KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Royals traded designated hitter Brandon Moss and left-handed pitcher Ryan Buchter to the Oakland A’s on Monday night for right-handed pitchers Jesse Hahn and Heath Fillmyer.
Not to mentioned a bit of financial relief.
Moss was owed $8.25 million for the upcoming season, and the Royals sent $3.25 million to Oakland as part of the deal. That equates to a savings of about $5 million that the Royals, who have been trying to trim payroll, could use to sign free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer to a long-term deal.
Moss hit a disappointing .207 with 22 homers and 50 RBIs for the Royals last season, and he was one of the names floated as recently as last week as the starting first baseman heading into spring.
But the Royals have been trying to woo Hosmer, a free agent for the first time, and have reportedly offered him a seven-year, $140 million contract. That size of deal would make it difficult for general manager Dayton Moore to simultaneously succeed in his desire to trim payroll, which ballooned over the past two seasons, unless he was able to shred financial obligations elsewhere.
“It’s been a unique offseason, as you know. Unlike any I’ve been part of,” Moore said of the rather tepid free agent market. “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.”
The Royals announced earlier Monday that they had signed shortstop Alcides Escobar, another one of their core free agents, to a $2.5 million, one-year deal with $1.5 million in performance bonuses.
“Economically we have to get our payroll back in check,” Moore said last week. “I was very candid what we had to do, that it’s simply not acceptable (to have a large payroll) in our market if you’re going to run a team that’s healthy and thriving longtime. We have some challenges but challenges we’re prepared for and ready for. I believe we’re ready to move forward.”
Hahn went 3-6 with a 5.30 ERA in 13 starts for Oakland last season, and is expected to compete for a spot in Kansas City’s rotation. Fillmyer went 11-5 with a 3.49 ERA at Double-A Midland.
Buchter was 3-3 with a 3.05 ERA with San Diego when he was traded along with Trevor Cahill and Brandon Maurer in late July. He went 1-0 with a 2.67 ERA in 29 appearances for the Royals.
Meanwhile, Moss will have an opportunity to hit the reset on his career in Oakland.
The 34-year-old first baseman and outfielder was coming off a down season with St. Louis when he signed with the Royals prior to last season. But he continued to regress from his peak years in Oakland, including the 2014 season, when he hit 25 homers and was voted to the All-Star game.
“I hit .207. I felt terrible. I felt like the pitchers were cheating,” Moss said during the Royals’ annual fan festival last week. “I should be thankful that I have a job.”