ST. LOUIS — Citing the importance of continuity, St. Louis Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. on Saturday rewarded General Manager John Mozeliak with a two-year contract extension.
Mozeliak's new deal will keep him with the Cardinals through the 2018 season. Mozeliak has been the GM since 2008.
"I believe in continuity if all the right pieces are in place, and I feel like they are in place," DeWitt said. "It's challenging to continue to try to do well with 29 other teams out there competing with us. We always look to improve and do things better. (Mozeliak) is of the same mind.
"He's pretty committed to the Cardinals' organization. He's been here a long time. I know he likes it here. He respects the franchise and what it's accomplished long-term for 100-plus years. I know he's very happy in St. Louis."
DeWitt said he met with Mozeliak on Opening Day in Cincinnati and broached the topic of an extension.
"I was obviously very excited," Mozeliak said. "This is my home. I've been with the Cardinals now going on 19 years. This is really what I know. To be working with Bill and this organization for the next four to five years makes me feel good."
Mozeliak also feels good about what the Cardinals have accomplished during his tenure. They won the World Series in 2011, went to another one last year and have qualified for the postseason two other times (2009, 2012).
"I think what we've been able to accomplish here is something we all take a lot of pride in, but we also know every year is a new year and every year has new challenges," Mozeliak said. "I think that's the exciting thing about working with this group. It's innovative, it's creative and it's not looking back. It's about looking forward."
DeWitt said Mozeliak, previously an assistant general manager under Walt Jocketty, has a complete understanding of the organization since he's worked so long for the Cardinals.
"I think he really fits the title," DeWitt said. "A general manager is somebody who manages the baseball operations, and he really does manage it well. He's not unilateral in his decisions. He has a great staff that he's put together and he understands what we're trying to accomplish both short-term and long-term."
DeWitt always has been impressed with Mozeliak's work ethic.
"Since his days as assistant general manager, he burns the midnight oil. He's up early and stays late," DeWitt said. "It's a very challenging job."
With many more facets, DeWitt said, than people realize.
"When you think about the major-league club, a lot of people think about signing players and making deals, but it's way more than that. It's managing the whole operation --the minor-league system, our scouting," DeWitt said. "He has a number of people who report to him and that's all gone very smoothly since he took over."
Like DeWitt, Mozeliak said the Cardinals' continuity is "one of our greatest strengths."
"It's not that we're all like-minded thinkers, but we all have common goals and we all pull in the same direction to allow us to have optimum success," Mozeliak said. "Continuity breeds that. It's not a situation where there's an opportunity to see things get stale. It's really an opportunity to just keep pushing. The people we have in place on the baseball and business side are striving for excellence."
Mozeliak for years studied how other organizations function, implementing some of those tactics and putting his own touch on them. Mozeliak is comfortable with the returns.
"When you ask, 'What's the next frontier? or 'What's the next goal for this organization?' it's really just maintaining it," Mozeliak said. "Seven, 10 years ago, we were the ones looking for best business practices. Now, I think people are looking at us."
Mozeliak has no intentions of leaving St. Louis, even though another organization could come knocking.
"In terms of what other opportunities may have been out there, frankly I have no idea," Mozeliak said. "This is not like a player's market where at some point it's going to open up and you go test it. This is more of the business side of things. I love working with Bill and his family and I feel very comfortable being here."