The Oakland Athletics have a team-friendly option for infielder Jed Lowrie next season. Should the A’s consider picking up Lowrie’s $6 million option for 2018?
Billy Beane has made it known over the last few weeks that the Oakland Athletics intend to move forward with their plans to rebuild. Dave Kaval has also made it clear that the A’s intend to announce plans for a new ballpark by the end of 2017.
The two executives have plenty of intentions, but will either of them actually keep their word? For the sake of this article, let’s focus on Beane’s intentions to rebuild the A’s.
Despite his recent emphasis on making the A’s younger, quicker and more talented, the Beane may end up keeping some of his older, slower and perhaps slightly less talented veteran players around for next year.
The A’s face questions with both Yonder Alonso and Jed Lowrie. Alonso represented the A’s at this year’s All-Star game and will be due for a raise in 2018. The A’s could bite and offer Alonso an extension, but it would likely cost them.
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With Lowrie, however, the A’s have an interesting option for 2018. Lowrie is currently in his final year of the three-year deal he signed with the Astros. The deal includes a club option for 2018 worth $6 million. The A’s could also opt for $1 million buyout.
Lowrie has played surprisingly well this season and at times has been Oakland’s most consistent hitter. The A’s seem to have a liking for Lowrie, especially when you consider the fact that they have traded for him twice.
WHAT ABOUT BARRETO
Franklin Barreto, the A’s top-ranked prospect, currently sits in Nashville waiting for his opportunity to contribute. Barreto is the last remaining piece of the Josh Donaldson trade and figures to be the A’s future second-baseman.
Keeping Lowrie beyond this season would likely make Barreto’s path to the majors a complicated one. The A’s figured to dangle Lowrie during the trade deadline this past month, but no deal ever materialized.
The A’s could, in theory, still deal Lowrie this month. Any deal, however, would be contingent upon Lowrie clearing waivers first. It is not impossible, but at this point Lowrie appears to be a member of the A’s for the remainder of 2017.
Entering Saturday’s game against the Angels, Lowrie is slashing .269/.345/.437 with 10 HR and 36 RBI. Compared to last year’s numbers, Lowrie has been terrific this year for the A’s. He has a higher walk rate (10%) and a lower strikeout rate (16.6%) compared to last year.
Picking up his option for next season will be an important decision for Beane. The A’s are rebuilding and trying to get younger. Allowing Lowrie to remain at second base next season complicates things for Barreto.
It is possible that the A’s could keep Lowrie with the intention of dealing him in the winter or sometime next season. In the end, though, the A’s should remain focused on maintaining their efforts to rebuild.
What do you think? Should the A’s pick up Lowrie’s option for next year? Sound off below in the comments section!