Cards WWU extra points: DeWitt III, Mozeliak

John Mozeliak meets the public

The St. Louis Cardinals president and general manager answer fan questions at Winter Warm-Up.

Among the sessions I attended at last weekend's Winter Warm-Up were one-hour public presentations followed by questions and answers hosted by St. Louis Cardinals team president Bill DeWitt III and general manager John Mozeliak.

Here, I will post highlights from their talks, rather than the long audio from each. The comments that follow are sourced from my notes and while are not intended to be direct quotes, they are accurate.

DeWitt III
Bill DeWitt III

On ticket pricing: Team added sales reps and tweaked the dynamic pricing model. Goal remains to ensure the floating price does not go below the price paid by season ticket holders while still allowing the club to drop price for unused ticket inventory. 65 percent of 2012 home dates had terrace tickets below $10.

On logos: The club has made copies of 50 team logos from museum items such as sweaters, uniforms and dugout jackets back to 1900. They will be made available for licensees to use in merchandizing.

On the museum: The Cardinals have spent over $1.5 million over the last 10 years on their museum collection.

On industry financials: The Cards are about 10th in revenues and 10th in payroll across the 30 teams, but get there in an odd way. These rankings mostly align by market size due to associated television revenue. However, the Cards are the #24 market in MLB, but the difference is made up by attendance that is in the top five. Higher TV ratings also help some.

Some teams get on a sugar high like the 2012 Marlins. As long as a team is good, fan behavior is good. Cardinals have not had to rebuild. Have been buyers, not sellers and can take calculated market risks. If team can stay near bottom of top third in revenues, they can remain competitive.

On television contract: Cards have five years to go on FOX Sports Midwest contract. Every team thinks about creating its own network, but need year-round content. Other sports contracts must line up. Also need to sell network to cable systems. FOX has advantage because they have multiple channels to package together.

Clubs still have to pay revenue sharing for fair market value of cable contract even if team owns network. So no opportunity to bypass revenue sharing.

On championship rings: DeWitt III explained how white gold was chosen for the 2011 rings, how a ruby exporting problem with Burma was averted by Hillary Clinton and other ring backstories.

About 100 people received the "A" ring, the highest quality one. That included the 40-man roster and any player to appear in an MLB game. Stopped doing player vote as it was too messy. Next tier of rings were execs, front office, Hall of Famers. Hard to tell difference side-by-side. There were three sizes, S-M-L, with the L being very large – like a paperweight.

On retired numbers: 2014 Ballpark Village will have new Cards Hall of Fame. Will include Cooperstown players plus others like Willie McGee and Ducky Medwick. Will need to synch statues and retired numbers while also taking into account the Browns and Negro League Stars.

On spring training: Jupiter lease in place through 2017. Astros are key to current East Coast of Florida problem. They want to bring another team (Nationals?) and build a new park in the area. Cardinals want to help encourage that.

On minor league affiliate changes/choices: Geographic proximity is not number one factor; developmental environment is. Team-owned Springfield is a good brand extension. Player development is a $10 million expense for the Cardinals.

John Mozeliak Q&A

On World Baseball Classic: It helps MLB in its goal to grow internationally.

On Trevor Rosenthal closing: He can throw 101. He can do anything.

On Matt Adams' fit: That is a tough one. He has nothing to prove at Triple-A. Will have to be creative. Want to optimize him but not anxious to trade.

On the outfield: Allen Craig is more comfortable playing in the outfield but Matt Holliday will not be moved to first base.

On contract negotiations: In all his years, has never been presented with a demand to put a player in a particular defensive position or spot in the order. Wouldn't do it anyway.

On designated hitter: Increased interleague creates at-bats for a player like Matt Carpenter. The manager has to understand to keep his guys fresh. Will be shocked if NL adopts DH, but AL will keep.

On David Freese: Hopes there will not be an arbitration hearing. Expect Freese will be the third baseman for the next three years.

On the NL Central: Cincinnati is favorite. Pittsburgh is improving. Milwaukee could be good. Cubs rotation is better. Wins lost with Houston leaving. Overall division is stronger.

On Matt Carpenter: He is a special player. How he has looked at second base, cannot tell you today. Have talked with Mike Matheny on how to get his bat in lineup if second base gig does not work out.

On clubhouse changes: Thinks it will be just fine.

On lineups: They are 98% set by the manager. There are times GM needs answers on a player though.

On Jose Oquendo becoming a manager: Probably not at this point. Not getting interviews now.

On 2012 draftees in 2013: Michael Wacha should start at Double-A, finish in Triple-A or even MLB. He has that kind of talent. James Ramsey at high-A or Double-A. Hope Carson Kelly will be at Peoria. Stephen Piscotty start at high-A, end at Double-A.

On free agent Cubans: Will scout Cuba in WBC. Scouting director Dan Kantrovitz knows Cuban market from his time in Oakland. Premature to know if Cardinals will be a player.

On MLB free agents: Not actively negotiating, but ready to react on second base, middle infield. 98% of the business they don't do, no one ever knows about.

On Hall of Fame: Craig Biggio will get in next year.

On other GMs he admires/aspires: He is his own person now and a mentor for others. Not sure how long he will be GM, but hopes his replacement will come from within.

On Jaime Garcia: If healthy, he is mid-top of the rotation starter. Has most unhittable stuff among any of the starters. Great pitchers have to pitch every fifth day.

On Ty Wigginton: Bat off bench. Primary 1B/3B. Signed to provide veteran presence late in games.

On Pete Kozma/Ryan Jackson: Kozma reinvented himself. Did things no one expected him to do. Will be more confident in 2013. Role depends on Furcal. Kozma quicker so is better defender than Jackson, who has good positioning. Neither has shown enough offense to be MLB starter. Big year for both. A lot of playing time available at shortstop.

On minors ownership: Memphis has geographic synergy, but not working on anything now. Need to get Ballpark Village right first.

On draft: Likes idea of combination domestic and international draft, but probably won't happen. Wants his Latin scouts to know what St. Louis expects.

On coaches salaries: $100K to $500K based on experience.

On Adam Wainwright contract: Discussions pre-season or post-season, not during year.

On running game: Have to manage the team we have. Not changing short-term. Have challenged scouts to focus on athleticism and speed.

On hitting coaches: John Mabry had 4-5 MLB offers this year.

On Oscar Taveras/Kolten Wong in majors: Have to keep arbitration clock in mind as managing it has value. But player contribution has value, too. Arb can be tie-breaker, but not decision.

On Chris Carpenter: He is not throwing a lot yet. Goes into camp with some risk. He is working out extensively in St. Louis this winter. He and Rosenthal only ones working out at Busch. Holliday trains at another gym.

On Jake Westbrook: He is fine.

On back up catcher: Tony Cruz. Has not changed.

On Greg Garcia: Compares favorably with Wong based on analytics.

On Lance Lynn: Starting job is his to lose.

On role with DeWitt Jr and Matheny regarding free agents and trades: DeWitt pays him to do job. BDW does not worry about little details. Mo wants to get Matheny's input on players he wants.

On Skip Schumaker: Skip asked for trade. It was a slow market to develop. It worked out ok, but he has some nervousness over how he will be used in LA. When you trade a player, you break some trust. That is hard.

On Albert Pujols: Spoke after it happened. Very professional. Only time will tell. Don't think there is any bad blood.

On left-handers: Not a lot of confidence in left-handed starters. Address in draft and market.

On Ozzie Smith: Spent one week in spring training in 2012. Always welcome. Should be back in 2013. Not sure how long.

On Shelby Miller: Don't know his role now between starting, relieving in StL or starting in Memphis.

On Jon Jay: Right now, he is our centerfielder. Sky is limit for Taveras. Short-term, it is Jay.

On Triple-A manager: Hardest job in game. When players are down from majors, they don't want to see you. Memphis team not competitive last year was frustrating.

On long-term deals: Premature to discuss. Always thinking about getting free agent years. If age and out-year performance feel right, we act it out.

On Jim Edmonds: Will have camp invitation.

On Mike Matheny: Financial issues do not affect him doing his job. Knew there would be learning curve first year. Very impressed with him.

On best advice: From Don Zimmer when with Rockies, "You are never late if you are early."

On how he wants to be remembered: Respected and admired. Understands importance of running a business that is a public trust.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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