The Oakland Athletics have reacquired Jed Lowrie from the Houston Astros for right-handed relief pitcher Brendan McCurry, the club has announced. News that the A's would acquire Lowrie was first reported by Jane Lee of MLB.com. The A's have 41 players counting against their 40-man roster limit and have not yet announced a corresponding move.
Lowrie, turning 32 next season, has two years and $14 million remaining on the three-year deal he signed with the Astros after going to free agency in 2014, plus a club option in 2018 for $6 million with a $1 million buyout. In 69 games and 263 plate appearances, Lorie hit .222/.312/.400 with the Astros in 2015, a wRC+ of 91.
Jed Lowrie played shortstop with the A's, but with the Astros he moved from shortstop to third base after a right thumb injury on a slide into home caused him to tear a ligament in his right thumb, putting him on the disabled list from late April to late July. Rookie of the Year Carlos Correa was promoted in June, prompting a permanent move to third base.
The A's could play Lowrie all over the infield, though his past preference has been to be allowed to stick in just one position.
Lowrie says he hasn't been told what his role might be. Says he feels comfortable playing anywhere but prefers sticking to one spot.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) November 25, 2015
At the moment, the A's have quite a few options in the infield between Lowrie, Brett Lawrie, Danny Valencia, Marcus Semien, and Eric Sogard. First base roles could move around if the A's retain Valencia and try to play him there to replace Ike Davis, who is a candidate to be non-tendered.
Lowrie costs just a reliever that touched Double-A in 2015 (albeit one with an excellent statistical line) and that Jed Lowrie has not hit for an above average wRC+ (more than 100) since the 2013 season, I wonder if this move is only an upgrade on utility infielder (mostly second baseman) Eric Sogard. Sogard has only managed a 67 wRC+ for each of the past two seasons though he has played an excellent second base. The move to dramatically alter the infield setup, which could prompt a promotion of a prospect or two, would come later.
Jed Lowrie sounds just thrilled to be coming back to Oakland, though a charitable interpretation would be he's disappointed to leave Houston, where he resides year-round, and not specifically disappointed to come to Oakland:
Lowrie: "I'm disappointed to leave Houston. I think the Astros are obviously a team headed in right direction."— Brian McTaggart ⚾️ (@brianmctaggart) November 25, 2015
More Lowrie on trade: "I signed the three-year deal here thinking I'd be here for those three years."— Brian McTaggart ⚾️ (@brianmctaggart) November 25, 2015
Jed Lowrie tells me "obviously when I signed in Houston I was hoping to spend 3 years there. But I enjoyed playing for Bob Melvin."— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) November 25, 2015
Lowrie went from last-place Houston to 1st place Oakland in 2013; now from wild-card Houston to last-place A;'s. "Weird, right?" he says.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) November 25, 2015
Anyway, you may now commence your Lawrie-Lowrie double play combo jokes.
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I'll be the first to say that I'm going to miss watching Brendan McCurry rise through the ranks in the A's farm system, and I'll also be the first to admit that my vision on McCurry is colored by watching him mow through batters in the Arizona Fall League earlier this month. Still, McCurry only just touched Double-A this year after starting the season in High-A. It's an exchange of needs (perhaps the Astros need the roster spot) that has benefits for both sides.