The A’s appear ready to ship another of their marquee players out of Oakland soon.
The Cleveland Indians are “guardedly optimistic” that a trade for All-Star first baseman Brandon Moss will get done, according to a tweet from the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Paul Hoynes, who adds there’s no timetable for getting a deal completed.
Trading Moss would not be an unexpected move from the A’s, but it would be another blow to the core of a team that’s coming off three consecutive trips to the postseason.
[STIGLICH: Donaldson trade: Bringer of pain to A's players]
Third baseman and No. 3 hitter Josh Donaldson was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday for a package of four players. And when the A’s tendered a contract to recently acquired first baseman Ike Davis on Tuesday, it was a strong sign that Moss would be on the trading block.
Other teams also reportedly have interest in Moss, but things seem to be progressing with the Indians, who are looking to beef up their offense after a third-place finish in the American League Central last season.
One player reported as a potential piece coming back to Oakland is 23-year-old shortstop prospect Erik Gonzalez. He enjoyed a nice season in the minors last year, hitting .309 with four homers, 62 RBI, 10 triples and 21 stolen bases split between Single-A and Double-A. Gonzalez hit .357 with Double-A Akron but has played just 31 games at that level, so it stands to reason he’d require more seasoning.
But the A’s are in need of a major league-ready shortstop for next season with Jed Lowrie set to depart as a free agent. With that in mind, they might also target Jose Ramirez, 22, a switch hitter who played well at short for Cleveland after they traded Asdrubal Cabrera to Washington last season.
The A’s also have right-hander Jeff Samardzija to dangle as one of the more highly coveted trade pieces on the market. If they don’t get a big-league ready shortstop in a Moss trade, it figures they’ll look to land one if they indeed decide to deal Samardzija.
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If Moss was to depart, he would be the third piece of an All-Star trifecta of run producers the A’s have dealt since last July. Yoenis Cespedes was dealt to Boston at the trade deadline for lefty Jon Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes. On Friday, Donaldson was shipped to Toronto for third baseman Brett Lawrie, pitchers Kendall Graveman and Sean Nolin and 18-year-old shortstop prospect Franklin Barreto.