Who's Joe Wendle, anyway

BY foxsports • December 8, 2014

SAN DIEGO - Mark your calendars, friends: the 8th of December, 2014, was when Rob Neyer officially gave up on trying to figure what in hell the Oakland Athletics are doing.

Is trading Brandon Moss to the Indians a salary dump? He earned only $4.1 million last season. While he's due a big raise as an arbitration-eligible All-Star, he certainly won't earn as much next season as the just-signed-for-$30-million Billy Butler. And Moss is a) a left-handed hitter with some defensive versatility, and b) better than Billy Butler.

Does trading Brandon Moss make the A's better in the long run? In return for Moss, the A's are getting Joe Wendle, a 24-year-old second baseman who's got a great chance of turning 25 next spring. During Wendle's two-plus years as a pro, he's never been considered (by Baseball America) one of the Indians' 10 best prospects ... and we're not talking about a loaded farm system here.

Granted, people miss things. Wes Welker wasn't even drafted. But it's somewhat difficult to imagine Wendle ever getting 500 plate appearances in a major-league season. Which makes this deal ... what? Completely a salary dump that doesn't dump much salary, but does dump 25 homers from last season's squad. With Cespedes, Donaldson, and now Moss gone, the A's top power hitter is now Josh Reddick, who hit 12 bombs in 2014.

I could almost make sense of all this ... except for Billy Butler. And if you'd told me a month ago that figuring out Billy Butler would have been the key to unlocking Billy Beane's brain, I would not have believed you.


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