Lowrie's time with A's arrives at emotional end

August 10th, 2022

OAKLAND -- In a time that has seen the A’s go through vast roster turnover on a yearly basis, Jed Lowrie emerged as a mainstay over the past decade. That’s what made Wednesday such an emotional day.

Lowrie was designated for assignment prior to the A's series finale against the Angels, likely marking the end of the 38-year-old infielder’s tenure playing for the organization in which he’s enjoyed by far the most success of his Major League career. Oakland hoped for a better ending with Lowrie, who was in his third stint with the club. But the veteran of 14 big league seasons entered Wednesday scuffling through a 2-for-16 stretch since his return from the injured list on Aug. 2, which plummeted his batting average to .180 on the year with three homers and 16 RBIs.

“It’s just the nature of the game,” said Lowrie. “I kind of figured it was coming based on some conversations I had. It wasn’t a surprise.”

Though Lowrie provided value as a veteran presence and hitting resource in the clubhouse, the rebuilding A’s felt it was best to utilize his roster spot to get a look at the younger talent in the organization. In tandem with Lowrie’s DFA, Oakland selected the contract of 25-year-old outfielder Cal Stevenson from Triple-A Las Vegas. Stevenson, a native of nearby Fremont, Calif., was in Wednesday’s starting lineup against the Angels, batting ninth and playing center field in his Major League debut.

Delivering such news to any player can be tough. For A’s manager Mark Kotsay, his personal history with Lowrie made the task a bit more difficult.

“Jed and I, our relationship started back in 2008 when he was a rookie with the Boston Red Sox and a teammate of mine,” Kotsay said. “Definitely emotional on my end. What he’s meant to this organization and what he’s done here as an Oakland Athletic, his tenure stands out. He’s been a part of some great clubs and had great moments here. Definitely not an easy day.”

Lowrie will now go through waivers. If he goes unclaimed, he can decide to accept a Minor League assignment or opt for free agency. If Lowrie has played his last game with Oakland, he leaves behind an impressive legacy as one of the club’s most prolific doubles hitters. Lowrie’s 205 doubles with the A’s is tied with Terry Steinbach for seventh most in Oakland history.

“It was [2017] when he hit 49 doubles. Whenever anyone brings up Jed, I remember that year,” said A’s pitcher Paul Blackburn. “Just being able to see that, it was impressive. A guy that’s been great for the younger guys here being able to mentor them, whether it’s the pitching side of things or the hitting side of things. He’s had an unbelievable career and I’m thankful I got to play with him.”

Lowrie, a .262 hitter with 77 home runs and 405 RBIs over seven seasons in green and gold, has enjoyed his best years with Oakland. It’s where he became an All-Star in 2018.

“The number of years I’ve spent in an A’s uniform, I don’t know in recent history how many guys have played seven seasons here,” Lowrie said while fighting back tears. “The A’s mean something to me.”

It’s unclear what the final two months of the season will bring for Lowrie. He’s open to playing elsewhere if a team decides to claim him in the next few days, but he remains realistic about his situation. Should he never appear in another Major League game, he said he’s “at peace” with whatever comes next.

“I feel like I was hitting the ball good when I came back and on my rehab assignment,” Lowrie said. “We’ll see where it goes. Just gonna see what’s out there. I’m not mailing it in.”