The St. Louis Cardinals made it official this morning that they have acquired 1B/OF Brandon Moss from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for LHP Rob Kaminsky. This makes the third consecutive season that the Cardinals and Indians have made a deal, acquiring Justin Masterson in 2014 and minor league infielder Juan Herrera in 2013.
It took Cardinals’ GM John Mozeliak less than 12 hours after Matt Holliday aggravated his quad injury for him to pull the trigger on a deal to add a bat to the lineup.
This was also the kind of trade I was afraid of when I tweeted last night that I would prefer if the Cardinals just stood pat at the trade deadline. There was no trade that John Mozeliak could make that would make the Cardinals a better team than they were yesterday, and that team was already in need of a great deal of help.
Moss, 31, was hitting .217 with 15 home runs, 50 RBI, and a 91 OPS+ with the Indians this year. He has also struggled as of late, hitting just .167 over the past 28 days. Though he’s had his troubles since last year, hitting .201 over the last 365 days.
Yes, Moss does bring power. He’s hit 20+ home runs in each of his three seasons in Oakland (2012-2014), but without the other tools to the game, he’s not really the kind of player you want starting every day. He’s Mark Reynolds. Just left handed and fewer strikeouts.
He has one more year of team control remaining before free agency, so he will be arbitration eligible this winter. That creates the potential for a crowded St. Louis outfield next season with Holliday, Jon Jay, Peter Bourjos, Randal Grichuk, and Stephen Piscotty all under team control for next year. Then if you bring Jason Heyward back, that just further complicates things.
The Indians will receive the Cardinals’ first round pick from the 2013 MLB Draft. Kaminsky, 20, was 8-2 with a 1.88 ERA in 18 starts last season for Peoria. He stepped up to High-A Palm Beach this season and was working on a 6-5 season with a 2.09 ERA in 17 starts. He has thrown nearly 95 innings without allowing a home run.
I’ve been trying to find the bright spot of this trade. It feels like an over pay. It feels like a trade for the sake of a trade. It’s a very atypical Mozeliak move.
It’s possible that this was the best option available and that anything better was going to cost exorbitantly more. But when I look around the league, I see teams that have taxed their farm systems and are still able to make those big trades. I’m left to wonder if the perpetually full cupboard of the St. Louis farm system actually hurts the valuation of those players on the trade market.
If Moss was all you could get and it cost Kaminsky, I go back to what I asked last night:
Why go out and pay for a player that won’t make you better than you were a day ago?