According to a report from Susan Slusser, Brett Lawrie and Danny Valencia have been drawing some trade interest. In the article, Slusser isn't vague and suggests that Lawrie is, in fact, "likely to be traded."
More on the #Athletics trade today and why a Lowrie-Lawrie infield appears highly unlikely: https://t.co/f9EW6Vk4WF via @sfchronicle— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) November 25, 2015
This comes only hours after the Oakland Athletics re-acquired Jed Lowrie from the Houston Astros. Lowrie, who is a utility infielder but spent the majority of 2015 at third base, is likely to make one of Valencia or Lawrie obsolete heading into the 2016 season.
Lawrie is coming off his first 600 plate appearance season. He hit the most home runs in his career this past season, however, all production wasn't rosy. Lawrie actually hit below the league average according to wRC+ and posted his worst season in wins above replacement. Similarly, he was shifted over to second base and may be relegated to that position permanently moving forward. Originally acquired in the Josh Donaldson trade and living with the fact that he plays the same position as Donaldson has led to some excess criticism of the busy-bodied Lawrie. Despite only having been in Oakland for one season, a change of scenery might benefit the 25-year old.
Valencia had somewhat of a breakout himself. Posting great numbers in wOBA and a career-best in home runs, the 31-year old could be worth surprisingly more on the open market. Valencia even seemed to figure out how to hit right-handed pitching. In his 229 plate appearances against right-handers, Valencia had a .325 OBP and .374 wOBA. In fact, his splits reversed from their norm.
Astutely, Slusser only really expects one of Lawrie or Valencia to be traded. Slusser actually appeared yesterday morning on the At The Letters podcast with Arden Zwelling and Ben Nicholson-Smith. In it, she actually discussed that Valencia is likely staying in Oakland. Of course, this podcast was recorded prior to the Lowrie news, however, it is still relevant. Billy Beane could likely want to stick with an infield consisting of Marcus Semien, Lowrie and Valencia moving forward. That leaves Lawrie the odd man out and, frankly, the one in more need of a change of scenery. Once a highly-touted prospect and only going into his age 26 season, Lawrie could still blossom into a good hitter; it just might take the right environment.