When the Oakland A’s traded Michael Choice, who was one of my favorite players to watch in Sacramento, I was obviously upset. Instantly, I second-guessed the trade. But, then I realized that there’s always two sides to every, well, trade. And so, I began to look at, and do my best at evaluating, Craig Gentry. Right then and there, I realized how good of a player he could be with the A’s.
Sep 14, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers left fielder Craig Gentry (23) pops up a bunt attempt for an out caught by Oakland Athletics first baseman Daric Barton (not shown) during the seventh inning of a baseball game at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Athletics won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
I knew that since the A’s had just picked up a fourth outfielder and decent bat that a deal to rid ourselves of Seth Smith was on the way. Once that happened, I, as well as many others I’m sure, began looking at how the A’s can not only utilize Gentry as an outfielder, but also as a designated hitter.
Gentry put up an impressive triple-slash against southpaws, .280/.392/.409 (according to Baseball Reference), in 161 plate appearances last season. I’d say that’s good enough to replace the .200/.299/.368 that last season’s right fielder, Josh Reddick had in 2013 (according to BR), if the struggles continue, even if Gentry hasn’t played very much in right field. But Reddick’s poor season last year isn’t the only question mark that Gentry could possibly answer with his bat.
The health of Coco Crisp has been a sensitive subject since he began his tenure with Oakland in 2010. In his four seasons with the A’s he’s missed an average of 46 games per season. With Gentry’s athleticism he’s a perfect fit to play all three outfield positions and with Crisp’s age and new contract, Gentry is definitely a much-needed safety option. But his value doesn’t end there.
Gentry could be the perfect match for possible platoon-mate John Jaso, who will more than likely take most of his at-bats in the DH slot. Jaso boasts a slash of .282/.405/.398 (BR) against righties and only had 29 plate appearances (BR) against lefties in 2013 and has only had 180 in his career, while putting up an atrocious .169/.294/.223.
With all that said, Gentry and the A’s, in my opinion, could very well be a match made in baseball heaven.