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Athletics exercise option on Jed Lowrie

The Athletics picked up Jed Lowrie’s $6 million option for 2018.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers Photo by Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Athletics have exercised Jed Lowrie’s $6 million club option for 2018, per a team announcement on Thursday afternoon.

Lowrie, 33, slashed .277/.360/.448 with 14 homers over 645 plate appearances in 2017. He posted an OPS over .800 for only the second time in his major-league career, with his .808 mark being his highest since he had a .907 OPS over 197 plate appearances for the Red Sox in 2010.

With Lowrie back in the fold, the Athletics will have no major-league free agents. Even after picking up Lowrie’s option, though, it seems possible if not probable that the A’s could shop the veteran infielder this offseason.

Marcus Semien has performed well as Oakland’s starting shortstop and is likely to remain in that role for the foreseeable future, and the Athletics have a pair of middle-infield prospects in Franklin Barreto and Jorge Mateo who excelled in the upper minors this season and will likely be ready to push for the starting second base job in the not-too-distant future. In addition to Barreto and Mateo, who are ranked by MLB Pipeline as baseball’s No. 32 and 97 prospects, the A’s have Chad Pinder, who posted a .750 OPS with 15 homers over 309 plate appearances in 2016 and could bridge the gap at second if necessary.

While Lowrie has played almost exclusively at second base over the past two seasons, he has experience at all four infield positions and could provide intrigue as a utility player if the A’s try to trade him this winter.