Fickleness, thy name is baseball fan, even for The Best Fans In Baseball™. One of the most interesting things about doing our Front Office surveys over time here at the Daily Dish is that we’ve got to see how quickly fan support erodes. And that’s pretty damn fast.
For instance, look at the Cardinals. St. Louis has had a winning record in every season this century with the exception of 2007. They have made the postseason 12 times in the past 16 years, and won three pennants and two World Series in that span.
John Mozeliak has been running the Cardinals front office for half of that stretch, taking over for Walt Jocketty at the start of the 2007-2008 offseason, and has enjoyed roughly half of that success. Under his leadership, the Cardinals have never finished below .500, made the playoffs six times in eight years, and have won two pennants and a World Series. This year, at 66.58, the Cardinals are a game and a half up on the Miami Marlins for the second NL Wild Card.
What more could fans want from their front office? It’s hard to say. But Cardinals fans seem to be losing faith in John Mozeliak, ranking him 13th in Major League Baseball with a 3.8 composite score:
This is the biggest drop among any team that’s had a winning record in the last two years. Much of the frustration comes down to how Mozeliak has chosen to spend, and not spend, the Cardinals’ money and that he doesn’t have a killer instinct:
"He squirreled away $240 Million when Pujols left, $187 Million when Price signed with Boston, and $200 Million when Heyward signed with the Cubs. And to show for it? Mike Leake, smfh." - @texascardsfan1
"I was convinced after the 2011 offseason that we had the best GM in sports. The next couple of seasons seemed to confirm that. But now, it almost seems as if the model has become try to win with the least amount of resources possible--- even though we have plenty of resources. Watching the Cubs zip passed us while we seem to just stand pat is frustrating. Also, we seem to have really over valued Mike Leake. Sheesh." - @jonez21
"He sends away pitchers that are beating us. He spends 17 million a year for a soso left fielder that leads the league in hitting into double plays. Double play holiday." – @8of12
"I think they tend to go the safe route for the low hanging fruits, instead of the big moves that will make the team better in the long term. I realize that young talent runs the game now and its important to hold on that, but then again sometimes it is OK to trade that young talent for superstar talent that is contributing now such as Chris Sale. I would have loved that deal. You never know how prospects are going to pan out, but if you can get a proven commodity such as Sale for the next 3-4 years at his current contract, that deal would’ve been hard to pass up. I don’t want to see big signings such as Cespedes or Chris Davis, as they don’t seem to live up to the hype or the money associated with them. I think Mo is very smart in how he handles the team, but plays it too safe at times. – anonymous
"I feel he makes the right moves without giving up much, but he doesn't make the bold moves that push us ahead of the NL race." – Nick Meyer
"While the house is burning he's sitting at the table "it's fine" meme." – Gregg Jeffords
"Rotation- we have great prospects coming up. Just needed a bridge for 2 years. That was Lackey. Let him walk for a long term deal on Leake? Makes no sense." – anonymous
"Not going all in anymore. Just filling up seats. Misjudged Grichuk, Adams, Wong, and Wacha. Didn't fortify bullpen in last two off seasons." - anonymous
"Mo understands how to win and likes to get bargains whether in the offseason or at the trade deadline, but you also have to look around you and notice how the division is changing and all the other teams in the National League that are starting to become powerhouses. Sometimes you have to gamble big and go all in rather than just using a chip here and there." - @jcraigw0
"I feel we should have been more active at trade deadline to keep up with the Cubs...Jmo never wants to spend any money in off seasons, we want another superstar talent in STL like Pujols was...I've been saying this for awhile now and everyone's response to me is always well we don't need to spend that money we're the cardinals we always find a way, yea well look where the cardinal way is getting us this year, no October ball for the birds on the bat this year or maybe even yrs to come if we don't spend some look at the cubbies...come on Jmo wake up and smell the coffee spend a little money get us some players worth a shit, no Johnny peraltas or Zach Dukes SMH cmon now." - anonymous
"Everything Mozeliak does seems to shore up weaknesses in the roster, sending out expendable minor league players. But I do occasionally worry that he is not bold enough to make a big move if the roster needs it. This offseason the Cardinals could very well be in the market for an outfielder or pitcher, and the route he takes could alter these ratings drastically in a year." - anonymous
The other central complaint with Mozeliak is his faith in Mike Matheny as the Cardinals’ manager. Oh my God, did people not like Mike Matheny:
"The fact that Mike Matheney is still employed destroys a lot of confidence I have in this organization." @rob
"Mozeliak would get a 5, but he hired Mike Matheny, and still allows him to be employed." - anonymous
"The man is responsible for the exceptionally mediocre current squad, the hiring of Matheny who has no clue what he is doing pertaining to strategic management, AND he promoted Chris "Hackathon" Correa." –@RjRichardson83
"I used to be very confident, but lack of off season moves to improve bullpen, and retaining Matheny (whose game strategy has only gotten worse, including not using/understanding middle relief) has eroded that confidence." - anonymous
"He does an excellent job putting together teams. Matheny just sucks." - anonymous
"Confident in front office, not as confident in manager on the field. - anonymous
"Mozeliak is a cautious man. We knew he'd make the prospect for bullpen help trade at the deadline and he did. We also knew nothing flashier was coming. Mo's moves are, for the most part, logical and considered and I still think #InMoWeTrust is valid. That said, the lack of creativity can be frustrating and the less said about his managerial selection, the better." -@C70
And I have to edit this one:
"John Mozeilak fails to make the moves he needs to make if the cardinals want to be legitimate contenders. He cares too much about the cardinals' "internal sources" and when he goes outside the organization for help, he only goes for the "low hanging fruit". He also has hired the most -------- manager in all of baseball in Mike Matheny when he could have brought in Joe Maddon or Terry Francona. Matheny's tenure in STL should have been over a long time ago, but Mo is too much of a ----- to fire him because he is afraid of hurting Mike's feelings." - anonymous
It’s shocking that there’s so little regard, relative to other GMs for what Mozeliak has accomplished in reloading a competitive team on the fly year after year. Among the teams that ranked higher than the Cardinals were the Mariners, Braves, Phillies, Padres, Yankees, Brewers, and Royals, all of whom are being out performed by the Cards on a pretty much yearly basis.
Personally, I think, more than any organization short of the Rangers and the Cubs, St. Louis has earned the benefit of the doubt. But apparently The Best Fans In Baseball have higher explanations than almost constant playoff appearances and occasional World Championships.