2015 Trade Deadline: St. Louis Cardinals Acquire Brandon Moss from Cleveland
After rumors of it late Wednesday night the Cardinals and Indians agreed Thursday morning to a trade of outfielder/first baseman Brandon Moss for left-handed pitcher Rob Kaminsky, St. Louis’s No. 4 minor-league prospect, according to Fangraphs. The Cardinals paid a steep price for Moss, giving up a former first-rounder who some see as the second-best minor-league pitching prospect in the organization. The hope is that Moss can fill the hole left by Matt Adams and now Matt Holliday.
WHAT THIS TRADE MEANS FOR THE CARDINALS
Moss will instantly fill in for the Cardinals mostly at first base but also possibly sparingly at the corner outfield positions. Moss’s 15 homers are the most on his new club and tie him for 16th among all MLB outfielders. It’s most likely Moss will see the play-heavy side of a first-base platoon with Mark Reynolds. Reynolds isn’t doing much this year, but hits lefties (101 wRC+) a little better than he hits righties (93 wRC+). While Moss hits lefties (119 wRC+) better than righties (80 wRC+) there’s no reason to trade for him and only play him against southpaws. So Moss is a better option against lefties, but a worse option against righties. That doesn’t really work out well for the Cardinals.
Moss has hit 21 or more homers in each of the last three seasons, and he should hit that mark this year, too. But the Cardinals gave up way too much for someone who’s struggled for a good part of the season (.155/.227/.279 with four home runs since June 16). Moss does have the power the Cardinals need, and if he’s healthy he could go on a tear similar to his first half in 2014 (.268/.349/.560 with 21 home runs). But that’s asking a lot. According to statcorner Progressive Field has a 102 park factor for left-handed home runs while Busch Stadium is at 82. That’s a huge downgrade. For now Moss is probably only an option in deep mixed leagues with daily lineup changes or in DFS action against homer-prone pitchers of either side.
WHAT THIS TRADE MEANS FOR THE INDIANS
Kaminsky, a 2013 first-round pick, is currently 20 years old and has spent the 2015 season at High-A. While Kaminsky’s a couple years away at least from the Majors he does offer a lot of promise. He only has a career 7.7 K/9 mark, but he’s allowed only three home runs in 217.1 minor-league innings. The lefty offers a fastball, curveball and changeup, with the curve being his best pitch “a now-weapon that could get big leaguers out,” according to FG’s Kiley McDaniel (seen at the link above). McDaniel says that even though Kaminsky is smallish in stature he throws his fastball well, getting it up to 95, and has improved his changeup to solid average. Kaminsky won’t blow you away, but he’s got enough weapons and is, from everything I’ve read, just a talented young pitcher. He’s someone to keep an eye on in the future.
Moss spent most of his time with the Indians in right field, and he’ll be replaced in the starting lineup either by Ryan Raburn or Tyler Holt. Neither player offers much mixed-league potential, but Raburn does hit lefties well (.287/.366/.504) with all four of his homers and 17 of 18 extra-base hits coming against them. Holt was recalled to the Majors on Wednesday from Triple-A; the 26-year-old only has six career home runs throughout six minor-league seasons and brief periods in Cleveland last year and this year. He did steal at least 27 bases in each season from 2011 through 2014 and he currently has 13 steals in the minors this year. He also bats right-handed so it remains to be seen who’ll play the most. I’d wager on Raburn having the most fantasy value from here on out if this is the way the Indians decide on going.