So we're just supposed to trust the Cardinals?

BY foxsports • July 31, 2015

Whilst pontificating, there is one thing that pontificators must always guard against.

Actually, there a lot of things. But the thing today is the Halo Effect, which is our tendency to ascribe positive qualities to people because of preconceived notions, regardless of the evidence at hand. There's also the Horns Effect, which comes into play whenever the Marlins do anything. But let's stick with the Halo Effect right now, because I want to write about the St. Louis Cardinals.

Friday morning, I was on the radio in St. Louis. Paraphrasing one of the questions a co-host asked me: Rob, a lot of people are saying that Rob Kaminsky was too much to give up for Brandon Moss. What do you think?

Among those people: MLB.com's Jim Callis, who was also on the radio in St. Louis and referred to the trade as A FLAT-OUT HEIST.

I hadn't seen Callis's arguments when I was asked the question about Kaminsky and Moss, so I gave my standard answer: Hey, this is the Cardinals we're talking about. They probably know what they're doing.

In other words, ignore Kaminsky's future and Moss's present, and instead we'll just trust the Halo Effect to tell us everything we care to know.

Which isn't good enough, I know. Not when we're talking about a slow, defensively challenged 31-year-old slugger who's got a sub-700 OPS this season. Shoot, even Moss himself just said, "I played terribly in Cleveland." Not when we're talking about a relief pitcher with a 5.89 ERA. And not when we're talking about a young pitcher who Jim Callis thinks has a pretty good shot at becoming a No. 3 starter in the majors.

So let's dig into these deals.

First, about Kaminsky: Yes, but he's also a pitching prospect in Class A. Of whom there are many. The 28th pick in the amateur draft just two years ago, Kaminsky's got a 2.15 ERA as a pro, and has given up only three home runs in 217 innings. He's also probably two or three years away just from reaching the majors, let alone pitching well there.

Moss has struggled terribly this season ... but then again, his batted-ball percentages are all perfectly in line with the rest of his career; in fact, his hard-percentage is actually a bit higher this year than last year. And he was quite good last year (and even better the year before). Moss's candid self-evaluation aside, he looks to me like a pretty good hitter whose suffered pretty awful luck this season. You gotta like his public attitude, too:

I really can’t put into words how happy I am to be a part of this team. Use me however you want to use me. However you see fit. If you want to platoon me, platoon me. If you want to pinch-hit me, pinch-hit me. If you want to play me, play me.

Hey, I'm in the middle of Lonnie Wheeler's new book about intangibles and maybe I'm reading too much into that. But Moss does seem like a guy you'd like to have around. Especially if he can hit some. Which he probably can. And if so, the Cardinals might well bring him back for a reasonable price next season, as Moss is still a year from free agency.

Broxton? Yes, there's that bloated ERA. But while it did look like his career was winding down just a couple of years ago, he's throwing perfectly hard, with perfectly fine strikeout and walk ratios. That ERA's due almost entirely to a few "extra" home runs and an oddly high BABiP allowed. 

So my guess is that the Cardinals are simply seeing real value where some teams probably wouldn't, and taking advantage of this difference. As they have so many times before. Halo Effect be damned.



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