'Jed Lowrie' photo (c) 2011, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/The Athletics and the Astros completed a five player deal, and though none of the names really jumps off the page at you, there are two names that will be drafted in nearly all mixed leagues and they also have the ability to be impressive single league contributors. There's also an arm you might want to pay attention to in the reserve rounds of AL-only leagues. Oh, I'll also touch on the Mets' bullpen and my favorite Mexican food.

The A's and Astros pulled off a five player deal Monday. Here are the details.

Athletics Receive: Jed Lowrie, Fernando Rodriguez Astros Receive: Chris Carter, Brad Peacock, Max Stassi

Here's a quick rundown.

Lowrie is the “big” name, for what that is worth. He leaves a good hitter's park in Houston for a pitcher's yard in Oakland. He's also never able to stay healthy. Here are his games played totals: 81, 32, 55, 88 & 97. That's five years without even 100 games played folks. He's also got the most boring slash line you will ever see: .250/.326/.417. With a full season of at-bats 20 homers is possible, but as you can tell from this brief little note, I'm not a huge fan. Rodriguez was 2-10 with a 5.37 ERA last year in the minors, but at least he struck out 78 batters in 70.1 innings. ''He's got a real big arm,'' A's GM' Billy Beane said. ''His record, his ERA are probably a little bit misleading.”

Carter is the big catch for the Astros. He has immense power, and with Minute Maid Park posting a Park Indices mark of 107 for right handed batters (seven percent better than the league average), his power should be on full display, and oh what a stroke it is. Carter powered 12 homers with 53 RBIs in 72 games at Triple-A before blasting 16 homers in just 218 at-bats with the Athletics. A word of caution though. Carter strikes out a ton, 83 in 218 at-bats last season and 124 in 332 career at-bats leading to a scary 32.3 percent K-rate. It's no surprised he has hit .214 in those 332 at-bats. He's got oodles of raw power, but he might perform a lot like his new teammate, Carlos Pena, in 2013 (I would have to think that Pena plays first base with Carter at DH most of the time leaving Brett Wallace without a spot in the daily lineup unless the 'Stros decide to let him play some third base where they appear likely to go with Matt Dominguez to start the year). Peacock had a disastrous 2012 at Triple-A with a 6.01 ERA, 1.58 WHIP and 4.41 BB/9 mark over 134.2 innings. A one time high end prospect, he's likely to get a chance at the Astros' fifth rotation spot this spring, but given the downgrade he offered on the field last season he;s likely going to have to prove himself all over again (he was dominant in 2011 though – 15-3, 2.39 ERA, 0.99 WHIP with 177 Ks in 146.2 innings at Double and Triple A). Stassi is a catcher who played at High-A last season and is likely a couple of years away.

I like burritos but not tacos, especially if the tacos have hard shells. Carnitas is my favorite, as are black beans. I think you need something in there to grease the wheel, I like guacamole or sour cream, but I think cheese is a bit of an overkill since, honestly, it's hard to taste it with everything else in the mix. Just thought I would share.

To sign up for your baseball league this year make sure you check out Fleaflicker.

Who is the Mets closer? We are left to assume it's Frank Francisco at the moment, but GM Sandy Alderson isn't ready to confirm that line of thought. "I think a lot will depend on what we see over the course of February and into March," Alderson said. "I think that's something that will be determined in the course of spring training. Health is an issue. Performance is an issue." Francisco had a 5.53 ERA and 1.61 WHIP last season, though he was surprisingly effective in the saves category converting 23 of 26 chances. He's a big strikeout arm, 415 in 376.1 career innings, but he's often bit by the long ball and last season he had a hard time finding the strike zone with a 4.46 BB/9 mark. The Mets may be interested in Jose Valverde, but they would likely be better off going with Bobby Parnell if they don't go with Frank. Bobby does exactly what I look for in any hurler – he provides strikeouts and grounders. Parnell has averaged 8.25 Ks per nine innings, and last season his ground ball rate was over 61 percent (career 1.80). Last season ha also reigned in the walks issuing just 2.62 batters per nine, and when you throw 96 mph+ batters have a tough squaring up the ball consistently.

Don’t forget to get your copy of the 2013 BaseballGuys Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide which is now available. Nearly 150 pages of insight to help you dominate the competition in 2013.

By Ray Flowers




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About Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Thurs 7 PM, Fri. 9 PM EDT), Ray also hosts a show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.

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