The Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics yesterday completed a five-player deal:
Houston Astros Get: 1B Chris Carter, C Max Stassi & RHP Brad Peacock
Oakland Athletics Get: SS Jed Lowrie & RHP Fernando Rodriguez
The Astros Fallout:
There had been a lot of rumors regarding teams being interested in Lowrie, though the Astros had said it would take a lot to move him. This definitely should qualify as a quality offer.
Winners – Brad Peacock, Tyler Greene, Max Stassi
Peacock struggled mightily in his first year in the A’s system (he had been acquired from Washington in the Gio Gonzalez trade), posting a 6.01 ERA over 134.2 IP. While his control was an issue (4.51 BB/9), he still posted a 9.16 K/9 and did have some bad luck .340 BABIP (according to Minor Leage Central he had an 18.1% line drive rate). Let’s not forget he is the same pitcher who had a 2.33 ERA over 146.2 IP between Double & Triple-A for the Nationals in 2011.
Baseball America, who had ranked Peacock as the A’s fourth best prospect, recently explained his struggles by saying:
“Peacock pitched up in the zone too frequently in 2012. The A’s tried to remedy the issue by having him keep his shoulders more level and eliminate a tilt in his delivery, but the changes didn’t have the desired effect and he went back to his old mechanics.”
Given the weak Astros rotation, Peacock should get an opportunity early in 2013. If the issues have been corrected, he should be primed for a big season.
Stassi, though he has yet to crack Single-A, was buried behind Derek Norris and John Jaso in Oakland. He broke out a bit in 2012 by hitting .265 with 15 HR in 313 AB. He needs to cut down on his strikeouts (22.8%), but he should open the year at Double-A. With how weak the Astros are at catcher (Jason Castro anyone…), it’s not impossible that he makes his debut at some point in 2013.
As for Greene, he had appeared primed to be a utility player for the Astros but now should step in as the starting shortstop. After arriving in Houston he hit .246 with 7 HR and 3 SB over 126 AB. He does strikeout too much (28.8% in 2012), but offers the potential to go 20/20 with full-time AB. If he could cut his strikeout rate enough to hit .260-.270 (which is not impossible), he’s going to be an excellent sleeper for those in the deepest of formats. He may be the biggest winner and is definitely a player to target at the end of all drafts.
The Losers – Anyone in the 1B/DH Mix
The Astros needed help at 1B/DH, but the addition of Chris Carter seems like a similar one to their previous signing of Carlos Pena in that they are both high strikeout players with power. At the same time, they already have Brett Wallace in place and they selected Nate Freiman in the Rule 5 draft. That’s four players for two spots, so someone is going to ultimately be left out. We are going to have to wait and see how this plays out in Spring Training, but they all are high risk choices at this point.
The A’s Fallout:
Winners – Dan Straily
It sounds weird that this was the only winner from the deal, and it’s not even that the deal was bad per se. That said, it doesn’t provide a whole lot of value for the A’s from a fantasy perspective.
Straily would be considered a winner because Peacock was his primary competition to fill a rotation spot. With Peacock now in Houston there is little doubt as to who will be the first option when the need arises (though Straily was most likely the first choice anyways).
Losers – Jed Lowrie, Jemile Weeks, Grant Green, Scott Sizemore
The early word is that Hiroyuki Nakajima will remain the starting shortstop, meaning Lowrie should slide in as the starting second baseman (while also seeing some time at shortstop and third base). Considering Weeks, Sizemore & Green were expected to compete for the 2B job, this move hurts all of their value.
As for Lowrie, while he provided a power surge in ’12 (16 HR over 340 AB), he now moves from a hitter’s haven into a pitcher’s paradise. While he did hit 7 of his home runs on the road, you have to think that the power is going to take a hit. Throw in a 51.3% fly ball rate, which could lead to a poor BABIP in his new cavernous home and therefore a poor average, and things could get ugly. He was a risk to begin with, and this just makes it worse.
What are your thoughts of the trade? Who are the winner and losers? Is there anyone that you are now targeting from a fantasy perspective?
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