Brandon Moss for Rob Kaminsky lacked notoriety, but it is widely considered one of the best this summer
The Cleveland Indians didn’t make any moves of immediate significance for the second consecutive trade deadline. They weren’t reportedly involved in talks for Yoenis Cespedes and it seems they were never really close on making the much-opined acquisition of Carlos Gomez.
Yet, despite the perceived inaction, general manager Chris Antonetti may have pulled off the best traded of the week with his acquisition of pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky in exchange for veteran outfielder Brandon Moss. At least, that is according to David Laurila of FanGraphs.com. While Laurila acknowledges Moss as a solid player (Cleveland fans might beg to differ), he also highlights Moss’s offseason hip surgery and looming arbitration as two significant deterrents for the Indians.
Even Jim Callis of MLB.com went as far as to call the trade a “flat-out heist” for the Tribe. Antonetti essentially flipped mid-level prospect Joey Wendle for the organization’s new No. 3 prospect, which led Ben Humphrey of SB Nation’s Viva El Birdos to conclude that “the Cardinals paid a higher prospect price this July than the Indians did last December for a lesser term of club control and a worse hitter.”
The fact they were able to exchange an aging outfielder for a 20-year-old left-hander who has done nothing but sparkle since he was draft No. 28 overall in 2013 is astonishing. In 217.1 professional innings, Kaminsky has compiled a 14-10 record with a 2.15 ERA. He was 8-2 with a microscopic 1.88 ERA in 18 starts in Single-A last season before posting a 6-5 mark with a 2.09 ERA in Single-A Advanced in 2015.
Kaminsky undoubtedly has a long way to go before he is ready to take the mound in Cleveland but, as Darren Willman of MLBfarm.com points out, Kaminsky’s batted ball splits are very Dallas Keuchel-like.
While there is certainly some risk to any acquisition, especially one that involves such a young prospect, the Indians simultaneously accomplished three things with this deal:
- They shed the remainder of Moss’s $6.5 million contract and avoided arbitration with a declining player who is due for a hefty raise.
- They cleared a roster spot for Lonnie Chisenhall, who will likely get one last look in Cleveland before the Tribe moves on from him.
- They pulled in an exciting young prospect who projects as an effective mid-rotation starter in the major leagues.
It will be several years before any foregone conclusion can be made about this trade but, as it stands now, the Tribe seems to have made one of the most underrated moves of the deadline.