The Oakland Athletics, in a move to bolster their major league roster, acquired shortstop Jed Lowrie and right-handed reliever Fernando Rodriguez from the Houston Astros in exchange for catching prospect Max Stassi and former top prospects Chris Carter and Brad Peacock.
The Oakland A’s signed Hiroyuki Nakajima to be their shortstop in 2013 but, before the trade, were slated to give second base duties to Scott Sizemore and third base duties to Josh Donaldson. With none of the three players mentioned above having a proven track record of success in the majors, adding someone like Lowrie, who can play all three positions, was something Billy Beane needed to do for his contending club.
The oft-injured Lowrie has never reached the 400 plate appearance plateau nor the 100 game plateau but he owns a career 10.1% walk rate and a solid .167 ISO. Outside of last season, Lowrie has always hit leftt-handers better with a career .368 wOBA against southpaws compared to a .306 mark against right-handers.
Lowrie has posted positive UZR totals at each infield position in his career with a +2.4 in nearly 1900 innings at short, +2.3 in 525 innings at third, and a +1.2 in 233 innings at second but he has not played second or third since 2011 and he has not posted a positive UZR at short since 2009 so those number could be a bit misleading. Either way, as a utility player, who will be placed in positions to succeed, Lowrie should be able to hold his own on defense and at the plate while, hopefully, reaching 400 plate appearances for the first time in his career.
Right handed reliever Fernando Rodriguez is armed with a 92-95 mph fastball that would play better if he could command his curveball and change-up a bit better. Even with his below-average command and high walk rates, he has managed to post a career 25% strikeout rate and moving to Oakland’s spacious park should be good for his flyball tendencies.
Jeff Lunhow adds some forgotten prospects to his system with power-hitting Chris Carter likely ready to contribute right away. Carter has plus raw power, draws walks, and strikes out a lot. In only 260 plate appearances with A’s last season he hit 16 home runs and posted a 15% walk rate but suffered with the Ks as he posted nearly a 32% strikeout rate. Still only 26 years young, Carter could end up the best player in this trade and with Houston moving to the AL he should find plenty of chances to get plate appearances, something he was finding hard in Oakland.
After an impressive 2011 season in the Washington Nationals’ organization Brad Peacock suffered in 2012 posting an ERA over 6.00 and a walk rate of nearly 4.5/nine innings. But he maintained a high strikeout rate of nearly 23% and his FIP was better than his ERA at 4.26. I still view him as a very good reliever but there is hope that he can become a potential #3-#5 starter. Peacock ranked 6th on our 2013 Oakland A’s top prospects list.
Max Stassi has missed significant time with shoulder injuries, an ankle injury, and an oblique injury. He shows decent patience at the plate and the ability to hit for above-average power. He is above-average defensively and could be a solid regular in the Majors in time. He will only be 22 when the season starts so he has youth and time on his side. Stassi ranked 12th in our 2013 Oakland A’s top prospects list.
This was a classic win-win trade with the Oakland A’s adding the missing pieces to their big league roster without trading away any key pieces in their organization while a rebuilding Houston Astros acquired young pieces that included power, catching, and an arm. If I had to choose a winner I would probably side with the Astros but this is a great trade for both teams and their current needs.
-Jonathan C. Mitchell can also be found writing about the Tampa Bay Rays at DRaysBay and many different topics at State-Lines. You can follow him on twitter at @FigureFilbert. Be sure to also follow MLBdirt at @MLBdirt
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis, On the Farm - Prospects Tagged: | Billy Beane, Brad Peacock, Chris Carter, Fernando Rodriguez, Hiroyuki Nakajima, Houston Astros, Jed Lowrie, Jeff Lunhow, Josh Donaldson, Max Stassi, Oakland A's, Oakland Athletics, Prospects, Scott Sizemore, Trades