A deal that changed the way the A’s would enter the 2013 regular season occurred back in February. It added a player that could play multiple positions all over the infield and who could hit. It was a huge upgrade considering the reality that was developing in the infield. Hiroyuki Nakajima was signed to play shortstop but was obviously unproven at the time and second base was up for grabs amongst four players. This led A’s GM Billy Beane to pull the trigger on a move that would add a versatile bat as well as depth at every infield position with just one player. Now that we’re nearly halfway done with the regular season it is time to take a look back at the trade that brought current A’s shortstop Jed Lowrie to Oakland. First I’ll look at what the A’s traded away to the Houston Astros and how they are doing then I’ll look at what the A’s received and determine an early winner.
Jun 3, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Oakland Athletics shortstop Jed Lowrie hits a double to drive in a run in the 5th inning during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
The Houston Astros, as anyone associated with baseball knows, is in the middle of a massive rebuild. They have traded away a vast array of Major League talent and in return have developed one of the best Minor League systems in baseball. This trade helped both the Minor League system as well as the Major League level.
The Astros received 1B/OF Chris Carter, SP Brad Peacock, and C Max Stassi. Carter experienced a break out year in 2012 as a platoon partner with Brandon Moss. Peacock struggled at Triple-A but is still considered to have a high ceiling of potential. Stassi is still in the minor leagues. Here are their 2013 numbers so far this season:
Carter: .231 AVG, .318 OBP, .463 Slugging, 15 HR, 40 RBI. The average and OBP are low but Carter was never known to be either of those. The home runs and RBI’s however are impressive for a young Houston team. He looks to have finally figured out how to sustain his success at the major level.
Peacock: W/L 1-3, 8.07 ERA, 1.76 WHIP. Peacock has struggled mightily this season. He still has potential but he will have to figure out how to pitch at the Major League level if he wants to follow through with the hype surrounding him. That may not happen soon considering he is at Triple-A after being sent down earlier this month.
Stassi: .237 AVG, .300 OBP, .407 Slugging, 3 HR, 23 RBI. Stassi continues to struggle offensively in the minor leagues. He is currently at the Double-A level.
The A’s received utility man Jed Lowrie and minor league pitcher Fernando Rodriguez. Lowrie has been exceptional and a key cog to the A’s early season success. His offense and solid defense have helped provide value to a position the A’s have seen a black hole yet for the past few seasons. Here are their numbers:
Lowrie: .306 AVG, .378 OBP, .420 Slugging, 4 HR, 30 RBI. It is worth mentioning Lowrie also has 88 hits on the season in 76 games. The A’s have played 80 games this season. That puts him on pace to fall about 20 hits shy of 200. There is no reason not to expect Lowrie to go on a couple good runs and meet the 200 hit plateau. Why is that significant? The last time the A’s had a player reach 200 hits in a season was in 2004, nearly a decade ago, by Miguel Tejada.
Rodriguez: Rodriguez had right elbow surgery and has missed the majority of the season. Therefore his statistics are not needed.
The winner in this deal seems to be both parties. The A’s got a player in Lowrie that not only filled a major hole, but also was an immediate upgrade. The Astros got a player in Carter who has produced big power numbers early on and a player who will be a major part of their young core going forward. While the others haven’t panned out (yet) it seems this trade has provided both teams with an upgrade and therefore both sides won.