Athletics trade Brandon Moss to Indians
The A’s continue their makeover by sending Brandon Moss to the Indians, who now have another bat at their disposal.
The Oakland Athletics continued their retooling by dealing first baseman/outfielder Brandon Moss to the Cleveland Indians, receiving minor league second baseman Joe Wendle in return. Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan first reported that a deal was done.
Oakland signed Moss as a free agent in 2011 after the Phillies outrighted him off the roster. Since that point, Moss has gone from flier to one of the more productive offensive players in the league, sporting a 135 OPS+ over 376 games from 2012-14, averaging more than 25 home runs per year in that span.
As Moss received more playing time due to productivity, that productivity has declined, from a 162 OPS+ in 2012 to 136 in 2013 and 119 in 2014, though still well above average, and with the last bit of that coming while Moss dealt with a hip injury. Despite some success against left-handed pitching, Moss generally struggles against southpaws and should not be relied upon to produce against them regularly. While he’s unlikely to hit for average, he hasn’t produced a walk rate below 8 percent in his career, and was at a career-high 11 percent in 2014. He can swing-and-miss with the best of them, but it pays off with impressive isolated power production.
Moss is reunited with manager Terry Francona, his first major league manager from back in 2007-08 when they were with the Red Sox.
With Nick Swisher undergoing operations on both knees this offseason and coming off a putrid 2014, it makes sense for Cleveland to fortify their offense in the event he doesn’t recover as quickly — in terms of either health, or production. Moss also gives them flexibility defensively, in that he can slot in at first base or in the outfield, though he offers limited defensive value in either spot, and could see time at designated hitter as well.
Moss made $4.1 million in 2014 and is eligible for salary arbitration both this year and next.
As for Oakland, they’ve already moved Josh Donaldson this offseason, and with Moss getting expensive via the arbitration process, it makes sense that they might look to move him for additional long-term assets.
Wendle, who will turn 25 in April, hit .265/.326/.425 in 93 minor league games in 2014, including .253/.311/.414 with eight home runs and 20 doubles in 87 games for Double-A Akron. The second baseman, drafted by the Indians in the sixth round in 2012, missed six weeks with a broken hamate bone in his right hand.