Jeff Luhnow, you guys. The Houston Astros traded Jed Lowrie, an injury-prone shortstop who is also a career .250/.326/.417 hitter, to the Oakland Athletics for Chris Carter, Brad Peacock, and Max Stassi. If it's any conslolation, the breaking-news post at Athletics Nation sounds very unhappy about the deal. But since we're all solipsists here at SB Nation's team-blogs, it's more important, to me, to try to figure out who we should complain about the St. Louis Cardinals not trading to make this very deal.
Chris Carter is—well, the poor man's Allen-Craig-in-2010, maybe? Only he was also, before that, a well-regarded prospect in the huge-power-hitter mold. He hit .239/.350/.514 last year in 67 games, but he's had an even harder time finding a position he can play than Craig did and his PCL numbers are not overwhelming, for the PCL. Matt Adams is probably a better prospect, but Carter's MLB numbers are nice.
Brad Peacock was one of the top prospects in baseball before last season. Then last season he pitched 135 innings in the PCL with an ERA of 6.01. This is the same PCL where we just discounted Carter's numbers, of course, and he was striking out a batter an inning while all this happened, but at 24 it was an unpleasant surprise to see him crater in AAA.
Max Stassi is a catcher who hit .268/.331/.468 (nice!) in the high-A California League (not as nice!) last year. Sickels has Peacock as the Athletics' No. 6 prospect and Stassi, who "showed he could catch again after injury problems" (not nice at all!) at No. 12.
The Cardinals definitely could have made this trade, and I think they probably should have. But at a glance—I'll have more to say about it tomorrow—I like it for both teams about as much as I hate it on general solipsistic principle. The A's add to their stockpile of middle infielders I wish the Cardinals had acquired while they try to contend in 2013, while the Astros trade a guy who's too unreliable and not really good enough to build around for three unreliable guys who might help push them into contention.