Second baseman Jed Lowrie and catcher Jonathan Lucroy were vital parts of the A's success last season. Now that they're both free agents, they inevitably will draw interest from other teams around the league.
The A's obviously would love to re-sign both players, but they could face stiff competition. So, here are five potential suitors for each player, in alphabetical order:
Los Angeles has to find some help in its lineup for center fielder Mike Trout, and Lowrie could be a good fit at either second or third base. Last season, Angels second basemen slashed just .237/.294/.374. Their third basemen were even worse at .220/.278/.369. Lowrie, on the other hand, slashed .267/.353/.448
New York is desperate for offense. Just ask Cy Young finalist Jacob deGrom, who won just 10 games despite his minuscule 1.70 ERA. Lowrie would provide a huge upgrade at third base, a position that slashed just .209/.302/.346 for the Mets last season. And oh, by the way, Lowrie's former agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, just became the Mets' general manager.
Wilmer Difo is listed as the No. 1 second baseman on Washington's depth chart despite slashing .230/.298/.350 last season. Lowrie would be a terrific addition to an otherwise solid infield for the Nationals and could help fill the void of losing right fielder Bryce Harper in free agency.
Boston never is afraid to spend money, and even though the team won the World Series, it undoubtedly will try to get even better this offseason. Red Sox second basemen hit just eight home runs last season with a .658 OPS, compared to Lowrie's 23 homers and .801 OPS. Expect the Sox to take a look at Lowrie for a second stint in Boston.
If Lowrie could record 23 home runs and 99 RBI playing his home games at the Coliseum, imagine what he could do at Coors Field. Colorado has its own free-agent second baseman in DJ LeMahieu. If he leaves, Lowrie would be an ideal replacement.
Houston reportedly had some interest in Lucroy last offseason, and it might take another look at him this year. The Astros have a free-agent catcher of their own in Martin Maldonado and might decide Lucroy is a better option. Lucroy also played his college baseball in nearby Lafayette, Louisiana.
Erik Kratz was terrific for Milwaukee in the postseason, but he is 38 years old. While the Brewers still have Manny Pina, a reunion with Lucroy could make sense for both sides. Lucroy spent his best years in Milwaukee, earning two All-Star Game appearances.
Arizona's catchers slashed a lowly .189/.270/.319 last season. While Lucroy isn't the hitter he used to be, he still would provide a significant upgrade over those numbers. Chase Field also is a friendlier hitter's park than the Coliseum.
New York lost catcher Travis d'Arnaud to Tommy John surgery last season, and there is a chance the team will non-tender him in arbitration. That would leave the Mets in need of a starting catcher, and Lucroy could be a nice fit, especially working with that talented pitching staff.
Speaking of talented pitching staffs, Washington could use a veteran presence behind the plate. Pedro Severino and Spencer Kieboom have combined for all of 76 hits in their careers. The Nationals might look to bring in a proven catcher like Lucroy.