With two regulars (Matt Adams and Jon Jay) already on the disabled list and a third (Matt Holliday) reinjuring his right quadriceps Wednesday night, the Cardinals decided to bolster their offense by acquiring Brandon Moss from the Indians on Thursday morning. But the price that St. Louis paid, lefty pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky, is a steep one for a club in its position.
The Cardinals have the best record in baseball, and they're almost certainly going to make the playoffs, even if Holliday is sidelined for a while. In the 31-year-old Moss, St. Louis is getting a one-tool player who can hit for power, but provides negative value in terms of on-base percentage and defensive ability as a first baseman and corner outfielder. Moss' 15 homers are more than anyone on the Cards' roster, but he's hit .217/.288/.407 in 94 games -- among the lowest numbers of his Major League career. Moss is not just a half-season rental, however, as he is eligible for arbitration one more time this offseason.
Getting Moss at the cost of Kaminsky seems like an overpay. The Cardinals shouldn't have had to surrender the No. 88 player on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list for Moss. If they were willing to part with Kaminsky, they should have been able to get a better bat.
Kaminsky, 20, was the 28th overall pick in the 2013 Draft out of St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.) High School, and he signed for $1,785,300. He has had success at all three of his stops in the Cards' system, and he has gone 6-5 with a 2.09 ERA in 17 starts this year as one of the youngest pitchers in the Class A Advanced Florida State League. Kaminsky leads the FSL in ERA, has limited opponents to a .228 average and sports a 79/28 K/BB ratio in 94 2/3 innings.
Kaminsky has an outstanding curveball, a sharp downer in the upper 70s. He also has two other pitches that project to become at least solid big league offerings, a fastball that tops out at 95 mph and a changeup with some fade. Kaminsky throws lots of strikes and has earned kudos for his competitiveness.
The biggest knock on Kaminsky is his lack of size (5-foot-11, 191 pounds), but he has been durable so far. He projects as a potential No. 3 starter, and his curve alone would make him a dynamic lefty specialist at worst. Kaminsky slots in as the No. 3 prospect in the Tribe's system.
Pitching prospects aren't sure things, but Kaminsky is likely to have a greater impact in Cleveland than Moss will in St. Louis.
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.