an important role for the club to get back into contention in 2024. Mozeliak said he hasn’t even had a good run between now and next year. August 1. 1 will likely shift the team’s plans to focus on planning for 2024.
“Does performance, wins and losses change our direction? I would say probably not at this point,” she said. “I think with where we are and where we are in the standings, it’s going to do [a rally] very difficult to change. From our point of view about how we are thinking about using our energy and time, it will not change.