A’s Acquire Lowrie From Astros In Five-Player Deal

The Deal
The Athletics welcomed the Astros to the American League West by sending Houston three young players in exchange for shortstop Jed Lowrie, who mashed 16 homers in 97 games last season, and 28-year-old reliever Fernando Rodriguez.The Astros add three pieces to their rebuilding efforts: 26-year-old first baseman Chris Carter, who slugged 16 homers and put up an .864 OPS as a rookie in 2012, plus prospects Brad Peacock, a Triple-A righthander, and catcher Max Stassi, who finished last year in high Class A.
Astros Acquire
Chris Carter, 1bAge: 26. Born: Dec. 18, 1986 in Redwood City, Calif.

Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 245.

Bats: R. Throws: R.

School: Sierra Vista HS, Las Vegas.

Career Transactions: Selected by White Sox in 15th round of 2005 draft; signed June 9, 2005 … Traded by White Sox to Diamondbacks for OF Carlos Quentin, Dec. 3, 2007 … Traded by Diamondbacks with OFs Carlos Gonzalez and Aaron Cunningham and LHPs Brett Anderson, Dana Eveland and Greg Smith to Athletics for RHPs Dan Haren and Connor Robertson, Dec. 14, 2007.

Club (League) Class AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
Sacramento (PCL) AAA .279 72 276 48 77 19 1 12 53 38 74 5 .367 .486
Oakland (AL) MLB .239 67 218 38 52 12 0 16 39 39 83 0 .350 .514


Traded for the third time in his career, Carter has intrigued his acquiring teams--the Diamondbacks, Athletics and now Astros--with his plus raw power, which he put to good use last season in belting 28 homers between Triple-A and the big leagues. Strikeouts come with the territory, and Carter fanned in roughly 32 percent of his plate appearances last season in Oakland, which prorated over 600 PAs works out to 194 whiffs. He won’t have much value if he’s not collecting extra-base hits and bases on balls, so making quality hard contact is imperative. Carter has no minor league options remaining, so his acquisition might signal the end of Rule 5 pick Nate Freiman’s time with Houston, seeing as both are righty-hitting first basemen.

Brad Peacock, rhpAge: 25. Born: Feb. 2, 1988 in Palm Beach, Fla.

Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 175.

Bats: R. Throws: R.

School: Palm Beach Central HS, Wellington, Fla.

Career Transactions: Selected by Nationals in 41st round of 2006 draft; signed May 30, 2007 … Traded by Nationals with RHP A.J. Cole, C Derek Norris and LHP Tom Milone to Athletics for LHP Gio Gonzalez and RHP Rob Gilliam, Dec. 23, 2011.

Club (League) Class W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Sacramento (PCL) AAA 12 9 6.01 28 25 0 135 147 99 90 16 66 139 1.58


In 2011, Peacock was the Double-A Eastern League’s pitcher of the year and made his major league debut with the Nationals. Trade in the offseason to the A’s in the Gio Gonzalez deal, he pitched up in the zone too frequently in 2012 and paid for it, but when he’s going well, he still shows three quality pitches. Peacock’s fastball works at 91-95 mph but lacks movement, underscoring the need for better command. He also flashes a sharp curveball and a changeup with depth. He has added a slider/cutter hybrid to help induce weak contact, but it remains
a work in progress. Incidentally, the A’s have now traded half of the package they acquired from Washington for Gonzalez.  --Jim Shonerd
Max Stassi, cAge: 22. Born: March 15, 1991 in Yuba City, Calif.

Ht.: 5-10. Wt.: 205.

Bats: R. Throws: R.

School: Yuba City (Calif.) HS

Career Transactions: Selected by Athletics in fourth round of 2009 draft; signed Aug. 17, 2009.

Club (League) Class AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
Stockton (CAL) HiA .268 84 314 48 84 18 0 15 45 27 83 3 .331 .468


Injuries have slowed Stassi’s development. He put two years of right shoulder problems behind him with surgery in May 2011, then missed time last year with ankle and oblique maladies. He has a simple swing with few moving parts and a short load and stride, and generates enough raw power to hit 15-20 homers. His pitch recognition has improved, but he still tends to press and is susceptible to chasing pitches outside the zone. Stassi’s defense always has been advanced for his age, and he continues to receive high marks for his receiving, ability to handle pitchers and strong, accurate arm. He threw out 24 percent of opposing basestealers. --Jim Shonerd

Athletics Acquire
Jed Lowrie, ssAge: 29. Bats: B. Remaining Commitment: 1 year, $2.4 million, then arbitration-eligible for one more season, 2014.

Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

Club (League) Year AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
Houston (NL) 2012 .244 97 340 43 83 18 0 16 42 43 65 2 .331 .438
3-Year Totals .256 240 820 114 210 46 4 31 102 91 150 4 .331 .435


The switch-hitting Lowrie offers above-average power and solid range for the shortstop position, though his poor health track record makes him a less-reliable commodity than many others. He spent 66 days on the disabled list last year with right ankle and right thumb injuries, and he has lost nearly 350 days to injury since 2009. Lowrie also plays third base--and he played second early in his career with the Red Sox--providing flexibility to the Athletics, whose projected regulars before the trade were Adam Rosales/Jemile Weeks at second, Josh Donaldson at third and Japanese import Hiroyuki Nakajima at short.

Fernando Rodriguez, rhpAge: 29.  Born: Jun 18, 1984 in El Paso.

Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 235.

Bats: R. Throws: R.

School: El Paso (Texas) CC.

Career Transactions: Selected by Angels in 18th round of 2003 draft; signed June 25, 2003 … Granted free agency, Nov. 6, 2010 … Signed by Astros, Nov. 10, 2010.

Club (League) Class W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Houston (NL) MAJ 2 10 5.37 71 0 0 70 68 45 42 10 34 78 1.45


The Astros made Rodriguez a minor league free agent priority following the 2010 season, and he rewarded their pro scouting department by turning in a pair of fine middle-relief seasons in the big leagues. He made 118 appearances for Houston, notching 9.9 strikeouts and 4.7 walks per nine innings, though he saved his finest work for the second half of 2012, when he went 1-2, 4.30 with 44-15 K-BB in 37 2/3 innings. Rodriguez’s vulnerability to home runs--he gave up 16 in two years with the Astros--limits his upside. A bigger park in Oakland will help, but Rodriguez still allows flyballs on nearly half the balls put in play against him.

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