The first inter-division trade from the newest member of the American League West occurred today, when the Houston Astros shipped former Red Sox star prospect Jed Lowrie to the Oakland Atheltics in exchange for some minor league talent.
Lowrie is one of the more hyped Red Sox flameout prospects (think of Brandon Wood but serviceable) but with Stephen Drew leaving Oakland for free agency, getting an upside cost controlled possibility in the infield was something the A's had to do, they cannot have their whole team be wing and a prayer rookies. With Cliff Pennington traded away the Athletics needed something beyond AA minor leaguers.
The A's also get Houston reliever Fernando Rodriguez. This is a one-time Angels farmhand who holds the record for the second-worst ERA in franchise history. Rodriguez pitched two-thirds of an inning in Yankee Stadium in the rain in May of 2009 and gave up three runs, two of them earned, for an ERA of 27.00, second worst all time for any Angels pitcher.
Did the Athletics give up a lot? Hell to the yeah they did. They lose the sixteen homeruns of 1B Chris Carter, a top ten starting pitching prospect in Brad Peacock and a Double-A and a 21-year old catching prospect, Max Stassi.
The signal to the Angels is that the A's will be defending their title with semi-veteran assistance and a willingness to splurge from the farm when the price is right.