Less than 24 hours after general manager Billy Beane (named Executive of the Year by the BBWAA today) picked up All-Star closer Jim Johnson in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles AND agreed to sign starter Scott Kazmir to a two-year deal, he continued fine-tuning the roster on Tuesday.
The first trade of the day sent outfielder Michael Choice (a 2011 first round draft pick) and minor league infielder Chris Bostick to the Texas Rangers for speedy centerfielder Craig Gentry and pitcher Josh Lindblom. A few hours later, Beane shipped DH/outfielder Seth Smith to the San Diego Padres in exchange for relief pitcher Luke Gregerson.
In Gregerson, the A’s added another formidable arm to the back end of the bullpen. Some of Gregerson’s career stats, spread out across five seasons in San Diego: 2.88 ERA, 1.092 WHIP, 352 Ks in 347 IP, 3.29 SO/BB, 0.6 HR/9. He is especially effective against right-handed hitters, holding them to a .191 clip throughout his career.
The A’s bullpen became a bit crowded with the acquisition, as Gregerson joins a core featuring Johnson, Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle, Jerry Blevins, Dan Otero, Jesse Chavez and Fernando Abad. It doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibility to expect one or more of these relievers to be moved in additional transactions in the coming weeks.
As for Gentry: the 30-year old should provide speed and solid, above-average outfield defense in the same role Chris Young played on the 2013 team. The right-handed hitter can spell Coco Crisp in center against left-handed pitching and be a pinch-running option off the bench in the late innings. Plus, with Crisp only under contract through 2014, Gentry could presumably become the team’s full-time center fielder in the future.
Lindblom seems destined to earn a spot on the Triple-A Sacramento Rivercats, though he could force his way onto the A’s 25-man roster with a strong spring training. The 26-year old owns a career 3.82 ERA and was groomed as a starting pitcher in 2013, despite appearing out of the bullpen in all but five of his career 109 appearances.
Many expect Beane to continue to be active, as Brett Anderson‘s name continues to swirl around in rumors. It’s been a remarkably busy two-day span for A’s fans, and it looks to only get more active as we approach the Winter Meetings.