JUPITER, Fla. – One year was apparently all it took for the Cardinals to approve of manager Mike Matheny.
The Cardinals rewarded Matheny and general manager John Mozeliak with contract extensions during a morning news conference at their spring training complex at Roger Dean Stadium on Thursday.
Matheny had his option for 2014 picked up while the Cardinals gave Mozeliak a three-year extension that runs through the 2016 season.
“Mo and Mike had a year to go here and we just wanted to solidify their standing in the organization beyond that one year and keep the continuity of a really first rate baseball operation going,” said Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr.
“We think we have a great baseball operations program and look forward to continue it and are very pleased that we’re able to make this announcement today.”
Matheny, a former catcher who had no prior coaching or managing experience before taking over for Tony La Russa after the 2011 season, led the Cardinals to within one game of a return trip to the World Series in his first year at the helm in 2012.
He had one year remaining on a two-year contract that he signed shortly after La Russa retired in November of 2011.
“He did a remarkable job as a first year manager, one win from making the World Series,” DeWitt said. “He has great leadership, tremendous respect form the players and has done everything we could have asked of a new manager and a veteran manager for that matter. We are very pleased that we will have the continuity of Mike’s leadership on the field into the future.”
Said Matheny, who was the youngest manager in baseball last year, “I’m humbled and grateful. … What a great compliment, to know that this organization and the ownership group and front office believes that what the staff and I have done and will continue to do is part of the future here because this is a special place to be apart of.
“It’s nice to know you are wanted and to be a part of this organization moving ahead.”
Mozeliak, a member of the Cardinals organization since starting as an assistant in the scouting department in 1995, replaced Walt Jocketty as the general manager on Oct. 31, 2007.
He has orchestrated several key trades and signings in his five seasons at the helm, including a key mid-season trade in 2011 that brought the Cardinals starter Edwin Jackson and relievers Octavio Dotel and Marc Rzepczynski.
“Since taking over in 2007, the results on the field speak for themselves,” DeWitt said.
Mozeliak, 44, helped solidify the Cardinals bullpen again in 2012 when he acquired Edward Mujica from the Miami Marlins. The right-hander took over the seventh inning and helped form an impressive late-inning trio with Mitchell Boggs and closer Jason Motte.
He signed Matt Holliday to the largest contract in franchise history prior to the 2010 season and also acquired Carlos Beltran, Lance Berkman, David Freese and Rafael Furcal in either trades or free agent signings.
“When you think about working for a major league franchise that has the history like the St. Louis Cardinals, I feel very fortunate,” Mozeliak said. “The great thing about the city of St. Louis is they demand winning and we get that and we respect that and we try top honor that.
“I’m very excited about this opportunity to continue being with the Cardinals.”
The Cardinals have reached the playoffs nine times since 2000 and won two World Championships and three National League pennants. They were one win away from adding to that total a season ago and hope both Matheny and Mozeliak can help them accomplish that in 2013.