Brandon Moss finally produces for Cardinals


St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Brandon Moss finally hit a home run Thursday in a victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Co-editor Steve Ungrey offers his take.

Well, it’s about time.

Isn’t that what you were thinking?

Admit it. There are people who have already deemed the Cardinals’ trade for Brandon Moss an abject failure.

Even I thought “is this the best Brandon can do?”

Maybe his bat has finally awakened.

Let’s face it. The Cardinals needed to do something when Matt Holliday went down once again with a quad injury. When a team loses one of its biggest bats and it happens right around the trade deadline, you know that team will go out and fill the hole.

That’s what the Cardinals did when it acquired Moss from the Cleveland Indians for pitcher Rob Kaminsky. Moss had 15 home runs and 50 RBI at the time of the deal, but since his acquisition Moss has a line of .205-1-3 and went over 40 at-bats without hitting a homer.

Yes, it is not what the Cardinals were expecting when they acquired Moss. But would Kaminsky have come up to St. Louis this season? And if he did, would he have been lights out immediately?

The thing about trades is you can’t really analyze how good they were for a long time. Take the case of Doyle Alexander, a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves who was dealt to the Detroit Tigers in 1987. He helped the Tigers reach the postseason, but the pitcher Detroit gave up went on to have a long and lucrative career in Atlanta.

His name was John Smoltz.

Let’s stick with Detroit. The Tigers acquired John Gonzalez following the 1999 season to give the team a big boost going into Comerica Park, its brand new stadium. The Tigers surrendered Gabe Kapler. At the time everyone thought the trade was a blockbuster, but everyone criticized Detroit when it let Gonzalez walk via free agency following the 2000 campaign.

Gonzalez had just three more good years before back problems cut short a solid career. Kapler had a decent 2000 season with Texas and then his production dropped. So you could argue neither side really made out like a bandit.

Moss may hit well down the stretch. Yes, he got off to a slow start.

But to borrow an old cliche, it’s not how you start. It’s how you finish.