|The Athletics' busy offseason continued with the trade of 2009 fifth-rounder Steve Parker to the Brewers for righthanded reliever Darren Byrd, who spent last season in Double-A.
Oakland built much of the core of its 2012 American League West division winner through offseason trades—plus the signing of Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes. A flurry of activity following the 2011 season added to the A's roster righthander Jarrod Parker (13-8, 3.47 in 29 starts as a rookie), closer Ryan Cook (14 saves, 9.8 SO/9, all-star), right fielder Josh Reddick (32 homers, 110 OPS+), lefty Tommy Milone (13-10, 3.74 in 31 starts as a rookie), catcher Derek Norris (60 games as a rookie) and platoon DH Seth Smith (109 OPS+).
Oakland's offseason haul this year includes catcher John Jaso, shortstop Jed Lowrie, center fielder Chris Young, lefty Andrew Werner, utility infielder Andy Parrino and righty relievers Chris Resop, Fernando Rodriguez and now Byrd.
|Steve Parker, 3b
Age: 25. Born: Sep 3, 1987 in San Diego.
Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 200.
Bats: L. Throws: R.
School: Brigham Young.
Career Transactions: Selected by Athletics in fifth round of 2009 draft; signed June 18, 2009.
Parker hit 21 homers for high Class A Stockton in 2010 but hasn't been able to replicate that success against more advanced pitching and outside the Cal League's hitter-friendly environments. He has just 17 homers over the past two seasons in Double-A and Triple-A combined. He uses a sound approach and has an easy swing, so he should be able to hit for solid averages, but he'll have to tap into more power to make it in the big leagues as a corner player. Parker did try to drive more balls last year, but instead his walk rate declined, his strikeouts went up and his power didn't get any better. He's cleaned up his third-base play since coming out of college, though he's not spectacular. He has solid hands, a strong-enough arm and has improved his jumps and angles.
|Darren Byrd, rhp
Age: 26. Born: Oct 24, 1986 in Pensacola, Fla.
Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 200.
Bats: R. Throws: R.
School: Pine Forest HS, Cantonment, Fla.
Career Transactions: Selected by Phillies in 18th round of 2005 draft; signed June 8, 2005 ... Released by Phillies, April 2, 2010 ... Signed by independent Fargo-Moorhead (Northern), May 2010 ... Signed by Brewers, June 28, 2010 ... Granted free agency, Nov. 2, 2011; re-signed by Brewers, Nov. 16, 2011.
Byrd throws a 90-94 mph tailing fastball and a hard mid-80s slider and has proven to be a durable, effective relief option for the Brewers at Double-A the past two seasons. He showed no platoon split for Huntsville last season, allowing a .593 OPS to lefties (though with a 33-to-21 SO-to-BB ratio) and a .638 to righties.