After a quiet start to the offseason, the Cleveland Indians have finally made a move. The Indians announced they have acquire All Star first baseman Brandon Moss from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for minor league second baseman Joe Wendle. The rumors had been swirling over the past week about Moss and the Indians. Susan Slusser, beat writer for the As for the San Francisco Chronicle reported last week that Oakland wanted Wendle in the deal so it was only a matter of when not if the deal would be completed.
The Indians are getting a good power hitter out of Brandon Moss. He’s hit 76 of his 91 career home runs over the last three seasons with Oakland. He’s not the greatest contact hitter with a career batting average of .254. He made the All Star team last season after batting .268 and hitting 21 home runs and driving in 66 runs. He struggled in the second half of the season batting .173 and only hitting 4 home runs and driving in 15 runs. Moss was dealing with a hip injury during the second half of the season but after receiving a cortisone shot before the American League Wild Card game, Moss hit two home runs and driving in 5 of the 8 runs Oakland scored in the 9-8 loss to the Kansas City Royals. Moss should be inserted into the heart of the Indians lineup, a projected lineup has him as the fifth hitter in the order between Carlos Santana and Yan Gomes. He can play at first base and also go out into the outfield and give Michael Brantley and David Murphy a day off when they need it. Moss’ contract is also team friendly as the Indians have control of him through the 2017 season. Moss is projected to make 7 million dollars this offseason through arbitration.
The Indians had depth within the minor league system when it came to infielders which made Joe Wendle trade bait. He impressed the Indians coaches during training camp last season but there wasn’t a strong chance he would’ve made it to the major league level with prospects like Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor and Erik Gonzalez as well as All Star second baseman Jason Kipnis in front of Wendle. Wendle is a .292 career hitter in the minor league system and many have said Wendle could be one season away from making it to the major leagues.
I think the Indians made a good trade with Oakland. Moss is a risk with the hip injury but the Indians needed the power bat and had enough depth in the infield to make this deal with Oakland. I expect the Indians to make more moves this offseason and don’t be surprised to see one or two of Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, Ryan Raburn and David Murphy be moved in the offseason with the Indians having over 50 million of their payroll committed to the outfield with the addition of Moss.