St. Louis Cardinals: Better Backup- Brandon Moss or Chris Coghlan?

Oct 25, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Chicago Cubs player Chris Coghlan (8) reacts after striking out against the Cleveland Indians in the fifth inning in game one of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Cardinals are said to want a left-handed outfielder to backup the starters. Will this come via a reunion or perhaps another Cubs defector?

GM John Mozeliak told St. Louis Cardinals fans that he intends to add another left-handed outfielder to serve as backup to the starters in the 2017 outfield. He shared this information during the Winter Warmup and now we are all wondering who this might be for 2017.

A few days ago I wrote a piece examining Brandon Moss as a potential fit for this desire. I also compared Moss to Sam Fuld. In the piece (you can read it here) I concluded that Moss- to me- is a better fit for the 2017 St. Louis Cardinals for his power off the bench. While Fuld is the better defender, the Cardinals have Tommy Pham to slot in defensively and therefore Moss would be more desirable.

Following that thinking then, let us examine another versatile free agent and compare him to Moss: Chris Coghlan. Coghlan last played for the Chicago Cubs so could we have yet another defector to join the Cardinals following suit with Dexter Fowler?

Coghlan will turn 32 during the 2017 campaign and owns an eight-year MLB career. As a reminder, Moss owns a ten-year MLB career. In his career, Coghlan owns a slash line of .260/.335/.402 compared to Moss’ .241/.319/.455.

As was said above, Coghlan last played for Oakland and Chicago in 2016. With Oakland, Coghlan appeared in 158 at-bats filling-in at second, third, right field, and left field and posting a .146/.215/.272 slash in the offensively-dreaded Stadium.

Coghlan was traded to the Cubs in June 2016. In Chicago, Coghlan appeared in 103 at-bats filling-in at first, third, right field, and left field and posting a .252/.391/.388 slash line. Clearly the Stadium at Coghlan alive but he flourished at Wrigley.

To his credit, Coghlan is considered right at, or slightly above, average at a career 0.6 WAR. Defensively, Coghlan is noted as owning a -8.3 dWAR in his career (accumulated a 0.3 dWAR with Chicago in 2016 however).

As a piece of reminder, Moss is noted as a career 5.8 WAR. Defensively in 2016, Moss earned a dWAR of -0.8. Along these lines, then, Moss is a better career WAR but Coghlan out-performed Moss defensively in 2016. Is this a sign of Moss’ ten-year career wearing his performance down or is it a sign of Coghlan being a better fielder?

In terms of range, Coghlan commands career range factor numbers of 2.23 in RF, 2.57 in CF, and 1.87 in LF. Moss commands career range factor numbers of 2.19 in RF, 2.57 in CF, and 1.88 in LF. These are seemingly a wash then.

The question may rest in the amount the players could cost. As I noted in my previous post about Moss, the St. Louis Cardinals paid Moss $8.2M in 2016 and he is likely seeking an increase for 2017. Coghlan received $4.8M from the Cubs in 2016 and would be a lesser cost to the Cardinals.

One other wrinkle in thinking about Coghlan is Fowler himself. Would Coghlan be enticed to again back up Fowler?

Let me cut to the chase: I would love to see the St. Louis Cardinals take a rider on Coghlan. I like his numbers and think he might be the younger version of Moss with the added versatility of positional play: Coghlan can play positions that Moss cannot. I believe this name could add great depth to the Cardinals bench in 2017.

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For my money, Coghlan is the way to go in this comparison. In addition to his numbers, he is an adoptive father like I am so I like that too. Time will tell. What do you think? Would you reunite with Moss or gamble on Coghlan? Thanks for reading and GO CARDS!

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