As the calendar turns to 2017, the St. Louis Cardinals currently plan on using an infield that consists of Matt Carpenter at first base, Kolten Wong at second, Aledmys Diaz at shortstop and Jhonny Peralta at third base.
Matt Adams will serve as the backup first baseman and Jedd Gyorko will be the primary backup at the other three infield positions.
That leaves free agent Brandon Moss as the odd man out. However, as he is still currently a free agent, the Cardinals should consider bringing him back.
Wong is no sure thing at second base, which means Carpenter could be forced to move back to the position. Also, Peralta battled injuries last season and can’t be relied on to stay healthy for a full year as he gets older.
For those reasons, and a few more below, GM John Mozeliak should entertain the idea of bringing Moss back to St. Louis for a second full season:
He’s versatile: Moss can play first base and both corner outfield spots, and he’s actually not a bad defender.
That versatility will give him plenty of chances to crack the St. Louis lineup if the Cardinals decide they want to re-sign him for the 2017 season.
Dexter Fowler, Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty will be the regular starters in the outfield and Tommy Pham figures to be the fourth man in the rotation, but Grichuk, Piscotty and Pham are all right-handed hitters.
Moss would be a good play against tough righties to give the Cardinals’ batting order some balance.
He provides some pop: Though Moss only hit .225 last season, he slugged 28 home runs and picked up 67 RBI.
The 28 homers were good for second on the team, behind only Jedd Gyorko, who hit 30. For a team that has struggled to hit for power in recent years (though the Cardinals mashed plenty in 2016), keeping Moss around isn’t the worst idea.
He’s a good pinch hitter: In 21 pinch-hit at-bats in 2016, Moss hit .286, with six hits, three home runs and seven RBI.
Yes, Matt Adams provides similar pop off the bench, but Moss’s versatility and ability to play the outfield make him a valuable potential piece for what’s expected to be a playoff squad in 2017.
If Moss will accept a one- or two-year deal that doesn’t break the bank, he should be welcomed back to St. Louis with open arms.