In a surprising move today, the A’s traded catcher Max Stassi, “first baseman” Chris Carter and pitcher Brad Peacock to the Houston Astros for shortstop Jed Lowrie and RHP Fernando Rodriguez. It’s not really THAT surprising though, is it? It’s been another busy offseason for Billy Beane, but this time he’s in win-now mode as opposed to rebuilding mode. Anyway, stats first and opinions at the end.
Jed Lowrie played in 97 games for the Astros last season and over 387 at-bats he had a .244/.331/.438 slash line with a .336 wOBA and a 111 wRC+ which was good for a 2.5 fWAR. He also hit 16 home runs and stole 2 bases (in case you were wondering). Lowrie is a switch-hitter, but his numbers were much better when he hit from the left side of the plate last year; hitting .265/.345/.474 over 253 plate appearances with a .355 wOBA and 124 wRC+. He made 100 plate appearances as a righty last season and hit .184/.290/.333 with a .282 wOBA and 75 wRC+.
Over his five year career he has a .250/.326/.417 slash line with a .743 OPS. Lowrie will be under control for two more seasons.
Fernando Rodriguez pitched for 71 games for the Astros last season and over 70.1 innings he had a 5.37 ERA, a 4.22 FIP and .312 BABIP. He had an “impressive” 4.35 BB/9, a 9.98 SO/9 and 1.28 HR/9 rate.
I actually really like this trade, mainly because I have liked Jed Lowrie since he’s days in Boston and if he stays healthy he’s a great addition to the team. With that being said, Lowrie has not played in more than 100 games over his five year career. The closest his came was last season playing in 97, but was sidelined for almost two months after injuring his knee and ankle in July.
I was however, a bit surprised on the return of Lowrie, mostly because they gave up Brad Peacock after recently trading AJ Cole to the Nationals. The A’s have always been a pitching heavy team and this move (sort of) depletes their pitching depth in the minors, not that I think Brad Peacock was “ace” potential.
Billy Beane stated that Hiro Nakajima will still be starting at shortstop and Lowrie will play “all over”, by all over I assume all over the infield. So my thoughts, which obviously mean nothing, is that this leaves Adam Rosales as the odd-man out. I would think the team would have interest in getting Lowrie as many at-bats as possible so he will spend most of his time at third platooning with Josh Donaldson. Platoons for everyone!
As far as their losses, Chris Carter would be the biggest one at this point in time. The would-have-been back up/platoon of him and Moss is no longer and as of right now we can probably expect to be seeing more of Daric Barton this season. While losing Chris Carter kind of stings, adding Jed Lowrie is not a bad thing. The A’s now have a proven infielder if Nakajima doesn’t pan out, or if Donaldson goes back to being Donaldson or to play second if Sizemore and Weeks under-perform.
This trade means more than just adding depth to the infield, it also means Billy Beane is serious about winning now. With the season less than two months away now I believe that us fans have a lot to be excited about; it’s been a long time since we entered the season knowing we have a competitive team and perhaps this is finally Oakland’s year.