Lowe, 32, jump started his career with a stellar 2015 season. After joining the Mariners on a minor league deal, he put up one of the most dominating pitching lines of the season’s first half, tossing 36 frames of 1.00 ERA pitching with 11.8 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9. That led to a mid-season trade that sent Lowe to the Blue Jays in exchange for a trio of young pitchers.
While he wasn’t quite as excellent in Toronto, Lowe was still quite an effective reliever down the stretch. He allowed eight earned runs while striking out 14 and allowing just one walk in his 19 innings. Lowe went on to permit two earned in his 4 1/3 postseason frames.
Lowe’s success was attributed, at least in part, to a revived fastball. He averaged over 95 mph with the heater on the year, a mark he hadn’t reached since way back in 2011. That was also the last season in which Lowe topped forty big league innings prior to 2015. As Eno Sarris of Fangraphs explained at the time of the trade, the emergence of Lowe’s fastball also helped him post stellar results with his slider. All told, Lowe ended the year with a career-best 14.1% swinging strike rate.
For Detroit, Lowe would presumably factor in the setup mix in front of recently-added closer Francisco Rodriguez. New general manager Al Avila has already added significant arms to both the rotation and then pen in advance of the Winter Meetings, along with an outfield option in Cameron Maybin, and Lowe could wrap up most of the team’s highest-priority business.