April 5, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Oakland Athletics shortstop Jed Lowrie (8) talks to Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) in the fifth inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Ahh yes, another rumor about the Astros upgrading an area that they really need to upgrade. This time, it’s about a familiar face to Astros fans, but one that wasn’t around for very long.
Yes, the same Jed Lowrie that Houston had in 2012 and shipped off to Oakland right before Spring Training in 2013 for Chris Carter, Max Stassi, and Brad Peacock (Fernando Rodriguez was sent to Oakland as well with Lowrie.)
It’s well known that Houston needs an upgrade at SS, but the real question is would Lowrie really be an upgrade? He was one of the only bright spots of the 2012 team, hitting 16 HR’s and driving in 42 runs in 97 games, but that’s not saying much. At the same time, he only hit .244 and had a .331 OBP. In his first season with Oakland, he made the Astros regret trading him, while he hit one less HR in 154 games, he did drive in 75 runs and batted .290 with a .344 OBP. While the HR total was down quite a bit (5) last season, the RBI’s were still respectable at 50 in 136 games. His BA of .249 was down quite a bit from 2013, but it was still a little higher than his lone season in an Astros uniform.
What’s most important about Lowrie is his low strikeout rate compared to the rest of the options currently in Houston. When you have guys like Springer, Carter, and Singleton on the team, you need other members of the lineup that’ll put the ball in play. His OBP of .321 last season wasn’t too bad, and his career OBP of .330 is definitely higher than the other options for SS currently in Houston. Between Marwin Gonzalez, Gregorio Petit, and Jonathan Villar, Gonzalez looks like the most promising option for 2015, but nobody is sure if he can be the every day guy.
And that could be another reason to bring in Lowrie. He’s been known to get injured pretty often, but he could split time with Gonzalez to ease the transition until Carlos Correa arrives. Nobody realistically expects Correa to begin the season in Houston, but there’s no reason why he can’t get his feet wet in 2015.
At this time, Astros fans are just wanting to see a roster addition as it’s been a pretty quiet offseason, but lets make sure it’s a good one. Speaking of moves, Houston lost Marc Krauss to the Angels via waiver earlier today, but I don’t think anybody is going to lose sleep over that one.
On another potential upgrade to SS in Houston, make sure to go check out on why the Astros might want to go all-in on this big name Short Stop.