Mets sign Jed Lowrie to two-year deal

In a move that virtually no one saw coming, the Mets added to their infield arsenal by signing free agent Jed Lowrie to a 2/$20 million deal.

An All-Star for the A’s in 2018, Lowrie delivered 23 HR and 99 RBIs while slashing .801 last year. A switch-hitter, Lowrie put up a .713 OPS versus LHP last year, not exactly a big righty bat. He played 136 games at second base and 14 at third base. Where he plays on the Mets is a bit of a mystery. Robinson Cano would seem to be the starter at second while Todd Frazier would be the presumed guy at third.

Perhaps this means that Frazier is the odd man out. Or maybe Cano is being penciled in at first base with Lowrie taking over at second. It’s just an odd move to commit two years to a guy without an obvious position and who will play 2019 at his age 35 season. And it further means that Jeff McNeil better bring his outfield glove with him to Spring Training.

Lowrie put up a 4.9 fWAR last year, adding to the image of the 2019 Mets being all-in on the playoffs. The A’s chose not to extend Lowrie the Qualifying Offer, meaning there’s no compensation owed Oakland for signing the veteran.

While there are concerns about Brodie Van Wagenen and his Over The Hill Gang, Lowrie is a good player. It just seems like an odd fit for the Mets. Maybe there’s another shoe to drop. Or maybe Mickey Callaway has his work cut out for him, trying to make all of the infield pieces fit.

71 comments for “Mets sign Jed Lowrie to two-year deal

  1. Bob P
    January 10, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    This is puzzling on the surface. There must be something else coming. This makes one or all of Frazier, McNeil and even Alonzo trade chips. There’s just a boatload of infielders (and yet still no real backup SS). You would think there’s another move in the works. Could they be thinking of McNeil getting more time in the OF? Or maybe they are thinking they can sell high on him but that just keeps making the team older.

  2. January 10, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    Guy is a four war player so it’s a very good move so hopefully Frazier gets moved for a reliever and Lowrie starts at third. I don’t see the Mets paying Lowrie ten mil to sit on the bench.

  3. JImO
    January 10, 2019 at 7:21 pm

    Lowrie…plus defender at 2b, right? What about in the clubhouse, a leader?

    • oldbackstop
      January 10, 2019 at 8:57 pm

      With a 4.8 WAR and coming off an All Star year Lowrie can throw his poop around his cage and I don’t care.

      And, while age has undoubtedly lost him a step, he was mostly a SS. People aren’t noticing that Rosario had a negative .09 in WAR last year, basically last in the NL for starting SS. Lowrie couldn’t be that much worse and has slashed .272/.356/.448/.804 the last two years.

      • January 10, 2019 at 9:33 pm

        Since 2015, Lowrie has played a grand total of 19 games at SS, with none of those coming in the last two years. There’s no reason to think he’s an option at the position on a regular basis.

        • oldbackstop
          January 10, 2019 at 10:36 pm

          Yeah, I get that, it is a good point, but before that Lowrie played 508 games at SS, and Rosario simply was about the worst SS defender in the NL last year. If our choice is Rosario, Lowrie or Machado…and we don’t have Machado, I’d give Lowrie the shot to prove he can’t handle it.

          • January 10, 2019 at 11:23 pm

            That’s not the way to run a team. He was moved off short for a reason and it’s bananas to think that four years later he’s going to become acceptable again.

  4. Eraff
    January 10, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    At the start of Hotstove, I was kind of hoping for Lowrie and Marwin and Bullpen and Catcher….and some other stuff.

    I’m confused now.

    • January 10, 2019 at 9:44 pm

      I’d rather have gone Lowrie and Marwin than Cano and Broxton.

      • TJ
        January 10, 2019 at 9:56 pm

        Can’t say that I disagree but in the same breath I think that Broxton and Lowrie 2/$20 mil is better than Pollock at 3 or more years, much bigger money, and a lost #2 pick.

        And, shortcomings aside, I like that they now have multiple guys that can provide plus CF defense, and a guy that brings another professional glove and bat.

      • oldbackstop
        January 10, 2019 at 10:40 pm

        Yeah, but we wouldn’t have Diaz and we would be carrying Bruce/Swarzak.

        • January 10, 2019 at 11:25 pm

          And we wouldn’t be paying $100 million for a guy’s age 36+ seasons and we’d still have two first-round picks, including one who looks like a future star.

  5. Artie
    January 10, 2019 at 7:52 pm

    McNeil,Alonzo for Realmuto? I don’t know if I’d do it, I think Alonso might be our Bellinger,Judge or Hoskins, but our new GM just might. Nimmo,Rosario,Cano,Conforto, Realmuto, Lowrie, Frazier, CFer. Not a bad lineup. CFer, Ramos, on the bench. Sign Pollack and you have a good team.

    • January 10, 2019 at 8:00 pm

      The Realmuto train is out of the station Ramos is here.

  6. MattyMets
    January 10, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    This move makes me furious. Unless BVW pulls a rabbit out of his hat he lost me. Check out my rambling post tomorrow morning.

    • Artie
      January 10, 2019 at 8:15 pm

      Tomorrow? Remember posts can’t be too long!

  7. oldbackstop
    January 10, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    First just a side comment….we are sure loading up on former All Stars. Diaz, Cano, Lowrie, Familia, Frazier, Ramos, Thor, Vargas, deGrom, Conforto. YoC…I can’t remember a squad like that.

    Anyway, in my fantasy world, this is setting up a blockbuster for Kluber/Bauer. I’m not even going to name names. I think it is there, though. I have no problem trading Rosario, Smith, Gimenez, Gsellman, Lugo, McNeil…any two plus some lesser guys. An ace like that pushes the back end of our rotation into the bullpen and strengthens that up.

    They are Callaway guys, and we just traded Plawecki so you know there is a relationship between the offices.

  8. Eric Bloom
    January 10, 2019 at 9:04 pm

    This follows the cubs and dodgers models. Just get a bunch of good players who can play a bunch of positions and let em roll. The “ifs” are being eliminated one by one.

    • MattyMets
      January 10, 2019 at 10:07 pm

      We already had 10 IFs on the 40 man. We now have an infield surplus and are thin in many other areas. Maybe this is the first domino and this will eventually make sense but right now, it doesn’t add up.

  9. oldbackstop
    January 10, 2019 at 9:58 pm

    BTW, we now have the 2018 AL 2b All-Star along with the 2017 and 2016. You’d think they could combine for at least a combined AS season.

  10. Mike Walczak
    January 10, 2019 at 10:23 pm

    This was truly a surprise. Something else has to be brewing. I smell a deal with Frazier being attached.

    I’ll tell you one thing. Van Wags sure isnt boring.

  11. Mike Walczak
    January 10, 2019 at 10:49 pm

    Watch – McNeill is going to go to the Brewers for one of their relief pitchers.

    • January 10, 2019 at 11:26 pm

      I think that would be selling low but it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if that’s exactly what happened.

  12. oldbackstop
    January 10, 2019 at 11:30 pm

    The guys on MLB tv said “the Mets are winning the off season,”

    If we have 10 IFers, you know five of them will be dinged before opening day. That has been this team’s problem in 2018 and 2017….the B team was actually the D team.

    That would be an interesting exercise….take out the starters and then compare the NL East teams.

  13. Metsense
    January 10, 2019 at 11:58 pm

    Lowrie is is good player (4.8 bWAR) at a reasonable salary of 2/20 but in is 35 yoa in April. Frazier is an average player (1.9 bWAR) so Lowrie should be starting third baseman. Frazier is 33 yoa and can also play first base but Alsonzo with 42 homeruns last year should get the chance before Frazier. Before the Lowrie signing, I advocated McNeill (2.4 FWAR in only 63 games) to start over Frazier. Now I see McNeill still over Frazier at first base when Alsonzo rests. When Lowrie fills in for Rosario or Cano then McNeill would play third. To me, It looks like Frazier is the odd man .

    • oldbackstop
      January 10, 2019 at 11:41 pm

      Frazier is a plus plus glove at third, something I have never heard about Lowrie or McNeil (may be true, I just have never heard it.)

      Frazier has been dinged the past few years, but if you take his last four years and extrapolate to 162 games, he gets 34 home runs a year….and he hit 40 in 2016. Given his glove and leadership, I’m inclined to give him the job.

      3b Frazier/McNeil
      ss Lowrie/Rosario
      2b Cano/McNeil
      1b Everybody

      McNeil hits for average, and that’s about it. He’s the new TJ….I love them both, but I’m not sure they would grade out much more than replacement give a job for a year.

      • TexasGusCC
        January 11, 2019 at 1:49 am

        Plus plus glove for Frazier? He ranked 14th in defense on Fangraphs’ defensive WAR rankings and the games I saw showed me a pretty good third baseman at best. Plus plus? Ah, no!

        • oldbackstop
          January 11, 2019 at 1:57 pm

          Okay, maybe not plus plus, but he has had a plus dWAR every year. You can’t ‘rank’ him last year, he missed almost fifty games. If you combine his Mets and Yankees stints over the past two years, which total about a season (590 ABs), he totals a 1.2 dWAR and 8 defensive runs saved.

          If you add the game’s 3B dWARs since 2015, he is 11th, but that is in a cluster, and he could easily be 4th with a 2.7. dWAR is a hand grenade number.

          At any rate, I feel comfortable saying he is the best proven 3b defensive glove on the roster right now.

  14. January 11, 2019 at 12:13 am

    Saw this on Twitter: “Maybe the @Mets already know cano failed the drug test”

    • Hobie
      January 11, 2019 at 12:30 am

      Arrghgh. That is scary.

    • TexasGusCC
      January 11, 2019 at 1:50 am

      Not funny.

  15. January 11, 2019 at 3:47 am

    How about McNeil, Ramos and two minor league players (Smith and…) for Realmuto? Now that Grandal had a rude awakening this off season (Matt) I don’t see a huge demand left for catchers (LA ?) There’s definitely something else coming. If Cano did fail a test could the Mets void his contract? Did they add a provision to this effect before completing the trade with the Mariners? If Cano is available then the questions surrounding another trade becomes more intriguing

    • Artie
      January 11, 2019 at 3:16 pm

      Alonso? I hope not but the Marlins are asking for a lot. Alonso,McNeil and dArnaud for Realmuto?q

      • January 12, 2019 at 2:21 am

        Take Alonso out of the equation and add Smith and …

  16. January 11, 2019 at 3:58 am

    Just a thought. Would you add Rosario to the deal I stated for Realmuto? Two years for Lawrie would be just about the right amount of time for the next SS in the Met minors to be ready.

    • January 11, 2019 at 5:33 am

      No let Realmuto go already he’s not Piazza.

    • Artie
      January 11, 2019 at 3:19 pm

      Lowrie is a good pickup,but he ain’t a shortstop. A team based on pitching should have strong defense up the middle.

      • January 12, 2019 at 2:18 am

        Hey Artie since when did Alderson care about defense?

  17. Eraff
    January 11, 2019 at 5:33 am

    There must be more ahead, because after all of this
    – thin at C
    – two 5th Outfielders In CF
    – still LH Bat heavy
    – still need bullpen

    Lots or moving players and committed $$$. …. some “older players” added

    • January 11, 2019 at 6:13 am

      But they feel like win now moves.

  18. MattyMets
    January 11, 2019 at 10:27 am

    So far my favorite BVW move has been not signing Pollock. Jon Harper has been ranting about the Mets needing to sign him. Is he not aware of Ellsbury, Fowler, Sizemore, Gomez, et al? CFs don’t age well and Pollock was injury prone in his 20s. Any GM that gives him near the 5/90 Pollock is after will lose his job over it. I think he’ll wind up settling for something closer to 3/54 and I think that’s still too much.

  19. January 11, 2019 at 10:37 am

    What did you thiink about Grandal “settling” for one year at 18 million as opposed to 4 for 60?

    • MattyMets
      January 11, 2019 at 11:45 am

      If the rumored offer the Mets made
      Is accurate, Grandal needs to fire his agent. Pillow contracts were not meant for first time FA catchers coming off their best year. Lucroy made this mistake and left a lot of money on the table.

    • oldbackstop
      January 11, 2019 at 2:37 pm

      He was stupid. Realmuto has to sort out before the big money budget teams looking for catchers go to the second tier, and as of yesterday there were said to still be six teams in on Realmuto. By sort out I mean a trade or individual teams throwing up their hands at the Marlins price like the Mets did.

      Then again, he’ll never get that AAV anywhere.Maybe at the end of four years he will have totaled out more than $60 mil. Good for him for betting on himself.

  20. oldbackstop
    January 11, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    Hey Cano fails his test and is suspended for a year without pay? Okay by me.

    Lowrie at second…..where else do we go spend $25 mil right now?

  21. oldbackstop
    January 11, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    I’m surprised at all the negativity among Mets fans (not just here) First off, fans are treating money like it is out of their pockets….clearly the Wilpons (hopefully past the Madoff disaster) are feeling the pressure to step up spending and will be going forward. Secondly, if you want to improve your team, it would be great if there were a bunch of five tool 24 year olds under team control laying around, but that isn’t how MLB works. You are probably going to have to cobble some 30 somethings together, at FA prices, and the more the better to spread the chips around.

    We have added former All Stars Cano, Familia, Lowrie, Diaz, Santiago and Ramos in a month’s time, that is pretty damn good.

    I want a blockbuster for Bauer/Kluber, pushing the back of our rotation into the pen. That will cover some of the offense/defense perceived gaps, or let them slide into inseason trades. Callaway has the Indian connections, getrdone!

    • January 11, 2019 at 2:31 pm

      There are two terrific guys available as free agents who will play next year at age 26 and the Mets haven’t been linked to either of them. The club is making a $100 million bet on Cano for his age 36-40 seasons. I’d rather spend 3X that amount to wager on a guy still in his mid 20s.

      If the Wilpons are feeling pressure to spend – this would be a terrific time to open the purse strings to get a pre-prime player on the FA market. Instead they’re doubling down on old guys, including one who already failed a drug test. And they’re squandering minor league depth on questionable major league pieces.

      Could these moves work out for them? Sure but I’d suggest that the Mets’ chances in 2019 are way more dependent on JDG, Noah, Wheeler, Conforto and Nimmo than they are on Diaz, Cano and the rest of the guys that BVW has brought in.

      It wouldn’t surprise me if another move or three was still to come. Perhaps that will be the one that makes sense and pushes the team forward. But if this is the end of the big moves, BVW gets an “A” on volume of deals and a “C-” on results from me.

      • January 12, 2019 at 2:15 am

        The blockbuster deal should of been for Trout. Solves the outfield problem with a RH bat. A closer is much easier to find and you’re not being dragged down by Cano’s last years of dead money.

  22. Eraff
    January 11, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    I don’t like 10 year contracts, so I’d have a tough time with Macho and Bryce if that’s the deal.

    I should do my own homework, but I don’t believe “The Biggest Contracts in Baseball” have been winning Championships—- deep expensive rosters??….OK…. but are the Big Deals gaining the Trophies???

    Now I’ll do the research I should have done prior to posting

    • January 11, 2019 at 4:49 pm

      It’s fine to be wary of long-term deals.

      But we need to differentiate between long-term deals where the player didn’t perform and long-term deals where the player performed and the rest of the team stunk. It’s not Alex Rodriguez’ fault that the Rangers didn’t win more when he was there. He performed great. His three years in Texas he totaled 27 fWAR and outperformed his contract. The problem was the Chan Ho Parks of the teams who pulled down big dollars and did nothing.

      • oldbackstop
        January 11, 2019 at 11:14 pm

        I agree that the ARod deal is over criticized. Much of it got dumped on to the Yanks and went away when ARod opted out. And they also got back one of my favorite players, Soriano, maybe the best athlete ever to play the game,

    • January 12, 2019 at 2:07 am

      The Mets will have the back end years of Cano’s contract. How do you feel about that?

  23. oldbackstop
    January 11, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    @Brian. 26 year olds are seductive — so was Jason Heyward — but I’d usually take a 30-year-old on a two year deal than a 26-year-old on a ten year deal. Those mid-30s commitments are what you want to avoid, never mind injuries,

    • Artie
      January 11, 2019 at 9:01 pm

      Look at what Arod did for Texas and the YAnks, what Cano did for the Mariners, what Pujolsdid for the Angels and what Ellsbury did for the YAnks.

      • oldbackstop
        January 11, 2019 at 9:18 pm

        Interesting how few serve out their time with the team that signed them.

      • January 11, 2019 at 9:30 pm

        I don’t get this. A-Rod was outstanding for the Rangers and Cano was extremely good for the Mariners. Pujols was overpaid and Ellsbury was a complete bust.

        • oldbackstop
          January 11, 2019 at 9:43 pm

          Ellsbury had an extremely anomalous 2014…103 home runs in 11 years, 32 in one. Career .760 OPS….928 in 2014.

          Step into the stall, please…

          • January 11, 2019 at 9:53 pm

            I have no idea what the point of this post was.

            • January 12, 2019 at 2:04 am

              He’s implying a bathroom stall to juice up

    • January 11, 2019 at 9:28 pm

      You’re advocating for something that doesn’t exist. No star free agent at age 30 is going to sign a two-year deal. Guys at that age who sign a two-year deal have a huge question mark over their head. Can Wilson Ramos stay healthy? If he could, he would have gotten a long-term deal.

      • oldbackstop
        January 11, 2019 at 10:44 pm

        I was just pointing out Ellsbury because it is one of my all time favorite freak seasons.

        As far as age, I think the one thing the Wilpons have done right is stay away from the hyped decade-contract guys.

        Free agents each year seem to have a PR tornado effect. I have serious issues with Harper, for instance. You are talking about a guy that has been at a practically substitute level his last two full years — WAR is defined as a starter at 2.0, Harper had a 1.3 in 2018 and a 1.5 in 2016. Like 40-something NL OFers had a higher WAR last year.

        Who is talking about that? Who is pointing out that only the notorious Rhys Hoskins had a worse dWAR in 2018 among NL outfielders?

        Yet there are people who will grade the Mets offseason a fail unless they sign Harper, who, by the way, has such resting bitch face that I would feel like I was pulling for Team Evil if he was the “face of the team.”

  24. oldbackstop
    January 11, 2019 at 10:52 pm

    I mention Ellsbury just because it is one of my favorite freak years and I like to mention it 🙂

    As far as multi-year contracts, has any position player of any age signed for longer than two years besides McCutch (3/$50)?

    5+ year deals are so 2014….

  25. January 12, 2019 at 2:33 am

    Hoskins was a first baseman who had to move to LF because the Phillies signed Santana. BTW Santana is gone and Hoskins is moving back to his natural position. It’s like complaining that Dominic Smith is slow footed terrible LFer. Young players can’t say no when a manager tells them he wants them to play somewhere for the good of the team.

    • oldbackstop
      January 12, 2019 at 3:13 pm

      I’m well aware how out of place Hoskins was, -3.6 dWAR in 137 games. My point is that Harper was second in NL OFers, -3.2 dWAR in 157 games as a veteran 25 year old. That’s concerning, no?

      • January 13, 2019 at 2:44 am

        Concerning? Yes. But since the Mets aren’t going to sign Harper It’s just not that important to me as a Met fan. I don’t see ownership increasing payroll after this signing. And I don’t think they even reached out to Harper so whats the point? Ownership despises Boras and the feeling is mutual.

  26. January 12, 2019 at 2:36 am

    Hey Brian . If a player is suspended for the year for failing a drug test does the team get to keep that 25 million? I thought the player forfeits the money but its still counted as part of the teams payroll.

  27. January 12, 2019 at 8:46 am

    The explanation doesn’t say if the team keeps that money. I see from Cot’s that the full salary counted towards Seattle’s final numbers for 2018 though. Is the team obligated to send that money to MLB? Or does ownership keep that money?

    • January 12, 2019 at 10:08 am

      You must think MLB is a corrupt institution if it requires clubs to secretly pay it when players get suspended.

      • oldbackstop
        January 12, 2019 at 3:04 pm

        Yeah the Seattle press was buzzing last year that they had $11 million more to spend when Cano got popped.

        Maybe that was the phone call from Brodie to Cano “dude….bring your rig…”

      • January 13, 2019 at 2:39 am

        As far as we know the Wilpons have never reinvested any “refunds” they may have received from insurance or other venues. I wasn’t being sarcastic. When players get fined that money goes to a fund. That I know. So if ownership has never expanded their payroll from any refunds then I think we can assume that this year is not going to be any different.

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