A’s Send Michael Choice to Texas for Craig Gentry
Day of deals continues. The A’s made another move today as they sent Michael Choice and minor league infielder Chris Bostick to the Texas Rangers in exchange for outfielder Craig Gentry and right-handed swingman Josh Lindblom. In reality Bostick and Lindblom are throw-ins in this deal. They aren’t completely inconsequential but in the grand scheme of things this is Choice for Gentry, future for now. Which is why Texas is sort of a strange partner in this trade.
The Rangers are known to be after a corner outfielder, furthermore they’re known to put power above (at times it seems all else) other attributes players possess. Choice doesn’t really fit either of those bills. In a few years he might, but for a team that just took on a massive contract to get Prince Fielder, that doesn’t seem like a team building for 2016 and beyond. But let’s let Rangers bloggers take that one on. Many view this move as an A’s team seeing the window closing. I don’t view it through that prism as I have had doubts about Choice, who with all those hitches in his swing seems destined to be exposed once he plays MLB regularly. Gentry is a very undervalued ballplayer. The A’s have excelled at using platoons the past few years and find ample playing time for everyone on their roster so even if Gentry isn’t an everyday starter there is plenty of time for him to contribute. Gentry does so in a way different than many, primarily with his speed and with his off the charts defense. He has been worth 35.9 runs above average since 2011 and 12.0 runs above average with his baserunning. He is 56-of-66 on stolen bases in his career (84.8% success rate) and basically rates as an average hitter (96 wRC+). That’s great value. And furthermore the A’s in 2012 and Pirates in 2013 have proven that defense really does win ballgames. To get that sort of player for a hitter with an obvious set of concerns who is supposed to be a power hitter but whose power has yet to develop (14 home runs in Sacramento in 600 plate appearances with just a .143 ISO) is great.
The throw-ins aren’t much to be too concerned about, Bostick was drafted in the 44th round of the amateur draft in 2011 and spent 2013 in Beloit posting a good .282/.354/.452 campaign with 14 home runs in 555 plate appearances for a very good .368 wOBA and 127 wRC+. While his numbers are good, he is a long way off from contributing to the MLB club and commensurate with his 44th round selection was not a marquee prospect, though he was ranked Oakland’s eighth best to end the year by Baseball Prospectus. The A’s meanwhile receive Josh Lindblom, who it appears has options left who could fit into the A’s as a swingman or relief option. A native of West Lafayette, Indiana who went on to play for West Lafayette’s Purdue University, he has played pro ball since his debut with the Dodgers in 2011 before being sent to Philadelphia in the deal that net L.A. Shane Victorino. He moved from Philadelphia to Arlington in the trade that sent Michael Young to the City of Brotherly Love. He has made five MLB starts in his 109 MLB appearances going 132 innings of 3.82 ERA, 4.35 FIP baseball with 8.1 K/9, 3.8 BB/9 and 1.2 HR/9 – more than capable numbers. Last year was his roughest at the pro level as he split his time between Texas (31 1/3 innings of 5.46 ERA and 4.42 FIP baseball) and Round Rock (3.08 ERA and 4.24 FIP in 108 innings). He is a flyball pitcher and figures to benefit from pitching in the spacious Coliseum.
I really like this move. I like players like Gentry who are just plain fun to watch. I like that the A’s defense is beyond iron-clad at this point. I wonder if this move portends a deal to shop Coco Crisp who has a lot of value on the market? Wonder if this had come through earlier if Seth Smith would have been tendered a contract too?