Despite earning similar salaries in 2018, Jed Lowrie and Jonathan Lucroy will likely sign for vastly different amounts as free agents this offseason.
Lowrie, 34, made $6 million in the final season of a 3-year, $23 million deal. Lucroy, 32, earned $6.5 million on a one-year contract.
Spotrac calculates its market value figures by comparing a free agent to a group of similar players, based on stats, age, and contract status. Lowrie is compared to Ben Zobrist, Nelson Cruz, Kendrys Morales, and David Freese when they were similar ages. Lucroy's comparables are Kurt Suzuki, Stephen Vogt, Jose Reyes, and Chris Young.
Lowrie is coming off the best season of his career. He slashed .267/.353/.448 with 23 home runs and 99 RBI, earning a trip to his first All-Star Game. He also performed well defensively, committing just four errors the entire season.
Lucroy slashed .241/.291/.325 with four homers and 51 RBI. He had an excellent defensive season, leading MLB with 31 runners caught stealing.
If these projected market value numbers are even close to accurate, the A's would re-sign Lucroy without hesitation. He provided tremendous value beyond the stats with his ability to manage Oakland's pitching staff, keeping them on track through numerous injuries.
While the A's are high on 24-year-old catching prospect Sean Murphy, he is not yet ready to take over the reins and could benefit from a full season in Triple-A. Re-signing Lucroy for anything near $2.3 million would be a gift.
Lowrie's future becomes a little more complicated. A $12.6 million salary, while well-deserved, would be more than twice what he earned last season. With talented 22-year-old Franklin Barreto waiting in the wings and Chad Pinder also capable of playing second base, Oakland may elect to let Lowrie go for that price.
Of course, when you add Lowrie and Lucroy's estimated market values together, it's only about $2.4 million more than the duo earned in 2018, giving the A's a realistic shot to re-sign both veterans.