(CBS) The White Sox have filled a big need at third base by acquiring Brett Lawrie from the Athletics in a trade, the team announced. Chicago sent two minor leaguer pitchers back to Oakland.
Lawrie, 25, hit .260 with 16 homers, 60 RBIs and a .706 OPS in 2015, when he stayed healthy for the first time in his career in playing 149 games. His homers and RBIs set career-high marks.
The White Sox sent left-hander Zachary Erwin and right-hander J.B. Wendelken to the A’s.
The third-base spot was a disaster for Chicago last season, as it had the lowest batting average and slugging percentage production from that position in the majors. The combination of Conor Gillaspie, Gordon Beckham, Mike Olt and Tyler Saladino combined for 16 homers with 59 RBIs (though Saldino played all over the field as well).
A first-round draft pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008, Lawrie can also play second base if needed. He played 108 games at third base and 41 at second in 2015.
Lawrie’s projected arbitration salary figure is around $4 million for 2016, and he’s under contract control through 2017. He earned $1.925 million last year.
The 21-year-old Erwin went 2-2 with a 1.34 ERA in 15 games last season for at advanced rookie Great Falls and Class-A Kannapolis in 2015. The Sox selected Erwin in the fourth round of the 2015 draft.
Wendelken, 22, went 6-2 with a 3.20 ERA in 30 relief appearances between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte. The White Sox originally acquired him as part of the three-team trade with the Red Sox and Tigers that sent Jake Peavy to Boston in July 2013.
The White Sox were also seeking an upgrade defensively at third base to help out a promising and talented pitching staff. Lawrie made the third-highest total of errors in the league at the hot corner last season with 18, but the advanced metrics support his range factor as being well above the league average for third basemen.