During the offseason Billy Beane (General Manager of the Oakland Athletics) and Jon Daniels (General Manager of the Texas Rangers )were both hard at work trying to make their respective clubs better. From a Rangers prospective it appeared that they were building another playoff team that was poised to reach the World Series.
Building a contender: Daniels picked up several key pieces he needed to make his team better such as the huge blockbuster trade sending Ian Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers for first baseman Prince Fielder. If that didn’t make enough waves in the Hot Stove news Daniels continued to aggressively purse players and picked up former Cincinnati Reds outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.
He also picked up various pieces that he took to spring training such as Tommy Hanson, Joe Saunders, and Daniel Bard. Which it turns out none of those options worked out for the Texas Rangers this year.
Also, another move that Jon Daniels did during the offseason was the trade of outfielder Craig Gentry to the Oakland Athletics for outfielder prospect Michael Choice. Many probably for get there were some other pieces included in that trade. Jon Daniels also sent pitcher Josh Lindblom to the Athletics in return for infielder Chris Bostick.
Not the right Choice: Michael Choice probably wasn’t the Jon Daniels first choice to put in the outfield this year, mainly because he was still regarded as a top prosepect and still needed time to develop in the minors. But, after Engel Beltre was injured and was placed on the disabled list he had no other option but to test the young outfielder.
During his time in the majors Choice seemed to struggle not only at the plate, but also in the outfield. There were times it seemed he wasn’t getting a good read on the ball and was unable to run down what many would call routine fly balls. His plate discipline seems to show his frustrations and that only compounded his issues. He was only batting .177 for the season over 69 games/198 at-bats. Just before the All-star break the Rangers had seen enough and optioned him to the Round Rock Express (AAA) where he could work on a few things and hopefully be prepared for the 2015 season.
— Stefan Stevenson (@StevensonFWST) July 7, 2014
So far things haven’t improved for Choice in the minors. Over 18 games/68 at-bats he’s only batting .200 and has struck out a lousy 25 times. Choice is only 24 years old so there is still plenty of time for him to figure it out. At this point though it appears he’ll still be in the minors this time next season.
Kitten Face: The Texas Rangers traded outfielder Craig Gentry, who was a fan favorite. He was known for his speed on the bases and in the outfield. Also, he had a pretty solid bat last year with a .280 average. This year his average is down a few ticks at .264 over 80 games/197 at-bats. While his production is down a bit, he is still playing better than his counter part Michael Choice.
Current Gentry is on the 15-day disabled list with a broken right hand, but the Oakland Athletics expect him to return in mid-August.
- Batting average: .177/.264 advantage: Gentry
- On base percentage: .247/.326 advantage: Gentry
- Slugging percentage: .319/.299 advantage: Choice
- Strikeouts: 50/41 advantage: Gentry
- Doubles: 4/5 advantage: Choice
- Home runs: 8/0 advantage: Choice
- oWAR: -0.8/0.9 advantage: Gentry
- dWAR: -1.2/0.7 advantage: Gentry
- WAR: -1.7/1.6 advantage: Gentry
Overall, Craig Gentry has been the better player this year. Michael Choice does appear to have more power in his swing, but he’s missing more and less consistent. At least at the moment it appears that Billy Beane got the better end of the deal when it comes to Choice and Gentry.
Other parts of the trade: The other parts of the deal included Josh Lindblom and Chris Bostick. With the current state of the Texas Rangers, they could clearly use any pitching they can get. Lindblom has pitched mainly the minors this season. Over 16 starts in triple-A he has a 5.86 ERA with a record of 4-3. He held opponents to a batting average of .283 and recorded 59 strikeouts while only walking 26.
He has made one start, but that was early in the season. During his major league start against he Cleveland Indians he lasted 4.2 innings and only allowed 2 earned runs. While his numbers in the minors haven’t been the best he could still have value for both organizations on their major league rosters.
The infielder Chris Bostick the Texas Rangers picked up is currently playing in Class-A ball with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. He has a batting line of .253/.322/396 over 100 games/384 at-bats. He does appear to be on the right track, the man question is where will he play. With a team that’s already stacked in the middle infield the main question is why didn’t Jon Daniels do more to stack his depth in pitching if they were going to contend in 2014.
Again, looking even at the other parts of the trade it appears that the Athletics got the better end of the deal. They have a decent pitcher that can eat up innings and possibly put them in a situation to win.
Overall, it appear for a least the moment that Billy Beane got the better end of the deal. He received two players that a ready for the major leagues and he send two guys to the Texas Rangers that are still developing their skills. Both Bostick and Choice might turn out to be great players, but that seems to be part of the organizations 2016 and beyond plans. Billy Beane appears to have his eyes on 2014 and the Oakland Athletics first place record seems to support this.