Jed Lowrie enters the MLB offseason as one of the top options in the middle of the infield. With a hole at 2B, could the Toronto Blue Jays show interest in Lowrie, who is listed as a shortstop, to help complete their lineup?
Lowrie’s position will play into his market value very strongly. With J.J. Hardy locked up in Baltimore, Lowrie is near the head of a very thin SS market, which he can surely use as leverage for a richer deal. Signing with the Blue Jays would likely mean a move to 2B, given that Lowrie does not offer impact defense from short. Then again, does Jose Reyes? This begs the initial question, though: would Lowrie even consider that move?
At 30 years old, Lowrie is not as experienced as you might expect. After entering the league in 2008 with the Boston Red Sox, Jed Lowrie was traded to the Houston Astros in 2011, and later dealt to the Oakland Athletics in 2013. The 2013 and 2014 seasons have been the only two times he has eclipsed 400 plate appearances.
Jed Lowrie’s career year came in 2013, where he put up strong power numbers from shortstop. Some of his greatest value lies in the fact that he is a switch hitter. Over the course of his career, he has been stronger against left-handed pitching, but struggled to get anything going against lefties in 2014. Is this merely an outlier, or reason for greater concern?
Second base has been a revolving door for the Toronto Blue Jays, and very rarely has a starter at the position inspired confidence that they are the long-term answer. If some combination of Jose Reyes and Jed Lowrie could work at SS and 2B, his OBP and contact approach at the plate could fill the infield hole very well, even if only for a few years.
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Lowrie’s price tag will be a big point of contention, though, as several teams like the New York Yankees could be prepared to pay him like a starting SS. It is not hard to envision Lowrie receiving a contact of 3yrs, $25M – $30M or 4yrs, $32M – $38M. Is Jed Lowrie worth the top end of these contracts? Perhaps not, but the market dictates his increased price tag.
With Ryan Goins in the fold and (hopefully) working on his bat, and Maicer Izturis set to return from injury, Alex Anthopoulos may choose to address Melky Cabrera and the outfield first. At 30, though, Lowrie could very well fulfill a contract at a sustained level of production, assuming he remains healthy.
The market for Lowrie could very well push him outside the realm of possibility for the Blue Jays, which is OK. Second base might be a position that Alex Anthopoulos needs to get creative with. This could come through a trade, or by moving Brett Lawrie across the diamond and seeking out a 3B instead.
This is not a question of skill in regards to Lowrie. His glove leaves much to be desired at times, but the on-base ability and power potential he offers is very enticing. This will be a question of what position the Toronto Blue Jays deem to be their biggest area of need.
Have your say. Is 2B the first priority for the Toronto Blue Jays’ money, or should the position be addressed through different avenues?