Thank You, John Mozeliak

In February Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland A’s, was the keynote speaker for the convention I work on at my full-time job. It was fascinating to hear his talk, which was about 50 minutes long. One thing he elaborated on was why he does not watch the A’s games, which was a famous part of the movie “Moneyball.” He said he prefers to make his decisions based more on the big picture and what it will take to help the team win overall, rather than what happens in one particular game.

MozeliakJohnI thought of Beane and his comments after Thursday’s trade deadline — both in reading about the moves he made for his own team as well as after the moves John Mozeliak made to try to improve the Cardinals.

With a few days to absorb it all now, combined with a trip to St. Louis for Friday and Saturday’s Brewers-Cards games, I am glad that Mozeliak made the moves to acquire John Lackey and Justin Masterson. In addition, I’m glad he began the team’s transition about 10 days ago in signing A.J. Pierzynski.

It’s not a secret that I haven’t been too thrilled this season, since I wrote a post called “This Year’s Cardinals Don’t Do Much For Me” two weeks ago and, in it, I said that maybe something would change my mind about this year’s team. And something has — the work of John Mozeliak.

So thank you, Mo.

Sure, it’s sad to see Allen Craig and Joe Kelly leave — it definitely gave me pause on Friday to see a table and rack outside of the Cardinals team store at Busch Stadium filled with Kelly and Craig jerseys and shirseys under “50 percent off” signs. It’s hard to believe they aren’t Cardinals now, and it was difficult to see Craig’s 2013 World Series jersey on display at the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum when I was there Saturday plus even harder to see Kelly’s glasses on display too. But change is always difficult — for fans and players and the manager alike — when some likable and popular guys are moved. Continue reading

Goodbye, Joe Kelly – A Look Back At His 2013 Season

Change — it’s never easy, yet so often in baseball, it’s necessary. Change was definitely necessary for the 2014 Cardinals with the way this season has gone, and I found myself agreeing with Joe Strauss’s use of the words “complacency and entitlement” at the end of his column today.

So, John Mozeliak made changes. Welcome, John Lackey, and goodbye to Allen Craig and Joe Kelly. Allen and Joe are great guys, obviously, who’ve done much for the Cardinals and were definite favorites — I’ve watched Joe since his days with the Quad Cities River Bandits in 2010. But, as fans, we’ll always have our many memories. Here’s a look back to some of those Joe memories in an article I wrote for the 2013 United Cardinal Bloggers publication (still available for only $2.99 at Amazon).

Joe Kelly: Team Clown, Yet Serious On The Mound

Quick, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Joe Kelly?

Is it the post-National Anthem standoff with Scott VanSlyke just before Game Six of the National League Championship Series that garnered him plenty of national attention?

Or the ever-popular gif of his dance moves in the outfield during batting practice?

joe-fox-midwestMaybe the video bomb of him doing the worm behind Shelby Miller’s interview with Jim Hayes of Fox Sports Midwest? The photobombs in the Fox Sports Midwest girls pictures?

Perhaps the letter from his childhood that surfaced this summer, which Joe entertainingly discussed on MLB Network’s “Intentional Talk” during the World Series — the letter in which he predicted he’d be a pitcher when he grew up … and a handsome boy?

Possibly that time he donned an old man mask and interviewed Nelly?

Of course it actually could be his pitching that comes to mind, especially the way Kelly was such a stopper for a stretch midway through the season when he became part of the rotation in early July after losing out to Shelby Miller during a spring training battle for the fifth spot in the rotation.

Because, obviously, were it not for his pitching, we wouldn’t know about Joe Kelly The Entertainer at all.

Joe Kelly The Pitcher does take things seriously when he’s on the mound. At least he appears to take it seriously. No funny faces, no winks to the camera. Just throwing, and throwing hard, with a fastball that averaged 95 mph. And his final numbers for 2013 reflect the seriousness. Continue reading

Cardinals Acquire Justin Masterson From Indians

The St. Louis Cardinals announced this afternoon that they have acquired right-handed starting pitcher Justin Masterson from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for Springfield (AA) outfielder James Ramsey.

Justin_Masterson_20110323194624_320_240Masterson, who will join the Cardinals on Friday, Aug. 1, in St. Louis, is scheduled to start Saturday against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Masterson, 29, is 4-6 with a 5.51 ERA in 19 starts for the Tribe this season, fanning 93 batters in his 98.0 innings pitched. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 8 (right knee inflammation) and made a pair of injury rehabilitation starts (July 20 and 25) for Columbus (AAA) prior to today’s trade.

The 6-6, 250-pound Masterson was an American League All-Star in 2013 as he compiled a 14-10 mark with a 3.45 ERA while ranking 8th in the league with 195 strikeouts and a league-best three shutouts. The Jamaican-born Masterson owns a career mark of 57-49 with a 4.16 ERA in 231 games (169 starts) for Boston (2008-09) and Cleveland (2009-14).

The Cardinals also announced that they have transferred pitcher Michael Wacha from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day D.L.  The team will make a corresponding 25-man roster move prior to Friday’s game once Masterson reports to the team.