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Storylines: Indians, Athletics talking about Brandon Moss

Storylines: Indians, Athletics talking about Brandon Moss
Brandon Moss (Photo: AP)
December 4, 2014
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Top Stories:

The Braves signed outfielder Nick Markakis to a four-year $44 million deal on Wednesday. His arrival helps fill the void left by the departure of Jason Heyward who was dealt a few weeks ago and should help fill the loss in right field for the Braves both defensively and offensively.

The Mariners and Blue Jays completed a trade on Wednesday as outfielder Michael Saunders was sent to Toronto and lefty J.A. Happ was sent to Seattle. Both teams have been very active this offseason and continue to make significant changes to their rosters.

Tribe News:

According to John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group the Athletics are listening to the Indians on offers forBrandon Moss. Moss could play first base, corner outfield and designated hitter for the Indians and offer a lot of power from the left side of the plate. Over the last three seasons with Oakland he has hit .254 with 76 homers and .844 OPS. If the Indians add Moss it would likely mean that one of David Murphy or Nick Swisher are traded.

Other News and Notes:

The Royals resigned right-handed reliever Luke Hochevar to a two year $10 million deal on Wednesday.

The Braves signed right-handed reliever Jim Johnson to a one year $1.6 million deal on Wednesday.

According to several reports, the Dodgers are looking at Jon Lester and are expected to make a major push for him. He has interest from several teams and has already met with the Giants, Cubs, Red Sox, Braves and Cardinals.

The push for lefty reliever Andrew Miller intensified on Wednesday as Jon Heyman reported the Yankees are willing to give him a fourth year, a deal that could pay him $40M or more. The Astros appear out of the running and the only other team in on him reportedly is the Dodgers – though the Red Sox have some interest.

Heyman notes that the Royals have reached out to Melky Cabrera though may not be able to afford him as he is seeking a five year deal. Heyman lists the Reds, Mariners, Orioles and White Sox as possible fits for him.

Heyman also notes that the Orioles, Padres and Mariners have shown interest in Matt Kemp of the Dodgers. Heyman also notes that rival executives believe the Dodgers are reluctant to pull the trigger on any Kemp deal.

Buster Olney reported the Royals and Ervin Santana have mutual interest to complete a deal, but he wants five years and the Royals are not comfortable going beyond three years.

Joel Sherman reports that the Braves have received several offers for Justin Upton and the feeling is now that the Braves have signed Nick Markakis that they will move Upton.

Jerry Crasnick says that the Rockies have interest in catcher Nick Hundley and that if he is acquired it could meanWilin Rosario is traded.

According to Ken Rosenthal, catcher David Ross is being courted by the Cubs, Braves and Padres.

Rosenthal also reported that the Padres have agreed to sign shortstop Clint Barnes to a one year deal with an option for 2016.

Chris Cotillo reported that the Rangers are interesting in bringing back former catcher Geovany Soto.

Cotillo also notes former Indians outfielder Nyjer Morgan is looking to return to the big leagues next season, but has also drawn interest from some Asian teams.

A day after non-tendering him the Blue Jays resigned first baseman Justin Smoak to a one year $1 million deal.

The Orioles have signed right-handed pitcher Eddie Gamboa to a Major League contract.

Follow Tony and the Indians Baseball Insider on Twitter @TonyIBI. Also, his new book the 2014 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.

User Comments

Tony
December 4, 2014 - 5:50 PM EST
If that happens then you absolutely keep Kipnis at second base. He's an All Star type if playing like he did in 2013. Ramirez would then move into a utility role (but play regularly). It would be a good problem to have.
nubballguy
December 4, 2014 - 5:42 PM EST
Thanks again for the reply and I'm sorry to be beating this to death but what I was trying to get at was not so much based on what's already on the books so to speak but if BOTH were doing well thru May/June- sort of living up to their hoped for projections (Kipnis first half 2013, JRam playing at close to .300 level with good OBP).
In that sort of scenario, what do you (and any others that care to chime in) think would be the way to go?
I know its all hypothetical of course but. in this best case scenario, what do you think is the best move?
Tony
December 4, 2014 - 5:24 PM EST
Right now I prefer Kipnis over Ramirez if I had to make a decision based on what we know to date. Ramirez is still rather inexperienced and an unknown, and while Kipnis had a poor season we know he had an injury he played through and has a track record as a solid to good fringe All Star type at second base. After this coming season that can all change of course.
nubballguy
December 4, 2014 - 4:22 PM EST
Tony I appreciate the reply but what I think I'm getting is what you think the Indians will do in response and I do understand that, even if I think it's a sort of lockstep thinking. My question is more about what you personally think is the best move for them to make. And if that's it, that's fine of course.

I just think that if you compare the two, Kipnis circa first half 2013 provides offense including some HR pop with a rather well documented mediocre at best defense. At 2nd base, Ramirez provides the upside defensively without the same level of HR power certainly, theoretically he hits for average and improves his OBP. I think speed and stolen base wise, they are about a wash unless you might slightly favor Ramirez in that regard. The final factor is the cost one as Ramirez is a very significant cost savings to Kipnis, perhaps $ that can be applied elsewhere or to whomsoever Kipnis brings back from a team needing an experienced 2nd baseman.

I think I'm just enamored with the thought of a modern day version of the Alomar/Vizquel keystone combo that you can lock down for 6-7 years minimum is most exciting to me. Also, Kipnis has not shown the consistency to produce for a full year at a consistent level to date so, perhaps "selling high" on an early season hot streak might be exactly that.

All hypothetical of course but curious if that sort of scenario were to play out which way you (and the IBI crowd)_ would go with it.
Tony
December 4, 2014 - 2:07 PM EST
Nuballlguy, Kipnis is the second baseman for the Indians for the foreseeable future. If he is playing well he is staying there and not being traded. Even if he is struggling, he's not moving to another position and I don't see them selling off on him now. Perhaps all of that changes at the end of the 2015 season if he is just as bad as he was in 2014. But for the 2015 season, unless he is hurt, he is the second baseman. Provided Lindor is healthy and Kipnis is healthy, then when Lindor arrives Ramirez moves into a utility role or even goes to Columbus if they hold onto Aviles.
nubballguy
December 4, 2014 - 1:33 PM EST
Tony, here is a question: if both Ramirez and Kipnis are doing well by the time Lindor is ready to come up, which would you "sell high" on Kipnis ot Ramirez?
Or would you just go conservative and move Aviles so Ramirez can play the utl role?
Daingean
December 4, 2014 - 11:22 AM EST
I know this thread is about Moss and I would certainly include J-Ram in that deal.

1. I am not convinced that J-Ram has as high of a ceiling as some on here think. He's got a upper cut swing and not a line drive stroke. IMO, MLB pitchers will eventually find a way to exploit that swing.

2. I also wouldn't trade Lindor unless you get a real difference maker (someone that puts us as a favourite to win the AL Central (IMO, Donaldson only makes us a contender). A talent like Lindor is so valuable. Plus as a first round draft pick (for a team that hasn't had a lot of success with their first rounders recently) Lindor is much more valuable to the whole psyche of the franchise.

3. Also first comment was including Frazier in the deal.....No way......Frazier (IMO) has the highest ceiling in the organisation. He may never achieve that but I'd rather hold on to him to find out.

Homer
December 4, 2014 - 10:57 AM EST
Walter,

The Marlins are reportedly interested in making him their new 1b. They are rumored to be willing to part with LHSP prospect Andrew Heaney. Id like to see the Tribe pursue Heaney, he'd be a good add and offer MOR upside.
Walter
December 4, 2014 - 10:27 AM EST
Reports say multiple teams interested in Moss, but the Indians were the only one mentioned by name. I wonder that the Indians have the best offer on the table, but Beane is using the Indians as leverage to get the package he really wants?

Just wondering if that is the case.

Homer
December 4, 2014 - 10:23 AM EST
Honestly I don't like the thoughts of trading two upper level OF (Ramsey and Naquin) in the same deal. However, the addition of Zimmer, Allen, Papi and others makes it more palatable.
Homer
December 4, 2014 - 10:20 AM EST
I would flip David Murphy to TX for Ryan Rua. They need a RF and lost out on Hunter. Rios will leave in FA. Maybe to the Orioles, Mariners, and Indians (if they don't get Moss).

Adding Moss (depending on the cost) and trading Murphy is addition by subtraction. It would only add $1M to payroll, so I'd consider that a good move.

I'm all in on making it a blockbuster deal. No doubt BB is willing, if he gets his asking price. I would like to see about any number of A's added including Shark, Kazmir, Reddick, Crisp, Doolittle, Cook, Parker, Norris.
James
December 4, 2014 - 10:13 AM EST
I actually agree with Tondo. I feel like JRam keeps learning and getting better. He also seems hungry for success. I like the way he plays.

I know it is sacrilege on this site, but the person I would sell high on is Lindor. I wouldn't trade him for Moss alone, but I would be looking to see if I couldn't get a major league ready elite pitching or OF for him.
Jeff P
December 4, 2014 - 10:06 AM EST
Moss in the 5 hole for this team makes our line up measurably better. Allows us to hit Swisher 2 where he has had success. Splits up Santana and Gomes. Lindor will be our SS and Kipnis our 2B, at least this year. We still have Walters, Gonzalez and even Chang way down the chain who are here or on the way. Our depth is middle infield and outfield. If we can strike a deal from that depth, we do it
Tony
December 4, 2014 - 9:54 AM EST
I see JRam becoming a Luis Castillo-lite kind of player in the big leagues. A very good defensive second baseman, some good speed and can handle the bat. Maybe not as many stolen bases or as high an average or OBP as Castillo had (hence the "lite"), but a compliment nonetheless if you ask me.
Tondo
December 4, 2014 - 9:51 AM EST
I understand your thought process, Tony. JRam may never become a good SS, but he was still the best we've seen in years. There's just something about him. He keeps jumping every hurdle in his way. You seem to think he's due to stumble or that he's overachieved, whereas I think he hasnt touched his ceiling yet.

It's also no guarantee that Lindor is ready next season and Kipnis returns to form. I think the chances of both happening are at 50% at best for next season.
Walter
December 4, 2014 - 9:50 AM EST
If the deal is Ramirez, Naquin, Ramsey, and a prospect for Moss do it.

Personally I would turn it into a blockbuster trade.

Ramirez-Naquin-Ramsey-Salazar-Hagadone-Crockett

Moss-Samardzija-Doolittle


Josh
December 4, 2014 - 9:41 AM EST
I had a dream last night that the tribe acquired the shark. Maybe they could do a package deal with moss for House, naquin, jram, and cody Anderson.
Tony
December 4, 2014 - 9:33 AM EST
I'm a huge Ramirez honk. Have been for a long time and was one of the first to even bring him to the attention of Indians fans. My only point is he is being overrated. I will say it again, and that is he is not an everyday shortstop option for a championship caliber team. He's a nice fill in like he was last season, but the warts will show over the course of a full season. He can certainly handle the position, just there are some limitations which will show the more he plays there on an extended basis. Like I said, strike while the iron is hot. And if by chance he does in fact prove to be a viable shortstop option, then bully for the Indians.....but that proof likely comes with another team as unless Lindor is hurt, but May/June Ramirez will never play shortstop again except to fill in to give Lindor a break, gets hurt or if he falls flat on his face.
Tondo
December 4, 2014 - 9:21 AM EST
With all due respect Tony, but this wouldn't be the first time you've underestimated JRam. I remember you saying that he's no SS option too. He's been your redheaded spec stepchild for some time now, probably because he jumped king Lindor.

JRam's projected WAR is higher than Moss' and I don't think his bat or defense are unsustainable. If anything, I think there's a lot of upside left. Where exactly do you envision his game to regress? And even f he slides into Aviles'-role in a best case scenario, which is actually 50/50 at best, he still offers tremendous value to the Indians. Maybe he will lose trade value, but who cares if they just keep him and he becomes an elite Util/bench player with over 450PAs/season?

Beane is smart. He asks for prospects who are big league ready or close to it. He would never accept a deal with Frazier/EGonzo, although you and others would consider that a much higher price, for reasons I, in turn, will never understand.

That said, Beane can have 3 of any prospects, except Lindor, JRam and Urshela...and no 2014 draftees. Frazier/EGonzo/Naquin is probably way too much, but I wouldn't lose any sleep since it has no impact on next 2 seasons. If the Indians are serious to win now, that's the kind of deal to make. If Beane wants to get overwhelmed, do it with future promise, but, again, I doubt a GM trading away Russell is as prospect hype happy as most on here
Mark
December 4, 2014 - 9:07 AM EST
Totally agree, Tony. The A's continually field competitive teams because Beane knows when to trade guys at peak value. I'm tired of seeing our prospects flame out. They are currency. We need to use the surplus, even if it means seeing them go on to have good careers elsewhere. In MLB the goal of trades is to get better, not fleece the other team. Who cares if Ramirez turns into an all star? We want to win a World Series, not collect the best group of middle infield prospects in MLB.

I don't care if we make this specific deal, I just hope Antonetti has the kahonies to make this team better and put us in a spot to win.
Tony
December 4, 2014 - 9:06 AM EST
I'd like to see a Moss deal expanded where the Indians also get an upper level pitcher with control (and options) in return so the Indians can add depth. It would mean parting with some good prospects, but so be it. No one beyond Lindor is untouchable for me.
Jeff P
December 4, 2014 - 8:58 AM EST
Gregg, where has that package been reported? No where I can find. While I'm sure all 3 names could be in the discussion, highly doubtful all 3 are involved. Power is in short supply across baseball, and Moss has it. Should be even better in our ball park. JRam is a utility guy for us by June and Naquin and Ramsey are redundant. We're dealing from depth here if they are part of the package. Would be a great deal
Tony
December 4, 2014 - 8:35 AM EST
I would have zero problem trading Ramirez in a package for Moss. It is the cost of doing business. Ramirez is a good player and I would hate to see him go, but as I have been saying he is at the height of his value if you ask me. Once he gets bumped off shortstop by May/June or just plays more games there, his value is going to start to diminish. He's one of the most overrated players on the team if you ask me. Solid complementary player and nice fill in at shortstop, but unless he is playing second base everyday his warts will start to show over a full season.
Mark
December 4, 2014 - 8:34 AM EST
I think Ramirez for Moss straight up, is probably fair value. Moss is coming off an injury, but does have decent upside. Ramirez, while he could be good, has a good chance of being exposed offensively in the future. Given the years of control difference, I'd say that is a fair trade since the Tribe is in "win now" mode. I will say, if Antonetti is pursuing this, I'd guess he already has a trade of David Murphy already lined up, in order to dump a LH bat.

Now, what I wouldn't mind seeing is a 3 for 2 deal, with Moss and Cook coming to Cleveland for say, Ramirez, Naquin, and Wendle.
Homer
December 4, 2014 - 8:24 AM EST
Add Lawrie, Griffin, Robertson, Olson, Overton, Alcantara, and Ynoa as possible pieces involved in a larger deal.

Yes, Lawrie could be dealt.

Beane supposedly loves him, but, I think he'd trade his own mom in the right deal. Jarrod Parker and AJ Griffin would be two pieces (both returning from TJ), I would ask for in return. Would mind Kazmir, but I doubt that happens.
Homer
December 4, 2014 - 8:17 AM EST
There's some gamble involved with Brandon Moss. He's a late bloomer, but has legit LH power. Two yrs of control at about $7M and maybe $10-12M next yr. He'd be locked up for basically two yrs and $18M. The interesting thing here is, he's LH but career numbers give him dead even R/LH splits at .248. Moss can man RF, LF, 1b and DH. The same spots as Nick Swisher...making another deal a reasonable possibility? That likely mean Swisher or Murphy get traded.

Rosenthal tweeted the two clubs are still discussing possible returns.

If what Gregg said is true (JRam, Naquin, Ramsey and a prospect), there's NO WAY I make that trade. That virtually depletes their upper level OF depth and SS depth in one deal. No thanks. Moss is controllable and has power, primarily against LHP, but I don't think the risk is worth the reward.

However, I will suggest there could be more pieces involved in a deal making it worthwhile for the Tribe.
That is, possible adds...young SP, or any of Reddick, Crisp, Punto, Doolittle, Cook, Norris, and of course, Samardzija, Kazmir, Parker. I'm not suggesting the Tribe would get any (or all) of those guys, just simply suggesting, the deal COULD involve more than Moss coming back IF it does go down.
Ron Vollmar
December 4, 2014 - 7:59 AM EST
When I mentioned a combination trade with Moss involved. Does Oakland have a starting pitcher major league ready to add to Moss to get a better return from the Cleveland Indians?
Ron Vollmar
December 4, 2014 - 7:56 AM EST
It will be interesting to see what the Cleveland Indians will be willing to give up for Moss.

A big bat added to the lineup would be a big help.

Is the deal going to be one for one, or a combination of players?
gregg
December 4, 2014 - 7:14 AM EST
If you want a left hander sign Dirks. He's cheaper, younger, a much better outfielder than Moss who can play all the outfield positions, and won't cost any players. He was injured last year but his chances of coming back to his previous level I believe is much better than Moss's.

Why in the world the Indians would consider dealing with Billy Beane is beyond me. Even though I wasn't interested in Donaldson, he certainly didn't give the Indians a chance to be in the bidding process. I'm not interested in their second rate ball players.
John
December 4, 2014 - 7:09 AM EST
No way, don't give more than 1 top prospect for Moss, the Indians will need those guys going forward.
gregg
December 4, 2014 - 7:00 AM EST
Moss is a typical player the Indians would go after. Basically a one dimensional player who hits from the wrong side, his best days are behind him, is under team control for only two years, and whose cost in player aquisition is way more than his worth.

I have a better idea sign Rios and wait a year for Zimmer to become ready. Under no circumstances would I help rebuild Bean's franchise. The four players listed in the package would help the A's for years. I also believe Ramirez will be far more valuable than Moss ever was .
gregg
December 4, 2014 - 6:15 AM EST
The reported package was Ramirez, Naquin, Ransey, and another top package. Thanks but no thanks.

Laporta was supposed to be okay after hip surgergy. I'm not sure he is a swithch hitter.

I'm really not interested in trading with B. Beane.
Clay
December 4, 2014 - 5:25 AM EST
FWIW It was reported last night that the Indians aren't the only team talking to Oakland about Moss, and nothing is close to happening.
C L Who
December 4, 2014 - 1:54 AM EST
Moss does have a significant question mark.....his hip injury that required surgery after the season. But, his surgeon says he'll be good to go come ST.

His splits are inconclusive. All his HR power is from the left side, but in 2014 he hit LHP 60 points better than RHP and in 2013 the opposite. Hard to say what 2015 will bring.

25 bombs playing for the As is huge because of the gigantic field in Oakland.

All things considered, I prefer Van Slyke, but surely would not complain about a signing of Moss. Swish is not currently tradeable, so if Moss is in Murphy is out.
art
December 4, 2014 - 1:35 AM EST
Moss would be a very good pickup at a reasonable trade price. He wasn't great last year but he faded badly due to injury the last couple of months. I'd deal a lesser pitcher and prospects, knowing Beane a little bit I'd think he'd try for a combination of guys like Clint Frazier, Erik Gonzalez, Tony Wolters or Adam Plutko plus a major league capable starting pitcher.

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