St. Louis Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak spoke with reporters via Zoom in Cincinnati Thursday afternoon ahead of the team’s season opener against the Reds.
He addressed topics ranging from his excitement for opening day, lessons he’s shared with others about how the team went through an unprecedented 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the “ageless wonder” that is Yadier Molina.
Mozeliak said he was approached by people outside the sports world about how the team found its way through the challenges brought on by COVID-19, which benched the club for several weeks and forced the team into an unprecedented number of doubleheaders among numerous challenges on and off the field.
Mozeliak spoke of the legacy of “COVID shaming”.
As far as on the field issues for the 2021 club, Mozeliak said catcher Yadier Molina’s playing time will be a “fluid situation”. Molina, 38, who is starting his 17th consecutive opening day, a club record, re-signed with the team after testing the free agent market. He’s played so much for so long, he’s outlasted at least one potential successor in Carson Kelly, and may outlast another in current backup Andrew Knizner. Mozeliak acknowledged that Molina will be part of the conversation the team has about playing time and keeping him fresh. “He and Waino just seem to figure out a way to beat father time,” Mozeliak said.
- Outfielder Harrison Bader will work on his rehab from an arm injury at the team’s alternate site in Sauget, Ill, and not in Jupiter.
- The video room will remain closed. The room, which in the past has allowed players to access video to make in-game adjustments at the plate for instance, was first closed as part of baseball’s larger crackdown on sign-stealing, but now in the COVID era, remains closed due to safety protocols.