With tomorrow's trade deadline almost upon us, rumors appeared overnight that the Tribe might possibly be moving 31yo OF/1B Brandon Moss to the Cardinals. And this morning the deal was first confirmed by Bernie Miklasz of the St Louis Post-Dispatch:
Can report/confirm Cards have traded LHP prospect Rob Kaminsky to CLE for IB/OF Brandon Moss. @SBNation was 1st to report deal in works.— Bernie Miklasz (@miklasz) July 30, 2015
Last night Chris Cotillo at the SB Nation MLB Daily Dish was the first to report that a deal was in the works, and the Indians have indeed acquired LHP Rob Kaminsky, a 2013 1st rd pick who ranked as their No.5 prospect coming into the season, according to the BA Prospect Handbook. Kaminsky's wicked fastball/curveball combo suggests that at the very least he projects as a fine reliever, but the 20yo (who is pitching to an impressive 2.09 ERA/2.53 FIP in 17 starts at A+, with no HRs allowed) still has very good starting potential.
With a playoff run all but out of the question, it certainly makes sense for the Tribe to be shopping non-core players like Moss (and the recently traded David Murphy), who don't fit into the team's long-term plans. Although the lefty slugger does have one more arbitration year remaining after this year, his 2015 salary was $6.5MM, so with the usual final arb season bump that extra year won't come at a completely bargain price.
After a decent start, Moss has quickly turned into a disappointment for Tribe fans. Although he has hit 15 homers, for whatever reason they never seem to come at the "right" time, and his line of .217/.288/.407 (with a 94 wRC+/0.80 WAR) has been below expectations. He's also been something of a liability in RF.
While he hasn't settled in well at Cleveland, Moss has an pretty decent track record and might actually be a good fit for St Louis. The Cardinals were looking for someone who can play both 1B and the OF, having already lost 1B Matt Adams for the season and with OF Matt Holliday re-injuring his right quad last night.
Although Cotillo states that "The possibility of a one-for-one-swap of Moss-for-Kaminsky appears to be in play," I did express my reservations that the Tribe could acquire Kaminsky in a straight swap for Moss. But happily, I was wrong. The fact that Antonetti somehow managed to essentially turn Joe Wendle into Rob Kaminsky was a truly remarkable coup.
Not surprisingly, the Cardinals' Twitter community is up in arms about the idea of losing one of their top pitching prospects for a Mark Reynolds clone. They've got one of him already. Was Brandon Moss really the best trade value they could get for Rob Kaminsky?
Incidentally, it's certainly no surprise that the Indians and Cardinals would be involved in serious discussions at the trade deadline. The two teams have made late July deals in each of the past two seasons. The Tribe actually seems to have got the better of each of those deals, acquiring LHP Marc Rzepczynski for Class A (now A+) infielder prospect Juan Herrera in 2013, and then dumping around $4MM of Justin Masterson's salary last year while receiving AA (now AAA) OF prospect James Ramsey as an added bonus.
Cotillo also believes that in addition to Carlos Carrasco (who was linked with the Blue Jays in talks that came to nothing earlier this week), Carlos Santana and Danny Salazar may be also available for trade.