Jed Lowrie

MLB rumors: A's interested in acquiring Jed Lowrie for third time

MLB rumors: A's interested in acquiring Jed Lowrie for third time

A's general manager David Forst made it clear the organization is looking for a left-handed bat at the second base position following the Jurickson Profar trade to the San Diego Padres.

That could mean a reunion.

The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser reported the A's have "had internal conversations about bringing back" Jed Lowrie via trade. But there are 10 million reasons the New York Mets wouldn't go through with that transaction.

The Mets would have to eat a big chunk of the $10 million salary the 35-year-old is owed this coming season. 

Switch-hitting Lowrie had two stints with the A's totaling five seasons in which he earned an All-Star selection in 2018 when he slashed .267/.353/.448 line with 23 home runs and 99 RBI. He also was in MVP talks during that season.

He was signed by the Mets as a free agent last offseason, but played in only nine games as he dealt with a series of leg injuries over the course of the 2019 season.

Having him back in green and gold would prove not only beneficial for the A's, but could give a clearer sense of what the Mets would do with a somewhat crowded infield. Robinson Cano could be the everyday second baseman if the team doesn't opt for the veteran to take on a lesser role, and Jeff McNeil and J.D. Davis both appear to be headed toward a timeshare at third base.

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Jorge Mateo and Franklin Barreto are the current A's at the second base options along with Sheldon Neuse who saw time there a bit last season. Lowrie would help make the starting decision easier, and he probably would want a season of redemption after sitting on the sidelines.

How six free agents A's let go in offseason have fared with new teams

How six free agents A's let go in offseason have fared with new teams

The A's faced some challenging decisions this past offseason as they tried to determine which of their eight free agents to bring back.

Oakland ultimately re-signed only Brett Anderson and Edwin Jackson, though Jackson was recently traded to Toronto. The A's allowed their other six free agents -- Trevor Cahill, Jeurys Familia, Matt Joyce, Shawn Kelley, Jed Lowrie and Jonathan Lucroy -- to sign elsewhere.

Here's a look at how they've fared with their new teams this season:

Trevor Cahill

Cahill signed a one-year, $9 million contract with the Angels and it has not paid off for Los Angeles.

The 31-year-old right-hander is 2-4 with a 6.43 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in 49 innings. He has already allowed 14 home runs, tied for second-most in the majors.

From the very moment the Angels signed Cahill, the deal seemed destined to fail. Sure, he had a nice bounce-back season for the A's last year, going 6-4 with a 3.76 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, but much of that was due to pitching in the Oakland Coliseum. On the road, his ERA was 6.41.

Clearly, the A's made a wise decision letting Cahill go for that price.

Jeurys Familia

Familia returned to the Mets on a three-year, $30 million deal and it has not worked out, at least so far.

The 29-year-old reliever is 2-0 but has a 6.50 ERA and 1.89 WHIP in 18 innings. Familia's biggest issue has been his lack of control, as he has already issued 14 walks. His command was also an issue at times last year, as he surrendered 14 walks in 31 1/3 innings with Oakland.

The A's were never going to re-sign Familia for $10 million per year, and it appears the organization made the right call.

Matt Joyce

Joyce initially signed a minor-league contract with the Indians but was released and signed another minor-league deal with the Giants.

San Francisco then traded the 34-year-old to Atlanta, where he has actually had some success in limited action. Joyce is slashing .250/.340/.477 with two home runs and five RBI in 44 at-bats. He was injured for much of last season and really didn't have a spot to play in Oakland, finishing the year with a .208/.322/.353 slash line.

The A's have plenty of younger options in the outfield, so they haven't missed Joyce at all. Still, it's nice to see him getting a chance on a major league club.

Shawn Kelley

Kelley signed a one-year contract with the Rangers worth $2.75 million. To this point, the veteran right-hander has been a bargain, going 3-0 with three saves and 1.80 ERA. He has struck out 12 batters in 15 innings, issuing just one walk.

Kelley, 35, recently had a health scare when he had to undergo surgery to remove multiple lumps from his vocal cords. Fortunately, the growths were benign, and he has since returned to the mound for Texas.

Kelley was outstanding after joining the A's last August, recording a 2.16 ERA and 0.78 WHIP in 16 2/3 innings. He's probably the one free agent Oakland regrets letting go.

Jed Lowrie

Lowrie signed a two-year, $20 million deal with the Mets this past offseason after a career-year in Oakland.

Unfortunately, the 35-year-old has yet to play a single game this season, due to injuries. Lowrie missed all of spring training and the start of the regular season with a sprained knee capsule. Now. he is dealing with a strained hamstring and is expected to be out until at least June.

The A's have certainly missed Lowrie's bat in their lineup, although Jurickson Profar is finally starting to heat up. Based on Lowrie's age, price tag and injuries, it appears Oakland made the right decision in letting him walk.

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Jonathan Lucroy

Lucroy signed a one-year contract with the Angels worth $3.35 million and he has made it worth their while.

The 32-year-old catcher is slashing .265/.326/.439 with six home runs and 21 RBI. Last season in Oakland, Lucroy only hit four homers all season, while slashing .241/.291/.325.

His value certainly went beyond the numbers, as he guided the A's pitching staff to a stellar season despite numerous injuries.

Even with Lucroy's success this season, the A's have actually received more production from their catchers. Josh Phegley is slashing .276/.317/.474 with five home runs and 28 RBI, and Nick Hundley has added two homers of his own.

Bob Melvin confident in A's options to replace Jed Lowrie in batting order

Bob Melvin confident in A's options to replace Jed Lowrie in batting order

There are few certainties in life. Death and taxes are two of them, as the cliché reminds us. A's fans enjoyed another last year: Jed Lowrie batting third in the lineup.

The infielder hit third in 146 of Oakland's 162 games last season. He and designated hitter Khris Davis formed a destructive tandem which anchored the entire A's lineup all year.

That will change this season. Lowrie signed a two-year, $20 million contract with the New York Mets this offseason, leaving the A's in search of a new No. 3 hitter.

"It's going to be a little bit of a work in progress," A's manager Bob Melvin recently told reporters in Arizona. "That spot might turn over a little bit depending on (whether we face) a right-handed pitcher or left-handed pitcher. At this point, I don't have anybody I'm penning into the number three spot like we had in the past with Jed and KD three-four. But you look up and down our lineup, it's still going to be a very productive lineup throughout."

Melvin will have plenty of options to experiment with. Stephen Piscotty, Matt Chapman, and Jurickson Profar are a few of the names who come to mind, though Chapman figures to remain in the two spot, where he enjoyed massive success last year.

Profar is an intriguing possibility because he would essentially allow the rest of the lineup to stay the same as last season. Melvin prefers that type of consistency.

"The way it played out last year, obviously Jed was important in the three spot, which allowed KD and then Oly to have his back, and Piscotty to have his back, and it worked pretty well," Melvin said.  "So I want to take a look at that. It doesn't necessarily mean (Profar) is going to get there, but if he does, it would allow everybody else to be in the same spot as they were last year."  

Another option is moving Davis up from the cleanup spot, though Melvin is hesitant to mess with his recent success.

"I think he's most comfortable (hitting fourth). We had talked a little bit about third earlier on, but I think he's pretty comfortable in the four spot. He's had some pretty good years in the four spot recently," Melvin smiled.

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Piscotty and Profar figure to earn the first cracks at the No. 3 slot. Both players are coming off career years, and possess many of the tools that made Lowrie so successful.

As Melvin mentioned, his lineups will likely vary based on the opposing pitcher. Either way, the A's offensive depth should make them a highly productive group once again.