Infielder Brett Lawrie, who reached the open market when he was released recently by the White Sox, is not going to sign in the immediate future, according to a statement issued by his agent, Joe Urbon of CAA Baseball (via Jim Boweden of ESPN.com). Lawrie will instead first complete his rehab before seeking a new organization.
According to the statement, Lawrie “still has minor soft-tissue discomfort in his lower body.” Urbon says that the issue arose as “a result of the orthotics [Lawrie] was given last year.” The infielder has previously discussed that matter, saying at the time that he felt he was on track to return to full strength.
While Urbon says that Lawrie is “responding well to his current course of treatment,” he adds that his client is “intent on getting to 100 percent health before signing with a new organization.” It’s not immediately clear just how much of a delay that stance could cause, or what course his camp is planning. It’s certainly possible, though, that Lawrie will rest up and re-start his training, perhaps even working out for interested teams before agreeing to a new deal.
From a strategic perspective, perhaps there’s reason to believe this approach will help Lawrie wait out an attractive opportunity. There has been some initial interest in the veteran, who has long played third base and spent most of his time more recently at second. But it’s far from clear whether he’d be able to earn more than an opportunity to earn a reserve or platoon role at this stage.
Looking at things from a somewhat broader perspective, Lawrie only turned 27 in January, so it probably won’t hurt for him to take some time plotting the next phase of his career. He has not yet quite lived up to the high hopes placed upon him early on, and hasn’t produced enough to merit regular playing time, but he’s also undoubtedly a useful player. Over the past six seasons, Lawrie owns a .261/.315/.419 batting line (101 OPS+) and has rarely strayed too far from the mean offensively. He’s a good baserunner who once rated as an elite defender at third, though metrics have soured on his glovework more recently.