Second baseman Scott Sizemore was acquired by the A's in exchange for reliever David Purcey, in what looks like a move to add organizational depth at 3B as insurance should the A's move on from their current platoon of Kevin Kouzmanoff and Andy LaRoche at 3B.
Sizemore, who was the Tigers minor league player of the year in 2009, was immediately sent to Triple-A Sacramento.
The most likely scenario seems to be that the A's acquired Sizemore as a feasible option—with some long-term potential, still, at just 26 years old—at third base in case the A's pull the plug on Kevin Kouzmanoff and Andy LaRoche in favor of Sizemore and Rosales, who is due to return before the All-Star break.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote today that, in part, the trade was made with Andrew Bailey in mind.
Bailey is due back in a week or so, Slusser argued, and the only players who have options are Brad Ziegler and Joey Devine, thereby making Purcey the odd man out.
I don't see any way this wasn't part of the A's thinking, but it is also highly unlikely that the A's don't expect Sizemore to play a role with this club very soon.
Sending Sizemore to Triple-A may just be to get his feet wet with the organization and hopefully put together a good string of at-bats, for the A's may be close to making a move at third base.
The idea that he will challenge Mark Ellis for starts and at-bats at second base is far-fetched in my view. Ellis, with his history with the club and stability he provides defensively, will almost certainly play out the last year of his contract regardless of the quality of his play.
In the long term, Jemile Weeks, their first-round pick in 2008, seems to be an easy guess to fill Ellis' role next year.
I don't see any way the A's did this deal without the idea that Sizemore can help them—i.e, an upgrade—now, and at third base.
In 2009, Sizemore was the Tigers' lone representative in the All-Star Futures Game and was named to Baseball America's minor league All-Star team.
Since winning the starting job in 2010, Sizemore has struggled and been shifted back and forth between the major and minor leagues.
For his career, he has a .223 BA, .306 OBP, and hit three HR and 18 RBI in just 65 games. The small sample size is a reason for optimism. In the minors, he has posted a career line of .296/.376/.446 in 454 games.
The A's move to acquire some organizational depth also speaks to their apprehension towards bringing up Triple-A infield prospects Adrian Cardenas and Jemile Weeks to fill their hole at 3B, while they are still fighting for the playoffs.
Also, Kouzmanoff has battled some injuries and may need a stint on the DL, if not an outright release. LaRoche makes the minimum salary and may be close to being cut loose. Sizemore could also be insurance if the A's are skeptical regarding Rosales' return.