On hand for the unveiling of the St. Louis Cardinals alternate road jersey this morning, President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak stopped to answer a few questions regarding the roster afterwards.
“I think there’s some momentum as we break for Thanksgiving,” Mozeliak said. “We have those two weeks before we get out to Vegas. When I say slow, I mean there’s been a lot of work that’s been going on but there hasn’t been much to announce.
While not wanting to get into specifics about particular players or rumors, Mozeliak was asked to characterize where the Cardinals stood on the pursuit of free agent Bryce Harper.
“I would characterize this, there’s a lot of open-mindedness as we enter this off-season and we just want to explore all of our opportunities as we look to put the 2018 club together,” Mozeliak said.
The Cardinals are also keeping an open-minded approach to the idea of trading for a player who might have only one year left on his contract, but could then be signed to a long-term extension. Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt fits that description and is rumored to be available.
“It just depends,” Mozeliak said, not specifying any particular player. “It depends what kind of impact that type of player might have. So as you really look at the trade market and try to understand it, obviously, the acquisition cost matters.”
In the past, the Cardinals welcomed the idea of acquiring such players with the idea of playing in St. Louis being a strong recruiting tool for inking the player to an extension. Is that still the case?
“I think net-net, the answer’s yes but clearly the last time we tried it, it did not work,” Mozeliak answered.
While those may not be the bold, aggressive answers some fans are hoping for, it was reiterated the team will not be staying pat.
“We know there’s some activity that has to happen,” Mozeliak stated.
There is potential for some change in the next 24 hours, as the MLB deadline to set the 40-man roster approaches. The Cardinals currently have two open spots.
“There will be some additions made, but clearly we want to talk to the players before we make that announcement,” Mozeliak said.
Eligible players not on the 40-man will become unprotected for the Rule 5 draft at the upcoming Winter Meetings.
Players that signed at the age of 18 years or younger and have played five seasons of pro ball with the organization are Rule 5 eligible, if not added to the 40-man roster. Players that signed at 19 or older and have played four seasons are also eligible to be selected if they’re not added to the 40-man roster.
“There’s some things that could happen between now and tomorrow, but I doubt it,” said Mozeliak, in regards to a deal being made to create more spots, but he also acknowledged the team may “be open to creating” additional space on the roster.
photo credit: Jeff Curry, Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports