Position: First Base / Outfield
Bats: Left – Throws: Right
Born: September 16, 1983 (Age 33)
Brandon Moss enters the offseason in enviable fashion; with no qualifying offer attached to the 33-year-old and coming off a season where he posted his second highest home run total (28) of his career, highest OPS (.784) since 2013 with Oakland, and offers versatility in the field, as he plays both first base and the corner outfield spots.
Moss spent the entire 2016 season with the St. Louis Cardinals, putting up a slash line of .225/.300/.484 with the aforementioned 28 homers, and 67 RBI in 128 games played. Moss had a solid year in the power department, posting a slugging percentage of .484, the highest it’s been since 2013, while posting a .259 ISO, 14th best among players with at least 400 at-bats in 2016.
Just as Jay Bruce intrigued the Mets with his superior numbers with RISP, Moss too had an excellent year in that department, slashing .258/.383/.573 with seven home runs and 42 RBI. And in high leverage situations, according to Baseball-Reference, Moss has an .826 OPS in 64 at-bats in 2016, indicating that he excelled in high pressure situations.
At the conclusion of August, Moss had a stat line of .261/.333/.562, good for an .895 OPS. However, a prolonged slump in September/October but a damper on that gaudy stat line, as Moss went 9-for-91 to close out the 2016 season.
Moss does come with some warts though. As a lefty hitter, Moss had his issues against southpaws in ’16, putting up an OPS of .664 and hitting only three of his 28 homers against left-handed pitching. He hit much better against lefties in 2014-15 however, posting a .792 OPS in ’14 and .721 in ’15, both better marks than he put up against righties in both those years.
His defense is also a bit suspect, as he posted a -10.1 UZR/150 at first base this past season according to Fangraphs, and a -3 in defensive runs saved. He fared much better in the outfield, where he posted a combined 14.1 UZR/150 between left and right field in 507.1 innings, with three defensive runs saved.
Moss earned $8.25 million this past year, after the Cardinals tendered him a contract last winter. He’ll be looking for at least a two-year deal, and could find multiple suitors for his skill set, including the Nationals, Orioles, Blue Jays, and Angels. Best guess, Moss secures a two-year $16-18 million contract in the offseason and continues to play both in the outfield and at first. Similar contracts include Mike Morse in the 2014 offseason signing a two-year $16 million deal with the Miami Marlins, and Michael Cuddyer signing his two-year $21 million deal with the Mets prior to the 2015 season, before retiring at the conclusion of the year.
The Mets should pass on Moss. The team already has many left-handed hitting options in the positions Moss plays, particularly in the outfield with Michael Conforto, Curtis Granderson, and Bruce already in place, and then Lucas Duda manning first. A few other areas of worry about Moss include his declining OBP since 2012, his rising K% since 2014, and his diminishing BB% the last three seasons. The team should allocate its finances towards bringing in several bullpen arms, bringing in a right-handed bench player who kills lefties (Justin Ruggiano comes to mind), and of course, re-signing Yoenis Cespedes.