Kouzmanoff, Sogard to A’s for S. Hairston, Cunningham

Oakland Athletics acquired 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff and 2B Eric Sogard from the San Diego Padres for OFs Scott Hairston and Aaron Cunningham.

Kouzmanoff’s arrival means that Eric Chavez and Jake Fox have little chance of seeing time at the hot corner. Of course, Chavez has scarcely played over the past two seasons while suffering through back, shoulder and elbow injuries, while Fox probably shouldn’t go anywhere near a glove. Dallas McPherson, who combines Chavez’s durability with Fox’s minor league feats of strength, also loses out here.

The 28 year-old Kouzmanoff is under team control for the next three seasons. He’s a decent defender at third, but what about his bat?

Kouzmanoff is extremely aggressive at the dish, having drawn a free pass in just 4.9 percent of his plate appearances in the majors. His outside swing percentage was 31.3 last season, and sits at 32.3% in the big leagues (25 percent MLB average).

The former Indians prospect puts a charge into the ball, however, with a career .174 Isolated Power. Kouzmanoff has been a slightly-above hitter, once the cavernous dimensions of Petco Park are taken into account. His wRC+ is 103.

Moving out of Petco certainly won’t hurt Kouzmanoff’s value. But keep in mind that the Oakland Coliseum does a number on offensive production as well. Courtesy of the 2010 Bill James Handbook, here are the three-year park factors for Petco and the Coliseum. A park factor of 100 is neutral, while anything below 100 favors pitchers.

Petco Park, 2007-2009

Runs: 76
2B: 75
3B: 93
HR: 73
RHB HR: 86

Oakland Coliseum, 2007-2009

Runs: 91
2B: 89
3B: 96
HR: 90
RHB HR: 77

CHONE projects Kouzmanoff to bat .259/.304/.431 next season.

Sogard, 23, spent 2009 at Double-A San Antonio in the Texas League. The lefty-swinging second baseman hit .293/.370/.400 in 530 plate appearances, controlling the strike zone (11.3 BB%, 10.3 K%) but displaying little thump (.107 ISO).

San Diego’s 2nd-round pick in the 2007 draft, Sogard has a career .292/.375/.417 line in the minors. His keen eye and quality defense give him a shot to be a regular, but the presence of Adrian Cardenas and Jemile Weeks in Oakland’s system means he’ll probably end up as a utility man.

Hairston, meanwhile, returns to San Diego after a sojourn with the A’s last summer. He was swapped to Oakland in July for RHPs Sean Gallagher, Craig Italiano and Ryan Webb.

The 29 year-old Hairston is cut from the same offensive cloth as Kouzmanoff: ample pop, but few free passes. He has a career walk rate of 6.8 percent, but also a .202 ISO. His wRC+ in the majors is 100. The former Diamondbacks prospect is often banged up, however, hitting the DL with a left shoulder injury in 2005, right biceps inflammation in 2006, an oblique strain in 2007, ligament surgery on his left hand in 2008 and a left biceps strain in 2009 (injury information from the Fantasy Pitch F/X DL Tool) CHONE forecasts a .254/.315/.448 triple-slash for Hairston in 2010. He’s under San Diego’s control through 2011.

Hairston rates as a quality defender in the outfield, and his arrival likely means that Chase Headley will transition back to third base.

Cunningham, 24 in April, has now been traded three times during his pro career. The Chicago White Sox took him in the 6th round of the 2005 draft, but shipped him to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Danny Richar in June of 2007. The D-Backs then included him in the Dan Haren deal in December of ’07.

He owns a career .309/.382/.493 line in the minor leagues. Cunningham doesn’t really excel in one particular area offensively. He possesses some power (.184 ISO), but doesn’t figure to be a massive extra-base threat in the majors. While not a total hacker, Cunningham has a mild 8.8 percent walk rate on the farm.

CHONE paints the picture of an average offensive player, as Cunningham’s 2010 projection is .263/.330/.420. His short-term role is clouded, with Kyle Blanks a 6-6, 285 pound science experiment in RF and Will Venable also figuring into San Diego’s outfield rotation. But he could work his way into more regular playing time if Hairston suffers another malady.

Hairston and Cunningham’s departures help clear Oakland’s outfield glut. Rajai Davis apparently has the left field job for the time being, but top prospect Michael Taylor figures to make his presence felt before the season is through.




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A recent graduate of Duquesne University, David Golebiewski is a contributing writer for Fangraphs, The Pittsburgh Sports Report and Baseball Analytics. His work for Inside Edge Scouting Services has appeared on ESPN.com and Yahoo.com, and he was a fantasy baseball columnist for Rotoworld from 2009-2010. He recently contributed an article on Mike Stanton's slugging to The Hardball Times Annual 2012. Contact David at david.golebiewski@gmail.com and check out his work at Journalist For Hire.

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