The Houston Astros have brought back former shortstop Jed Lowrie who became a free agent after spending two seasons with the Oakland Athletics.
Lowrie was traded to Oakland along with Fernando Rodriguez in exchange for pitcher Brad Peacock, outfielder and slugger Chris Carter and catcher Max Stassi. Lowrie has now signed a three-year deal with Houston to be their everyday shortstop. He will make $23 million through 2017, plus another $5 million option for 2018.
General manager Jeff Lunhow decided that they needed an upgrade at shortstop as well. Last season the Astros used a combination of players at short including Marwin Gonzalez, Jonathan Millar and Gregorio Petit who combined to hit .258.
The Astros were hoping top prospect Carlos Correa would be ready this season however he broke his leg just before being moved up into Double-A last season, rendering him nowhere near ready to play in the big leagues in 2015.
Lowrie should be an upgrade for Houston even though 2014 was one of the worst seasons, at least offensively, in his career. He hit .249/.321/.355 with 29 doubles, six home runs and 50 RBI in 136 games for the A’s.
However, he hit a career high .290 on the year for Oakland in 2013, playing in 154 games and there is no reason why the 30-year-old won’t produce at the plate, especially if he is in the lineup everyday. In 2013 he hit an Oakland record (I believe) 45 doubles, 15 home runs and 75 RBI.
He’ll also have a great double play partner in second baseman and 2014 batting champion Jose Altuve.
“We know we have Lowrie and Altuve up the middle and that’s going to be productive offensively and defensively and takes some pressure off the other guys,” Luhnow said.
Lowrie who graduated from Stanford has already had a chance to talk with fellow Stanford alum Astros’ manager A.J. HInch and liked what he heard about the Astros’ plans moving forward.
“That really helped me see where the future and the direction is for this organization, and I think it’s an exciting time to be an Astro,” Lowrie said. “I think there’s a lot of good, young talent, and I think they’re trying to get a mix of veteran players. Everybody is going in the right direction.”