The Cardinals missed their window on trading this slugger for a fair return

Moises Gomez had a fantastic offensive season in 2022. His trade value was as high as it would ever be. The St. Louis Cardinals should have traded him then.

Houston Astros v St. Louis Cardinals
Houston Astros v St. Louis Cardinals / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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St. Louis Cardinals' minor league outfielder Moises Gomez put together quite the offensive performance in the minors during the 2022 season. Across AA Springfield and AAA Memphis, Gomez had a slash line of .294/.371/.624 to go along with 39 home runs. He had a pedestrian walk rate of 10.4% and a high strikeout rate of 34.7%.

Gomez first made his way into professional baseball as an international signee by the Tampa Bay Rays. Tampa Bay was frustrated with his high strikeout rates and released him in 2021. St. Louis picked him up, hoping they could tap into his power potential. 2022 was evidence of that, as he led the minors in home runs that year. His defense has never been his calling card, but he held his own in the corner outfield in 2022 with 9 outfield assists and a .964 fielding percentage.

Despite his tendency to strike out, the power was very clearly there. A slugging percentage in the .600 range is very strong. He was 24 for about half of the 2022 season, so he was by no means a young prospect, but he was still a prospect on the rise with a strong ability to hit. St. Louis did not have a clear spot for in the corner outfield, as Jordan Walker, Tyler O'Neill, Lars Nootbaar, Alec Burleson, and Brendan Donovan were all candidates to log innings in either left or right field in 2023.

Therefore, it made total sense for the Cardinals to explore trading Moises Gomez in the 2022-2023 offseason after his insane offensive performance. Teams such as the Miami Marlins, Cleveland Guardians, New York Yankees, and San Francisco Giants were all in the market last offseason for a power boost, particularly in the outfield. While Gomez was a bit of a detriment defensively, his bat would have more than made up for it. Additionally, with the Designated Hitter being present in both leagues, he would have profiled excellently as a DH for any team.

Instead of trading Gomez while his stock was highest and while the major league team was in no need of another outfielder, St. Louis held onto him. Now, Gomez is 25, no longer a true prospect, and has fallen back to his usual standards. In 2023, Gomez had a slash line of .232/.293/.457 He still mashed 30 home runs, but his walk rate fell to just 7%, and his strikeout rate remained high at 31.7%.

He didn't get on base as often, and his power, particularly in regards to home runs, decreased. He played the entire season at AAA Memphis, which does limit home runs, but a nine-home-run decrease in more plate appearances is noteworthy. Walks across the minors were up this year due to the Automated Strike Zone, but his walk rate still declined.

Moises Gomez's stock is now as low as it can be. He is 25, he has lost some pop, his strikeouts remain high while his walks decreased, and he isn't a plus defender. While his arm is strong, his range is limited. John Mozeliak should have explored trading the outfielder last year, and now the team has him on the 40-man roster only to take up a space. It is fully possible Gomez returns to his 2022 form this year, but the window to trade him appears to have closed.

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