Oakland Athletics Ship Brett Lawrie Off To ChiSox


Still No Blockbuster Deals This Offseason

What a difference a year makes.

As the Oakland Athletics tried to justify the November 29, 2014 deal that saw soon-to-be MVP Josh Donaldson dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays for Brett Lawrie, Lawrie is again on the move a short 376 days later. This time he is off to the Chicago White Sox for two minor-leaguers, right-handed reliever J.B. Wendelken and left-hander Zack Erwin – neither of which were considered a “top prospect” in their organization.

The 2015 plan after the mouth-dropping post-Thanksgiving deal in 2014 was for a healthy Lawrie, 25, who was touted to match the power and fielding of Donaldson, to fill the shoes of the departed Bringer Of Rain in a move toward youth. And, in the “Things Don’t Always Go as Planned” Department, Lawrie, while staying healthy for 149 games, hit only .260 with 16 HRs and committed 24 errors while Donaldson went on to become AL MVP with a .297 BA, 41 HRS, and the league leader in both RBIs (123) and runs scored (122).

But hey, the A’s also got pitchers Kendall Graveman (6-9 4.05 ERA) and Sean Nolin (1-2 5.28 ERA) in the Donaldson deal.

With Wednesday’s deal, the White Sox filled their need for a third baseman and the Oakland Athletics, who are rebuilding their bullpen, received Erwin and Welndelken. Erwin, a 21-year-old southpaw, showed promise in the minors last season with a 2-2 record and 1.34 ERA in 15 appearances with seven starts. Erwin didn’t play higher than Single-A in 2015 though – it was his first year of professional baseball.

The 22-year-old right hander Wendelken played both AA and AAA minor league ball this year and recorded five saves and a 3.20 ERA as a reliever after struggling in a starter’s role in 2014 – 7-10 and a 5.25 ERA.

Next: A's Signing of Reliever Ryan Madson is Surprising

Looking to 2016, barring another winter deal for an infielder, the A’s defensively will set up with Danny Valencia at third base, Marcus Semien as the shortstop, and the recently re-obtained Jed Lowrie at second base. Eric Sogard, who signed a new contract this offseason, will fill the utility spot since he is able to play all three positions.

My personal feelings are that without a strong third baseman, the A’s will be swirling toward the bottom of the AL West again until the likes of another Sal Bando, Carney Lansford, Eric Chavez or Donaldson is situated at the hot corner.