Besides an update on talks for a Yadier Molina contract extension, St. Louis Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak also discussed a number of other topics this afternoon on St. Louis Baseball Weekly.
Among them, his confidence level in Adam Wainwright returning to form in 2017.
“I think Waino’s having to make some adjustments on how he thinks about how he pitches,” assessed Mozeliak. “Obviously, coming off the Achilles injury a year and a half ago, I do feel like his confidence is growing. He definitely had one bad outing down there against the Mets, I think he’s trying to put that behind him and ultimately, I do have high expectations for him.”
The subject was also raised of whether or not things were back on track with Kolten Wong, who took exception to the idea of a platoon at second base.
“Well, I hope so,” said Mozeliak. “I think overall our camp went very well, very pleased with how things went. A lots being asked or written about on Kolten’s situation–when you deal with players, it’s pretty simple. Play well, you play. Our goal is to win baseball games. Having discussions in the media and trying to debate it there I don’t think is very helpful to anybody. I think he understands where we stand and hopefully, he can make the most of this season.”
Though never guaranteed a starting position, this off-season there was a lot of verbage regarding Wong being capable of playing Gold Glove-caliber defense and being relied on as an everyday player. Has this recent episode changed where Mozeliak and the Cardinals stand on Wong?
“No, I think what you have to realize is his teammates competed very well,” answered Mozeliak. “In his particular case, I still think the defense is something that attracts us and something we wanted to shore up given how things went this past season. Now he has an opportunity to do that, but if he’s struggling at the plate and he’s taking it out into the field, that’s not helpful.”
So what is the formula to find regular at-bats for Jedd Gyorko this season? A different position every other day? Every third day?
“I think time will tell on this,” said Mozeliak. “Clearly, Peralta did what he had hoped we would do. Diaz had a good camp. Jedd gives us a lot of flexibility and another guy that also had a great camp was Greg Garcia. I think when you look at matchups and how you position your club, we’re going to have a lot of positive alternatives.”
One of the newer alternatives to develop is Matt Adams playing left field.
“I think that’s something we’re just going to have to play close attention to,” said Mozeliak. “Obviously, the last couple of weeks of camp he got the opportunity to try this. His attitude’s been awesome, he’s open-minded, so hopefully everything works for him.”
In regards to Trevor Rosenthal and Tyler Lyons being moved to the 10-day disabled list, Mozeliak had a mixed bag of perspective.
“It’s always hard for someone like myself to predict what that’s going to look like, but certainly hopeful this is shorter than longer, but time will tell,” he said, about the possibility of the lat issue lingering for Rosenthal.
“Tyler, I have a little more confidence in but the key for him is he missed enough time where he wants to get himself going from a pitching standpoint. As you know, he didn’t have quite the normal Spring Training, so we’re just trying to extend that a little bit.”
Mozeliak also noted that Sam Tuivailala, who was recalled, would likely be stretched out to be available for more than one inning while Miguel Socolovich could be more of a situational reliever.