In a surprising piece of news, the Milwaukee Brewers have signed free agent INF Brett Lawrie to a minor league contract.
Way back in 2008, the Milwaukee Brewers selected a prep Canadian catcher with the 16th overall pick in the MLB Draft. That player was Brett Lawrie.
He didn’t stick behind the plate for long, and he didn’t stick with the Brewers for long either. He was traded in December 2010 to the Blue Jays for pitcher Shaun Marcum. After spending a couple years in Toronto, and then with Oakland and the Chicago White Sox, Lawrie has spent the past two seasons out of baseball.
Now Lawrie has returned to where it all started. He announced on Instagram that he is signing a contract with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Sometimes you just need to go back to where it all started.
Why Sign Brett Lawrie?
Lawrie has spent the past two years out of baseball, not even in the minor leagues. For all intents and purposes, he appeared to be retired.
But Brett Lawrie is still just 29 years old. There’s plenty of years left in his possible career. When he stepped away from the game, it’s not like he couldn’t hit anymore. In 2016, his last season, Lawrie hit .248 with a .723 OPS and 11 homers in 94 games. That’s not a particularly great season, but it’s not awful.
He had some good years in Toronto as the Blue Jays’ third baseman, and was included as part of the massive trade for Josh Donaldson. Lawrie won’t move Travis Shaw off his position, but he’d be a decent fallback option in case of injury or if Shaw just needs a day off.
Lawrie has always been a slightly below league-average hitter over his career, and will usually hit between 10-15 home runs a season.
Perhaps his time away from the league has given Lawrie a chance to reset his mind, rework his swing, and get back into baseball shape.
What Kind Of Contract Does He Have?
According to Robert Murray, Lawrie has a minor league deal, but there’s a club option for 2020. You don’t hear of those too often. It’s a fairly high max value, but it must be laden with incentives with a very small base salary.
If he plays well in spring training and proves he can still be a valuable player, he can earn a spot on the team, or get sent to Triple-A to continue working. If not, the Brewers can cut him loose and allow him to try to catch on with another club.
The Milwaukee Brewers have given their former first round pick another shot. They were the team that drafted him, so for Lawrie, perhaps coming home is where he’ll belong.