The Milwaukee Brewers will be active this off season in the free agency market to help improve their roster. An area of need is at second base, where the Brewers struggled to find a consistent starter in 2018. Could Jed Lowrie be the answer?
This past season, the second base position was a revolving door for the Milwaukee Brewers as they tried multiple players to find a solution. Their biggest and most surprising move came at the trade deadline when GM David Stearns acquired Jonathan Schoop from the Baltimore Orioles.
Up to this point Schoop had put together a solid career and before the trade was named the AL’s player of the week. Unfortunately, his time in Milwaukee did not go nearly as well.
In his 46 games with the Brewers, Schoop recorded a slash line of .202/.246/.331 and an OPS of .577. His lack luster performances eventually led to him rarely appearing in any games down the stretch.
With Mike Moustakas a free agent and Travis Shaw moving back to his normal role at third base, the second base position will once again be a question for the Milwaukee Brewers. If they decide to bring Schoop back, he is due over $10 million, a hefty price for the production Milwaukee received in return.
This begs the question, would bringing in veteran second baseman Jed Lowrie solve Milwaukee’s issues at the position?
How did Lowrie perform in 2018?
This past season, Lowrie was a part of the Oakland Athletics run to the playoffs. He was a consistent player for them, appearing in 157 games. He provided the versatility to play third base and shortstop as well. However, second base is his prime position as he made 136 starts there.
Lowrie is coming off of a solid 2018 campaign. He recorded a slash line of .267/.353/.448, and an OPS of .801. Lowrie also added 23 home runs and 99 RBIs.
What we saw from Lowrie in 2018, is pretty consistent with what he’s done over his career. Since making his debut in 2008, Lowrie has a career stat line of .262/.335/.414, with an OPS of .749.
This will give the Milwaukee Brewers comfort in the fact that this past season wasn’t a fluke and they know the type of player they are getting.
Why does Lowrie make sense in Milwaukee?
As shown above, the Milwaukee Brewers would be getting a consistent bat in the lineup and a veteran presence in the locker room. We saw how Erik Kratz was able to lift this team both on and off the field this past season and the 35-year-old Lowrie could have a similar effect.
Another factor is that given his age, he may not be looking for a multi-year deal. With Keston Huira making his way through the Brewers minor league system, Milwaukee doesn’t need to find a long-term solution, as Huira will most likely be the every day starter by 2020.
Having the ability to utilize Lowrie for a season or two will help the Brewers bridge the gap to the Huira era in Milwaukee.
In addition to Lowrie having a much better season than Schoop, he is going to be cheaper as well. His salary the past two seasons in Oakland was $6.5 million in 2017 and $6 million in 2018. Lowrie will likely look for similar money in the open market.
With the way that the Milwaukee Brewers roster is currently constructed heading in to 2019, they will not have many left-handed bats in their every day lineup. As it stands, the two consistent lefties in the lineup will be Christian Yelich and Shaw.
Ideally, Milwaukee is going to want more options than just those two in their day-to-day lineup. Lowrie can provide that. He is a switch-hitter, which is a big reason that he played so many games last season. However, he had more success at the plate as a lefty.
As a left-handed batter with Oakland, Lowrie put up a slash line of .273/.365/.478, all of which were higher than his numbers as a righty.
Adding a consistent left-handed bat to an already dangerous Brewers lineup could do wonders for this offense.
The Milwaukee Brewers will have a tough decision to make this off-season in regards to what do they do at the second base position.
After giving up some good players to acquire Schoop, who was very underwhelming, fans have to wonder if they’ll feel the need to stick with him through 2019? Regardless, taking a moment to pick up the phone and give Lowrie a call may be worth it.