Over the course of the 2010 season, General Manager John Mozeliak saw his offseason moves pan out or fail, and along the way made a few moves of his own. Here are the grades for his individual moves, as well as his overall grade:
Resigning Matt Holliday, 7-yr/$120M: A-
Resigning Holliday was the most important and surprising move the Cardinals made this past offseason. Most writers and executives agreed that the Cardinals outbid themselves for Holliday, but he certainly proved himself this year, nearly leading the league in doubles and posting MVP numbers all around.
Resigning Jason LaRue, 1-yr/$950K: C-
With Yadier Molina still under contract, the Cardinals resigned LaRue simply for his veteran presence and his ability to make a handful of starts if Molina got hurt. Molina stayed healthy until the last month of the season, but by then, LaRue had sustained a career-ending injury.
Signing Brad Penny, 1-yr/$7.5M: B
If not for Penny's injury, this would have been one of the best moves of the offseason. For his first few starts, Penny seemed to be a Cy Young candidate, and could even be considered a favorite. He slowed down a bit in a rough outing against Cincinnati, but still managed great numbers before going down with a season-ending injury against the Angels.
Signing Felipe Lopez, 1-yr/$1M: D-
Coming out of the offseason, this was hailed as, far and away, Mozeliak's best move of the offseason. Although it looked good at the time, Lopez played miserably all season. The only reason the grade is this high is the bargain price Lopez came at.
Signing Randy Winn, 1-yr/$1.1M: C
Although Winn didn't push the Cardinals to the playoffs, acquiring him wasn't such a bad move. He came off the bench for several big hits, but the offense wasn't able to push him home. Winn reached base 40 times, but only scored 16 runs. It's unlikely, but possible, that Mozeliak would pursue
Signing Aaron Miles, 1-yr/$400K: C+
Signing Aaron Miles may have been the most successful of Mozeliak's short-term deals. He played all of the infield and outfield positions, giving the Cardinals an extremely versatile player who could pick up hits down the stretch. Although Miles didn't really help the Cardinals out, he did have a successful individual season with the Redbirds.
Signing Mike MacDougal, 1-yr/400K: D
Mozeliak brought MacDougal on board with a minor league deal, but he spent most of his time in the majors, unsuccessfully. Although the deal was good in theory, MacDougal couldn't return to his 2009 form.
Trading Julio Lugo for cash: C-
This move was especially regrettable because of the way Felipe Lopez played. Trading Lugo to make room for Lopez. Although Lugo wasn't great for Balitmore, he would have certainly been an improvement over Lopez, and would have been a cheaper option as well.
Acquiring Jake Westbrook and minor leaguer Nick Greenwood for Ryan Ludwick: C-
Whether or not this deal pans out long term has yet to be seen. If the Cardinals resign Westbrook, the deal comes out looking slightly better. If not, then slightly worse. This grade is an average of those two possibilities. In trading Ludwick, the front office left the offense without a serious clutch hitter outside of Pujols and Holliday, and they certainly struggled for it.
Acquiring Pedro Feliz for minor leaguer David Carpenter: D-
Because of the cost and the return, this was probably the worst deal Mozeliak made. By trading minor league closer Carpenter, who was having a good season, for Pedro Feliz, a no-hit third baseman with aging knees, the Cardinals lost a possible asset, and gained nothing in return. To compound the situation, Joe Crede, a much better hitter and a very good fielder, was available all season, but the Cardinals didn't show any interest.
Overall Grade: C-
Although the Holliday contract seems to be a smashing success, many of Mozeliak's short-term deals didn't pan out. Trading away Ludwick may have handicapped the Cardinals for the rest of the season. Although no single move was the downfall of the Cardinals season, it's possible that Mozeliak was too focused on Holliday and other big names to fill out the entire roster.
He received a three-year extension this year, and I look forward to seeing him redeem himself this offseason. If he resigns Albert Pujols, he will be a hero in St. Louis, no matter what other moves he makes.