The decision by the St. Louis Cardinals to wrap up general manager John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny was a smart move by ownership.
As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
What the Cardinals have in place right now is definitely not broken.
Since Mozeliak took over for the Cardinals in 2008, they’ve seen success. Sure, some of that dates to moves by the prior GM Walt Jocketty, but Mozeliak has certainly had plenty of time to prove himself, and he’s done a fine job of it.
In three of his five years at the helm, the Cardinals have gone to the playoffs. One of those years they won the World Series, and in 2012 they were within outs of yet another World Series berth.
Mozeliak is a forward thinking GM who is one of the sharpest thinking baseball minds of today.
He understands the role advanced analytics play in the game and, at the same time, still respects what traditional scouting has to offer.
On multiple occasions he has made trades that, while not exciting on the surface, were difference makers for the team.
Trading Colby Rasmus was a shock to the fanbase, especially considering the names they received in return. In the end, names like Marc Rzepczynski and Edwin Jackson had a lot to do with pushing the Cardinals to their 11th World Series Championship.
The same can be said, minus the championship, of Edward Mujica. It was a smart baseball move that gave the Cardinals exactly what they were missing.
Randy Choate could be a similar situation for the Cardinals.
It’s time that Mozeliak was recognized for his accomplishments, and his additional three years have been well-earned.
In regard to the Matheny extension, many questioned the decision to bring in a rookie manager to replace one who will surely be a Hall of Famer.
With the Cardinals interviewing seasoned veterans, obviously it was a bit of a shock. Once again, though, it turned out to be a move in the right direction.
While he had his share of expected hiccups in 2012 regarding bullpen management and bunting, Matheny did a fantastic job—especially when you consider that he had zero experience managing at any level.
He was given a solid team and a good coaching staff, but give credit where it’s due.
In his first year Matheny had to constantly live in LaRussa’s shadow as every decision is questioned.
Right in the middle of that, he led through Cardinals through numerous major injuries, slumps, a playoff run and eventually to Game 7 of the 2012 NLCS.
Not too bad for a rookie—or a veteran.
What is possibly Matheny’s most important quality in terms of managing a major league team? He commands the respect of his players.
They genuinely care for one another and as a result, they want to make him look good. In 2012 they did a good job of that.
Will they keep that up in 2013? 2014? That remains to be seen.
Regardless, there’s plenty of reasons for Cardinals fans to be pleased with these extensions.