St. Louis Cardinals interim manager Mike Shildt (83) looks on as president of baseball operations John Mozeliak

(Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)

Mozeliak: Trade Deadline Moves Were About Giving Youth a Chance

President of baseball operations John Mozeliak says using young talent doesn't mean this is a sign of waving the white flag.

August 01, 2018 - 8:34 am
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - On non-waiver trade deadline day the St. Louis Cardinals made room in the outfield by sending Tommy Pham to Tampa Bay for pitching and outfield prospects, then at the last minute, swapped the speedy Triple-A outfielder Oscar Mercado to Cleveland for two other minor-league outfielders.

President of baseball operations John Mozeliak spoke to media before Tuesday's game against Colorado and provided details into why these moves were made. 

"I feel like what we were trying to do was to put ourselves in a position to get a peak at the future," Mozeliak says. "And as we stated, we were going to give some of our younger arms a chance and in the last week or two I've said that if we can find a way to clean up some of the outfield we would do that too. Again, they are probably not some of the most exciting moves to all the people watching or hearing, but to us, we did feel like we accomplished some things."

In recent week, Mozeliak had stressed St. Louis' need for left-handed bats in the outfield. The Pham trade produced left-handed outfielder Justin Williams, who immediately became St. Louis' No. 9 overall prospect. That trade also included the Cardinals new No. 14 overall prospect, pitcher Genesis Cabrera. 

Mercado, who was leading the Pacific Coast League with 31 stolen bases, was dealt to Cleveland for minor league outfielders Conner Capel and Jhon Torres. Capel was an All-Star in Single-A this season.

The trades came after a busy day last Friday, when Mozeliak appeased St. Louis' other big need, a revamped bullpen. The Cardinals made room by designating Greg Holland and Tyler Lyons for assignment, placing Brett Cecil (and a few days later Luke Gregerson) on the disabled list, and calling up Daniel Poncedeleon and Dakota Hudson. In 11 and a third combined innings, Hudson and Poncedeleon have allowed only two runs and struck out eight. 

Mozeliak says the timing felt right to get a glimpse at the future.

"We should have a pretty good idea of some of these younger arms, like who can we count on for next year. And are they in the right roles? Did they adjust to the bullpen? Are they better off as a starter? And so for us, getting to answer that now versus maybe guessing or looking at it solely in the offseason set of lenses, I think this gives us a better opportunity." 

The Cardinals shot caller also says using young talent doesn't mean this is a sign of waving the white flag.

"We believe in them, absolutely. We're not trying some unique experiment. We're taking guys who we feel are ready to perform up here. Now the roles might be a bit different than the how they were being used down in Memphis, but they were having a lot of success there. Now we're hoping they have the same success up here." 

With a 6-3 loss last night against Colorado, St. Louis has slipped to 4.5 games back in the Wild Card.