Oakland Athletics: Could Jed Lowrie be headed back to Oakland?

Oakland Athletics (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Oakland Athletics (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The Oakland Athletics are in the market for a veteran second baseman. Could they pull the trigger on a deal that would land Jed Lowrie back with the Green and Gold?

The Oakland Athletics are interested in Jed Lowrie. Again.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser, the Oakland Athletics may be interested in trading for Lowrie if the New York Mets are willing to eat part of his salary.

Lowrie apparently represents the Oakland front office’s eternal flame.

If acquired, it would be his third stint with the Green and Gold across his 11-year MLB career. He had a solid two-season welcome back in 2013 and 2014 and impressed enough in his most recent stint to land a two-year, $20 million last free agency.

In 2018, Lowrie had arguably his best career year — being named an All-Star for the first time in his career and even receiving MVP votes.

The Mets, however, have not seen that version of Lowrie.

In 2019, at age 35, Lowrie put together just seven at-bats across nine games, all coming as a pinch hitter. He had no hits in any of those nine games.

It was a matter of health for Lowrie in 2019. Though he played in at least 136 games every year he’s been with the A’s, knee and calf injuries sidelined him for almost the entirety of the latest campaign.

Now, with a year and $10 million left on the books, the New York Mets are in full salary-dump mode. They may even be willing to take on some of the salary if it means some other team chips in.

The A’s aren’t necessarily accustomed to taking on salary to alleviate the budget of another team, but they sure are interested in veteran middle infielders.

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Since trading Jurickson Profar, the Oakland Athletics have been connected to several experienced second basemen who might be able to share time with some of the younger prospects on the team.

Lowrie, in this case, would be a perfect complement to one or more of Franklin Barreto, Jorge Mateo, and Sheldon Neuse.

Limited playing time through a platoon could potentially help keep Lowrie healthy. He wouldn’t be the everyday second baseman unless he returned to his breakout form from 2018.

That, of course, isn’t completely out of the question.

Lowrie has been a fairly consistent .260/.340/.450 hitter. The safe bet is that he won’t be belting twenty home runs again in a season, but he’s a doubles machine that plays the gaps perfectly at the Coliseum.

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His lower body injuries could severely limit his already-limited range factor at second base, however. Though Lowrie has received recognition as a finalist for the Gold Glove award, it has never been for his range.

Then again, he can’t be much worse than Profar on the defensive side.

The Athletics could greatly benefit from the veteran presence of a guy who has not only been with the A’s but has been to the playoffs with the A’s. He offers a wealth of knowledge that could really end up shaping guys like Barreto who have been lost in the bigs.

The Mets might be interested in some of the excess pieces in Triple-A, like Mark Payton who had a solid year in 2019. But they’ll have to be willing to pay a hefty chunk of Lowrie’s salary to get the A’s interested.

The likelihood is that the A’s and Mets aren’t able to match up on this deal.

There are several other names on the trade block that might cost the A’s less given salary repercussions. And the truth is, it might be best to remember Jed Lowrie for his 2018 season.

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But if he is to return, the fans at Rickey Henderson Field will be sure to welcome him back with open arms.