Analyzing the Brandon Moss trade: Then and Now

What I said on July 30th when Brandon Moss was acquired…..

First thing. No trade is a bust right off the bat because that term requires numbers to back it up. However, when looking at the Brandon Moss/Rob Kaminsky straight up swap with clear eyes, the forecast doesn’t suggest a fair trade. Or does it? Let’s take a crack.

What did the Cards get in Moss?

The Good-Moss now leads the Cards in home runs(15) and RBI(50). His bat has pop and he can fit into the middle of this lineup and help a team suffering at first base and left field. He also has hit lefties a bit this season, with a .260 average and .453 slugging percentage. Moss is under control next season and isn’t expensive. He can play around the field and has a good glove in left. If Matt Holliday is down, Moss can get time there and give the Cards some boom in their stick…

The Bad-Moss is Mark Reynolds’ twin brother. He has struck out 106 times in 337 at bats this season and is only hitting .217 with an overall OPS of .695. That’s not promising. If Moss recaptures the 2013 form where he hit 30 home runs and drove in 94, then the Cards have something. He’s 31 years old and has declined in past three seasons so there isn’t much initial hope. Moss can’t touch righthanded pitchers for his life, so don’t expect him to be more than a platoon player.

The Rub-With Matt Holliday’s injury, Mozeliak’s hand was forced. I get that. Being a solid GM means you have to roll with the punches. A player like Moss could come over to the Cards(a flip side from the Indians woeful mood) and provide a spark. He’s done it before and in recent memory. While Kaminsky is a higher type prospect, maybe fans are overvaluing this kid from New Jersey who is pitching in High A ball right now. Did Mo get swindled or did he just do what he had to do? Like the Heyward trade in November, Mozeliak’s hands were partially tied here due to the lack of power and injuries. With Matt Carpenter sinking, Holliday and Matt Adams hurt and Reynolds having a rough year, Mo had to make a move.

The Wrap-The initial reaction to this trade is negativity and that’s valid. It’s not Best Fans in Baseball ammo. It’s a basic reaction. We will never know how Kaminsky turns out and it’s fair to give Moss a fair look before determining if the trade was a complete bust.

I can only tell you what I feel right now and that’s let down. The market is insane. If the Cards checked with the Brewers on Adam Lind, the price must have been very high so that could explain the Moss acquisition cost.

Check back in at the end of September. Or after Moss’ first sombrero(4 strikeout game) or two home run game. Moss will be with the team tonight and be able to prove his worth right away. Kaminsky may not be with the Indians until 2016. There’s a small light.

The Brandon Moss show starts right away at Busch Stadium.

And the latest analysis…compiled on September 2nd before game time….

If baseball has taught us anything, it’s to trust the season and don’t give up too early. That can be attached to players as well and St. Louis Cardinals’ outfielder/first baseman Brandon Moss fits the bill perfectly.

Tuesday night was a typical Moss roller coaster. He struck out a couple times, collected a hit, got hit by a pitch and stranded some baserunners early, earning the gripes of fans on the web. If you trust the game, though, sometimes it can surprise you. In the end, Moss redeemed himself by cranking a walk off three run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. The sweet isn’t as sweet without the bitter, right Mr. Moss. ┬áThe big acquisition at the trade deadline received a “meh” reception on July 30th, but is starting to turn it all around.

When Moss was acquired at the end of July for pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky, many Cardinals fans questioned what was running through General Manager John Mozeliak’s mind. After all, Moss was trudging through a painful July that was devoid of power and wasn’t hitting the ball well at all. Moss arrived in St. Louis finishing July with a .160 batting average, .220 on base percentage and leaky .306 slugging percentage. The question was, how could this guy help the team down the stretch?

The first few weeks with the Birds didn’t go well. Moss struck out a lot and couldn’t lift the baseball past the warning track. He couldn’t read a pitch, was overpowered by average heat and was seriously pressing at the plate. He helped the Cards with a walkoff win to finish off his first series with the team against Colorado but that was the summary of his fine contributions in the initial phase. Moss was lost at the plate. He collected singles here and there but had no power and struck out 10 times in a span of seven games. Moss was 7-42 in his first 15 games with the team, with nearly twice as many strikeouts as hits. The next 10 games were better.

Since the road trip started in San Diego, Moss is 9-21 with three home runs and 5 walks to just 6 strikeouts. Like most of his teammates, Moss found his swing in the desert against the Diamondbacks. He contributed a key game winning home run in Arizona, a ball that sailed over the wall, seemingly knocking a huge boulder off Moss’ shoulders. He added another home run in San Francisco, igniting a series win for the Redbirds. Tuesday, he cranks another game winner.

Cast off as an unneeded weakening bat before he even took an at bat for the Cardinals, Moss now looms as a big threat down the stretch. When he’s right, Moss’ can mash with the best lefties in the game. He did show up with 15 home runs and 50 RBI, and now has put a charge into his stats with the recent surge. Sometimes, fans have to see the forest through the trees with players coming over from losing teams. After a dusting off the rust in his bat and finally getting his legs back after offseason surgery, Moss looks like the guy Mozeliak dialed up Cleveland for.

Does all of this make him a contender for a postseason roster spot? Sure it does. The setback in Matt Adams’ return to the team helps his cause, as does the slow returns of Matt Holliday and Randal Grichuk from their injuries. Jon Jay is returning, but Moss’ ability to hit the long ball gives the Cards something they sorely need down the stretch. A one swing game changer. Like Peter Bourjos and Tommy Pham, Moss is going to have to slug his way onto the postseason roster with a thrilling September. There are no easy rides for these guys on a team this stacked.

Can Moss do it? Time will tell but his bat will paint the picture. He will start, in either left field or at first base until Holliday, Adams and Grichuk return. These next couple of weeks could be huge. These next 7 games against Washington, Pittsburgh and Chicago are big for Moss. Swing the big stick in a time of need and it will be impossible for Mike Matheny to keep you out of the lineup. Moss is also playing for a spot on next year’s team, a role that isn’t so easily defined with the crowded roster inhabitants.

I’ve had my reservations and doubts about Moss and his ability to contribute since his first day in red, but he’s starting to change my mind. Two weeks ago he was forgotten about, gathering dust on a weak bench. In the past week, he has changed a game with one swing twice. Welcome to a true pennant race, Mr. Moss. Do you have what it takes to succeed in the red sea? Just another exciting element of this final stretch.

In order to properly analyze a trade, some at bats need to happen and time is required. My then and now look at Brandon Moss.

2 Replies to “Analyzing the Brandon Moss trade: Then and Now”

  1. I am happy Moss has contributed some of late but still concerned about strikeouts. I would consider him for a playoff roster spot but between him and Reynolds take Reynolds. I am very concerned about bringing back Holliday, Jay and Adams. In essence they would be disrupting a very solid team that seems to finally be gelling offensively. Jay’s arm hurts our outfield defense badly. They would also be in spring training mode for the rest of the season and probably not be up to mid season form by October. My preference is to not bring any of them back this year and dance with the boys that brung ya.
    Would not even consider letting Wainwright throw a pitch until spring.
    As an aside, Mathey screwed the pooch last night by not walking Zimmerman!

    1. I can disagree. Expanded rosters and more firepower won’t hurt the team makeup. Especially when it comes to team guys like Holliday, Jay and Adams. If Holliday is healthy, he can really help this team. I mean, let’s not get too caught up and lost inside a great 10 days from Moss. Holliday is a proven vet with a good bat.
      I don’t blame Matheny for letting Brox go after Zimm. Next guy is hitting .308 and kills righties so let Brox go after the guy. It didn’t work but so what?

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