The Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers completed a rare intra-divisional trade on Tuesday. The A's will receive outfielder Craig Gentry and pitcher Josh Lindblom in exchange for prospects Michael Choice and Chris Bostick, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.
The key players in this deal are Gentry and Choice. Gentry is a solid, if unspectacular outfielder who will help the Athletics while they are in a win-now mode. He has had a .759 OPS each of the last two years, hitting .280/.373/.386 over 106 games in 2013. He does not have much power, but stole 24 bases last year and has a nice eye at the plate. Gentry can also provide good defense at all three outfield spots.
Choice was arguably the Athletics' top prospect. Rated the No. 80 prospect nationwide by Baseball America and a B+ prospect by John Sickels last year, Choice made it to the majors for a very brief call-up. Mostly, he spent his time in Triple-A Sacramento, where the 24-year-old hit .302/.390/.445 with 14 home runs. Choice has slugged 30 home runs in a season in the minors and has big-time power, while also demonstrating the ability to take a walk. Choice is from Arlington, TX and played college ball in Arlington, so this trade will likely give him the chance to play for his hometown team.
Lindblom, 26, spent most of his time in his lone year with the Rangers in Triple-A stretching out to work as a starter. In 20 appearances with Round Rock, he posted a 3.08 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. He has worked most of his career as a reliever playing for the Dodgers and Phillies. In five starts and three relief appearances in the majors in 2013, he earned a 5.46 ERA. Bostick is another prospect who had a nice year in Class-A Beloit. Over 129 games, the 20-year-old hit .282/.354/.452 with 14 home runs and 25 stolen bases. A 44th round pick in 2011, he could develop into a solid middle infielder.
Both the Rangers and Athletics stood atop the AL West in 2013 and figure to compete for the division title again next year, making a trade like this seem all the more unlikely. While Texas is giving up a solid major league player, they are gaining strength for the future. Gentry moving also opens up a spot for a new outfielder. Texas has been involved in rumors about free agents Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury and is also interested in trading for Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp. If no new blood is brought in, Mitch Moreland could take over in left field. Choice is also major-league ready and could see playing time.
The Athletics are gaining strong outfield depth going forward, as Gentry could see time at all three outfield positions in relief of Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, and Yoenis Cespedes. Acquiring Gentry could also preclude another move as Cespedes has had his name bandied about in some trade rumors.