Athletics Get Moss, Buchter From Royals
In what could perhaps be viewed as a small sign that the ice surrounding the free agent market is cracking, the Royals on Monday night sent outfielder Brandon Moss and lefthander Ryan Buchter to the Athletics in exchange for big league righthander Jesse Hahn, righthanded pitching prospect Heath Fillmyer and $3.25 million to defray part of Moss' remaining salary.
The $4 million savings the Royals gained from dealing Moss could give them a little extra wiggle room in an effort to retain a big-name free agent like Mike Moustakas or Eric Hosmer. On its face, the deal brings Kansas City a controllable pitcher who might fit into the back of team's rotation as well as a prospect for its farm system, which ranks ahead of only the Mariners.
The A's get power bat for the middle of their order and a reliever who has held lefties to a .562 OPS over his career. Both players could potentially fetch decent prospect returns if the A's were to fall out of contention this summer and choose to sell parts to enhance their minor leagues, which has gotten a face-lift in past years and could rebound in 2019 with health and performance.
Athletics Acquire: Brandon Moss, OF Age: 33
Although he's been a bit hamstrung in recent years, Moss has been good for more than 20 home runs in five of the last six seasons and fell just one home run short of that plateau in 2015. If he can do that again in 2018, he'll be a nice complement to a powerful lineup that includes Khris Davis, Matt Joyce and Matt Olson.
Ryan Buchter, LHP (MLB) Age: 30
A 33rd-round selection out of Gloucester County (N.J.) CC in 2005, Buchter bounced around the minors until he made his major league debut with the Braves in 2014. He didn't return to the big leagues until 2016, but proved himself effective enough as a reliever over the next two seasons to become a deadline pickup for the Royals last July. He works primarily with a low-90s fastball as well as a cutter-slider, and held hitters to a .185 average against last season with the Padres and Royals. He was dealt from San Diego to Kansas City last summer as part of a six-player deal.
Royals Acquire: Jesse Hahn, RHP (MLB) Age: 28
Much like Janet Jackson in the 90's, teams this offseason have sought control. And Hahn has four more years of it. Hahn's biggest struggle throughout his career has been staying healthy. It's why he fell to the sixth round coming out of Virginia Tech and it's why he's never topped 120 innings in any season. He's been a up-and-down pitcher over the first four seasons of his career and is a bounce-back candidate. He dealt with a triceps strain in 2017, pitched to a 5.30 ERA in the big leagues and was optioned to Triple-A Nashville for part of the season as well. He will compete for a spot in the Royals' rotation. He's out of options, which does mean it will be harder for him to fit as an up-and-down starter/reliever.
Heath Fillmyer, RHP (Double-A) Age: 23
Heath Fillmyer Fully Realizes His Potential As A Pitcher
Heath Fillmyer sets his sight on the Royals' rotation after spending most of his amateur career at shortstop.
Oakland's 28th-round selection in 2013 out of Mercer County (N.J.) CC, Fillmyer spent the 2017 as part of Double-A Midland, Baseball America's Minor League Team of the Year after it won its fourth consecutive Texas League title. In fact, Fillmyer won Game One of the championship series by outdueling rehabbing big leaguer Brandon McCarthy (who also has been traded this offseason) with five shutout innings. Fillmyer works primarily with a low-90s fastball that he moves around the zone. He couples the fastball with a changeup he uses as a strikeout pitch and a slurvy curveball as well. He ranked 18th in the Athletics system in Baseball America's A's Top 30 Prospects list (available in the Prospect Handbook).