The Moss-Kaminsky Trade: A Look-Back

It was July 30 last year when Brandon Moss was traded to St. Louis in exchange for Rob Kaminsky, who had been the number two prospect in the system behind Alex Reyes. I know that you'd think that I should wait until July 30 so this post could have one year of hindsight for analysis, but I don't really care. I'm pretty bored this morning and I'm feeling good about two straight over the Cubs, so the time to write this is now.

Whenever the transaction was officially announced, the general consensus among VEB commenters was something along the lines of, "What the [censored], Mozeliak? All you did was get a lefthanded Mark Reynolds! You're a [censored] piece of [censored] [censored] and you're the [censored] worst general manager in all of baseball!" I could probably insert a few posts in the comment section from the actual article that was written about this last year, but no one wants to read [censored] again so we're just going to continue.

Moss kind of played like [censored] after he came to St. Louis, and ended up with 42 strikeouts and 33 hits in a Redbird uniform. He hit a walk-off home run against the Nationals on September 1, and that pretty much sums up his accomplishments wearing the Birds on the Bat in 2015. Kaminsky made only two starts for the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats because of an injury that ended his season, and he finished 2015 with a 6-6 record, a 2.24 ERA, and 83 strikeouts against 33 walks in 104.1 innings pitched.

There was some speculation that Moss would be dealt to Boston during the offseason, and a lot of people saw it as an opportunity to make up for losing Kaminsky, just because Boston's farm system is loaded and they had just overpaid San Diego for Craig Kimbrel. In the end, though, no deal was struck, and Moss remained in a Cardinal uniform. Meanwhile, Kaminsky got promoted to Double-A Akron, where he began the 2016 season.

Brandon Moss got off to a slow start. On April 25, he was hitting just .170. His worst game of the season came on April 18 against the Chicago Cubs, when he came up to the plate four times and for each at-bat, a strikeout was the result. (To make this even more depressing I'll add here that in Kaminsky's first start in Akron, he hurled five shutout innings and allowed just one hit.) But on April 26 in Arizona, Moss turned his season around by going 4-for-5 with a home run and three RBI's. And ever since then, Moss has played the way I think Mozeliak envisioned when he made the deal with Cleveland. At the moment, he has 16 home runs, 36 RBI's, and he's raised his batting average to .250, which is sixteen points higher than his .234 mark in 2014, the year he made his only All-Star Game appearance.

And Kaminsky? Rob Kaminsky has simply played like [censored]. What I left out when I was describing his first game is that he also walked three batters and struck out only one person. And the game after that, he allowed ten hits and eight runs (six earned) through four innings, walking three more batters and punching out exactly zero. He has allowed five runs or more four times, and has walked three batters six times. His current statistics are a 4-4 record, a 4.76 ERA, and 28 strikeouts against 22 walks in 51 innings to go with a .275 BAA. I know that those stats don't sound too horrible on the whole, but they do sound like the stats of a guy you would trade to get Brandon Moss. I feel pretty lame right now for not including some complex sabermetrics right here, but to be honest, I'm a traditionalist and don't really care all that much about stuff having to deal with how the angle that a player holds his bat at when he's bunting on a Tuesday affects his ratio of his flux capacitor.

It's definitely too early to say that the Cardinals got a better deal. I mean, to the surprise of literally everyone, they've won it so far, but there's still plenty of time. Brandon Moss could end up having a tremendous slump in the second half, and Kaminsky could pull himself together and rebound. But at the moment, Kaminsky has fallen off's Top 100 Prospects list, and Moss looks like a possible Home Run Derby contestant (I said possible, not likely).

The moral of the story: moss grows and regenerates rather quickly, sort of like Brandon Moss has done this year, recapturing his better self that became an All-Star for the Oakland A's. And Kaminsky...I can't think of a pun for that.