The A’s turned to a familiar face Wednesday during their search for a second base solution by bringing back Jed Lowrie for his third stint with the team.
The 36-year-old Lowrie agreed to a minor league deal with the A’s, and will receive an invitation to spring training later this month.
Lowrie spent the last two seasons with the Mets, but he actually never played a game in the field. A lingering left knee problem — PCL laxity, or posterior cruciate ligament “looseness,” according to the Mets — caused him to miss the 2020 season and it limited him to zero hits in just seven at-bats over nine games in 2019. He received a series of platelet-rich plasma and stem cell injections in his left knee last season but it still didn’t allow him to even play in the field.
In fact, Lowrie’s last big league hit was while with the A’s — he hit a home run in Anaheim on the second-to-last day of the 2018 regular season.
In short, Lowrie’s time with New York after signing a two-year, $20 million free-agent contract in 2019 was disastrous.
However, if there’s one thing Lowrie’s proven during his previous time in Oakland, it’s that he can pretty much stay healthy here. That’s why he could be a viable option at second base, where Oakland has Chad Pinder, Tony Kemp, Sheldon Neuse and switch hitter Vimael Machin as options to replace departed free agent Tommy La Stella.
While Lowrie’s 12-year career has been hampered by injuries, he’s enjoyed his greatest success during his first two stops with the A’s. The switch hitter had his best season in Oakland in 2018 when he hit 23 home runs with 99 RBIs with a slash line of .267/.353/.448 that earned him his only All-Star Game appearance.
Lowrie’s stellar 2018 season came a year after he posted a career-best .808 OPS and it earned the former Stanford standout his two-year deal with the Mets in 2019.
A first-round pick of the Red Sox in 2005, Lowrie also had two big league stops with the Astros, who first traded him to the A’s in a five-player deal that sent Max Stassi, Brad Peacock and Chris Carter to Houston in 2013.
Lowrie left the A’s in free agency two years later, signing with the Astros in 2014 before being shipped back to Oakland for a minor leaguer in 2015.
He’s a career .261 hitter with a .748 OPS while playing shortstop, second base and some third base in the majors.
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