Photo credit: ESPN.com
February got off to a smoking start for the A’s and their fans as Billy Beane pulled off a bit of a stunner in sending Chris Carter, Brad Peacock, and Max Stassi to their new division rival, the Astros, for Jed Lowrie. The A’s also picked up RP Fernando Rodriguez in the deal.
I was pretty surprised to see Beane deal away Carter and several relatively prominent names from the farm system for a player that has been injured quite a bit and has played the majority of his time at SS in the past, given the Nakajima signing. However, in four preseason games, Lowrie has been playing all over the infield, including SS twice and one game apiece at 2B and 3B. We may see this happen quite a bit in the regular season as the A’s and Bob Melvin mix and match across the infield to try to the find the right combination of players and/or sticking with the “hot” player.
Chris Carter has always been tough to figure out for A’s fans. His career did not progress too far over the past two seasons and perhaps the team feels like he has plateaued a bit. Perhaps Melvin wasn’t convinced in Carter’s ability to play more frequently and wasn’t comfortable with his limitations. That certainly makes sense given the coach’s decision to use others in last year’s playoffs over Carter. Also, I thought this story over at AN provided some strong rationale as to why Carter was no longer with the A’s.
After this “blockbuster”, the month of February was very quiet. In fact, the only other deal that the team announced was the signing of LHP Hideki Okajima to a minor league contract. While the A’s have a good amount of depth in their bullpen, you can never have enough to cover for injuries, rest, etc. Hideki has made two appearances thus far in spring training and has not given up a run yet, pitching 2 innings with 2 K’s and 2 BB’s.
It is certainly nice to have baseball back in the mix, even if it is only spring training! Now, on to the WBC, where zero A’s will be participating … thankfully!
Let’s go Oakland!