John Mozeliak Discusses Cardinals’ Front Office Plans

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The Cardinals officially announced their previously-reported extension with president of baseball operations John Mozeliak this morning. That deal keeps him atop the baseball operations hierarchy through the 2025 season, which’ll bring him to 18 years leading the front office.

Speaking with reporters today, Mozeliak suggested he’s likely to delegate greater responsibilities to others in the baseball operations department over the coming seasons. “I know there is going to be some change coming over the next few years,” the president of baseball ops said (link via Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch). “We certainly want to give individuals within the organization opportunities to grow and expand some of their roles, and over the course of the next year or so we’ll work through that.

That’s with an eye on the franchise’s future leadership structure in mind. Longtime top lieutenant Mike Girsch has been in the organization since 2006 and served as general manager (second in responsibility) since 2017. He bypassed an opportunity to interview for the top job with the Mets over the 2021-22 offseason and signed a multi-year extension with St. Louis at the start of this winter. Girsch is clearly comfortable in his current role but could certainly garner renewed consideration to lead a front office down the line.

Meanwhile, assistant general manager/scouting director Randy Flores received a new multi-year deal at the same time as Girsch last fall. Special adviser Matt Slater drew some attention from the Tigers in their GM search this winter. Goold also writes that some within the industry believe AGM Moisés Rodríguez — who takes a key role in international scouting — could get a look to lead a baseball operations group at some point.

It seems the goal is to give members of that group greater influence in daily decision-making to prepare for potentially more significant work down the line. Mozeliak did not officially declare this would be his final contract or set any cutoff day for passing down top baseball ops autonomy, to be clear. However, he also hinted he was prepared to take on fewer responsibilities in the not too distant future. “Short-term, you’ll still get me for a little bit,” Mozeliak said (separate Goold link). “But as we get deeper into this contract there will be changes.” Goold reports that Mozeliak had considered pursuing opportunities outside the baseball industry in recent months before eventually deciding to remain in his current role.

Front office stability of the kind the Cardinals have enjoyed over the past decade and a half is rare. Only Brian Cashman and Kenny Williams have been at or alongside the top of their respective clubs’ baseball operations for longer than Mozeliak has. A pair of the sport’s longer-tenured front office heads — Oakland’s Billy Beane and Milwaukee’s David Stearns — moved into advisory capacities this offseason while turning over daily responsibilities to their respective longtime #2 executives, David Forst and Matt Arnold.

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