The Cardinals were looking for a left-handed bat to help their lineup as they try to stay atop the National League Central. The price for one ended up being fairly steep -- a highly regarded left-handed starting pitcher prospect.
The Cardinals sent No. 3 prospect Rob Kaminsky to the Indians on Thursday in exchange for outfielder/first baseman Brandon Moss, both clubs confirmed.
Kaminsky was in the midst of his second full season in the St. Louis system after being taken with the 28th overall pick in the 2013 Draft out of a New Jersey high school. He was 6-5 with a 2.09 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 79 strikeouts and 28 walks in 94 2/3 innings. He has not given up a home run all season long in the Florida State League. That comes after a breakout first full season during which he posted a 1.88 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and .194 average-against in 100 2/3 innings at Class A Peoria.
The 20-year-old southpaw moves into the No. 3 spot in the Indians system -- tops among pitchers, beating out 2015 first-rounder and 2014 first overall pick Brady Aiken -- and was ranked as the No. 88 overall prospect in baseball and the game's No. 10 left-handed pitching prospect when MLB.com updated its lists earlier this week. His best pitch is his curveball, which has a sharp break to it and earned a 65 grade in the latest update. His fastball, which sits around 90 but can touch 95, and changeup are both considered a tick above average.
The Cardinals were willing to part with such a highly ranked prospect because of their need for offensive help down the stretch. With Matt Adams on the 60-day disabled list with a torn quad, the club was leaning on Matt Reynolds, Stephen Piscotty and Dan Johnson at first base, where Moss has played 10 games this season. The 31-year-old slugger has had struggles of his own in 2015, producing a .217/.288/.407 line thus far but becomes the Cardinals top home run hitter with 15 long balls this season. His struggles come one year after he went deep 25 times and produced a .772 OPS during an All-Star campaign with the A's.
Moss is arbitration eligible for one more year before becoming a free agent prior to the 2017 season. That level of player control added to the Indians' price, despite his recent struggles.