Indians remain in trade talks with A's about Moss

First baseman/outfielder under contractual control until at least '16

Indians remain in trade talks with A's about Moss

CLEVELAND -- The Indians have been pushing hard to acquire slugger Brandon Moss from the A's for the past few days, but the talks remained ongoing as of Friday afternoon.

Cleveland's interest in Moss was first reported on Wednesday, but the two sides continue to work on the details of a potential swap. While a timetable for a deal is uncertain at the moment, there's optimism within the Indians' front office that the club has the pieces to help a trade come to fruition.

Indians middle-infield prospect Joe Wendle has been reportedly discussed as part of the trade.

One of Cleveland's goals for this winter was to add an impact bat, and Moss comes with the kind of power that the Indians are interested in injecting into their offense.

Moss is a left-handed slugger with the ability to belt 20-plus home runs and the versatility to handle first base or right field. It is a similar role currently held by Cleveland's Nick Swisher, who will head into Spring Training on the comeback trail after August surgery on both knees. Given Swisher's uncertain status, Moss could offer some insurance for the Tribe.

Moss is eligible for arbitration for the second time after earning $4.1 million last year with the A's and is under contractual control through at least the 2016 campaign.

Last season, the 31-year-old Moss turned in a .234/.334/.438 slash line to go along with 25 home runs and 81 RBIs in 147 games for Oakland. In the American League Wild Card Game against the Royals, Moss had two home runs and five RBIs for an historic showing in Oakland's extra-inning loss. He made the All-Star team with a strong first half, but faded over the final two months of the season, batting .162 with a .575 OPS in that span.

One factor behind Moss' second-half issues was the fact that he was playing through a right hip injury.

On Oct. 21, Moss underwent surgery on his right hip in Nashville, Tenn., where Dr. Thomas Byrd performed the procedure. The expectation is that Moss will be able to resume running drills by January, putting him on target to be ready for the beginning of the season.

In 2013, Moss hit .256 with 30 home runs, 87 RBIs and an .859 OPS in 145 games for the A's, who signed him as a free agent prior to the 2012 season. In his first year with Oakland, he hit 21 homers and posted a .954 OPS in only 84 games. Moss has a .248/.326/.460 slash line in parts of eight Major League seasons with Boston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Oakland.

From 2012-14, Moss' rate of one home run per 15.93 at-bats ranked ninth in the Majors among the 159 batters with at least 1,300 plate appearances. Moss (76 home runs) is one of 30 batters to belt at least 70 long balls in that three-year time period, but he has the fewest plate appearances among that select group.

Moss played for Indians manager Terry Francona during the 2007-08 seasons with the Red Sox.

Moss would give Cleveland another right-field option to go along with David Murphy, Ryan Raburn and Swisher (if he is cleared by the medical staff to help in the outfield). At first base, Carlos Santana projects to be the starting option, though Swisher and Moss both have plenty of experience at the position. Francona could also get creative with his use of the designated-hitter role to help the positional glut.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.