Scouts Doubt Mike Lowell’s Mobility

Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald talked to some scouts present at Boston's spring training game with Pittsburgh on Wednesday, and reports that the scouts are skeptical of Mike Lowell's ability to play in the field or swing the bat in the wake of the veteran infielder's numerous injury problems.

Lauber quotes an unnamed NL scout who says "how [Lowell] looked today, I would not have any interest in him…I don’t think he’s moving very well at all.  Right now, his swing is very upper-body dominant.  I don’t think he’s popping his hips or using his legs very much."

While Lauber admits that Lowell hasn't had enough field time for scouts to make a full evaluation on his health, any indication that Lowell isn't able to play a position will certainly hurt his trade value, especially to National League clubs.  We've heard that Florida has looked into re-acquiring Lowell, but Lauber hears from a source that “the club’s interest is 'minimal at best.'

Boston has been trying to deal Lowell for months, and had a trade worked out with Texas in December before it was discovered that Lowell needed thumb surgery.  Not only is Lowell an expensive bench option, but his continued presence is holding up some of Boston's other moves.  ESPNBoston's Gordon Edes writes that the Red Sox are in need of shortstop depth and "have communicated to other teams that they're in the market for a backup at short, but there's no spot unless Lowell goes." 

Given that the Sox will surely have to eat a big piece of Lowell's $12MM contract for 2010 in any trade, they might be forced to pay the whole price and release Lowell to free up roster space.


23 Responses to Scouts Doubt Mike Lowell’s Mobility Leave a Reply

  1. bobmac 5 years ago

    Lowell is a class act and he doesn’t deserve to be swinging in the breeze.Boston should keep negotiations quiet and not shop him in the press.

    • elclashcombo 5 years ago

      He is swinging in the breeze because he has little value to the 29 other clubs – this due to his immobility and injury or lack of need. I’m sure the Red Sox front office had it their way, they would not have press like this Herald article. Lowell will be traded but all Boston will get is a Single A prospect.

      That being said I hope Mikey shows everyone wrong and makes the most of whatever playing time he gets.

    • Zack23 5 years ago

      Well you have Red Sox beat writers saying Lowell was complaining all last year. Mad that they went after Tex and were going to trade him. Mad that they played him too much in the beginning- causing him to go on the DL, then mad that he wasnt playing enough after he came back. And now they say he’s not going to accept a bench role.

      So the media says he’s a class act when he’s helping the team, but when he’s hurt and less effective let’s just crap on him.

      • Mooks 5 years ago

        What exactly is it that makes him a class act? I am not saying he isn’t, I just want to know the reasoning behind it.

        • Zack23 5 years ago

          That’s the reputation the Boston media pimped once Lowell got here. It’s just a label, what makes it true I have no clue.

        • wolf9309 5 years ago

          The players seem to be pretty unanimous that he’s one of their favorite teammates, he tends to be involved in more charity things than players usually are, I think he’s jsut a likeable, professional guy.

          • Zack23 5 years ago

            I never questioned his charity work. (And its not fair to say that he does more, most of the stuff guys do isnt even published).

            I’m just going off what I see by in the Boston media; so you cant have it both ways. You cant have the media report that he’s a class act and his teammates love him, and then say its not true when the media says he’s mad at the organzation last offseason, during the year, and this offseason.

          • wolf9309 5 years ago

            well by charity work I just mean whenever anyone on team has any kind of event, he’s always involved and willing to donate his time. Don’t know anything about whatever kind of money they contribute, I don’t know that and don’t really care. But that’s part of what his label comes from.
            I think you’re just mistaking the Boston media as one group, when the things you’re saying come from different groups of people- there are the Shaughnessy “nothing will ever be okay” type journalists, some pretty straightforward journalists, and the Gammons “mouthpiece of the organization” journalists. But just because one journalist takes something he says out of proportion and says he’s unhappy doesn’t mean the entire media is saying that.

      • wolf9309 5 years ago

        this isn’t really true. The media likes to blow things out of proportion and make drama out of things because it gets readers and sells papers, but there really arent any writers at this point or an earlier point who haven’t said that he is a class act and completely professional. Sure there were a couple of stories blowing things he said out of proportion, but that’s for the drama, there’s a lot more stories at any given time about how he’s a great guy and does what he needs to.

        • elclashcombo 5 years ago

          The “class act” label is such a sports cliche. why does it even enters the conversation when talking about trades. i dont see any of the other teams saying “we signed so and so because of his OBP and his class act”

          Lowell’s price tag is high ($12M), has little mobility on the field and basepaths and so far we hope he can still hit consistently (his only asset now apparently). He got injured – happens to alot of guys – but he is getting $12M, is near the end of his career and thus does not have much trade value. How does his “class act” play into this equation?

          • wolf9309 5 years ago

            It is a complete cliche, and not just in sports. No GM should be giving a player a contract just because he’s a good guy to have around (though Kevin millar keeps getting work…). I think most of the people saying the class act thing are saying it’s too bad for him (because he’s a good guy), not that they can’t believe no one has taken him because he’s a good guy.

  2. Guest 5 years ago

    The Marlins should make a run at Eric Chavez.

    • Infield Fly 5 years ago

      Chávez is one of my absolute favorites at 3B. I used to love to watch him make those smooth easy plays – just a joy to watch! However with all the back troubles I fear he may not be able to stay in the game much longer.

      • Guest 5 years ago

        But how often does a Larry Beinfest/Michael Hill backfire? Chavez is having a really healthy spring. He’s hitting below .190, but he’s playing. That’s important.

        • Infield Fly 5 years ago

          A good spring is hopeful but no guarantee of anything – especially with Chávez’ unfortunate history. And since it wasn’t long ago that he was contemplating retirement I have to maintain a balanced view. I pulled hard for him to make a full return these past few years, and was really disappointed about how things went for him. So I really can’t get my hopes up too much yet. I’m going to wait and watch [and yeah…hope!].

  3. BoSoxSam 5 years ago

    I did not think about the roster space issue. I keep thinking that Lowell would be an asset to this team if he couldn’t be traded, but when you think about other possible needs for the team, plus the fact that he takes up one of the important roster spots, I realize that if they can’t trade him they might actually outright release him. I agree with bobmac, he’s a class act, but if he is not looking good on the field, he is taking up important roster space that could be used, as the article states, for shortstop depth.

  4. Steve_in_MA 5 years ago

    We’ll keep Lowell for his bat and if we need a roster spot for a backup we can release Bill Hall. Most of Hall’s big salary is already prepaid to us by the M’s.

    • wolf9309 5 years ago

      Hall has a lot more use for the team because he can cover almost any position on the field. Lowell apparently can only cover first decently, so he provides no versatility. If Hall was gone, there wouldn’t be a good defensive backup outfielder and the Sox would lose someone who can cover 3rd, 2nd, and, in a pinch, short.

      • Steve_in_MA 5 years ago

        The whole gist of opening a roster spot is to get someone to replace Hall, with whom Sox officials seem less than satisfied in terms of his defensive abilities. That’s why Edes wrote that the Sox are on the market for shortstop depth. Lowrie is headed to Pawtucket, Iglesias to AA, and so our options right now are Hall and no one as backup at short. Hall comes as one of the most expensive utility guys in the majors at $8.9MM owed (including his 2011 buyout of $0.5MM). Thankfully, we got upwards of $7MM in cash from the Mariners to take him, so we can release him at a net loss of only $1.75MM. That’s a lot less wasted money than $12MM. Meantime, Lowell historically has a +.300 and “some power” bat. Ortiz is something like 4 for 26 this Spring. For $12MM, I’m gonna make use of Lowell’s hitting skills and experience; not piss it away by releasing him.

        On a brighter note, Joe Nelson struck out 7 over his last 3 innings of work, increased both his fastball speed and arm speed, as well as demonstrated a wicked change-up. He may have earned himself a roster spot in the Sox pen.

        • wolf9309 5 years ago

          No, I think they like Hall defensively, just not at short. They’re looking for a shortstop to take over Lowell’s roster spot, not Hall’s. The amount of wasted money is irrelevant because it is spent, and Hall provides a lot more flexibility to the team than a player with an OK bat (although scouts say his swing is looking terrible) who can’t run or field.

          Ortiz is 9 for 39 with 5 walks and a couple of homers (Lowell is 1 for 10 with a single). Which isn’t the ultimate production I’d like to see out of Ortiz, but it’s certainly good enough for spring training to keep me from stressing too much.

          • Steve_in_MA 5 years ago

            First of all, the money is not spent yet. These guys get paid at intervals over the season, so there is plenty of time to offset salaries. I’d much rather pay $1.75MM to see Hall plying his mediocre trade elsewhere, than see Lowell hitting .310 with 8 homers for someone else while we pay out $12MM.

            The few scouts commenting to the Herald have a vested interest in downplaying his skills, i.e., to make him cheaper. I’m not suggesting he’s doing great, but he has been described by other scouts to Globe reporters as comfortable at the plate and at first base. He really hasn’t had enough playing time yet for a fair judgment on his capabilities. But given Lowell’s track record, he’s a good bet for DH/1B duties on at least a platoon basis. My bet is Theo will not be releasing him. Its either put him to use or get a decent trade with part of his salary picked up. I’m sure Theo is willing to wait until Lowell has an adequate chance to show his hitting skills are back to form.

            I stand corrected on Ortiz’s stats. He had two very strong games (out of 3 total) since I last checked his stats. Nevertheless, he is looking more like the Ortiz of April and May of 2009 than the Ortiz of July-September of 2009.

            Hall is merely liked, not loved, at any position. The roster can only withstand 1 utility infielder. Presumably, anyone capable of covering short can cover 2nd and 3rd as well. In fact, the Rangers are out looking to trade for a utility guy, which might work out for us in terms of shedding Hall. They might be willing to trade someone like Esteban German if we were to throw in the right kind of cash and prospect considerations.

  5. Zack23 5 years ago

    Why would the Nationals agree to that trade?

  6. 0bsessions 5 years ago

    Blackmail?

    That obvious point aside, how about this one: “Lowell will show Dunn how to play first base”

    If Lowell is traded to the Nationals in this proposal, how exactly does he show Dunn how to play first base? Is there some kind of wacky clause where Lowell gets to stick around with the Sox for a few months to teach Dunn a position he’s barely ever played himself? Or does this proposal also involve some sort of time travel/parallel universe theory?

    If so, I’m saying scrap the whole thing and trade Lowell for the Smoke Monster.

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