NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Chicago White Sox filled their self-proclaimed No. 1 offseason need Wednesday, acquiring third baseman Brett Lawrie from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for minor league pitchers Zachary Erwin and J.B. Wendelken.
The White Sox were keen on closing their revolving door at third base, which has been spinning ever since Joe Crede left town following the 2008 season. They were also looking to add some offense after finishing last in the American League in slugging percentage (.380) and home runs (136) in 2015.
"If Opening Day were today, he would be our third baseman, but Brett also brings a level of versatility where he has some experience playing second base," general manager Rick Hahn said. "So, it's conceivable during at some point in his White Sox career he plays over there."
Lawrie established career bests this past season in batting average (.260), doubles (29), home runs (16) and RBIs (60). A right-handed hitter, he also batted .293 with a .484 slugging percentage against right-handed pitching. After nagging injuries slowed him with the Toronto Blue Jays, Lawrie's improved numbers were a result of him staying healthy.
"For me, I think last year was a stepping-stone for me to get away from the disabled list and play a number of games in a row, play a full year and just be able to have that," Lawrie said. "I wasn't able to have that with the Blue Jays, just having a month with an oblique here and a broken finger there."
Lawrie, a native of Canada, played only one season in Oakland after being traded from the Blue Jays last offseason. That was the deal that sent eventual AL MVP Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays.
Lawrie has five years of major league experience but won't turn 26 until next month. He is a career .263 hitter with a .420 slugging percentage, to go along with 59 home runs and 217 RBIs. He was a first-round draft pick, 16th overall, by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008.
Also attractive to the White Sox was that Lawrie remains under club control for two more seasons and won't hit free agency until after the 2017 season.
The White Sox could remain in the hunt for another third baseman in order to tap into Lawrie's versatility by moving him to second base. Lawrie played 109 games at third base this past season and 42 at second.
"Wherever I can help the team, that's what I'm looking to do, so whether that's center field, left field, right field, catcher -- whatever this team needs me to do -- I am going to do the best of my abilities to go out there and compete and pick up the baseball, try and make an out and see what I can do to help the team win the game at the end of the day," Lawrie said.
The White Sox have tried several third basemen since Crede departed, from Brent Morel to Kevin Youkilis to Josh Fields and Conor Gillaspie, among others. White Sox third basemen combined to finish last in the American League this past season in slugging percentage (.345), OPS (.622) and RBIs (50).
"I'm excited to be with a new group and see how things are done with the Chicago White Sox," Lawrie said. "Playing against them and whatnot, I know that it's a great staff over there and a lot of talent. I look forward to playing again with Melky [Cabrera], and Dioner Navarro is over there, too. We will have a good camaraderie with the team, I believe, and we will try to make a push to this thing. I'm excited about it."
The A's received Erwin, a 21-year-old left-hander who was a fourth-round draft pick out of Clemson in June, and Wendelken, a 22-year-old right-hander who came to the White Sox in the 2013 deal that sent Jake Peavy to the Boston Red Sox.