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Cardinals GM John Mozeliak on Jaime Garcia: “I’m frustrated … you try to be patient with people”

Jul 6, 2014, 3:33 PM EDT

jaime garcia getty Getty Images

Cardinals southpaw Jaime Garcia has made just 16 starts since the beginning of the 2013 campaign and is scheduled to have season-ending surgery on his shoulder this week for thoracic outlet syndrome.

Those facts alone would be ample reason for John Mozeliak and the Cardinals to feel disappointed, but it sounds like a lack of communication from the 27-year-old left-hander is what’s truly bothering the normally calm and calculated general manager.’s Jenifer Langosch has the story

The consensus has been that Jaime Garcia’s trip to the disabled list stemmed from issues with his surgically repaired left shoulder, but the dejected left-hander admitted Saturday he is dealing with nerve issues and was strongly considering surgery.

That was news to Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, who after learning of Garcia’s comments, held an impromptu session with reporters shortly before first pitch to announce that the lefty would meet with Dr. Robert Thompson in St. Louis on Monday as a precursor to season-ending surgery.

“I sound frustrated, look frustrated. I’m frustrated,” Mozeliak said. “You try to be patient with people, and I think this organization does an amazing job protecting players. Certainly we would have loved to have heard from him.”

“To go from DL to this, it’s been rather quick,” Mozeliak added. “In terms of where we were yesterday to where we are today, it does seem rather dramatic and quick. Obviously he internalized this and decided to make a decision. If this is something he feels is his only option, then obviously he has to do it. It still doesn’t excuse the fact that he could have notified us a little bit more. … From a medical staff, we felt like there were some other options he could consider before taking this step. Obviously, again, he chose to go down this path.”

Garcia is making $7.75 million this season, owed $9.25 million next season, and carries club options for 2016 ($11.5 million) and 2017 ($12 million). He may have already thrown his last pitch in a St. Louis uniform.

  1. bestintheworld92 - Jul 6, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    Hahaha hahaha

    • dickclydesdale - Aug 1, 2014 at 12:14 AM

      Mozeliak is just being a cry baby because he owes Jaime over $32 million after this season & he has no trade value. He thought he was a genius locking him up but has turned out looking like a complete fool for giving him this contract.

  2. brewcrewfan54 - Jul 6, 2014 at 4:08 PM

    Garcia may be under the care of Cardinal doctors but it doesn’t mean he should do exactly what the organization says. When it comes to someones own health you do what is best for yourself and how you feel. Mozeliak is allowed to be frustrated but he will regret saying this publicly.

    • saints97 - Jul 6, 2014 at 4:22 PM

      If someone is paying me many millions of dollars for what I can do with my left arm, I’d probably at least keep them in the loop on what is going on with my left arm. But that’s just me.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Jul 6, 2014 at 4:35 PM

        Communication is a 2-way street. Maybe he’s not real happy about the organizations’ lack of communication so he took care of himself. Dirk Hayhurst wrote a nice book about it.

      • paperlions - Jul 6, 2014 at 5:49 PM

        He did that. The team’s medical staff was immediately informed. Mo is complaining because he wasn’t called personally.

    • chrisernst82 - Jul 6, 2014 at 4:25 PM

      Why will he regret it?

      • brewcrewfan54 - Jul 6, 2014 at 4:29 PM

        What purpose does it serve to call out an obviously injured player?

      • chrisernst82 - Jul 6, 2014 at 6:24 PM

        To send a message. Jaime was the one wrong here, is the media paying his salary? Nope so why should they get his medical info first. Jaime will regret it before anyone else.

    • paperlions - Jul 6, 2014 at 5:52 PM

      Exactly. Team’s trainers are paid by the team and put the team’s interests first, that is what they are paid to do.

      Mo is being petty in his comments. I’m sure he’s frustrated by a lot of things about how this year has gone. But complaining about the choices or the speed at which he personally contacts you about his current health decisions (when he did immediately inform the team’s medical staff), when the player is in pain every time he pitches for your team….is being petty.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jul 7, 2014 at 5:11 PM

      He won’t regret anything 54. This is Jaime’s m.o. Hell…he was ostracized by his own teammates for starting a game #1 playoff game fully knowing he was badly injured. Again…this is Jaime. It’s how he works.

  3. kicksave1980 - Jul 6, 2014 at 4:17 PM

    Also worth mentioning, this isn’t the first time Garcia has left his teammates and employers out of the loop.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Jul 6, 2014 at 4:26 PM

      Who cares? Its his personal health. Maybe he has reason not to trust the Cardinals. While the amount of money on the line makes you think the Cards have everyones best interests in mind we should all realize that the NFL has proven thats not true.

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 6, 2014 at 4:40 PM

        no one said it wasn’t his personal health Brew…

        even the G.M. said it was up to him, as it is with all ballplayers.

        why intentionally piss off your employer though by not talking to them about something you have complete control of?

        the team could not make him do something he didn’t want to do regarding his health…

      • kicksave1980 - Jul 6, 2014 at 4:49 PM

        I’m not disputing that it’s his health and his decision to make. But when a guy suddenly (and repeatedly) comes up with ailments that the team had no previous knowledge of, I think they have the right to lose patience. It IS his decision, but it would’ve been nice of him to let someone know before now so the GM could act accordingly.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Jul 6, 2014 at 4:49 PM

        When was the last time they talked to him? Maybe he felt left in the dark and decided it was time to quit waiting around before the organization made a decision that might also cost him next season. Listen, I’m not saying the Cards do things the wrong way, I obviously have no idea on the inner workings of this story but Garcia has a reason he’s done what he’s done. Its completley possible I’m wrong and he’s just a head case. He wouldn’t be the first.

    • paperlions - Jul 6, 2014 at 5:56 PM

      He didn’t leave his employers out of the loop. It is his decision, he knew the options, he had the input of specialists, he made his decision and immediately informed the team.

      Mo seems to be pissed that Garcia didn’t try different rehab options that the trainers thought were viable options that actual specialists (you know, guys that perform surgeries and stuff) did not thing were worth pursuing.

      So….yeah, Mo is actually acting like a jerk because someone made medical decisions that were not consistent with the team’s primary interest as opposed to the players personal interest and long-term health.

      • okwhitefalcon - Jul 6, 2014 at 6:19 PM

        He informed the press before he informed the team of his decision to move ahead with surgery.

        There’s obviously more to it than we know, the mutual trust ship sailed between the 2 parties has sailed regardless.

      • paperlions - Jul 6, 2014 at 6:30 PM

        I though Mo said he heard about it from the training staff, it wasn’t clear to me who the press heard it from.

        It seems to me that the lack of trust in the relationship is 100% on the Cardinals. Their insistence on preferring the advice of trainers and chiropractors to that of specialists and surgeons….only because that advice is in the best interest of the team and not necessarily in the best interest of the individuals long-term health or career is what lead to the problems. There isn’t really any evidence that they have tried to fix the relationship….going so far as to fire their previous medical team….who many players (including Wainwright) still consult.

        They already didn’t expect him back this year (according to Mo’s own comments), so it isn’t clear to me why he decided to get so pissy about this…probably because it is just one more thing on top of a horrible year at the MLB level.

      • okwhitefalcon - Jul 6, 2014 at 7:05 PM

        Nope, Garcia informed the local scribes of his intent to pursue surgery before he let the GM know. Mo’s phone blew up upon the news and his initial (yes, a lil petty) reactionary response was (I suspect) due in part to hearing the news second hand.

        I don’t think the mistrust can be fully blamed at a level of 100% either way, both parties have had their moments over the last few years. It seems they haven’t been on the same page for quite some time regardless of how the latest setback has been/will be handled.

        And yes, I think Mo’s level of pissy-ness and general frustration with the situation is amplified by the overall underperformance of a roster he’s responsible for putting together.

        He’s in a tough spot, a few vets are in decline, a few kids haven’t stepped up and injuries have taken there toll on a strength (the rotation) and created a weakness.

      • paperlions - Jul 6, 2014 at 7:45 PM

        Yeah, he’s in a tough spot….but, that’s the job. When a guy on your team can’t feel two of his fingers and the rest of his hand tingles when he pitches…and you don’t have a great history of trust with that player (if I was Garcia and followed the trainer’s advice rather that medical advice and then wound up having surgery on my rotator cuff and labrum….I wouldn’t trust them anymore either)….well, it’s not a good situation…but I can’t blame Garcia for being concerned with his long-term health rather than trying to put a band-aid on it to help the Cardinals this year or next.

      • paperlions - Jul 6, 2014 at 7:54 PM

        According to the first line of this story ( insinuated in the inbedded interview:

        “St. Louis Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak admitted to being “frustrated” that he learned of Jaime Garcia’s upcoming surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome from the team’s training staff instead of the player himself.”

        It does not appear that Mo found out from the press or that the press was told first.

      • okwhitefalcon - Jul 6, 2014 at 8:41 PM

        According to STL Post Dispatch HOF writer Rick Hummel Garcia informed them in an impromptu gathering he’d opted for surgery before the club had been officially notified by the player.

        Whether or not Mo was alerted of the players decision by his staff or a member of the press seems to be unclear but it does seem Garcia took it upon himself to announce his decision publically before he officially informed the club.

        Semantics really, they obviously don’t trust one another and the relationship (beyond the dough owed to Garcia) has ran its course.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 6, 2014 at 8:15 PM

      As a Cards fan, I think Mo has very little room to complain, not just because of looking petty here, but because of how he (and a bit, Matheny) handled Shelby Miller in the postseason last year.

      How long before we hear something like Miller’s current back problems were why nothing was said about why he was on the postseason roster but not actually pitching?

  4. okwhitefalcon - Jul 6, 2014 at 4:32 PM

    Joe Strauss outlines the history of the Garcia/Cards brass relationship, an interesting read:

    • jwbiii - Jul 6, 2014 at 5:49 PM

      Thanks, falcon. Great article. My takeaways:

      The decision to pursue another, less certain procedure comes two years after a fissure developed between the team’s medical and training staffs about the proper strength program for Garcia’s shoulder.

      The team endorsed Garcia’s out-of-state search for answers but wanted him to more strongly consider less aggressive remedies.

      “I told them what I was feeling for four or five starts,” recalled Garcia.

      We rarely get a glimpse of how things like this work on a granular level.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 6, 2014 at 8:33 PM

      It’s interesting that there’s been a communications “history” with Garcia that goes beyond Mo. And that there’s been divergences of opinion within team and team-affiliated medical staff.

      My No. 1 takeaway, on the “trust” issue, is to say this sheds hints of light, if not a lot, on Oscar Tavares and his ankle, and the team’s handling of it, last year.

      My No. 2, as noted above, is wondering more of what we weren’t told about Shelby Miller last fall.

      My No. 3 is, is this worse than MLB average? The communications and trust problems on medical issues? If it is, word will circulate to potential free agents, etc.

  5. jrob23 - Jul 6, 2014 at 5:17 PM

    Cry me a river John. Your handling of your players is suspect and your insistence on keeping their values low (keeping Taveras in the minors and Martinez in the bullpen when he is obviously their 2nd best starter) is laughable. Only the Pirates GM is worse in this regard. Being cheap and then complaining when you have to pay an injured players is just par for the course with this guy.

    • kylewo - Jul 6, 2014 at 6:11 PM

      You’re not even wrong.

      • jrob23 - Jul 6, 2014 at 7:39 PM

        you’re not even funny

  6. westcoastredbird - Jul 6, 2014 at 6:53 PM

    On a brighter note his contract along with Holliday’s come off the books in 2016. Freeing up around 27 mil. Should be time for Stanton or another thumper to become available.

  7. ud1951 - Jul 6, 2014 at 6:58 PM

    I see no good reason for the GM to criticize the player to the media, unless you are trying to fire up a lazy guy who can play harder. Obviously not the case here. Mozeliak is being petty and it makes him look worse than he seems to think he’s making Jaime Garcia look.

  8. stlhammer58 - Jul 6, 2014 at 10:59 PM

    Once more Garcia does something out of the ordinary as he did before the playoffs in previous years. This type of response from Garcia should have come as no surprise to Cardinal fans. I can be magnanimous and say, I hope Jaime gets his surgery and it repairs the nerve damage. Until then, perhaps Garcia lives up to the old adage about the dumb, out of synch Lefty who has great stuff but seems just not quite there.

  9. stlouis1baseball - Jul 7, 2014 at 5:23 PM

    Although I seem to be in the minority here…I couldn’t agree more with 58.
    This is all Jaime. It’s how he does things. Do people not remember the playoffs a few years ago?
    Starting game #1 when he was badly injured? How did his own teammates feel about that?
    Is that on Mo’ as well?

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