Lowrie is returning to the Houston Astros, from whence he came, after two seasons in the green and gold. Despite having a fantastic 2013 and a perfectly acceptable 2014, Lowrie has been a question mark in terms of defense and his miscues during the 2014 Wildcard game still leave a bad taste in the mouths of A’s fans.
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Signing a front loaded three year contract to the tune of $23 million seems fairly reasonable and should make A’s fans question why Oakland didn’t take a stab at signing him. Lowrie, who had originally asked for a qualifying offer, had made it clear that he wanted a nice payday but if this was the payday he was going for, Billy Beane probably could have managed it. Lowrie may live in Houston during the off season but he has ties to the bay area and may have been willing to sign with a potential contender rather than a home team that is still a couple of seasons away from contending.
For all the fans that complain about Beane’s lack of loyalty to players when he trades a beloved guy like Josh Donaldson, I don’t hear you complaining when his “loyalty” lets a guy like Lowrie slip through the cracks. The middle infield was widely regarded as the Achilles heel for the 2014 Athletics and a more Giants-esque devotion to players would have kept that weak link in the lineup for six or seven more years. I liked Lowrie a lot but, at 30, it might be a better fit for him to sign with a team that has a bit more flexibility in using him.
Ok, so Lowrie to the Astros. I wish him well. That’s really not the shocker today. Nope, the shocker comes from Brett Anderson signing a $10 million, single season contract with the Dodgers. Anderson, since 2012, is averaging 10 starts a year and has a combined ERA of 3.84. To put it into perspective, Anderson has thrown about 50 innings fewer than Athletics closer Sean Doolittle and around 160 fewer than Sonny Gray who has only pitched one complete season in that time frame. Clearly, we are paying a premium for left handed pitching.
Also, in those three years, he’s made $17 million which is an average of $138,211 per inning pitched. So, in five innings of work, he makes what Sonny Gray makes in a season. This contract is crazy. Even more crazy is that there’s $4 million in incentive bonus money built into the contract, presumably if he can get to the magic number of 10+ starts in a single season.
I have no ill feelings towards Anderson, good on ya for getting paid, but this contract is indicative of the craziness this off season has been thus far.
Last but not least, Kyle Blanks, who was DFA’d during the Donaldson trade, is also being reported to have signed with the Texas Rangers. There hasn’t been any information regarding his contract released at the time of this writing but it does seem like there will be a lot of ex Athletics playing at the O.co this year.