The Cardinals are in agreement with president of baseball operations John Mozeliak on a two-year contract extension, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The deal, which is tacked onto the final year of Mozeliak’s current contract, keeps him atop the baseball ops department through the 2025 campaign. Goold adds the club is expected to announce the move as soon as tomorrow.
It’s an entirely unsurprising development. Mozeliak has been a member of the organization since 1996, when he joined the club’s scouting department in his mid-20’s. Now 54, he’s spent over two decades with the franchise, quickly rising to the top of the front office. He’d taken over the scouting group by 1999 and was tabbed as an assistant general manager four years later. Following the 2007 offseason, he took hold of baseball operations upon receiving a promotion to GM. He’d retain final say on decision-making with a 2017 title boost to president of baseball operations.
Mozeliak has led the group for more than a decade and a half, overseeing a period of remarkable consistency. The Cardinals have had an above-average record in all 15 seasons. They’ve reached the playoffs in 10 of those years, including an ongoing streak of four consecutive appearances. While they won at least one playoff round every year from 2011-14, highlighted by a World Series title in 2011, the franchise has not had a ton of playoff success of late.
St. Louis has only advanced past the Division Series once since 2014, during a ’19 campaign in which they were then swept by the Nationals in the NL Championship Series. In each of the last three years, they’ve lost in the first postseason round — Wild Card series in 2020 and ’22 and the one-game Wild Card playoff in 2021. That has surely been a source of frustration to the organization and fanbase alike, but there’s little question of the club’s regular season success since Mozeliak took the helm.
The Yankees (30 straight) are the only other franchise with an active streak of 15+ consecutive winning seasons. (St. Louis’ streak is tied for sixth-longest in MLB history). The Cards have finished first or second in the NL Central four years running, taking the division in both 2019 and ’22. Mozeliak’s clubs have six division titles overall despite player payrolls that annually wind up only a little higher than league average. St. Louis doesn’t typically do a whole lot via free agency, but they’ve established a knack for a strong drafting/player development pipeline and executed a number of impact trades.
That has remained on display over the past few seasons. The Cards have gotten MVP-caliber production from Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, both of whom were acquired in some of the more high-profile trades in recent memory (deals in which the players the Cardinals surrendered have largely underperformed). As with any baseball operations leader, Mozeliak’s group doesn’t have a perfect hit rate. Surrendering Sandy Alcantara and Zac Gallen in the 2017 Marcell Ozuna trade, for instance, has turned out disastrously. By and large, though, the organization has made strong player personnel decisions in recent years — manifesting in their consistency in churning out winning seasons.
St. Louis has continued to supplement that star talent with internal promotions, with players like Tommy Edman, Lars Nootbaar, Brendan Donovan and Ryan Helsley making strong contributions despite entering the professional ranks as mid-round draftees. The organization’s development pipeline remains solid. Keith Law of the Athletic recently slotted their farm system ninth in the majors.
While that hasn’t translated to the recent playoff success the organization desires, the Cardinals appear to be in good shape for continued success throughout the coming decade. Ownership has certainly been pleased with the results, with Mozeliak and longtime top lieutenant Michael Girsch kept in place for over a decade apiece. Girsch is also locked in for the foreseeable future after inking a multi-year extension last fall.