Following an offensive collapse in the second half, Brandon Moss will not be receiving a qualifying offer from the St. Louis Cardinals, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Heading into the All-Star Break, Cardinals utility man Brandon Moss looked like one of the biggest Midsummer Classic snubs in the game. The 32-year old journeyman posted a .910 OPS with 17 home runs in 219 at-bats during the first half, appearing poised for a big pay day this offseason in a thin free agent market.
After returning from the break, however, Moss was unable to rediscover his early success. He hit .191/.248/.392 the rest of the way, including an abysmal month of September in which he hit .084 with only three extra-base hits.
Now, the Cardinals have decided that they will be moving on. ESPN’s Mark Saxon reported Thursday that St. Louis would not be extending Moss a qualifying offer this offseason. According to Saxon, this move is “effectively ending his 1 1/2-year stay with the team.”
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The Cardinals acquired Moss at the trade deadline from the Indians for left-handed pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky during the 2015 season. He has played parts of 10 seasons with five different teams, hitting .241 with 138 home runs in his career.
If it weren’t for his second half slump, Moss could have seen a much bigger number on the contract he signs this winter. Fanrag Sports’ Jon Heyman estimated in September that he would be reeling in a deal in the neighborhood of one-year, $10 million. With no compensation pick attached to his signing, he may be able to earn a little bit more than if he had received a qualifying offer and rejected it.
Moss will be competing with the likes of fellow left-handed first basemen Ryan Howard, Logan Morrison and Adam Lind for bench spots. He holds an advantage over the rest of the pack, however, as he is able to play multiple outfield spots. An estimation of two years and $15 million would probably be a lot closer to the mark.
Health has not been much of an issue for Moss in the past few years. He’s played in at least 128 games in each of the last four seasons and at least 145 in three of the four. While he may not the get the chance to log that many at-bats next season, he would still be a valuable asset off the bench. Without a qualifying offer attached, he could be a big bargain for a club seeking to shore up its bench.