Another Look At The A’s Acquisition Of Craig Gentry
At first, the deal seemed a bit…odd, considering the A’s already had a bounty of outfielders in Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Reddick, Coco Crisp and Seth Smith. However, that logjam was taken care of when Beane promptly dealt Smith to the San Diego Padres for reliever Luke Gregerson a few hours after acquiring Gentry.
In that sense Gentry can be seen as Smith’s replacement on the 2014 roster, but without Smith’s left-handed stroke and power. However, there’s potentially more to Gentry’s value to the organization, and in typical Oakland fashion it’s the kind of value that could extend far beyond this season.
Peter Gammons wrote an intriguing column on Thursday calling the Gentry trade the ‘Most Interesting Overlooked Deal’ of the offseason thus far. As Gammons points out, it is rare for heated division rivals to make a significant trade with each other when both teams are contenders; precisely what the A’s and Rangers have done. Plus, sending the 24-year old Choice to Texas sets up the Rangers to use a former first-round draft pick by the A’s against them for years to come.
Gentry’s value to the A’s, though, is the key. In 2013, the 30-year old posted a WAR of 3.6 appearing mostly as a part-time player for Ron Washington. Gentry totaled 106 games and 246 AB’s on the season while slashing .280/.373/.386. Even better, Gentry’s fielding percentage was a stellar .990, with those stats mainly coming from his time in center field.
For the A’s Gentry will again likely be a part-time player; which suits his talents well. His career slash line vs. LHP is .288/.376/.399 with an OPS of .775. That would imply he’ll get the bounty of his playing time vs. LHP which is an idea the platoon-friendly A’s can get behind.
Crisp had a remarkable 2013 for the A’s and is the team’s full-time center fielder after the A’s picked up his 2014 option. However, Crisp tends to have injury issues that pepper his seasons. Should they flare up again next season as he continues into his mid-30s, Gentry can easily slide into the starting center field role. Additionally, Gentry will provide some depth for the outfield as he can also spell Cespedes in left field in order to keep the Cuban superstar healthy (something he’s had to deal with a few times in his two big-league seasons so far).
This recent tidbit from MLB.com’s Jane Lee that John Jaso is likely to be the full-time DH in 2014 (leaving the catching tandem of Derek Norris and Stephen Vogt behind the plate) opens up another opportunity. When Jaso sits against lefties Gentry can play outfield and either Crisp or Cespedes can DH, thus keeping them both fresh.
The 2013 A’s were characterized by their depth and interchangeability and the pickup of Gentry provides the team with even more heading into what looks to be another exciting season at the Coliseum.
Follow me on Twitter (@adriangarro) for more news & notes!