According to multiple reports, the Oakland A's have acquired shortstop Jed Lowrie and RHP Fernando Rodriguez from the Houston Astros in exchange for first baseman Chris Carter, RHP Brad Peacock, and catcher Max Stassi.
Lowrie was a first round pick of the Red Sox in 2005 acquired by the Astros before last season for Mark Melancon. He has a .250/.326/.417 line while playing shortstop and second base, but has had issues staying healthy. He'll presumably start for the A's at shortstop.
Rodriguez is a 28 year old reliever who put up a 5.37 ERA in 70.1 innings for the Astros last year, striking out a bunch of guys, walking a bunch of guys, and giving up a fair number of homers.
Coming back in this deal for the Astros are the same sort of middling prospects the Astros have been collecting for their semi-useful parts since Jed Luhnow took over as g.m. Peacock, who came to Oakland in the Gio Gonzalez deal, was ranked by Baseball America as the #4 prospect in the A's system heading into 2013. He just turned 25, and put up a 6.01 ERA with Sacramento in the AAA PCL.
Chris Carter has seemingly been hanging around forever...he was supposedly going to be dealt to the Rangers for Akinori Otsuka in 2007 before Otsuka's elbow problems proved insurmountable, and he was sent to Arizona for Carlos Quentin before almost immediately being flipped to Oakland as part of the Dan Haren trade. Carter is a three-true-outcomes guy, a low average, high walk, high strikeout power hitter who put up a .239/.350/.514 line in 260 plate appearances in the majors in 2012, but who did so while striking out 83 times. The Astros will presumably have him be their starting 1B or DH.
Max Stassi is a catching prospect who John Sickels gave a C+ to, and who he had #12 on the A's prospect list coming into 2013 (with Peacock at #6).
So the A's have picked up an okay starting middle infielder and a bullpen arm of questionable value for a couple of middling prospects and a first baseman they'd seemed to have decided didn't have much of a future in their organization. Okay deal for both sides, I guess.