Shoring up the last question mark in their 2013 infield, the Oakland Athletics traded for 28-year old infielder Jed Lowrie yesterday, sending first baseman Chris Carter, pitcher Brad Peacock and catcher Max Stassi to the Houston Astros in exchange.
The Astros are joining the American League West in 2013, so Carter will have a lot of chances to make his former team rue the decision to trade him away.
But the A's now have a pretty good infielder -- capable of playing second, short or third -- to add to their impressive offensive arsenal for the upcoming season, where the Oakland squad will be defending its 2012 AL West title.
Lowrie batted .244 with 16 home runs and 42 RBI in 97 games with Houston last year, posting career-high marks in home runs, runs (43), hits (83), walks (43) and games played. He led the Astros in walks and finished second on the club in home runs, despite spending nearly two months of the season on the disabled list.
The switch hitter committed just eight errors in 93 games at shortstop for a .980 fielding percentage, which was the best among National League shortstops with 70 or more games.
Of course, the Astros were the worst team in the National League last year, winning only 55 games, so Lowrie was a bright spot in that mess. He now joins a division winner looking to capitalize on momentum and return to the postseason in 2013 to finish business left unrealized.
Sending Carter to Houston relieves some of the A's logjam at the designated hitter spot, especially with the four starting outfielders on the roster -- and also hands the first base job to Brandon Moss full-time, in essence.
Carter batted .239 with 16 home runs and 39 RBI in 67 games with the A’s last year following a late June promotion from Triple-A Sacramento. He ranked third among American League rookies in home runs and walks (39) and was fifth in RBI, runs scored (38) and extra base hits (28).
Carter made his ML debut with Oakland in 2010 but was just a .214 career hitter with 19 home runs and 46 RBI in 106 games in three seasons.
Peacock was part of the Gio Gonzalez trade with Washington last winter, and he spent the entire 2012 season at Sacramento, registering a 12-9 mark and a 6.01 ERA in 28 games with 25 starts.
Stassi hit .268 with 15 home runs and 45 RBI in 84 games with Single-A Stockton last year in a season cut short due to two stints on the disabled list with a sprained right ankle and strained right oblique.
The home runs were a career-high but 12 of the 15 were solo shots. The 21-year-old catcher was originally drafted by the A’s in the 4th round of the 2009 draft and is a .246 career hitter with 30 home runs and 123 RBI in 239 games over four professional seasons.
Oakland also acquired Fernando Rodriguez in the deal; the righthander was 2-10 with a 5.37 ERA in 71 relief appearances with the Astros in 2012.
-- Some information in this article was re-published directly from the Oakland organization's press statement on the above transaction.