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Thread: Jocketty Endorses Understudy

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    So Long Uncle Joe BoydsOfSummer's Avatar
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    Jocketty Endorses Understudy

    http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/spo...B?OpenDocument

    Jocketty says aide is ready
    By Joe Strauss
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    01/30/2006

    Cardinals assistant general manager Mozeliak hopes to get the Cincinnati Reds' top job.

    As two of baseball's most venerable franchises, the Cincinnati Reds and Cardinals hold much in common - except timing.

    During the past four decades, when one team has found success the other has endured difficulty. The Reds enjoyed winning records and five first-place finishes during the 1970s and 1990s while the Cardinals experienced droughts that featured only one postseason appearance. While the Cards have finished first nine times in the 1980s and 2000s, the Reds have suffered through losing decades without a postseason sniff.

    Commonality between franchises grew this month when Major League Baseball approved the transfer of the Reds to a group headed by Cincinnati produce magnate Robert Castellini, previously a Cardinals minority shareholder. Moving quickly to reshape his depressed product, Castellini last week dismissed general manager Dan O'Brien. Among the list of eight potential successors is Cardinals assistant general manager John Mozeliak.

    For a change, the timing should work for both, according to Redbirds general manager Walt Jocketty.

    Coming off his team's fifth postseason appearance in six years, Jocketty has actively endorsed the candidacy of Mozeliak, his 37-year-old understudy for much of the past 10 years.

    "He's been exposed to just about everything he would need," Jocketty said shortly before attending Sunday night's Baseball Writers Association of America banquet in New York. "He's had some experience in different areas. He's prepared to make decisions. It's great to have experience in different areas to make intelligent decisions. 'Mo' certainly is very qualified to handle that."

    Mozeliak is expected to interview with Castellini in Cincinnati this week. He is not considered a favorite in a process that also involves Minnesota assistant GM Wayne Krivsky, Reds assistant GM Brad Kullman, former Montreal and Baltimore GM Jim Beattie and Philadelphia assistant GM for scouting and player development Mike Arbuckle.

    Krivsky was believed the frontrunner for the position when O'Brien became the surprise choice in October 2003. Kullman served in an interim role following the ouster of Jim Bowden in 2003.

    Beattie, fired by the similarly dysfunctional Orioles last November, serves as a Reds special assistant. Arbuckle, with roots tracing to renowned Atlanta Braves scout Paul Snyder, became known as a candidate Sunday night.

    "I'm extremely flattered and honored for this opportunity," Mozeliak said. "But I'm also realistic. It's just an opportunity to be interviewed at this point. It's hard to put the cart in front of the horse. I'm making sure I'm doing due diligence to get to a level of comfort and awareness with the organization."

    Approached by a reporter three years ago to assess Mozeliak's qualifications to assume a GM job, Jocketty withheld a recommendation, saying his understudy needed more seasoning.

    "There's no doubt in my mind he's ready now," Jocketty said.

    Mozeliak since has overseen the amateur draft while serving two years as scouting director in addition to assistant general manager. He also has played a significant role in constructing the major-league budget and preparing for arbitration. Another responsibility is assigning value to position needs. Such an assessment contributed to the Cardinals' unwillingness to go beyond $2 million for one season to free-agent second baseman Mark Grudzielanek. (They subsequently addressed the void by trading for Aaron Miles and signing non-tender free agent Junior Spivey for $1 million. Deivi Cruz was signed as well for $800,000.)

    Mozeliak's relationship with the agent for pitcher Sidney Ponson, Barry Praver, also factored heavily in the gifted but troubled Ponson accepting a $1 million contract to revive his career in St. Louis.

    Jocketty recently endorsed Mozeliak to Castellini, as has general partner Bill DeWitt Jr.

    "Bob likes the way we've done things in St. Louis," Jocketty said. "I told him I've worked with Mo for nine or 10 years, and he's been a big part of the operation."

    Mozeliak lists among his influences Cardinals vice president for player personnel Jerry Walker and former vice president Bob Gebhard. Walker served as Detroit's GM during the early '90s. Gebhard, now with Arizona, served as Colorado's GM when Mozeliak received his first professional opportunity with that club in 1993.

    "I do think I can complement an organization with my diversity of experience. In that regard, I feel I'm very prepared," Mozeliak said.

    Castellini could not be reached to comment Sunday; however, Jocketty's recommendation should carry weight. Castellini and partners W.J. and T.L. Williams retained about a 20 percent share in the Cardinals before making a successful $270 million bid for the Reds.

    The Reds will remain a small-market franchise, as Castellini projects nothing more than a $60 million payroll. But that cannot explain how four of the franchise's five minor-league affiliates finished last in their respective leagues in 2005, or why the franchise has been unable to draft and develop an impact starting pitcher since Tom Browning in 1981. Many consider the Reds a contender for the league's worst record in '06.

    Jocketty, for one, doesn't believe the mess is too huge for a first-time general manager.

    "I look at Cincinnati as being very similar to the Cardinals 10 or 11 years ago when that group bought the team," Jocketty said. "The team needed some new direction and new leadership. It wouldn't take too long to turn around."

    Jocketty interviewed for six GM vacancies before being hired by the Cardinals in October 1994. He was 43. Increasingly smitten by Ivy League diplomas and worshipers of quantitative analysis, baseball has since turned to younger men. Texas named Jon Daniels, 29, to succeed John Hart.

    Jocketty isn't impressed by the move toward young brains with limited experience within the business.

    Asked to compare Mozeliak's credentials with those of some recent GM hires, Jocketty replied, "He's probably more qualified." Pausing for a moment, Jocketty corrected himself. "Not probably. Definitely more qualified."

    jstrauss@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8371

    Last edited by Chip R; 01-30-2006 at 09:38 AM.
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    Re: Jocketty Endorses Understudy

    Cardinals? Half their lineup was on 'roids in the 90's. Maybe he's going to bring over the meds?

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    Re: Jocketty Endorses Understudy

    By my way of thinking, Walt Jocketty and St Louis would be a good organization to act as a pattern for the new Reds.

    One of the keys for the Reds to be competitive is financial discipline. It sounds from this article that the Cards have defined a range within which each position should be compensated and allow them to be competitive. I understand there are times when you might want to bend such rules...but repeatedly the Reds have ignored any such discipline dating back to the Marge years. That, as much as anything else, has handicapped the Red's by not allocating the resulting payroll in ways that allow a competitive team. In other words, if you're not the Yankees or Red Sox, making sure you have the resources to sign draftees and field a pitching staff that allows you to be competitive is more important than paying a premium for a player who barely perfroms above the league average at a position.

    The only way for the Red's to be competitive is to impose discipline on this organization. I'd like to see the new GM be able to assign a value to every position, to understand replacement costs, and to understand how to replace 80-90 percent of a positions production by choosing more affordable options where necessary. That doesn't include the likes of Womack or Aurillia.

    If Mozeliak is ready, and it appears he might be, then he sure sounds like a good option from here.
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    Re: Jocketty Endorses Understudy

    I like hearing about Mozeliak's value engineering traits. I thought replacing Grudzielanek with Miles and Spivey was a pretty sweet move.

    I also thought the way the Bird spread around the money when they dealt away J.D. Drew was brilliant.
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    Re: Jocketty Endorses Understudy

    Quote Originally Posted by BoydsOfSummer
    He is not considered a favorite in a process that also involves...
    Gee, I wonder which of the Reds beat writers gave the STL reporter this impression? Whoever it was hasn't been paying attention to Castellini's stated goals. Unless Mozeliak is a master of obfuscation or I've overlooked some sign that reveals Castellini bought the Reds because he disapproved of the Cards, I believe the job is his to lose.

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    Re: Jocketty Endorses Understudy

    Quote Originally Posted by M2
    I like hearing about Mozeliak's value engineering traits. I thought replacing Grudzielanek with Miles and Spivey was a pretty sweet move.

    I also thought the way the Bird spread around the money when they dealt away J.D. Drew was brilliant.
    the Cardinal success has mostly been about extremely intelligent player acquisition at major league level. Their recent record of draft and development has been as almost as abysmal as the Reds.

    I become less confident each day that "Smilin Bob" will get this right when I see the list of candidates. It doesn't seem to me there is any "thinking outiside the box" going on here, and that is really what the Reds need to build a consistent winner.

    At this point I really hope they give the job to Kullman.
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    Re: Jocketty Endorses Understudy

    I still like Krivsky best. The Minnesota model of player development works for me, and I like that he's an American League guy but has been scouting the NL.
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    Re: Jocketty Endorses Understudy

    Quote Originally Posted by Ricardo Cabesa
    the Cardinal success has mostly been about extremely intelligent player acquisition at major league level. Their recent record of draft and development has been as almost as abysmal as the Reds.
    I agree with part of this statement, but not completely. The Cardinals do not have a huge list of top prospects and most of their team has come from trades or Free Agent signings. However, the Cardinals have drafted and developed some very good players such as Morris, Pujols, Drew, Molina, and Reyes. They have also traded some good players to other teams in order to aquire star players to help them immediately.

    I do agree that the Cardinals have had a lot of success at player aquisition. The last several years they have signed or traded for players that everybody outside of the organization didn't think much of, and most of them had career years as a Cardinal. Examples, Eckstein, Womack, Nunez, ect...

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    Re: Jocketty Endorses Understudy

    Quote Originally Posted by Ricardo Cabesa
    the Cardinal success has mostly been about extremely intelligent player acquisition at major league level. Their recent record of draft and development has been as almost as abysmal as the Reds.
    True enough, but it seems like Mozeliak has been heavily involved in that intelligent major league player acquisition. One of the things a new Reds GM is going to have to do is sell some of the puppies off the farm. The GM is going to have to use that thin farm system to pluck some major league talent. I can't say if Mozeliak has that skill, but the Cardinals have proven adept at it.

    I'll also note that St. Louis was one of the organizations that was receptive to "Moneyball" and it has given its scouting and development efforts an overhaul as a result. For the first time in a long time, the Cardinals have a top 10 list worth some attention. So they have taken steps to address the organization's biggest weakness. While it festered a bit too long, I do like seeing organizations that are capable of self-recognition and change.

    Whether Mozeliak would bring that to the Reds is an open question.
    Last edited by M2; 01-30-2006 at 11:24 AM.
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    Re: Jocketty Endorses Understudy

    Quote Originally Posted by M2
    True enough, but it seems like Mozeliak has been heavily involved in that intelligent major league player acquisition...I can't say if Mozeliak has that skill, but the Cardinals have proven adept at it.

    ...While it festered a bit too long, I do like seeing organizations that are capable of self-recognition and change.
    Isn't that the ideal approach for a mid market team like the Reds? Be smart about major league ready player acquisitions, trade spare parts, have a plan, don't overpay. Castellini strikes me as a ready, fire, aim kinda guy. I think he's going to want to be able to compete fairly quickly. I would think he would want to hire someone who could acquire underappreciated talent in a way that quickly improves the ballclub.

    IMHO, Developing the minor leagues isn't an end in itself. As long as they draft and acquire young talent that can either be developed through the system and/or be traded for major league players...to me the minors are about creating value for the major league club.

    I agree with M2 about the need to recognize when to change. Change is inevitable. Smart people emulate success, businesses benchmark competitors and non competitors for best in practice. If St Louis recognized the problem and decided to implement a more structured approach based on success elsewhere...isn't that what the Red's need?
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    Re: Jocketty Endorses Understudy

    Quote Originally Posted by Slider
    Isn't that the ideal approach for a mid market team like the Reds? Be smart about major league ready player acquisitions, trade spare parts, have a plan, don't overpay. Castellini strikes me as a ready, fire, aim kinda guy. I think he's going to want to be able to compete fairly quickly. I would think he would want to hire someone who could acquire underappreciated talent in a way that quickly improves the ballclub.

    IMHO, Developing the minor leagues isn't an end in itself. As long as they draft and acquire young talent that can either be developed through the system and/or be traded for major league players...to me the minors are about creating value for the major league club.

    I agree with M2 about the need to recognize when to change. Change is inevitable. Smart people emulate success, businesses benchmark competitors and non competitors for best in practice. If St Louis recognized the problem and decided to implement a more structured approach based on success elsewhere...isn't that what the Red's need?
    You just said it better than I could.

    St. Louis isn't the only successful model and maybe Mozeliak isn't the guy to export it, but I'd pay it a lot of attention if I were the Reds. I'd also be talking to people from the Braves organization along with the A's and the Twins. So far Mozeliak and Krivsky are coming in, that's not a bad start though I think Castellini should endeavor to hear from execs who've been part of the other two franchises.
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    Re: Jocketty Endorses Understudy

    Quote Originally Posted by M2
    You just said it better than I could.

    St. Louis isn't the only successful model and maybe Mozeliak isn't the guy to export it, but I'd pay it a lot of attention if I were the Reds. I'd also be talking to people from the Braves organization along with the A's and the Twins. So far Mozeliak and Krivsky are coming in, that's not a bad start though I think Castellini should endeavor to hear from execs who've been part of the other two franchises.
    I would add the Marlins to your list - I love what they have done from developing Burnett, Beckett and Vargas, not to mention Cabrera and Hermedia, to the recent trades. Couple that with some savvy pickups over the years (Willis, Pierre - value, not that Pierre is all that, but he fit what the Marlins wanted - Delgado, etc) and I just like what the Marlins have and are doing.
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    Re: Jocketty Endorses Understudy

    Quote Originally Posted by M2

    St. Louis isn't the only successful model and maybe Mozeliak isn't the guy to export it, but I'd pay it a lot of attention if I were the Reds. I'd also be talking to people from the Braves organization along with the A's and the Twins. So far Mozeliak and Krivsky are coming in, that's not a bad start though I think Castellini should endeavor to hear from execs who've been part of the other two franchises.
    I second that motion...
    Last edited by Slider; 01-30-2006 at 12:57 PM.
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    Re: Jocketty Endorses Understudy

    Quote Originally Posted by Ricardo Cabesa
    the Cardinal success has mostly been about extremely intelligent player acquisition at major league level. Their recent record of draft and development has been as almost as abysmal as the Reds.

    I become less confident each day that "Smilin Bob" will get this right when I see the list of candidates. It doesn't seem to me there is any "thinking outiside the box" going on here, and that is really what the Reds need to build a consistent winner.

    At this point I really hope they give the job to Kullman.
    I would argue that this is not the GMs job. It is the job of the Director of Scouting and Development to oversee the draft, right?

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    Re: Jocketty Endorses Understudy

    Can anyone see any common traits in these candidates? I don't see any real youth here, except for Kullman (who may just look young). I see a few guys with scouting backgrounds. I'm not sure how many of these guys played ball at a higher level, other than Beattie. Kullman and Mozeliak bear some similarities, but not a ton other than age and some reliance on statistics. Beattie, Maddox, and Arbuckle strike me as old-school baseball guys, windbreakers and all. I don't know how Krivsky fits into the group, or if he just slides into his own hybrid category (i.e., farm system architects with stylish mustaches). Unless I can find some common features in the candidates, I can't handicap the race, aside from my own preferences and speculation. What I want to know is what Castellini values in a GM. His list of candidates should reflect what he's looking to get. The disparities among the candidates suggest that he either isn't that focused on any particular trait or set of traits, or that he already has one guy in mind and the rest are fillers.


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