Cardinals' Mozeliak regrets trading Arozarena: 'I will own that'
Ronald Martinez / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Regrets? Oh, St. Louis Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak has a pretty big one after this postseason.

Before taking questions about the Cardinals' offseason plans Wednesday, Mozeliak took a moment to admit his mistake of trading outfielder Randy Arozarena - who became an overnight star in the playoffs - to the Tampa Bay Rays last winter.

"I will own that. That's on me," Mozeliak said, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The Cardinals originally signed Arozarena in 2016 out of Mexico, where he became a resident after defecting from his native Cuba. He reached the majors with St. Louis in 2019 but got into just 19 regular-season games and went hitless in five playoff appearances.

Owing largely to the Cardinals' crowded outfield, he was traded in January to Tampa Bay along with Jose Martinez and a compensation draft pick in exchange for two minor leaguers, including top pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore, and a second-rounder. Though Liberatore remains a promising arm and is ranked by MLB.com as the Cardinals' third-best prospect, the immediate returns have left them feeling red in the face.

After turning heads with a 1.022 OPS and seven homers in 76 regular-season plate appearances for the Rays, Arozarena busted out to stardom in October. He slashed .377/.442/.831 during the playoffs, setting single-postseason records for hits and home runs and earning ALCS MVP honors. Four of his 10 homers came in the World Series.

Cardinals outfielders, meanwhile, posted a collective 82 wRC+ in 2020, ranking 25th in the league. While Mozeliak is kicking himself for letting Arozarena get away, he's using it as a learning experience to improve the club's player evaluation methods going forward.

"You need to know your own players," Mozeliak said. "We will revisit how we rank our own players and make sure that we don't have something like this happen again."

Arozarena could haunt St. Louis again next season. Because of his limited playing time during the shortened campaign, the 25-year-old remains eligible to win AL Rookie of the Year in 2021.

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Cardinals' Mozeliak regrets trading Arozarena: 'I will own that'
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