Blue Jays: Brett Lawrie still without a contract

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 01: Brett Lawrie
HOUSTON, TX - JULY 01: Brett Lawrie /

Former Blue Jay Brett Lawrie hasn’t played an MLB game since being cut by the Chicago White Sox in March of last year. Will his career continue in 2018?

Once upon a time the Blue Jays had a young third baseman who looked like had the tools to be a perennial All-Star. The club had acquired Brett Lawrie from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Shaun Marcum, and he burst on to the scene as a rookie in 2011, lighting it up at the plate in his 43 games played.

However, after four seasons of mixed results, mostly due to injury, Brett Lawrie eventually found himself on the other side of a Blue Jays’ trade, as he was shipped to the Oakland A’s as part of the package that brought Josh Donaldson. At the time it was a little scary to think about giving up on a young talent like that, but man, did the front office ever get that deal right. Donaldson of course went on to be the 2015 AL MVP, and has been the Blue Jays’ best player basically since he arrived in town.

For Lawrie, he ended up playing with the A’s for a season, and eventually landed in Chicago with the White Sox in 2016. He underwhelmed and was eventually shifted to second base, and by the time spring training rolled around this year, the White Sox decided they were better off without him, designating him for assignment in March. While Lawrie stated at the time that he wasn’t going to sign anywhere until he was fully healthy, he spent the remainder of the season on the sidelines.

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There was some brief chatter back in June that the Blue Jays might be interested, especially in the wake of another injury to Devon Travis, and continued DL time for Troy Tulowitzki, as well as Donaldson. However, the Blue Jays decided to take a pass for one reason or another, and unfortunately for the young Canadian, so did every other team in the MLB.

He and his agent have stayed relatively quiet on the subject, and even now there hasn’t been much in the way of an update. Lawrie continues to be active on social media, and has hinted recently that he’s feeling better and preparing to play again, but there’s no chatter as far as interested parties.

There’s a good chance that he wanted more money than teams were willing to give him as a free agent last year, and maybe the time on the sidelines will have put things into perspective for him. Still just 27, it’s entirely possible that he could still put things together, stay healthy, and fulfill more of the promise that so many of us saw in him as he began his career.

That said, he may have to accept something close to a MiLB deal in order to prove himself again, whether as a second, or third baseman. There are always needs around the game, so as long as he’s not looking for a guaranteed job as a starter, it would be incredibly surprising if nobody was willing to take a chance on him. He may have had some “attitude” issues in the past, but it was never anything major, and a year on the sidelines may have done a lot of good for him in that department as well.

Should the Blue Jays consider a reunion? Maybe? I don’t know. I don’t think so? He could certainly fill a depth role with the team with an ability to play second, third, and MAYBE shortstop in a pinch, but he’s not exactly an ideal fit. It’s hard to imagine him playing in a bench role, and even if his ceiling seems higher, I’m not sure that he would perform any better offensively than Ryan Goins did, and Goins can handle shortstop on the regular.

It remains to be seen what the next step is for Lawrie in his career, but it doesn’t appear as though a reunion with the Blue Jays is in the cards, at least not now anyway.

Next: 5 offseason moves for the Blue Jays to make