The Oakland Athletics acquired shortstop Jed Lowrie from their new division-mates the Houston Astros in a five-player deal that saw Chris Carter and two prospects go back to the Astros. Lowrie, who turns 29 in April, came up with the Red Sox and was traded to the Astros last year. He is primarily a shortstop, but can play second or third, and he provides above average offense, though he's never been healthy enough to do so for a full season. He will fit nicely into an A's offense that has no true stars, but relies on having a lot of solid contributors.
Heading back to the Astros is first baseman/DH Chris Carter, starting pitcher Brad Peacock, and catching prospect Max Stassi. Carter will provide some thump in a good hitters' park and if the Astros get some value out of the other two pieces, it's a solid trade for them. Peacock, 25, has yet to do much at the Major League level, but the Astros will likely give him a spot in the starting rotation to see if he can hold his own.
Max Stassi is probably a couple of years away from being a starting catcher in the major leagues, but he has the potential to be the most valuable piece in this deal. That's if Lowrie is nothing special for the A's and Stassi can become a solid defensive, average offensive catcher. Those aren't always easy to find, and having a cheap, solid starting catcher for years to come would be a good piece for the Astros slow and steady rebuild.