Posted on January 30, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
In a trade completed Monday night, the Oakland A’s have acquired first baseman Brandon Moss and pitcher Ryan Buchter from the Kansas City Royals. In exchange, the Royals have received pitchers Jesse Hahn and Heath Fillmyer. The Royals are also sending $3.25 million to Oakland to help cover the $8.25 million Moss is set to make this season.
For the Royals, the trade appears to be mostly a salary dump. They signed Moss to a two-year deal last offseason. However, the deal was backloaded, leaving them on the hook for $8.25 million in 2018. By shipping him to Oakland with a little cash, they have saved $5 million in payroll for the upcoming season. That has led to speculation that the Royals are working to re-sign free agent Eric Hosmer.
“It’s been a unique offseason, as you know. Unlike any I’ve been part of,” said Royals GM Dayton Moore. “We remain interested in obviously bringing back Eric and we’re hoping for others as well, but right now I think it’s important we continue to not get antsy, not get overanxious with the market, and we’ll see what happens.”
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Without Moss, the Royals have no obvious candidate to play first base this season. That means Kansas City is likely in the market for a first baseman before the start of spring training. Players like Lucas Duda, Logan Morrison, and Adam Lind could also be options at first base. However, the Royals would no doubt prefer to re-sign Hosmer.
Meanwhile, there are already indications that the A’s would like to flip Moss before the season. Youngster Matt Olson is in line to be Oakland’s primary first baseman this season. The A’s are also planning on Khris Davis being their primary DH, leaving little room for Moss. Despite contributing 22 home runs, Moss hit just .207 with an OPS of .707 last year. That could make it difficult for the A’s to trade him elsewhere.
In addition to Moss, the A’s have also added bullpen help through this trade. The 30-year old has emerged as a reliable lefty reliever over the past two seasons. Butcher posted a 2.79 ERA in 71 appearances between the Padres and Royals in 2017.
Meanwhile, the Royals have received both salary relief from this trade, as well as rotation help. Hahn has been up and down during his three seasons in Oakland and holds a career ERA of 4.19. He should be in the mix for the last spot in Kansas City’s rotation.
“He’s got a great arm,” Moore said of Hahn. “We think there’s a lot of value there. He will compete for a spot in the rotation. He gives us more depth there.”
The Royals also add a solid prospect in Fillmyer, who was ranked as Oakland’s no. 18 prospect, according to MLB.com. Fillmyer was 11-5 with a 3.49 ERA in double-A last year. He doesn’t have much upside but could become a back-end starter in the not-too-distant future.
At first glance, the Royals have a chance to become the big winners of this trade. In addition to acquiring cheap, long-term rotation depth, trading away Moss should make it a little easier to re-sign Hosmer. Meanwhile, the A’s add bullpen help but little else. Moss doesn’t appear to have much of a role in Oakland, and he will be tough to trade before the season. That gives the Royals all the upside in this trade with the A’s getting little benefit from it.