A to re-sign Jed Lowrie

The A’s sign again Jed Lowrie to a one-year deal, reports Athletic’s Eno Sarris (Twitter link). This will be the veteran infielder’s second straight season in green and gold and his seventh year in Oakland in three separate stints. The A’s have a vacancy on their 40-man roster, so no additional travel will be required. Lowrie is an Excel Sports Management client.

Oakland is very familiar with Lowrie, who has generally been productive while wearing the A uniform. He posted a wRC+ of at least 120 (attack 20 percentage points above league average) in 2017 and 2018 , earning an All-Star nod last season. This positioned him to land a two-year, $20 million contract with the Mets that was sadly derailed due to injuries.

Lowrie made just eight trips to the plate as a Met, dogged his entire time in Queens by knee issues. He returned to the Oakland organization via a minor league deal last winter, and he broke camp with the big league club. His entry into the roster was not unexpected, but it was surprising that the A’s declared him their first second baseman, a position he started in on Opening Day.

Former coach Bob Melvin keystoned him 69 times during the year, while he appeared in 58 games as a designated hitter. Lowrie’s defensive measures weren’t great, as you’d expect for a 37-year-old infielder who suffered from serious knee problems. Still, the switch veteran showed he still had life in his bat, posting a .245/.318/.398 line with 14 homers in 512 plate appearances. That’s exactly the league’s average offensive output, according to wRC+, and Lowrie’s underlying numbers were solid.

As he has been throughout his career, Lowrie has been patient enough to take pitches outside the strike zone. He made contact on 77.9% of his swings, the lowest mark of his career but still a hair better than average. And Lowrie has posted better slap marks than his .398 slugging percentage suggests. He made hard contact (defined as a ball hit at 95 MPH or faster) on 45.9 percent of his balls in play, about ten points above the league mark. His average exit speed of 90.3 MPH was a few ticks above average, as was his barrel rate of 9.3% (essentially a measure of how often a batter hits the ball hard at an angle launch pad for extra-base impact).

The A’s front office and manager Mark Kotsay obviously appreciate Lowrie’s presence in the clubhouse. Between that familiarity and his ever-capable offensive traits, he earns another guaranteed roster spot in Oakland. It surely won’t be a costly addition for the A’s, who have spent most of the winter orchestrating a sale to cut payrolls. Lowrie isn’t going to make him a contender, but the recent re-signings of him and Stephane Vogt adding some much-loved veteran roleplayers to an increasingly young clubhouse. Tony Kemp appears to be the primary second baseman, but Lowrie can work his way up the field between keystone, first base, and DH.

Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.

About Richard Chandler

Check Also

Tigers hold team meeting after loss to White Sox

DETROIT — The doors to the Tigers clubhouse were closed for about half an hour …