"When we were looking to fill this job, a couple of things came to mind," general manager John Mozeliak said. "One, we wanted someone to have a great appreciation for the culture and what the St. Louis Cardinals are all about, but also someone who had the ability to lead, to manage and to really take this department to the next level."
Flores seems to be the perfect blend of being a baseball guy with an appreciation and knowledge of analytics.
Flores, 40, spent five of his eight Major League seasons with the Cardinals. The lefty reliever appeared in 237 games with the Cardinals and was a member of the 2006 World Series championship team.
After retiring in 2010, Flores returned to USC to pursue his master's degree. He said one of the first things he did after retiring was to call Mozeliak for guidance, and Mozeliak wrote him a letter of recommendation for graduate school.
"It was very important for me to be wide-lensed," Flores said. "Not just to go into coaching, not just to go with what seemed to be the natural fit, but to grow. And the academic community provided me an opportunity to grow, to view business, to view talent, to be a part of a college team and coaching through the lens of research."
Flores then founded OnDeck Digital, which uses video to capture technology that allows baseball and softball players to critique their own game. Several Major League teams use the service.
"It's a process-oriented draft," Mozeliak said. "It requires a certain level of discipline, and it's a balance between the scouting world and the analytical world. And being able to understand those values and to manage that is critical, and 'Flo has shown that he has that skill set and he has a great understanding of how we do business."
Mozeliak started the hiring process with 30 names in mind, eventually whittling it down before talking to five candidates about the job, and he had reached out to Flores.
Job No. 1 for Flores is introducing himself to and getting to know the team's scouts.
"There's a learning curve in names, there's a learning curve in personalities and a learning curve in skill sets that can be tapped further," Flores said. "But at the same time, I'm amped to get going."