Oakland Athletics Have Re-Acquired Shortstop Jed Lowrie in Exchange for RHP Brendan McCurry
The Oakland Athletics announced that they have re-acquired shortstop Jed Lowrie from the Houston Astros, in exchange for right-handed relief pitcher Brendan McCurry. Jane Lee of MLB.com, was the first to report of Lowrie’s reunion with the Green and Gold. In a corresponding roster move, the A’s designated pitcher Daniel Coulombe for assignment.
Concluding the 2014 American League Wild Card game, the switch-hitting infielder signed a three-year deal with the Astros — and got off to an excellent start, posting a .300 batting average with four round-trippers in 60 at-bats, before landing on the disabled list with a torn ligament in his right thumb.
Ultimately, this made way for young phenom Carlos Correa to make his major league debut at short, and he didn’t disappoint – with an impressive .279/.345/.512/.857 slash line, 22 home runs, and 68 RBI, the 21-year-old was handsomely rewarded by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America with the American League Rookie of the Year Award.
Upon his return from the DL, Lowrie saw limited playing time at third-base for the Astros. With his return to the Athletics, the 31-year-old is more than capable of manning shortstop full-time, along with third, but will most likely see time at second base if general manager David Forst keeps Danny Valencia at the hot-corner, or decides to move Brett Lawrie back to his original position.
Nonetheless, Valencia or Lawrie could be packing their bags.
Analyzing the Deal:
Lowrie was a first-round draft pick by the Boston Red Sox in 2005 and made his way to the show with the AL East franchise in 2008. The Stanford product put up pedestrian numbers for the Sox due to a combination of limited playing time and injuries which plagued him and caused him to spend plenty of time on the disabled list.
However, the tide began to turn for Lowrie, who hit the field in a career-high 154 games in 2013 after never reaching 100 games with the Red Sox or Astros. In that season, the Oregon native showed flashes of brilliance for a financially-stricken organization — posting a respectable .290/.344/.446 line while batting at both the top and bottom of the lineup.
Lowrie is a versatile option for a Green-and-Gold ball club with a heavy-platoon mix-and-match mindset, and with his veteran presence, he should have no problem fitting in with an organization focused on the future.
The right-handed pitching prospect from Stillwater, Oklahoma is a five-pitch pitcher, with a 90 miles-per-hour fastball. However, it’s his off-speed stuff that had made him Oakland’s 30th best prospect by MLB.com, until he was dealt to Houston on Wednesday.
What separates him from the competition is his 77-79 MPH change-up, which falls through the zone and away from left-handed hitters. However, it’s his devastating 12-6 curve ball that ultimately leaves the opposition and fans in awe — clocking in at 69 MPH on the radar gun.
According to a fan post on Athletics Nation, McCurry’s three quarters delivery — along with two distinct release points is “unusual” yet in some cases ideal, when locating his pitches up or down in the strike zone. The 23-year-old is known for making arm slot adjustments during at-bats, thus relying on a specific set of pitches based on the circumstances. Meaning, he’ll throw a fastball-slider-curveball combination from a normal three-quarters delivery – as opposed to a fastball-change-curveball arsenal at a lower sidearm angle.
In his short stint with Oakland’s Double-A affiliate Midland RockHounds, McCurry has tallied a remarkable .155 opponent batting average with a 26:6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in a hitter-friendly Security Bank Ballpark.
Although, the 23-year-old has a long way to go before sniffing the big leagues; who knows – maybe Lowrie and his remaining two-year contract at $14 million will make a difference in his second stint with the Athletics. This early in the off-season, it’s still to early to tell which direction Forst, Billy Beane and co. will go – though with a crowded infield of Lawrie, Valencia, Wendle, and Marcus Semien, one of the A’s infielders is bound to hit the road soon.