Oakland A’s Trade for Craig Gentry and Josh Lindblom
In yet another move from the Oakland A’s, the team traded away two prospects OF Michael Choice and 2Bman Chris Bostick in exchange for center fielder Craig Gentry and pitcher Josh Lindblom. Billy Beane must really like Gentry and Lindblom because he certainly gave up significant young talent to get them.
Gentry is a well above average defensive center fielder who gets on base and steals bases efficiently (56 stolen bases in 66 career attempts, an 84.8% success rate). Gentry has three more seasons before he becomes a free agent, and he’s not the kind of player who puts up the statistics that get a player highly paid in the arbitration process.
The biggest knock on Gentry is that he’s already 30 years old. However, because of his speed he’s likely to age well.
Lindblom is a big right-hander who turns 27 next June. He’s mostly pitched in relief at the major league level, well for the Dodgers in 2011 and 2012, but not so much for the Phillies and Rangers in late 2012 and 2013. The A’s reportedly plan to use him as a starter. I’m not sure what it is about Lindblom the A’s like so much, but he did pitch well as a starter for the Rangers’ AAA club last year.
Meanwhile, Michael Choice was the 10th pick of the 2010 Draft. He had a big year at A+ in 2011, but he didn’t hit as well at AA in 2012 or AAA in 2013. He wasn’t bad at Sacramento last season, batting .302/.390/.445, but these numbers suggest he’ll need at least another month or two in the AAA Pacific Coast League before he’s ready for major league pitching.
However, Choice’s chances of becoming a successful major league hitter certainly improve now that he’ll be playing half his games at the Ballpark at Arlington, the American League’s best park for hitters. Choice attended high school and college in Arlington, so the trade to Texas probably made him and his family very happy. He turned 24 in November.
Chris Bostick is a former 44th round draft pick out of high school who had a fine year in the Class A Midwest League in 2013 at age 20. He hit .282/.354/.452, which is terrific for a middle infielder. He also turned 78 double plays in 125 games, which seems like lot for Class A ball. The biggest knock on Bostick as a prospect is that he strikes out too much.
The deal from Oakland’s perspective is classic Money Ball. Billy Beane thinks he’s identified an inefficiency in the market which undervalues player defense. Beane signed Coco Crisp a few years ago under this theory and has been amply rewarded for doing so. As Crisp’s defensive value has diminished with age and his power numbers have jumped last season, presumably Gentry will take over in center next year with Crisp sliding over to left field.