Brandon Moss: Long Shot Dream or Real Life Possibility?


Is the previously off limits Moss heading to The Land?

Sep 30, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Oakland Athletics designated hitter

Brandon Moss

(37) hits a three-run home run against the Kansas City Royals during the sixth inning of the 2014 American League Wild Card playoff baseball game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Power numbers are eye-grabbing. I mean chicks dig the long ball, am I right? Ask most fans of their fondest memories of baseball and they will probably recant you some story where, you know, Albert Belle hits a game winning grand slam after Kenny Lofton gets a hit, Omar Vizquel and Carlos Baerega both walk in front of him and it was like the biggest thing of ever for some kid in who can still to this day re-enact Belle’s signature stance and batting routine. But I digress. Even with the love of the big fly, power is down across the major leagues. Home runs were down 12% in the regular season 2014 from 2013 according to the ESPN Home Run Tracker. So with everyone looking for that power bat, is it a shock that the Indians are in trade talks with the Oakland Athletics to acquire one of the most proficient home runs hitters in Brandon Moss? According to the A’s beat writer John Hickey, that’s exactly whats happening.

Oakland is in a roster transition at the moment, trying to decide to go for it this year with the signing of Billy Butler for 3 years, $30 million, and retooling for the future after trading arguably their best player in Josh Donaldson for underachieving Brett Lawrie and 3 prospects. Could they be in a dealing mood and strip mining the roster of marketable players for high end prospects while also netting Triple A talent or better in their deals? History shows the the Athletics are never down for long and retool with the best of them. One could argue that Moss would and should be the next to go if that were the case. There is a logjam at first base after Oakland landed Ike Davis from the Pirates to go along with incumbents Moss, Stephen Vogt and the occasional foray on to the field from Butler. The outfield is somewhat less crowded with Josh Reddick, Coco Crisp and Craig Gentry playing right to left and the immortal Sam Fuld waiting in the wings.

More from Cleveland Guardians Rumors

Moss has established himself as one of the league’s preeminent power hitters in the unlikeliest of places: the Coliseum in Oakland, where outfielders have miles to run and pitchers don’t have to worry about every pop fly going yard. He has hit over 20 dingers since coming over to the A’s from the Philadelphia Phillies. However, he is not without his warts. He struck out 153 times in 2014, had an OBP of .334, and had surgery on his hip in the offseason that undoubtedly hampered some of his production in the second half, where he only hit 4 home runs in only 58 games. It remains to be seen how much the hip injury was hurting his production, but it should be noted that hip injuries to players on the wrong side of 30 are never a good thing.

The big question remains, however: what would the Tribe have to give up to get the fastball crushing monster that is Brandon Moss? As I stated earlier, it seems to be the modus operandi of Billy Beane to never go full rebuild. With that in mind, one would suggest that the A’s would be looking for a mixture of major league players with lots of years of team control and prospects to continue to grow their depth in the minors. Having acquired Brett Lawrie this offseason already, it stands to reason that he would take over third base from Josh Donaldson. That still leaves holes at short stop and second base, where the likes of Eric Sogard and Nick Punto are manning those uber-important positions. Could Jose Ramirez and the versatility he brings to the table be on the block? A trade of Ramirez and one of the Tribe’s minor league outfielders, maybe James Ramsey or Tyler Naquin, would satisfy the desires of Beane to add a long term chip to his major league club and give him a depth bat not far from the majors. A pitching prospect such as Cody Anderson or Dylan Baker could also be added to the deal to give the A’s another weapon in the minors.

This kind of move would necessitate Mike Aviles to play short stop until Francisco Lindor was ready to be moved from Triple A Columbus. Moss could be the strong side of a right field platoon with Ryan Raburn getting time against tough lefties while Moss could also spell Carlos Santana at 1B. David Murphy would also be in the mix on days that Moss needs to be the DH if his hip were to continue bothering him in the field.

Moss has the flair for the big fly and has the pedigree that fans are looking for. Trading for Moss does not mean sacrificing the future either. Yes, he is 31 but he is in his second year of arbitration eligibility. An extension buying out the rest of his arbitration years and one or two of his first free agent years could easily be worked out and would tie Moss to the Tribe through the 2019-2020 season. Could he be the next big time power hitter the Wahoo faithful have been longing for? The next piece cast over the side of the Good Ship Moneyball? Only time will tell. Maybe in 2015, some kid in Cleveland will be allowed to stay up late and watch Moss crush a walk off home run for the Tribe, only to mimic his batting stance at practice the next day. History does repeat itself from time to time.