It was certainly not a secret throughout the month of July that the Oakland A's were looking hard to upgrade at the shortstop position. After falling short in their pursuit of Hanley Ramirez, the A's ended up standing pat as the non-waiver trade deadline passed.
The A's have been much more active in August, however. Early in the month, Oakland traded veteran catcher Kurt Suzuki to the Washington Nationals for minor league catcher David Freitas. On Monday, the A's announced their second trade of the month, as they acquired shortstop Stephen Drew for Low-A Burlington shortstop Sean Jamieson.
Drew comes to the A's with an uncharacteristically poor statistical line. The former 2004 first-round draft pick is batting only .193 with a 601 OPS in 40 games this season. Drew is coming off of a horrific ankle injury that cost him the final 10 weeks of last season and the first few months of the 2012 campaign.
When healthy, Drew has been an above-average offensive shortstop throughout his seven-year major league career. He has a career OPS of 765 and he posted OPSs above 800 in 2006, 2008 and 2010. Drew's best season came in 2008 when he posted an 836 OPS and he hit 21 homeruns. The A's are taking a shot that a change of scenery will get Drew back to the level of play he was accustomed to before his ankle injury.
Drew has a history with A's manager Bob Melvin, who was Drew's manager in Arizona when Drew made his major league debut in 2006 through the 2009 season. The younger brother of former All-Star outfielder J.D. Drew is eligible for free agency at the end of the year if the A's decide not to pick up his $10 million option.
Jamieson was a 17th-round pick of the A's out of Canisius College last year. A native of Ontario, Canada, Jamieson drew raves around the New York-Penn League for his glove at shortstop and his base-running. The right-handed hitter batted .235/.350/.312 for the Vermont Lake Monsters in 2011 and he stole 27 bases in 32 chances. Jamieson was a mid-season All-Star and was widely considered the top defensive shortstop in the New York-Penn League.
This season, Jamieson has spent the entire year with the Low-A Burlington Bees. He has continued to impress with his defense at shortstop and he has added some homerun power to his game, going deep 10 times in 449 at-bats. Jamieson has swiped 25 bases in 31 chances and he has a .234/.345/.379 slash line in a difficult league for hitters. Like last year, Jamieson was a mid-season All-Star this season. He will remain in the Midwest League for now, as the Diamondbacks have reportedly assigned him to the South Bend Silver Hawks.
Coming into this season, OaklandClubhouse.com had ranked Jamieson as the A's 50th-best minor league prospect.
This is the latest in a string of trades the A's have made with Arizona in recent years. Drew will make his debut with Oakland on Tuesday, the same night that another former Diamondback first-round draft pick (Brett Anderson) makes his 2012 major league debut. Oakland's roster on Tuesday will feature seven players who were property of the Diamondbacks at one point in their careers (Anderson, Drew, Chris Carter, Jarrod Parker, Jordan Norberto, Travis Blackley and Ryan Cook). Six of the seven players were acquired by Oakland via trades with the Diamondbacks (Blackley is the exception).