Indians Rumors: Tribe should move Brandon Moss by trade deadline

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The Cleveland Indians are 0-for-3.

They swung and missed at both Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher, the club’s two significant free agent acquisitions from three years ago. And they whiffed again this offseason with the trade for veteran outfielder Brandon Moss.

It has been disappointing, no doubt.

Moss was coming off his lone All-Star season with the Oakland Athletics. He hit .234/.334/.438 and clubbed 25 home runs to go alongside 81 RBIs. It was his second consecutive season with 80-plus RBIs and third such season with 20-plus home runs. Perhaps most importantly, Moss was a .243 hitter and drove in 57 runs last season with runners in scoring position.

And then this year happened.

Through 87 games this season, Moss has regressed tremendously. He is hitting just .223/.298/.430 and, while his home run numbers (15) are still there, the veteran lefty has gone a putrid 19-for-98 with 33 strikeouts with runners in scoring position this year.

He’s been alarmingly disappointing in his first year in Cleveland, prompting Indians’ president Mark Shapiro to say:

"[Brandon Moss has] been as productive as we hoped he’d be. If you project his numbers at the end of the year he’s going to be a very productive power hitter that strikes out a lot. I think he’s been better than we would have thought defensively, especially coming off the surgery he had."

Shapiro was surprisingly candid and willing to talk in depth about players who have not lived up to expectations. He was clearly frustrated with his team’s performance. And, though most executives would be unwilling to go on record with such blunt commentary, Shapiro likely understated his disappointment — especially when it comes to his prized offseason acquisition.

This week, C.J. Nitkowski of FOX Sports reports the Tribe is looking to deal the veteran outfielder — and his inflated contract — elsewhere at the deadline. Nitkowski writes:

"Brandon Moss is in right field for the Indians this season and is under control in 2016 before he becomes a free agent. I believe Cleveland would love to move him. He’s making $6.5M this year and will see a substantial raise in 2016. Moss’s batting average (.218) and OBP (.294) have been a disappointment in Cleveland. He’ll likely hit 25-28 home runs but with below average defense that’s not what the Indians need right now. If they can find a taker before the trading deadline Moss will be somewhere else the remainder of the season."

Moss, for the next two years, is slated to block the progression of a talented outfield group currently playing at Triple-A Columbus. Tyler Holt, James Ramsey and Tyler Naquin — along with Double-A slugger Bradley Zimmer.

Something has to give. And, while the contracts of both Bourn and Swisher are likely unmovable, the Indians could get something in return for Moss from a desperate contender.

Going into next season with three bad contracts is just not acceptable for a small market team.

Let’s see your best (and most realistic) trade proposals below, Tribe fans.

Next: 2015 Midseason Top Prospects

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