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The latest Lowrie free-agent rumors

MLB.com

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.

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.

How Troy Tulowitzki becoming a free agent could affect Lowrie
Dec. 11: Tulowitzki becoming a free agent after being released by the Blue Jays on Tuesday could potentially affect the market for Lowrie. After all, there is now one more free agent in the middle-infield market. 

More explicitly, however, would be Lowrie's fit with his former club should it pursue Tulowitkzi. And as Martin Gallegos of the San Jose Mercury News speculates, a union between the A's and Tulowitzki appears to be one of the most logical for the 34-year-old. Tulowitzki grew up in the Bay Area, rooted for the A's as a kid and the club has a positional need within its infield after Lowrie departed via free agency. Most signs, as Gallegos indicated, allude that Oakland will not bring Lowrie back. And for a cost-minded club that has played on a small-market budget and consistently sought to maximize the dollar value of its players, the A's might make a lot of sense for Tulowitzki.

Tulowitzki has a well-chronicled injury history, and even when healthy, he has struggled to return to the elite form he exhibited during his 10 seasons with the Rockies. Still, if Tulowitzki could be had for the right price, the veteran shortstop might offer as much upside as any shortstop on the free-agent market. 

The five-time All-Star will receive $38 million from Toronto as part of the final two years of his contract. Given that he missed the entire 2018 season with a heel injury and was limited to just 66 games in '17 due to an ankle injury, Tulowitzki doesn't necessarily have significant leverage to warrant another multi-year, high-paying contract. Gallegos speculates that the A's could potentially sign Tulowitzki for the league minimum of $600,000.

It would certainly be a risk, but if Tulowitzki could return to some form of his old self, it could be one worth taking. 

Are A's preparing to move on from Lowrie?
Dec. 10: While the A's have indicated they would be open to a reunion with Jed Lowrie, the club also appears to be making plans in the event that Lowrie signs elsewhere this offseason.

Oakland has expressed interest in fellow free-agent second baseman DJ LeMahieu, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.

General manager David Forst recently suggested that the A's are exploring a number of different options at second base, one of which is handing the position over to youngster Franklin Barreto. "There are conversations internally about Franklin and what is best for him going forward, but I think we're going to explore adding a second baseman, letting Franklin play, finding a platoon partner for him," Forst said, per a tweet from MLB.com's Jane Lee. "All those things are on the table."

Tweet from @JaneMLB: Regarding second base, Forst says, "There are conversations internally about Franklin and what is best for him going forward, but I think we���re going to explore adding a second baseman, letting Franklin play, finding a platoon partner for him. All those things are on the table."

LeMahieu, like Barreto, is a right-handed hitter, meaning he might not be an ideal candidate to platoon with Barreto, as Slusser pointed out the 30-year-old hit .330 against lefties in 2018 but only .249 versus right-handed pitchers. Barreto, 22, is a lifetime .215/.252/.424 hitter in the Majors, though he has tallied only 151 plate appearances. Over six Minor League seasons, the former top prospect slashed .288/.348/.470.

Lowrie is coming off arguably the best season of his career, hitting .267/.353/.448 with a personal-best 23 homers and 99 RBIs in 2018. The 34-year-old has racked up 8.5 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) over the past two years, per FanGraphs, ranking 26th among all Major Leaguers in that span -- slightly ahead of fellow free agent Bryce Harper (8.3 WAR).

Given that production, there's a chance Lowrie will be out of the A's price range, especially if he's seeking a multi-year deal, as Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported. The second-base market is deep, however, which could put a lid on his asking price and make him affordable enough for Oakland.

Tweet from @JeffPassan: The second base market could start moving now. Twins were talking with D.J. LeMahieu and Jed Lowrie, among others, according to sources. LeMahieu and Lowrie each are seeking multiyear deals. https://t.co/EZEOeXLm6k

Market for 2Bs could start to move soon
Dec. 6: Ready for some musical chairs among free-agent second basemen? It could be on the way with news that Jonathan Schoop, who was non-tendered by the Brewers earlier this offseason, is finalizing a one-year pact with the Twins, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal.

Tweet from @Ken_Rosenthal: #Twins finalizing one-year deal with free-agent 2B Jonathan Schoop for more than $7M, sources tell The Athletic.

Only 27 years old, Schoop looked like a top-of-the-line second baseman this time last year, when he was coming off a 2017 in which he smashed 32 homers and produced an .841 OPS. His 2018, however, was a disappointment, as he struggled with an oblique strain in April and May then saw his homers dip to 21 and OPS plummet to .682 while splitting the year between Baltimore and Milwaukee.

The Twins had been linked to others at the position, including Jed Lowrie and DJ LeMahieu, so this deal likely takes Minnesota out of the picture in that regard.

Yahoo's Jeff Passan speculates that a deep market for second basemen -- one which features Lowrie, LeMahieu, Daniel Murphy and Brian Dozier, among others -- could start to take shape now that Schoop is off the board.

Tweet from @JeffPassan: The second base market could start moving now. Twins were talking with D.J. LeMahieu and Jed Lowrie, among others, according to sources. LeMahieu and Lowrie each are seeking multiyear deals. https://t.co/EZEOeXLm6k

One other bit to take away from Passan's note above is that Lowrie is seeking a multi-year deal. That seems like a good possibility given his production and durability the past two seasons, but with Lowrie's age (34) and a wealth of other options at the position, he may have to work quickly to get such a deal done, especially if Lowrie wants to find a home with a contender at this stage of his career. 

Lowrie has plenty of competition in free agency
Dec. 4: Coming off two very healthy and productive seasons, Jed Lowrie's expectation entering the offseason might have been that he would be able to land a desirable multi-year deal. But there's been little buzz surrounding the veteran infielder so far. This could explain why.

The takeaway from ESPN's Buster Olney's look at the market for second basemen (subscription required) can best be summed up as such: lots of supply, little demand -- especially when it comes to contending clubs for which Lowrie might make the most sense as he prepares to enter his age-35 season.

"A lot of the would-be contenders already have second basemen," Olney writes. "The Astros have Jose Altuve, the Red Sox will again try to make it work with Dustin Pedroia, the Mets landed Cano, the Angels could shift Zack Cozart to second base, the Cubs have lot of infielders, etc. There appear to be a lot more free-agent second basemen than there are landing spots."

What might that mean? It could behoove the likes of Lowrie -- as well as other veteran keystoners on the open market like DJ LeMahieu, Daniel Murphy, Brian Dozier, Jonathan Schoop, Asdrubal Cabrera and Ian Kinsler -- to find a deal fast, especially if they're seeking more than one year. Otherwise, the risk in waiting is that the spots will fill up, leaving any leftover second basemen without an easy fit or a multi-year pact.

Jed Lowrie