ST. LOUIS -- General manager John Mozeliak acknowledged that the Cardinals have interest in exploring an extension with outfielder/first baseman Brandon Moss, who is due to become a free agent at the end of the season.
Moss, acquired in a trade last summer, has rewarded the Cardinals for tendering him a contract after a disappointing first impression. Despite Moss' struggles last season, the Cardinals signed him to a one-year, $8.25 million deal for 2016. According to Fangraphs, which has a tool that converts wins above replacement to a dollar scale to estimate what a player's true value is, Moss has been worth $13.1 million this season.
Moss will be 33 in September and is able to test free agency for the first time in his career. The Cardinals could try to circumvent that competition by approaching him with a contract offer before the offseason.
"I would certainly be open at some point to discussing [an extension]," Mozeliak said on Friday. "I don't feel like the timing right now is ideal. I know his agents very well. I certainly feel like, from a player's standpoint, he's done a very nice job for us. I haven't really drawn any conclusions, but I'd be certainly open to having Brandon back."
If there is no agreement reached before the end of the season, Moss would at least be a strong candidate to receive a qualifying offer. The value of the qualifying offer this winter is expected to be around $16.7 million. If Moss takes the qualifying offer, he would return under a one-year contract at that value. If not, the Cardinals would secure a compensation-round pick and could still try to negotiate with him during free agency.
Moss had to earn back everyday playing time this year and has by becoming one of the Majors' best hitters against right-handed pitching this season. He entered Friday leading the big leagues with a .695 slugging percentage against righties, off whom he's hit 18 homers and posted a 1.062 OPS.
He's also thrived with runners in scoring position, hitting .326 with five homers, 28 RBIs and a .783 slugging percentage. Heading into Friday's game against the Braves, Moss had 36 extra-base hits this season and 21 two-out RBIs.
"I feel like we were always excited when we got Mr. Moss last year," Mozeliak said. "I think just from the perception of how he performed didn't live up to maybe how we advertised him, but then this year he has. Overall, he's been a great fit on this club and a great teammate. We would certainly like to keep him around."
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.