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Cardinals GM John Mozeliak says he was never close to trading outfielder Oscar Taveras

Jul 30, 2014, 6:49 PM EDT

oscar taveras getty Getty Images

Oscar Taveras has been mentioned as a possible centerpiece in trade talks this week for top-tier starting pitchers like David Price and Jon Lester, but if Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak is to be believed that was all speculation from the outside.

This excerpt comes from Bernie Miklasz’s latest column on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch website …

Mozeliak told me he was never close to trading Taveras and was amused by the speculation that had him moving Taveras.

The Cardinals got Justin Masterson from the Indians on Wednesday afternoon for Double-A outfielder James Ramsey and might be done dealing with a little under 24 hours to go before Thursday’s deadline.

Taveras has struggled in his first taste of the majors, but the 21-year-old Dominican was a .320/.376/.516 hitter in 436 minor league games and hasn’t exactly been used properly by manager Mike Matheny.

  1. gibbyfan - Jul 30, 2014 at 6:57 PM

    Good strategy –I think we have enough to get there and keep all the young pieces in place. I don’t see a better team in the division

  2. ptbakery - Jul 30, 2014 at 7:04 PM

    How does one use a guy who can’t play CF and isn’t hitting up to the level of your current corner outfielders at a time your fighting for a playoff berth? I’m no advocate of Matheny, but at least attack him for continuing to send Descalso to pinch hit vs. keeping a guy on the bench who has no position at the big league level unless someone gets hurt this season.

    • led65 - Jul 30, 2014 at 7:12 PM

      Funny thing since Oscar is out playing Craig. Since he was recalled his batting average is higher than Craig’s during that period. Unlike Craig he actually has range and athleticism in the outfield. He also doesn’t hit as many weak grounders. Finally he has a ton more upside that Craig and will improve with consistent playing time. Craig has been bad all year and looks lost at the plate. It’s safe to assume that he won’t regain form this year while Oscar will improve as young players do with time. He also looks better at the plate and isn’t as overmatched as Craig.

      • okwhitefalcon - Jul 30, 2014 at 7:56 PM

        “Unlike Craig he actually has range and athleticism in the outfield”

        Huh?

        Oscar has neither “range and athleticism in the outfield”.

        He’s a got 1 of the five tools – he can hit.

        Comparisons aside, the whole Craig/Taveras thing is beyond played for me – they both have stunk and engaging in any either/or conversation is white noise at this point.

        As for the Mo quote, it’s not like he was gonna come out and say “Oh, hell ya – we woulda dealt Oscar if the Rays woulda bit on Price”.

        Sheesh…

    • paperlions - Jul 30, 2014 at 7:15 PM

      Allen Craig has sucked all year, and been much worse than Taveras while playing much more than Taveras the last 6 weeks….and it isn’t just the performance but the at-bats their having and their approaches. Craig looks defeated on his way to the plate and demoralized on his way back to the bench…he can’t get to an inside FB at all. Taveras has crazy plate coverage and is still adjusting to MLB pitching….which has been made more difficult by him getting 18 plate appearances the last 15 days.

      • led65 - Jul 30, 2014 at 8:12 PM

        He has more range than either Craig or Holliday. If you think Oscar isn’t athletic then I don’t know what to say. Just because he isn’t a natural center fielder doesn’t mean he isn’t a good corner outfielder. Oscar is more than one tool. He is fast and a solid defender, not bourgous but still solid. He wouldn’t be rated as high as he is, or as coveted by other teams if he was just a one tool player.

  3. proudlycanadian - Jul 30, 2014 at 7:10 PM

    Conclusion! Do not believe every trade rumor you read, especially if you read it on the internet.

    • paperlions - Jul 30, 2014 at 7:18 PM

      Rumors are one thing….but this year a lot of things that are written and presented as “crap I just made up” by journalists get passed around as if they are actual deals on the table. Nightingale made up a trade idea for Price, and for 3 days everyone called it a rumor…it wasn’t a rumor, he made it up, the idea was not based on any actual information.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 30, 2014 at 7:24 PM

        Mo’s comments are one reason why I believe, contra some others, that GMs do drop comments to the media to try to “jack things up.” That speculation didn’t come from nowhere, and it wasn’t all manufactured from media.

        So, if some unnamed “executive source” is allowed to comment off the record (which is what happened in Nightengale’s piece), Friedman can hope that (if he were serious about moving Price) that the Dodgers might up whatever they’re offering.

        The idea that the media make all of this up, and that GMs never play chess in the media is laughable. Agents do, too.

        Whitey Herzog has described such situations before.

      • paperlions - Jul 30, 2014 at 8:28 PM

        Thinking that GMs think that the effect of media rumors affects the value of their assets in trades or has any effect on the trade market whatsoever is laughable.

        GMs and FOs communicate on a regular basis….they don’t use the press to send signals or influence anything…because no one but fans and other media members think that rumors has an effect on anything tangible.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:56 PM

        Not laughable at all.

        And, once again, if you think that, when GM No. 1 asks GM No. 2 exactly what GM No. 3 said to GM No. 2, GM No. 2 is going to tell the truth, all the time, to GM No. 1, I’ve got some Wyoming beachfront property to sell you.

        Again, I just told you that Whitey Herzog said that GMs and agents play that game between each other. Herzog just objected once when a GM pushed it too far with a particular player.

        And, I found it! Hah. I’m bookmarking the link for every time we go down this road again:

        Last winter, Herzog had a much-publicized dispute with Dennis Gilbert, agent for former Pittsburgh All-Star outfielder Bobby Bonilla, now a New York Met. Gilbert used the Angels in a bidding war to get higher offers from other teams. Herzog was furious, not because Gilbert used the Angels but because he didn’t tell Herzog he was using them.

        http://grantland.com/features/director-cut-pat-jordan-whitey-herzog/

  4. raysfan1 - Jul 30, 2014 at 7:45 PM

    “…if Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak is to be believed that was all speculation from the outside.”

    In this case I do believe him, at least relative to Price. I said repeatedly for the last couple weeks that Tavares to Rays did not make sense because outfield is not a need for the Rays. It seemed like writers were just sitting around thinking “Hey! Tavares is the Cards’ highest rated prospect, so maybe the Rays would trade Price for him and___” without ever considering if that makes sense really.

    The Cards do have pitching prospects that would interest the Rays, but not likely until the off season.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 30, 2014 at 7:52 PM

      Also, the Cards, as a mid-market and not a large-market team, are more likely to take on Price if they can negotiate an extension. (And, then, making sure that, while Price has his requests, he’s not quite asking for Kershaw money.)

      It’s pretty hard to cram in extension talks 24 hours before the trade deadline.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 30, 2014 at 7:54 PM

      At the same time, I rate your OF differently than you do.

      Desmond Jennings is not all that great. Not bad, but not all that great. Plus, in terms of cost control, he’s arb-eligible next year.

      Matthew Joyce is better, but he’s on the same free-agency timetable as Price.

      I have no doubt that if Friedman can get a younger OF, even one with not quite as much potential as Taveras, he will.

      • raysfan1 - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:57 PM

        The only rating I gave was that OF is not a Rays’ need such that it would make sense for an outfield prospect to be the centerpiece of a trade package for Price.

        Besides Jennings and Joyce, there’s also DeJesus, Guyer, Myers, Kiermaier, and Sands. Joyce and Jennings will not be out of the Rays’ price range should they choose to keep them, but it’s possible the Rays move an outfielder to pick up additional pitching or draft picks/minor leaguers.

    • indaburg - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:28 PM

      OF is not really a need, but the Rays could really use some good bats. Acquiring Taveras would make some of our outfielders expendable.

  5. dcbear90 - Jul 30, 2014 at 7:55 PM

    Might as well trade Oscar. Handsome Mike won’t play him anyway. Craig has sucked all year and he just keeps throwing him out there. I want to see Oscar play 10-15 games in a row and stop the lefty/righty platoon bs.

  6. wannabeGM - Jul 30, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    Reblogged this on stlcardinalsminimo and commented:
    This is why Mozeliak is one of the better GM’s.

  7. creek0512 - Jul 30, 2014 at 8:44 PM

    Not used properly? It’s not as if he’s playing him out of position. Being an anointed prospect doesn’t entitle you to plying time. He has done little to claim a starting position, and the Cards aren’t the Cubs or Astros were it’s always about the future.

  8. danh35 - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:46 PM

    I remember when Mo said he wasn’t going to trade Rasmus a week and a half before he was sent to Toronto.

  9. gothapotamus90210 - Jul 31, 2014 at 8:32 AM

    The Taveras situation reminds me a lot of Dom Brown 4 years ago, and we’ve seen how that’s worked out. You don’t deprive top prospects of playing time.

  10. unlost1 - Jul 31, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    wish they would trade him. it’s too early to tell i know and he’s not quite colby rasmus- but he isn’t going to live up to the hype either. And shelby miller- he’s going to stay average.

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