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A Case for Brandon Moss: Why the Oakland A’s Need Him

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MLB: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

We know the A’s are looking for “big league” outfielders. We know that first baseman Yonder Alonso could end up in a trade mix. If Alonso is traded, Mark Cahna is not the powerhouse everyday man we need at first—even if his workouts at Cal after hip surgery yield 100% results. Matt Olson is unproven, 22, and not ready. Brandon Moss is available and could start at first, play a little corner outfield if needed and, of course, DH. Here are my top reasons for why we should go for it and sign him pronto.

Reason #1: Moss may be a good luck charm!

Having notched fewer than 70 wins in each of the last two season has been difficult to endure. Having the last two seasons follow on the heels of 2012-2014 makes the contrast intense. During our suffering the last two years: No Brandon Moss. During 2012-2014: Yes Brandon Moss. After all, in 2014 we finished second (88-44) behind the Angels after taking the 2013 AL West title (96-66)—which of course followed the 2012 final six-game winning streak to pull the title rug right out from under the Rangers on the last day of the season. Brandon Moss: Present for 2 AL West titles, 3 post-season appearances…And, oh yeah, let’s not forget the magnificent 6 for All-Star Game 2014, one of whom was Brandon. We need Moss because he may be a good luck charm.

Reason #2: There’s a fan fondness for Moss

How can you not be fond of him? He played with heart, loved his time in Oakland, had the best couple of seasons of his career. The fan feelings are reminiscent of Scott Hatteberg—a likeable, hard-working, warm person who was on the verge of his career-ending; the kind of guy you imagine you could hang out with. In 2013 Moss played 145 games, notched 30 home runs, and had a slugging percentage of .522. This followed his 2012 June call-up where Moss played only 84 games yet still notched 21 long balls. It was FUN to watch Brandon Moss. And Brandon Moss had fun with us as evidenced by his remarks in his first Cleveland-A’s reunion game in 2015.

Reason #3: Billy Beane could look like a genius

Part way through the 2014 season, Beane acquired Ike Davis. Whether this was because Brandon’s hip was flaring and fear of surgery was present or he just wanted Davis, we don’t really know.

But Davis certainly wasn’t the answer and sure didn’t make Beane look like a genius. In fact, where is Ike Davis now?

So whatever Beane’s reasons for Ike Davis, it sure didn’t look like the acquisition of the century. Then Moss is traded in December of the same year in a trade that brought young Joey Wendle, a solid acquisition. But Moss wasn’t going to have hip surgery and despite difficulties he still logged 25 homeruns. Still fun to watch. Still a fan-favorite. Didn’t make a lot of sense at the time. Bob Melvin gave it this spin (from Terry Pluto, Cleveland.com):

So is Wendle THAT good? We have every reason to believe he is! The Wendle-Healy combination along with Semien’s improved defense gives hope for 2017. Wendle debuted on August 31st, 2016 and demonstrated his potential in 96 at-bats over 28 games with a .260 average. That’s a darn good start. But there’s not complementary power there, and we need some power to give us a 1-2-3 punch (1 being Davis, 2 being Semien). Punch three should be Moss. As catcher, Vogt should be our HR bonus baby—IF he’s still an Athletic in 2017.

Back to Melvin’s point: You don’t just TRADE Moss. It has to be worth it! Billy Beane can look like a genius if he nabs him back from the Cardinal beak, making it look like some master plan that had a Moss hiatus that was worth it when we have Wendle AND Moss.

Reason #4: Besides power and consistency, Moss is affordable!

Moss had a solid 2016, but everyone keeps citing his crash and burn from August 29th onward that left him with a batting average of .225. Until August it was nearing .300 at times. Oh and he did finish with 28 homeruns. So that little inconsistent six-week stint should be discounted on a performance level but noted on a fiscal level. Several sites estimate it will cost Moss millions for his 2017 contract. He was paid 8.2 million by the Cardinals in 2016, Moss will definitely be affordable with no need to give up trade picks or anything else. With fond memories of Oakland, we could get a fiscally reasonable deal and make it a win-win for everyone—organization, fans, Moss.

Reason #5: Alonso will be traded

Seriously, why wouldn’t we trade Alonso? At 6-1 and 220 pounds, Alonso is 29. He’s not a prospect on the verge of breakout—having started his MLB career in 2010 with Cincinnati. This season was a no-pressure season, yet with 52 runs (5th on team), 56 RBI’s (4th on team), a batting average of .253 (9th on team), a SLG of .367 (12th on the team) with only 7 homeruns (9th on team)—his stats are average. He was decent. And he gave us hope in many 3 for 5 games in 2016. His defense is solid, not spectacular. We should put his 2.25 million toward acquiring Moss to replace him and start building back our slugging percentage.

So giddy-up Beane/Forst! Go get Moss!