OAKLAND -- The A's aren't slowing down. They're only gaining traction in their push toward a deep postseason run.
A day after landing hurlers Jim Johnson and Scott Kazmir, Oakland made an intradivision deal with the Rangers, acquiring outfielder Craig Gentry and right-hander Josh Lindblom in exchange for Michael Choice, the club's top outfield prospect. Texas also received Minor League infielder Chris Bostick in the swap.
Gentry spent the last two seasons as Texas' fourth outfielder, usually playing against left-handed pitching. He was the Rangers' best defensive outfielder, and he has tremendous speed. In 227 games and 556 plate appearances over the past two seasons, Gentry hit .292 with a .370 on-base percentage and a .389 slugging percentage. He also stole 37 bases in 47 attempts.
His role will likely remain unchanged in Oakland, where he is expected to play all three outfield positions, according to manager Bob Melvin. He could potentially platoon with the left-handed-hitting Josh Reddick in right field, though Melvin maintains, "Reddick is our right fielder.
"[Gentry] fits in with us very well. There's a serious defensive factor with him, and he's always hit left-handed pitching well. And he can affect the game even when he doesn't start -- whether it's coming in for defense or running, it seems there's nothing this guy can't do."
"I haven't talked to anybody over there yet so I really don't know what my role is going to be," said Gentry. "Hopefully, I can do whatever I can to help the team keep winning and keep up their streak. This is definitely a great ballclub. Playing against them, they handle themselves well, they play hard. That team is the exact type of player I am. I feel like I'm going to fit in well over there, and I'm excited about it, and hopefully, like I said, I can help the team maybe win another division title."
The A's have won two consecutive American League West titles, and their quest for a third has intensified this week, with Gentry's acquisition coming just hours before the team announced it had also added righty reliever Luke Gregerson from the Padres for outfielder Seth Smith.
Choice, meanwhile, appears to be the leading candidate to be the Rangers' starting left fielder, even though he has just nine games of Major League experience. He hit .302 with 29 doubles, 14 home runs, 89 RBIs, a .390 on-base percentage and a .445 slugging percentage in 132 games at Triple-A Sacramento this past season.
He was Oakland's first-round Draft pick in 2010.
"It's tough to lose a guy like that," said Melvin, "but to get somebody that you feel like is a good fit and you feel will make you better right now, you have to balance that."
Lindblom was 1-3 with a 5.46 ERA in eight games, including five starts, over three stints with Texas in 2013. The starts were his first as a Major Leaguer and his first at any level since 2010 at Triple-A Albuquerque. He also went 8-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 20 games, 18 starts, with Triple-A Round Rock this past season.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com.