Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Upon first hearing the Mets were closing in on a two-year, $20 million deal with Jed Lowrie, my first reaction was, what?
Lowrie is an excellent player, but he was the A's second baseman last year, and the Mets have Robinson Cano. But upon further digging, it made more sense: According to sources, the Mets view Lowrie as an everyday-quality player who will serve in a super-utility role.
The switch-hitting Lowrie can spell Amed Rosario at shortstop -- the Mets lacked a backup shortstop anyway -- and can, of course, help out Cano at second. Frankly, he's an upgrade at third base over Todd Frazier. If Peter Alonso isn't ready to contribute, Frazier can play first base with Lowrie at third.
The signing is a continuation of GM Brodie Van Wagenen's project of limiting "if's," and giving the Mets a better B team. With Lowrie on board as well as Jeff McNeil and J.D. Davis already on the club, you probably won't see Luis Guillorme-types (or late-career Jose Reyes, for that matter). The Mets have a deeper roster than last year, and far more alternatives.
As former Mets official Adam Fisher first pointed out on "Baseball Night in New York" on Thursday, a potential downside to all this versatility is that Mickey Callaway will have a tricky job trying to communicate changing roles and lineups to his players.
A veteran like Lowrie surely knows what he's getting into, but younger players like Davis and McNeil might have a tougher time adapting to varied roles. Callaway, who struggled at times during his first year as manager, will have to engage in a higher volume of sensitive conversations in 2019.
Having said that, winning makes for a happy clubhouse, and the Mets have given themselves a better chance to do just that. Van Wagenen continues his aggressive push to create a contending team (he also signed lefty reliever Luis Avilan to a minor league deal on Thursday).
With the Phillies and Nationals serious contenders for Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, respectively, it's still an open question where the Mets stand in the National League East. But with the Lowrie signing, they're clearly better than they were yesterday.