Oakland Athletics: Examining the Jed Lowrie Trade


The Oakland Athletics completed a trade with the Houston Astros to acquire infielder Jed Lowrie for a second time in three seasons on Wednesday afternoon, which surely means there are more moves on the way for Oakland.

The A’s infield is fairly crowded at the moment with new acquisition Lowrie able to man second base, shortstop or third base, Marcus Semien at short, Danny Valencia at the hot corner, Brett Lawrie seemingly at second, and Eric Sogard coming in off the bench, not to mention Tyler Ladendorf who is another utility option waiting for his first real big-league opportunity. Right behind Ladendorf is shortstop Chad Pinder who hit .317 with 15 homers in Double-A this past season.

To say the A’s have options would be an understatement. The reacquisition of Lowrie likely has at least something to do with a report from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle shortly after the season that tensions in the clubhouse were high. The two sources of these frustrations are believed to be Valencia and designated hitter Billy Butler. Adding Lowrie back into the fold likely means that another move is on the way to help the team in both 2016 and in the long-run.

On Wednesday, Slusser reported that Lawrie, nearly 26, could be the one considered the likely bet to be traded according to big-league sources while Valencia has also drawn some interest. Lawrie played in 149 games in 2015 while also hitting 16 home runs and driving in 60, all career-highs, so his value may be the highest it has ever been.

One avenue that Oakland’s new GM Doug Forst could pursue would be to couple Lawrie with Butler to free up some payroll both to help the clubhouse atmosphere and also allow the team to pursue free agents to help their bullpen while also accumulating even more talent for their farm system. For the cost of Butler’s contract in 2016 ($11.67 million), they could add two Luke Gregerson-type arms to their bullpen.

The Oakland Athletics gave up right-handed reliever Brendan McCurry in the Lowrie deal, a 22nd round pick in 2014. In his first full pro season, McCurry reached Double-A and put up a 1.86 ERA in 63 innings between California League and Texas League action. He’s a control pitcher, averaging two walks per nine innings, and while his fastball tops out around 92, his strikeout rate this past season was 11.7 after striking out 82 batters in his 63 innings.

Next: Did the A's Miss an Opportunity in the Rule 5 Draft

It’s intriguing that a team in need of bullpen help would trade a solid minor-league bullpen arm, so there is certainly more at play here. Whatever the next move is for the Oakland Athletics, it will surely involve more prospects coming to Oakland as the team continues their rebuild to give them a chance to compete in the AL West long-term.