In his first trade as Astros General Manager, Jeff Luhnow sent reliever Mark Melancon to Boston in exchange for SS Jed Lowrie and right-hander Kyle Weiland. Although he spent part of 2012 on the disabled list, most would argue Lowrie was the best player in the deal. Melancon struggled in Boston and after a disappointing season that included a demotion to AAA, was traded to Pittsburgh. Weiland won a spot in the Astros starting rotation but a shoulder injury ended his season after only three starts.
The 28-year old Lowrie has a history of injuries and his 97 games played in 2012 was actually a career high. Lowrie seems to have had a run of bad luck when it comes to being bitten by the injury bug. In 2009 he missed significant time due to wrist surgery and subsequent complications. Lowrie battled mononucleosis in 2010 and didn’t see action until late July. Last season a collision at second base landed Lowrie on the disabled list for nearly two months. The injury occurred when Jose Altuve‘s errant feed put Lowrie in a vulnerable position and Gregor Blancoslid into Jed’s leg.
Lowrie has an impressive pedigree and his numbers have been good when he has been able to stay on the field. A two-time All-American at Stanford, Lowrie was a supplemental first round pick by the Red Sox in 2005. Lowrie was named the Red Sox Minor League Offensive Player of the Year for the’07 season.
Lowrie has two more seasons of arbitration eligibility before becoming a Free Agent. Several teams expressed an interest in acquiring the switch-hitting infielder this offseason and Jeff Luhnow said he would only trade Lowrie if he got an offer that blew him away. The possibility still exists that the Astros could deal Lowrie this season. If he manages to stay healthy and produces the numbers he is capable of producing, teams will once again be inquiring about Lowrie at the trade deadline.
Lowrie’s future with the organization could hinge on the development of SS prospects within the Astros system. I’m hoping Jed can stay healthy and provide some excitement for Astros fans before moving on down the road. I would be shocked if Lowrie is still on the Astros roster at this time next year.