Mozeliak: don’t expect COVID vaccine to restore baseball finances in 2021

Sports

The view from the penthouse at the new #1 Cardinal Way apartment building, offers a exquisite view of Busch Stadium, in St. Louis on Monday, October 26, 2020. The 29-story tower is part of a $360 million mixed-use neighborhood called Ballpark Village, with retail, restaurant and residential properties. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

ST. LOUIS, Mo—In his first extended comments to reporters in more than a month, Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak discussed the state of the offseason Wednesday afternoon.

Normally, executives would be spending this time of year in a single city hotel, mingling with eachother and player agents, trying to swing trades and free agent signings. With the pandemic, like other in-person gatherings, that work is being done remotely and via ZOOM this year.

With uncertainty still hanging over issues like making the Designated Hitter universal in 2021, roster sizes and playoff makeup, it’s been a slow-moving offseason for clubs. Mozeliak said Wednesday that “January will be the new December” when it comes to knowing enough about what lies ahead economically and league rules-wise to promote more player transactions.

Among the key topics raised Wednesday:

  • On if vaccines give hope that baseball’s finances, particularly for teams like the Cardinals that rely more on gate revenue, would improve particularly for the second half of the season, Mozeliak said “Mathematically it’s not going to get to where we once were, probably for a couple years,” without offering specifics.
  • On Payroll: No hard number, but will be less than last season.
  • On Wainwright/Molina free agent talks: “I don’t feel extraordinary pressure to do something today.”
  • On a possible Kolten Wong return: the door is “still slightly ajar”
  • While there’s been plenty of speculation on how the club might improve offensively by bringing in a new outfielder, Mozeliak offered no hints on the positions he was targeting.

Taking a 2021 approach of “doing more with less,” Mozeliak was asked if he can bring back the same team and expect to be better. “I do think there is talent in this group that didn’t play to the level we expected,” he said, while adding it is hard to read much into anyone’s 2020 performance considering what the club faced getting through a season with a COVID shutdown and the assorted obstacles that came along with it. He compared it what football has faced, with teams playing without a real quarterback, or scheduling games just a few days out.

While the pandemic’s economic impact on baseball could have some teams thinking about planning to be competitive a few years from now, Mozeliak still sounded bullish on the present.

“We’re pretty excited about the team we have right now,” he said

FOX 2 Newsletters

Sign up for a newsletter from FOX 2 to get updates about news and weather. We offer daily headlines, breaking news, severe weather, and forecast emails.

St. Louis Sports

FOX2 Sports is your home for the latest information about the St. Louis Cardinals, the St. Louis Blues, Saint Louis University, the University of Missouri, and the University of Illinois.

Are the Cardinals making a big trade? Are the Blues ready for another Stanley Cup run? Is someone going to sign a major free-agent deal? Are the Tigers, Billikens and Illini bringing in the next big recruiting class? We cover all the big games that matter.

The MLS is coming to St. Louis in 2023 and we’ll be here for the start of STL SC too. The XFL thrived in its reboot season playing at the Dome at America’s Center, and if the BattleHawks return in 2022, we’ll be there to tackle it.

St. Louis is home to some of the best high school student-athletes who go on to succeed in the pros and beyond. Before Larry Hughes, Bradley Beal and Jayson Tatum made a name for themselves as Division I NCAA basketball stars at SLU, Florida, and Duke, they played at CBC and Chaminade. Before Ezekiel Elliott, Sheldon Richardson and Jeremy Maclin became Ohio State Buckeyes and Missouri Tigers and NFL first-round draft picks, they went to John Burroughs, Gateway Tech and Kirkwood. All of them were featured in the FOX2 Prep Zone before they went off to the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten and beyond.

Members of our team, including Sports Director Martin Kilcoyne, Charlie Marlow, and Rich Gould have covered every significant moment in St. Louis sports since 1987, from the football Cardinals’ departure for Arizona to the arrival of the St. Louis Rams; from the Mark McGwire home run chase to the Cardinals’ World Series titles, to the St. Louis Rams and the Greatest Show on Turf era’s Super Bowl crown; from Brett Hull to Vladimir Tarasenko, we’ve covered the Blues all the way to the team’s first Stanley Cup.

Think of all the great characters in St. Louis area sports history. Jack Buck, Mike Shannon, Charlie Spoonhour, Norm Stewart, Whitey Herzog, Tony LaRussa, Stan Musial, Dick Vermiel, Lou Brock, Albert Pujols, Kurt Warner, Ozzie Smith, Hull, Pat Maroon, Keith Tkachuk, Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright, David Freese. All of them talk to us.

Popular

Latest News

More News