Following last month’s non-tender of Jonathan Schoop, the Brewers’ exhaustive, months-long search for a second baseman continues with the team’s pursuit of Jed Lowrie, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Lowrie, of course, is fresh off an outstanding, 4.9 fWAR 2018 season with Oakland, itself on the back almost identical offensive campaign (119 wRC+ in ’17, 122 in ’18) the year before. MLBTR projects the 34-year-old to earn a solid 3-year, $30MM deal this offseason, though Lowrie’s camp, given his recent two-year output, will surely be fighting for more. The risk with the switch-hitter lies in his subpar performance across multiple seasons (2011, ’14, ’15, and ’16), in obvious addition to his age and former propensity for the serious injury, plus the tendency of second basemen to decline earlier than most, but there could be surplus value aplenty to be found if he continues on his current trajectory.
In other news from around the NL …
- The Nationals, another team with a hole at the keystone, offered Ian Kinsler a one-year deal before the 36-year-old signed a two-year pact with San Diego, per Rosenthal. Earlier this week, the club was said to have “checked-in” with free agent second-sacker D.J. LeMahieu, who would likely command a deal in excess length to the one offered to Kinsler, so it seems unclear as to exactly which direction the club will go in terms of filling the position. Carter Kieboom, a 21-year-old middle-infield prospect, has raked in the low levels of the minors and may just be a season and a half or so away, so perhaps the club is seeking just a one- or two-year stopgap in the interim.
- Per Alex Pavlovic of NBA Bay Area, the outfield-naked Giants are interested in Blue Jays CF Kevin Pillar. The club, who in years past has shown little interest in staking a defense-first player at the position, despite its park’s huge territory in right-center field, may be undergoing a philosophical about-face under its new, analytics-driven regime. The club, of course, is stacked with right-handed fly-ball types in the rotation, and would seem to benefit in large measure from a ball-hawking center-fielder like Pillar. The 29-year-old’s defensive metrics took a bit of a hit last season, but his peak from ’15-’17 (50 DRS) has rarely been matched in recent times. 25-year-old Steven Duggar would seem, at least in part, to fit the bill, but whether or not his bat will play – Steamer projects an 81 wRC+ for ’19 – is still an open question.
- New Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly, who this week agreed to a 3-year, $25MM with the team, explained (audio version) to WEEI’s Rob Bradford why he chose LA, noting that the team was the first to extend its offer to three years. Though the duration may come as little surprise, it is notable that it came from the Dodgers, who in recent times (Kenley Jansen excluded) have preferred their relievers to be of the under-the-radar variety.