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The latest Lowrie free-agent rumors

Oakland Athletics' Jed Lowrie drops his bat after hitting a two-run double off Los Angeles Angels' Felix Pena during the fourth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) (Ben Margot/AP)
December 28, 2018

Jed Lowrie was a major part of the A's 2018 success, producing a career-high 23 homers, 99 RBIs and 4.9 Wins Above Replacement, per FanGraphs. After that strong showing, the 34-year-old enters the free-agent market looking for a new deal. Below you will find a list of the latest news

Jed Lowrie was a major part of the A's 2018 success, producing a career-high 23 homers, 99 RBIs and 4.9 Wins Above Replacement, per FanGraphs. After that strong showing, the 34-year-old enters the free-agent market looking for a new deal.
Below you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the infielder.
Mets reportedly have two-year deal with Lowrie
Jan. 10:  The Mets' aggressive approach to the Hot Stove season continued on Thursday, as MLB.com's Mark Feinsand confirmed ESPN's Jeff Passan's original report that New York has signed free agent Jed Lowrie to a two-year deal worth $20 million. The club has not confirmed the deal.

Lowrie, who played second base for the majority of his three seasons with the A's, is a former client of Brodie Van Wagenen, the former CAA agent who is in his first offseason as the Mets' general manager. The two are also alumni of Stanford University. Lowrie joins fellow free-agent acquisitions Jeurys Familia and Wilson Ramos, and trade acquisitions Robinson Canó and Edwin Díaz among the big names Van Wagenen has added this offseason.
Lowrie brings a capable bat to Queens, but his defensive fit for the Mets is an initial question mark. Cano will presumably man second base -- though he could move to first -- and up-and-comer Amed Rosario is stationed at shortstop. Lowrie does have experience as a third baseman (most recently with the Astros in 2015 in any significant capacity) but former All-Star Todd Frazier currently occupies that spot. Frazier could move to first base, but sources inform Passan that Lowrie could also serve in a super-utility role alongside second-year infielder Jeff McNeil.
Lowrie joined fellow second baseman Brian Dozier as free agents who came off the board Thursday after Dozier reportedly signed a one-year, $9 million deal with the Nationals. That leaves DJ LeMahieu and Marwin Gonzalez as the biggest names available at the position, and LeMahieu could be next to sign. MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported Thursday that the two 2018 National League Championship Series participants -- the Brewers and Dodgers -- are "best positioned" to sign LeMahieu, according to an anonymous Major League executive. But a source tells MLB.com's Feinsand that the Brewers are not currently in the mix, though they were interested in signing LeMahieu at one point.

Milwaukee signed catcher Yasmani Grandal to a one-year deal reportedly worth $18.5 million, so they might not be able to afford LeMahieu as well. But second base remains one of the Brewers' biggest question marks heading into Spring Training, and acquiring LeMahieu could allow Milwaukee to move Travis Shaw back to his more natural position at third base and further bolster a club that finished one game short of the 2018 World Series.
MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal and ESPN's Passan both reported Thursday that the Giants are also showing interest in LeMahieu, with Passan reporting that San Francisco is shopping current second baseman Joe Panik
Are Angels a possibility for Lowrie?
Jan. 9: The Angels' window to win is right now, while they have Mike Trout in his prime and under control through 2020. They have added a few solid veterans who should help right away in right-handers Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill, as well as backstop Jonathan Lucroy. The Halos, however, still could do more to push toward contention, especially since they've missed out on the postseason the past four years -- and the clock is ticking down on Trout's tenure.
One big area of need is the bullpen, which is why the club went hard after Zach Britton, who would have helped as both a closer and a southpaw before he returned to the Yankees.
"The other thing they might be looking for is a middle infielder or an infielder of some kind," MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal said on Hot Stove. "Now, they have Zack Cozart coming back from shoulder surgery. They have David Fletcher, who made a strong impression last year. But they might want a short-term second baseman ... as their kids start to develop a little bit. They could make Fletcher a utility player."

That sounds like the Angels could be in the mix for any number of the available veterans capable of playing second base -- or perhaps moving around the diamond a bit -- including Jed Lowrie, Marwin Gonzalez, Josh Harrison, Brian Dozier and DJ LeMahieu. It's possible the team values those players similarly and isn't likely to make a move with so many potential candidates still in play. But if the Angels do see a need at second and prefer one of this bunch to provide an impact next season, they could look to act sooner than later.
Does Spangenberg signing fulfill Brewers' need for short-term second baseman?
Jan. 5: The Brewers signed Cory Spangenberg to a one-year Major League contract for $1.2 million on Friday, adding another player to their infield mix. However, general manager David Stearns is open to more additions.
Stearns said Milwaukee remains in contact with a "wide variety" of free-agent infielders and continues to talk trades as well. "There's plenty of offseason left," Stearns said. "We continue to be engaged on a number of different concepts, and if the right deal is to be had to bring in another second-base option, we have to be open to that."
While that may be the case, the Spangenberg signing gives the Brewers another short-term option at second base while the club waits on top prospect Keston Hiura, who is nearly MLB-ready after reaching Double-A this past season.
Even if Milwaukee does bring in another second baseman, the presence of Hiura may cause the club to look more toward the lower end of the market, as Marwin Gonzalez, Jed Lowrie, Brian Dozier and DJ LeMahieu could command multi-year deals.
Of course, with so many second basemen still available, a number of those players may be forced to consider one-year deals, which would make them more realistic options for the Brewers.

It's a tough market for second basemen
Jan. 4: The market for free-agent second basemen is of the classic "high supply, low demand" variety. There are several well-established players on the market, including DJ LeMahieu, Jed Lowrie, Brian Dozier and others. And yet they're still out there.
Besides the supply-and-demand function, another reason why the second-base market is frozen may be because clubs value positional flexibility now more than ever. It gives players like Marwin Gonzalez and Josh Harrison an edge -- even though both also remain on the market -- but leaves position-bound players behind.
"Gonzalez and Harrison have the ability to be kind of everyday, versatile players," said former big league general manager and current MLB Network analyst Dan O'Dowd on MLB Now. "I count the Rockies -- and I think they're going young -- the Nats, the Angels and the Dodgers [as potential buyers in the market for second basemen], and the Dodgers have Chris Taylor if they want to go in that direction. ... The answer is no, there are not enough [musical] chairs for these guys. Someone's gonna get left out."

Does Nats', Brewers' interest in Dozier impact Lowrie?
Jan. 3: A pair of prominent teams in need of a second baseman, the Nationals and Brewers, are now both showing interest in Brian Dozier. So what does that mean for Jed Lowrie?
According to a report from Ken Rosenthal for The Athletic on Thursday (subscription required), Washington has had discussions with Dozier, and Milwaukee also likes him. Both clubs have previously checked in on Lowrie this offseason.
Showing interest in Dozier doesn't mean either team is out on Lowrie. The Nats and Brewers seem to be casting a wide net in regard to the second-base market, with a lot of good options still available in free agency -- Lowrie, Dozier, DJ LeMahieu, Marwin Gonzalez, Josh Harrison and so on.
But one part of Rosenthal's report does call the Lowrie-Nationals fit into question. According to Rosenthal, the Nats prefer to sign a one-year stopgap at second base as their No. 2 prospect, Carter Kieboom, develops. Previous reports have suggested that Lowrie is looking for a multiyear deal.
D-backs need a second baseman, but Lowrie is unlikely a fit
Jan. 1: Possessing one of the more versatile defensive rosters, the D-backs could have some of their same faces in 2018 in new places in 2019, particularly as they attempt to fill the gaping void left by A.J. Pollock after he hit free agency. 
However, Arizona's defensive versatility could allow the club to maneuver its roster to get creative and not sacrifice prospects in a potential trade. One option, as Zach Buchanan of The Athletic points out, would be to move Ketel Marte from second to center and then go sign a free-agent second baseman. The market is flooded at the position to the point where they could potentially get an affordable option. However, because the D-backs are looking for a more economical option, per Buchanan, a union with Jed Lowrie, who is supposedly seeking a high-paying, multiyear deal, seems unlikely. 
Buchanan speculates that Arizona might be open to committing multiple years to a free-agent second baseman, but for total guarantees of $10 million or less -- similar to the deals Jarrod Dyson and Alex Avila signed last offseason. Buchanan adds that 33-year-old Asdrúbal Cabrera, who also brings defensive versatility having played every infield position but first last season, and Brian Dozier, who might be open to taking a pillow contract to re-establish his value after slashing .215/.305/.391, might be more viable options should they pursue the route of moving Marte to center. 
Of course, they could keep Marte at second and look to find a direct replacement for Pollock. They have options. But, as Buchanan points out, there doesn't necessarily appear to be much clarity or urgency on their plans currently. 
What's holding up the market for second basemen?
Dec. 28: The free-agent market for second basemen this offseason is saturated with several prominent names, like DJ LeMahieu, Jed Lowrie, Brian Dozier, Neil Walker, Marwin Gonzalez and Josh Harrison. So why isn't it moving? According to former MLB general manager Jim Duquette, who appeared on MLB Network to discuss the matter Friday, there are multiple factors playing into the slow pace.
"When you look at the teams that were in the playoffs last season, and you look at their production at second base, seven of the teams were below average in productivity if you just use wins above replacement as a guideline," said Duquette.
"When you look at all that and see Colorado got to the postseason, the Dodgers -- they had the least productive second base productivity, and they obviously got to the World Series -- you look at teams like Washington, Milwaukee, I think when you look at all that and say, 'We can get to the postseason, we don't need to have an impactful offensive player at second base, there isn't a ton of impact there anyway.' So I think all of those things combined is why we're sitting here with the market the way it is right now."
With respect to individual free agents, Duquette said he sees the Nationals and Cubs as the two best fits for Lowrie at this time, and thinks Gonzalez may be holding up the market as other players wait to see what type of deal he gets.

Brewers, Nats among clubs in play for Lowrie
Dec. 26: One Jed Lowrie suitor pretty much came off the board when the A's acquired Jurickson Profar from the Rangers last week, but even with a robust market for free-agent second basemen, two teams continue to be linked to Lowrie, specifically.
The Brewers have checked in on Lowrie, as MLB.com's Adam McCalvy writes. That could be a solid fit for both player and club, as the 34-year-old would join a contender, and Milwaukee likely would not need to go beyond a couple of years to land the veteran. That could be enticing for a team with second baseman Keston Hiura as it's top prospect.
The Nationals also have reached out to Lowrie, according to MLB.com's Jamal Collier. They seem to be the most active team when it comes to targeting an upgrade at the keystone, as 35-year-old Howie Kendrick -- coming off a torn Achilles tendon injury that limited him to 40 games in 2018 -- currently is penciled in at the position. Washington also has been connected to DJ LeMahieu, Marwin Gonzalez and Josh Harrison. Similar to the Brewers, the Nats also may prefer a shorter-term deal, as they also have a youngster who could provide help at second base in the not-too-distant future in Carter Kieboom, their No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline.
Lowrie might be too costly for Red Sox
Dec. 22: Boston could be in need of a second baseman, and as Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes, Jed Lowrie "remains the most intriguing option, though he may be too expensive for the Red Sox."
Lowrie is reportedly seeking a deal of at least two years, per Cafardo, which may be outside the range Boston is willing to spend -- particularly with free-agent options such as Neil Walker and Logan Forsythe available. 
"The Red Sox would be interested in making a one-year commitment," Cafardo writes. 
The club also has versatile players at second such as Brock Holt and Eduardo Núñez who could platoon. And its need at the position is largely contingent on Dustin Pedroia's health as he attempts to return from a left knee injury that limited him to just three games over the entire 2018 season. Pedroia is hopeful to return by Opening Day. 
Cafardo notes that even though the Red Sox exceeded the Competitive Balance Tax in 2018, that won't necessarily stop ownership from spending this offseason. However, the club's needs are more apparent in its bullpen, which is likely where it will delegate the bulk of its free-agent finances.  
After trading for Profar, are the A's out on Lowrie?
Dec. 21: The A's have been weighing several second-base options this offseason, and based on previous comments from executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane and general manager David Forst, re-signing Jed Lowrie was believed to be on that list. But after the club acquired Jurickson Profar from the Rangers on Friday in a three-team trade that also included the Rays, it appears Oakland has moved on from Lowrie.
According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, Forst confirmed that Profar will be taking over as Oakland's starting second baseman and wished Lowrie well.
"Jed was huge for us and we've said it any number of ways," Forst said. "He and Khris [Davis] hitting three and four were kind of the rocks of the lineup. I can't overstate how important Jed was to this team and we certainly wish him nothing but the best as his career moves forward."
While the second-base market is still deep, the 34-year-old Lowrie is expected to command a multi-year deal, likely similar to the two-year, $24 million contract Daniel Murphy reportedly agreed to with the Rockies on Thursday. It's possible the A's knew that Lowrie was going to be out of their price range, prompting the move to add Profar.

By choosing Profar over Lowrie, Oakland will now be able to invest more of its resources elsewhere. At this point, the rotation is the biggest area of need for the A's. Although the club often utilized the opener strategy a year ago, Oakland won't be able to get through this season relying entirely on relievers. Someone is going to have to eat innings.
Sean Manaea, who led the team with 160 2/3 innings in 2018, may miss all of 2019 following left shoulder surgery, and Daniel Mengden is the only other pitcher on the current 40-man roster who threw more than 93 frames in 2018. With Jharel Cotton and A.J. Puk coming off Tommy John surgery and Andrew Triggs recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, the A's will likely need to add a couple veteran starters.