Mozeliak dispels rumors — sort of — that Cards are shopping for ace
ST. LOUIS — Surely you’ve heard the talk about the Cardinals pursuing a big-name starter, right?
Well, apparently, talk is all it is. At least if you believe general manager John Mozeliak.
"I don’t feel we need to do that," he said at a presser during the Cardinals Winter Warm-Up on Saturday.
After meeting with the media, Mozeliak took the main stage for an hour-long Q&A with fans at the Hyatt Regency, where he was repeatedly asked, essentially, the same question. Repeatedly, Mozeliak gave the same reply.
The short answer: No.
About as close as he came to saying the team was in the market for an ace: "We have been as an organization that tends to be opportunistic if something should arrive."
He quickly added: "I feel we have a little more depth than people give us credit for. I feel somebody like a Marco Gonzales can pitch in the big leagues. I also think somebody like a Tyler Lyons gets overlooked. I feel there is some depth to the Cardinals and at this point, no, we’re not actively shopping."
Another option that the Cardinals aren’t counting on yet is left-hander Jaime Garcia, who is recovering from the season-ending thoracic outlet surgery he underwent last year. Stop us if you’ve heard this before — Mozeliak said that Garcia, who will make $9.25 million in 2015, the final year of his contract, is feeling strong in his winter rehab.
"The feedback has been extraordinarily positive," Mozeliak said. "I don’t know what to make of that. He’s having a very good offseason. I don’t want to put too much pressure on him or too much pressure on the club on what that actually means because I have not personally seen him. From a medical standpoint, from what we’re hearing about his workouts, he really is feeling good."
Garcia has started a throwing program, too, though he entered camp last year saying he felt strong but ended up making only seven starts before the shoulder gave out again.
Other quick hits from Day One of the the three-day Winter Warm-Up:
— Corner outfield prospect Stephen Piscotty has spent his offseason tweaking his swing with the hope of adding power. Piscotty hit .288/.355/.406 with nine homers for Class AAA Memphis. Piscotty also spent three months in class at Stanford, where he finished his degree in atmosphere and energy engineering. If he had been called up in September, Piscotty said he would not have been able to attend the classes he needed in the fall.
— Randal Grichuk, who started in right field during the postseason, was candid when asked his thoughts on the club’s acquisition of Jason Heyward to be its right fielder this season.
"Thoughts off the bat, not good for me," Grichuk said. "But obviously, we’re here to win a championship. Bringing a guy like that in is a huge puzzle. He’s going to help us win and get to the next level."
— Center fielder Peter Bourjos says he has been cleared to start hitting Monday after undergoing hip surgery earlier in the offseason. Bourjos also revealed that he and his new bride are expecting their first child in April.
— Looking way ahead: Mozeliak said he could envision a 2018 outfield of Jason Heyward, Magneuris Sierra and Piscotty or Grichuk. Sierra, 18, was named the organization’s Minor League Player of the Year in 2014 after hitting .386 in the short-season Gulf Coast League.
— Steve Carlton and Edgar Renteria were the newcomers named to the Cardinals Hall of Fame ballot, along with Ted Simmons, Bob Forsch, Matt Morris, Keith Hernandez, Mark McGwire and Joe Torre. Online fan voting that will begin in March and end in April will determine which two players earn induction.