Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cards Notes: Cardinals Extend Mozeliak's Contract

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cards Notes: Cardinals Extend Mozeliak's Contract

Article excerpt

Standing on the back fields of the Cardinals' spring training complex in Jupiter, Fla., an executive with the team surveyed the prospects around him and gave a thoroughly modern assessment of how the organization had flourished in recent years.

"'Mo' is our GPS," farm director Gary LaRocque said.

Pleased with the direction the big-league club and minor-league system is headed, the Cardinals announced a two-year extension with general manager John "Mo" Mozeliak on Saturday.

The contract is intended to keep Mozeliak in place through the 2018 season, one year beyond manager Mike Matheny's current deal. The extension, Mozeliak's second in as many years, gives the Cardinals one of the most secure manager-general manager duos in the majors, alongside Pittsburgh's.

The contract, financial terms of which were not disclosed, gives chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. the continuity and credibility he craves. It means that the general manager who steered the organization to four playoff appearances and replaced a Hall of Fame manager (Tony La Russa) and dealt with the departure of a Hall of Fame-caliber player (Albert Pujols) is set to see the club through its next several defining moments.

"What's the next frontier? What's the next goal for this organization?" Mozeliak asked Saturday. "It's really just maintaining it. Seven, 10 years ago we were the ones looking for the best business practices. Now, I think people are looking at us."

On the horizon for Mozeliak and the Cardinals will be the potential for an expanded payroll and the need to lock in the talented young pitchers in the majors. The Cardinals also intend to broaden their search for talent to new foreign territories. And there is also a television rights deal to be negotiated at a time when many clubs are seeing jackpots.

DeWitt said Mozeliak will be on "the periphery" of those discussions as the 2017 expiration of the current deal nears.

"When you look at the DNA over the next, say, four or five years, it's really going to come down to are we able to continue to produce the type of talent we're seeing over the last few years," Mozeliak said. "It creates more opportunities internally for us when you're able to put homegrown players in everyday positions or the rotation. Can it be maintained? I think early indications point to a strong system."

There isn't a member of the current roster that Mozeliak didn't have a hand in acquiring or securing, from directing the draft that brought in catcher Yadier Molina to negotiating the recent extension with staff ace Adam Wainwright.

Mozeliak was named general manager on Halloween 2007. His contract puts him in position to spend at last 12 seasons in the role, and more than two decades with the Cardinals' organization.

His influence throughout the organization has expanded beyond the traditional general manager role in recent years, and that has helped the Cardinals retain him while peers such as Chicago's Theo Epstein get flashier titles but similar duties. …

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