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A’s re-sign Jed Lowrie!

Another bright light amid a dark offseason

Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics
Lowrie on his home planet of Second Base
Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images

The Jedi returns, yet again!

The Oakland A’s signed professional hitter Jed Lowrie to a one-year deal, reports Eno Sarris of The Athletic on Friday. It’s a major league contract, adds Shayna Rubin of the Mercury News, so he’ll get a spot on the 40-man roster.

The A’s have said goodbye to a lot of players this offseason, but one familiar face is sticking around for another go. Lowrie spent last summer in Oakland and offered a productive switch-hitting bat at second base and DH, reviving his career after a couple missed seasons with the Mets.

  • Lowrie, 2021: .245/.318/.398, 100 wRC+, 14 HR, 9.6% BB, 21.1% Ks

Those final numbers might sell him a bit short, as he carried a potent 113 wRC+ into the All-Star break before fading down the stretch. Statcast loved his overall work, giving him an above-average .344 xwOBA mark and rating him among the Top 25% of MLB batters in terms of hard-hit rate and average exit velocity. He’s a smart patient situational hitter who works tough at-bats and makes good contact at a high rate.

Now he’ll get the chance to do it again entering age 38. Last year he stayed on the field for 139 games and 512 plate appearances, which was his most action since 2018, and his injury history is extensive. But at last sight he was healthy and still hitting, and there should be plenty of opportunities for at-bats in Oakland’s rebuilding lineup.

Analysis

We’ve reached the part of the A’s offseason where they start bringing back their old players. Yesterday it was Stephen Vogt, and today it’s Lowrie, though in this case Lowrie was already here last year. It is our destiny.

That’s not a complaint. I love this tradition of reuniting with old favorites, and hopefully they’ll keep it going with a couple pitchers. Somebody has to fill out the roster, why not Lowrie? He was good last year.

Anyway, the jokes are so cliche at this point that they almost feel like actual science. He’s never had a full healthy season anywhere else, in several tries. He’s almost never had a bad season in Oakland, with five good years of 130+ games and one clunker. If the radio only works in exactly one corner of the house and it still plays the songs you like, then for goodness sake don’t move it.

He’s also another valuable veteran presence on a rebuilding team. Like Vogt, he’s the kind of mentor you want around your rookies and prospects, and he’s long been lauded by teammates for his help with hitting advice.

The A’s have a lot of young players to try out this year, but the roster still needs some veterans and Lowrie is a perfect one to keep around. Welcome back!