While unwilling to trade for one of the best third basemen in the game of baseball, could Cleveland Indians general manager Chris Antonetti have something else up his sleeve when it comes to a deal with the Oakland Athletics? The Indians have been recently linked to As infielder Brandon Moss, with deal that could reportedly be done as soon as Friday. The 31-year old Moss is coming off of hip surgery and is left-handed at the plate, but is under club control (entering arbitration this winter), would be an upgrade in right field and can hit the hell out of the baseball, owning an .844 OPS (135 OPS+) since the beginning of 2012 and hitting 21-plus homers in three straight years–in Oakland.
But what would the Indians send back to Oakland in return for the All-Star? Paul Hoynes of the NEOMG believes that the As covet prospect second baseman Joey Wendle. The 24-year-old produced a slashline of .253/.311/.414 with eight home runs and 50 RBI over 87 games this past season in Double-A Akron.
But could there be more?
Swingin’ As, a Fansided As-centric site, speculates about the return of Nick Swisher. Swisher is due to make $15 million in 2015 and 2016, so Antonetti and the penny-pinching Tribe would likely have to eat a good chunk of the salary, but the addition of Moss would effectively render Swisher without a roster spot. Unfortunately, Hoynes also adds that if the deal goes through, the Indians are not expected to part with a player, or players, on the 40-man roster. Plus, let’s be honest: Neither team in question is looking to spend that kind of money on such a wild card.
If this was the type of deal that would go down, it’s the type that wouldn’t necessarily show up on the books in the way of salary spent, but it’s one that would render Antonetti with a huge win in an offseason that has been otherwise littered with headlines of other teams making big moves. Swisher is an incredible clubhouse guy, something that undoubtedly has value, but if the team feels that there’s little left in the tank, they have little choice but to move on without him. Small market teams can ill afford $15 million coaches who also take up a spot on the 25-man roster.