Astros: Reviewing the 2013 Jed Lowrie trade with Oakland

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 13: Jed Lowrie #8 of the Houston Astros reacts after hitting a three-run homerun in the ninth inning to take a 5-3 lead after trailing the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 3-0 going into the ninth during the MLB game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 13, 2015 in Anaheim, California. The Astros defeated the Angels 5-3. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 13: Jed Lowrie #8 of the Houston Astros reacts after hitting a three-run homerun in the ninth inning to take a 5-3 lead after trailing the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 3-0 going into the ninth during the MLB game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 13, 2015 in Anaheim, California. The Astros defeated the Angels 5-3. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) /
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We take a look back at the first time the Houston Astros traded Jed Lowrie to Oakland.

This isn’t something you see happen very often, but it happened. The Houston Astros traded the same player twice — to the same team! They traded infielder Jed Lowrie to the Oakland A’s in Feb. 2013, re-signed him as a free agent in Dec. 2014 and then traded him back to Oakland in Dec. 2015. Talk about a wild ride.

For this, we’ll just be evaluating the first trade, completed Feb. 4, 2013. The Astros traded Lowrie and reliever Fernando Rodriguez to the A’s for first baseman Chris Carter, pitcher Brad Peacock and catcher Max Stassi. All three of those players had roles in Houston with varying degrees of success.

What the Astros Got

The Astros were looking for some power, and they found it in Carter, who never found regular at-bats in Oakland. He played some first base, some DH and a little outfield, and he basically gave the team what they expected: plenty of homers, a solid amount of walks, and no shortage of strikeouts.

HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 11: Chris Carter #23 of the Houston Astros runs the bases after hitting a solo home run in the seventh inning against the Kansas City Royals in game three of the American League Division Series at Minute Maid Park on October 11, 2015 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 11: Chris Carter #23 of the Houston Astros runs the bases after hitting a solo home run in the seventh inning against the Kansas City Royals in game three of the American League Division Series at Minute Maid Park on October 11, 2015 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Over his three seasons in Houston, Carter compiled a .218/.312/.459 line with 90 homers. He led the majors with 212 strikeouts in 2013, had his best season with a 37-bomb campaign in 2014, but then slumped below the Mendoza Line with a .199 average and only 24 homers in 2015 before the Astros non-tendered him. Of course he led the NL with 41 homers the next season, but hasn’t played in the majors since 2017.

Peacock has turned into the steal of this haul. He made a brief debut with the Nationals in 2011, came to Oakland in the Gio Gonzalez trade, and spent four seasons trying to establish himself in Houston. But his fifth year was the charm as he made 21 starts and 13 relief appearances and went 13-2 with a 3.00 ERA while striking out 161 batters in 132 innings.

He was similarly effective out of the bullpen in 2018 before dealing with some injury issues in 2019. In total, he’s compiled a 4.06 ERA in parts of seven seasons with the Astros and is under contract for one more year in 2020.

Stassi spent a few years as the third catcher before moving into the backup role in 2018, posting a .710 OPS and solid defense. He slumped at the plate in 2019 before being traded to the Angels at the trade deadline.

What the Astros Gave Up

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Lowrie came over in the Mark Melancon deal with the Red Sox and hit .244/.331/.438 with 18 doubles and 16 homers in 97 games in 2012. Following the trade, he hit .290/.344/.446 in 2013 and .249/.321/.355 in 2014, totaling 74 doubles over those two seasons.

Rodriguez had pitched to a 4.77 ERA in parts of two seasons with the Astros. In parts of three seasons with Oakland, he worked to a combined 3.74 ERA in 97 appearances, but he hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2016.

The Final Verdict

In terms of on-field performance, the Astros thus far have received 4.6 WAR from Peacock, 2.8 WAR from Carter and 0.6 WAR from Stassi, for a total of 8.0 WAR. That number could climb higher depending on how Peacock does in 2020. The A’s got 3.2 WAR from Lowrie and 1.0 WAR from Rodriguez for a total of 4.2 WAR.

What really makes this deal tip in the Astros’ favor is the success Peacock has had over the past three seasons. He’s been a valuable and reliable member of the pitching staff, regardless of whether he’s utilized in the bullpen or in the rotation. Giving up two players who weren’t really needed by the still-rebuilding club to bring in Peacock was shrewd.

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So in the end, this turned out to be one of the better moves former GM Jeff Luhnow made. Carter and Stassi did give the team some value, but what Peacock has done the past three seasons is what really makes this a great deal for the Astros.