JUPITER, FL (BaseballStl) - As it's raining here in Jupiter, Florida - quite heavily, I might add - there really isn't much for the players to do aside from hit in the cages and throw inside as well. The Cardinals did, however, make a fairly large announcement. And leave it to them to show some love to their manager and general manager on Valentine's Day.
GM John Mozeliak has received a contract extension through the 2016 season while manager Mike Matheny has his option picked up for the 2014 season. Matheny originally signed a two year deal with an option and did so well in his debut that he had his option picked up before the second season even began.
What this represents for the organization is stability. There's stability among the front office and manager's position that can't be overstated. Think back to when Tony La Russa was near the end of his career. As great as Tony was, and no one would say it should've been handled differently, that was the opposite of stability.
Each year the Cards had no clue whether he'd come back or not.
That's not the case anymore. The Redbirds KNOW Matheny is going to be around, they want him to know that and they want everyone in the country to know that.
Same goes with Mozeliak. The job he's done borders on the amazing. When he took over, no offense to previous GM Walt Jocketty, but this organization did not have a good farm system. There was no pipeline to the major leagues with young talent. The Cardinals almost had to go out and spend a lot of money on free agents because no one of substance was coming up the system.
That started to change under Mozeliak. Well, actually, that started to change under then-VP of amateur scouting Jeff Luhnow (now GM of the Astros) but Mozeliak deserves a ton of the credit as well. His eye for talent and decision making has been exceptional.
I can really only think of a few instances where he made moves that just totally backfired. Trading prospect Luke Gregerson to the Padres for shortstop Khalil Greene was pretty bad, but for every one of those he's got a few Brett Wallace for Matt Holliday swaps.
He's gotten this organization to the point where it just lost Chris Carpenter for the year due to injury and Kyle Lohse due to free agency and they haven't needed to go out and get anyone. That's a whole lot of talent to just subtract from your team. Yet there are so many impact prospects coming up the system this team can withstand those losses and move on without seemingly skipping a beat.
And they're not just doing well from a draft perspective, they're also doing it in the international setting. Latin America is a huge pool for young talent. Just ask the Mariners who signed Felix Hernandez - arguably the best pitcher in baseball - when he was just 16 years old. The Cards have a good one coming up by the name of Oscar Taveras that they got when he was just a teenager, too, and that's a reflection of devoting resources to Latin America.
The Cards have come a long way from trading the likes of Dan Haren for Mark Mulder. They grow their own, they teach them the Cardinal Way, building them up the way they want them developed.
That's a testament to John Mozeliak and, now, Mike Matheny as well. Hence, securing their services for the foreseeable future.