Cardinals Pay Steep Price for Power

The St. Louis Cardinals added a power bat on Wednesday night, but they gave up a promising young pitching prospect to the Cleveland Indians in the process.

On Wednesday, for the second time this season, the St. Louis Cardinals watched as their star slugger Matt Holliday came up lame with a quad injury. While they are still waiting to learn the extent of Holliday’s latest injury, the Cardinals wasted no time making sure that they had another power bat they could insert into the middle of their line-up.

Late Wednesday night, the Cardinals acquired OF Brandon Moss from the Cleveland Indians. The price was steep, however, as St. Louis sent their 2013 first-round pick Rob Kaminsky to the Indians in exchange for a year-and-a-half of team control of Moss.

As TheCardinalNation publisher Brian Walton explains, Moss can not only fill the void left by Holliday in the outfield but also address St. Louis’ need at first base. Cardinals’ starting first baseman Matt Adams is out for the year with a leg injury.

Moss joins St. Louis with a .217/.288/.407 line in 94 games for Cleveland. He has hit 15 homeruns, but he has also struck-out 106 times. Moss was an All-Star last season with the Oakland A’s, but a hip injury midway through the season dramatically impacted Moss’ production. He hit just .173/.310/.274 during the second half of the season. He had off-season surgery to address the hip issue and has played regularly this year. In December, the A’s traded Moss to Cleveland for minor-league second baseman Joey Wendle, who is currently in Triple-A for the A’s.

When healthy, Moss brings a significant power bat. Before his injury last season, Moss had a .530 SLG despite playing his home games at the Coliseum and Moss slugged .522 and .596 in his two previous seasons with the A’s. He hasn’t had the same power production since the hip injury, however, so there is some risk here for St. Louis. If Moss can re-discover his power stroke, he could be a big asset for the Cardinals the rest of this season and next year, his final season before free agency.

The Indians have to be thrilled to turn a solid prospect like Wendle into a blue-chip prospect like Kaminsky in less than a year’s time. The left-handed Kaminsky is just 20 and fits the profile of what the Indians have targeted for their starting pitchers lately, writes IndiansBaseballInsider’s Jeff Ellis. Kaminsky is an extreme groundball pitcher who has allowed just three homeruns in 217 innings as a pro. He has been moved cautiously through the Cardinals’ system thus far, but has has performed well at ever level.

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