Rays, Lowe complete 6-year contract extension

March 20th, 2019

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays and infielder/outfielder Brandon Lowe have agreed to a six-year, $24 million contract extension with two club options, the team announced Wednesday.

Lowe’s extension runs through the 2024 season, with the Rays having club options for '25 and '26. With the deal, Lowe will make at least $24 million, but the left-handed hitter could earn up to $49 with options and incentives.

“We believe Brandon has the potential to make a longstanding impact at the Major League level,” Rays senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager Erik Neander said. “He’s shown both an advanced feel for hitting and the ability to drive the ball to all fields, and he’s quickly becoming a versatile defender who can help us in many ways. Brandon’s development, both offensively and defensively, is a testament to his commitment to his craft, and a credit to all of our staff who have scouted, coached and worked with him. With this agreement, we’re excited to cement his place in our young core for years to come.”

Lowe joins Evan Longoria, Matt Moore and Chris Archer as the fourth player with less than a year of Major League service time to sign a long-term extension with the Rays. Over the duration of the deal, he has elected to make annual donations to the Rays Baseball Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization and the official charity of the Rays.

Lowe, 24, got called up on Aug. 4 last season and appeared in 43 big league games. He started his career with an 0-for-19 skid at the plate, but finished with six home runs and an .884 OPS over his last 37 games in the Major Leagues.

In an effort to keep his bat in the lineup as often as possible, the Rays have moved Lowe across the infield and outfield this spring. Lowe has played first base, second base and left field for Tampa Bay over the last month. With the extension, Lowe would be eligible to become a free agent after his age-30 season.

Giving Lowe an extension after 43 games is a risk for the Rays, but they believe the 24-year-old has the defensive versatility and more than enough upside at the plate to make this deal worth it. The team’s No. 9 prospect per MLB Pipeline has continued to display his prowess at the plate, leading the team with 14 RBIs during Grapefruit League play.

It isn’t the first time a team has taken a chance on Lowe. The once 130-pound Lowe had no scholarship offers heading into his senior year at Nansemond River High School in Virginia. After a series of workouts during the summer before his senior season, the University of Maryland extended an offer that Lowe would eventually commit to.

Lowe went on to reward the Terrapins for being the lone school to extend a scholarship. Despite tearing his left ACL during his freshman season, Lowe bounced back to lead the Terrapins in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage as a redshirt freshman. After a couple of strong seasons in College Park, Md., the Rays drafted Lowe in the third round of the 2015 Draft.

Since being drafted, Lowe has shown a consistent ability to hit through the Rays system. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound infielder/outfielder hit 22 home runs in just 100 games in the Minor Leagues last season between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham.

“He hits a lot,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “He can really hit.”

The Rays are hoping -- and banking -- that he keeps on hitting for at least the next six seasons.