The Oakland Athletics acquired outfielder Craig Gentry from the Texas Rangers for outfielder Michael Choice. Jeff Passan originally reported the deal. Reliever Josh Lindblom will also go to the A’s, and minor league second baseman Chris Bostick will go to Texas.
Gentry is an athletic 30 year-old outfielder who has played sparingly the past three seasons for the Rangers. He can play all three outfield spots.
When he’s been in the lineup, Gentry has been very productive. In 763 plate appearances, he’s managed a .280/.355/.366 line. Against left-handed pitching, he has a .288/.376/.399 line.
While Gentry has very little power, his defense and baserunning skills are among the best in the game. He’s accumulated 7.5 fWAR in 763 plate appearances, suggesting he could be an excellent player if given more playing time.
Steamer projects his lofty defensive numbers to regress some, and it doesn’t think he’ll be able to replicate the .370 on-base percentage he’s produced the last two years.
Nevertheless, he figures to be a solid player who is also very inexpensive. The combination of Gentry’s speed, the flyball tendencies of the A’s staff and the expansive outfield of the Oakland Coliseum make Gentry a great fit for the A’s.
In Choice, the Rangers are getting a major-league ready prospect with good raw power. The 10th overall pick of the 2010 MLB Draft, Choice has a career .290/.376/.482 minor league line with 61 home runs in 1674 plate appearances. He received 19 plate appearances with the big league club when the rosters expanded in September.
Choice struggles with breaking balls, and his strikeout rate of 22.8 percent in the minor leagues is the biggest hole in his game. He’s played a lot of centerfield in the minors, but he’s not overly fast, and will probably move to a corner spot at the big league level.
With Nelson Cruz likely to leave via free agency, Choice will have a shot at winning the starting job in spring training.
This looks like a good deal for both clubs. The A’s will make the best use of Gentry’s talents, and Choice can start right away with Texas, where his raw power will play very well if he can trim his strikeout rate.