The Mets are in agreement with infielder Jed Lowrie on a two-year deal, as ESPN’s Jeff Passan was the first to report on Thursday evening:
Free agent infielder Jed Lowrie is in agreement with the New York Mets on a two-year deal, league sources tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 10, 2019
Jed Lowrie's deal with the New York Mets will be for at least $20 million, league sources tell ESPN. Lowrie is reunited with Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen, who served as his agent for years, and brings even more depth to New York's infield.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 10, 2019
Lowrie’s signing with the Mets comes as a fairly significant surprise, seeing as they already seemed to be well set on the infield, with Peter Alonso and Dominic Smith being options at first base, Robinson Cano at second, Todd Frazier at third, and Amed Rosario at short, with Jeff McNeil serving as a utility infielder off the bench. But with new Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen having an existing relationship with Lowrie since he served as the infielder’s agent prior to taking the Mets job, he may have felt that this opportunity was just too good to pass up as he tries to quickly return the organization to relevance. According to The Athletic’s Jim Bowden, Lowrie will serve as somewhat of a Ben Zobrist-type super-sub, filling in all over the infield while likely being part of the lineup on a near-everyday basis:
#Mets view Lowrie as their 2nd hole hitter…will play around INF. If Alonso struggles,Frazier plays 1st, Lowrie plays 3rd; Cano days off plays 2nd; Rosario days off plays SS; McNeil becomes extra OF.Mets eliminating rosters ifs…one by one…added lineup length and better balance.— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM) January 10, 2019
Lowrie, a natural shortstop, has played mostly at second base since joining the Athletics in 2016, but he’s stayed sharp at third base, having started 14 games there last season. He hasn’t started a game at short since 2015, but he could serve as an emergency option there if necessary. He’s also played some first base in the past, though it’s seemingly unlikely that he’ll see action there in New York with Frazier and Cano — who also have experience at first — being on the roster in addition to Alonso and Smith.
Lowrie had a career season in 2018, hitting .267/.353/.448 while establishing career highs in homers (23), RBI (99), and bWAR (4.8). The switch-hitter, who has often been injury-prone through his 11-year career, also played in a career-high 157 games and was instrumental in helping the Athletics to a wild-card berth.
Even though he was an All-Star in 2018, it’s frankly quite surprising to see Lowrie — who will be 35 in April — getting a multi-year deal with an eight-figure AAV in this market. Prior to last season, he had never shown signs of being much of a power hitter, and obviously the market isn’t too kind to players in their mid-30s. Players who were seemingly much higher-regarded than him, at least heading into the 2018 season, have done significantly worse on the free-agent market this offseason — Brian Dozier got one year and $9 million from the Nationals, Jonathan Schoop got one year and $7.5 million, and guys like DJ LeMahieu, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Josh Harrison remain unsigned with only five weeks left to go before spring training camps open.