ST. LOUIS -- With the Major League Baseball non-waiver Trade Deadline rapidly approaching, Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. awarded general manager John Mozeliak a three-year contract extension in a vote of confidence Thursday.
Taking over for previous GM Walt Jocketty at the end of the 2007 season, Mozeliak's new deal will keep him with the Cardinals through 2013. Mozeliak has been with the Cardinals organization since 1995.
The young general manager made an early splash with the midseason trade for All-Star Matt Holliday in 2009 and subsequently signed the outfielder to a seven-year, $120 million deal.
"Mo has done a very good job over the past 2 1/2 seasons, and I thought that the certainty of his continuity would serve us well as we compete for the Central division championship in the second half," DeWitt Jr. said.
"I think he has got a good blend of what we need now, what we need in the future and getting value for value."
With Mozeliak's job security in hand, DeWitt Jr. made it clear that the GM had the green light to take on a player or two before the July 31 Trade Deadline passed.
Although no specifics were mentioned with what players the Cardinals may be targeting, DeWitt Jr. said he approved of the Cardinals expanding their payroll in the chase for the National League Central crown.
"We have the capacity to take on payroll for the balance of the year and into next year," DeWitt Jr. said. "We have the capacity. We will just wait and see if we match up with someone to give us a player who can help us."
Having been in contract talks for the past few months, both DeWitt Jr. and Mozeliak agreed announcing the extension now instead of at the end of the season made the most sense to help the team.
DeWitt Jr. pointed to securing the leadership of the front office as an essential part to beginning other personnel evaluation in the Cardinals organization.
"As we start to look to 2011, 2012, having this side of the business taken care of made a lot of sense for us," Mozeliak said. "Clearly we are going to have some personnel decisions to make, not only player personnel but also in scouting and so forth moving forward. When we looked to put our strategy together in the near future, we wanted to make sure there was no debate on leadership and the direction we were going."
Michael Bleach is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.