The Oakland Athletics‘ move to acquire Jed Lowrie, and the corresponding departure first baseman/DH Chris Carter, was probably welcomed news in more ways than one for Brandon Moss, the guy who Carter was supposed to share a spot in the lineup with.
Yes, the team got a super-utility man who is a great fit, and should make the team better in the immediate term, but Moss, 2012 breakout and all, won’t have to worry as much about looking over his shoulders to see if his at-bats might be taken away.
He’s not the only one who can take a slight breather in that regard. The A’s had been wondering how they were going to get their cadre of five major-league capable outfielders enough at bats in the 2013 season, and even though there’s still not a whole lot of squeezing room out there between Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, Seth Smith and Chris Young, they could probably collectively breath a little easier.
That’s because with Moss presumably entrenched at first and DH spot open, the team now has one more spot to rotate the players around as they see fit. This will be most pertinent for Cespedes, who only played 129 games last season due to a variety of injuries. The team will want to get that bat out there for 600 at-bats in possible, and putting Cespedes at DH (where he put up a .958 OPS in 103 ABs) will help him get closer to that, especially if injuries continue to come up.
In the event that should happen for an extended period, Smith, who should strictly be a platoon player because he can’t hit lefties, would have a natural partner in left field with Young, who can’t really hit righties. Conversely, the two also combine for a platoon at DH and keep Cespedes, Crisp and Reddick where they are, instead the team having to scramble various permutations of how the outfield will look.
Whatever option the team decides to take, the key here is flexibility, and the A’s have that in abundance going into Spring Training.
Lowrie’s acquisition provided the team with that in terms of what he can do for the infield, but the cost it took to get him has opened things up even more.