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Cardinals give GM Mozeliak two-year extension

He has led the club to one World Series championship, two NL pennants

Special to

ST. LOUIS -- Continuity has been a hallmark of Bill DeWitt Jr.'s ownership of the Cardinals and the team took a step in continuing that trademark by announcing a contract extension for general manager John Mozeliak before Saturday's game against the Cubs.

The two-year extension will keep Mozeliak with the club through 2018.

"I was obviously very excited," Mozeliak said. "This is my home. I've been with the Cardinals now going on 19 years and this is what I know. And to be working with Bill and this organization for the next four to five years makes me feel good.

"I think what we've been able to accomplish here is something we take pride in, but we also know that every year is a new year. Every year has new challenges. I think that's the exciting part of working with this group. It's not looking back, it's looking forward and I think that says a lot about this organization."

DeWitt said he first approached Mozeliak about an extension during the season opening series in Cincinnati. Discussions progressed quickly from there.

"I think he really fits the title," DeWitt said. "A general manager is someone who manages the baseball operation and he really does mange it well. He's not unilateral in his decisions. He has a great staff he has put together. He understands what we're trying to accomplish both short term and long term and he's I think just the right person for the job."

Mozeliak has been with the Cardinals for 19 seasons and has been the general manager since 2008. During that time, the Cardinals went to the postseason four times and won the World Series in 2011.

Mozeliak, who was named Executive of the Year in 2011 by, also took a chance on an unproven Mike Matheny to replace the retiring Tony La Russa as manager following the club's championship run. The Cardinals have advanced to the National League Championship Series and the World Series in Matheny's two seasons at the helm.

"For a young manager coming in with the lack of experience that I had, to have somebody like 'Mo' and just kind of work our way through certain things and just have that open line of communication is invaluable to me," Matheny said.

It is the second extension in as many years for Mozeliak. Last February, St. Louis tacked on another three years to his contract that was set to expire after the 2013 season.

If Mozeliak serves through the duration of his new contract, he'll solidify his position as one of the longest-tenured general managers in franchise history. Only Vaughn P. (Bing) Devine (18 years over two different stints) and Walt Jocketty (14 years) will have held the general manager post for longer than Mozeliak by 2018.

That span was the farthest thing from Mozeliak's mind when he broke into the business nearly two decades ago.

"When I first started, I was probably like anybody getting their first opportunity, and it was with the hope of having a career in this game," Mozeliak said. "You think back to 20 years ago, not having a playing background was somewhat of a deterrent to really rise up. Fortunately for me, the industry's changed. It's become somewhat of a business that is run by people that see the word through another set of lenses. So for me, the timing was great, and to be a part of it, to get the experience I've had over time has allowed me to be where we are today."

The Cardinals have won at least 86 games in every season during Mozeliak's tenure. Under Mozeliak, the 12th general manager in the team's history, the Cardinals were recognized by Baseball America as the Organization of the Year in 2011 and '13 for their success in scouting and development.

Mozeliak has been able to lock up several core players with long-term extensions, including Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright, Allen Craig and Matt Carpenter. Under his watch, the Cardinals' farm system has been extremely productive turning out the likes of Michael Wacha, Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal along with Carpenter and Matt Adams.

"I think when you look at building a very strong organization, it really starts with what you're doing in terms of identifying and signing talent and then of course how you're developing it," Mozeliak said. "I think in both cases from an amateur side, from an international perspective, we do a very good job. I think our player development is getting a lot of kudos for the success they're having with the preparation you're seeing with players when they get to the big leagues, but you can't do one without the other."

Joe Harris is a contributor to

St. Louis Cardinals