The Astros roster seemingly had a myriad of holes at the start of the offseason, mainly in the bullpen. Yet, the lineup was not without flaws, especially at third and short. Let us face facts – Matt Dominguez and Jonathan Villar just do not appear to be the answer long term. Someone was needed to fill one of those vacancies.
However, in one fell swoop, the Astros may have been able to somewhat patch both together. The signing of Jed Lowrie to a three year, $22 Million contract now gives the Astros a solid contributor at both positions. His overall .261/.330/.411 batting line and 56 career home runs may not be what one would hope for from a corner infielder, but it is certainly better than what the Astros had last season.
Lowrie could also be the perfect fit in a platoon situation at either position. Despite being a switch hitter, Lowrie has stronger numbers against lefties, hitting at a .283/.345/.431 clip against southpaws. If the Astros can find a player at either third or short that can hit righties solidly, then they could find themselves with having filled both positions at a reasonable cost.
White Cleat Beat
When a team has approximately $20 Million to spend, and numerous holes to fill, it sometimes requires the ability to be creative. Bringing in a player such as Jed Lowrie, who has the capability to play anywhere on the infield, certainly helps. It especially helps that Lowrie’s two main positions, third and short, happen to be the biggest needs for the Astros right now.
The three year deal for Lowrie also ensures that he will not be a blockade for the next crop of prospects. Collin Moran and Rio Ruiz may find themselves ready to be in the majors at third within another year or two. Carlos Correa is not expected to be ready until sometime in the 2016 season, if not 2017. Given that timeline, Lowrie is the perfect bridge player.
Position flexibility has been a hallmark of contending teams over the past few years. Even if the Astros are not yet at that point where they can officially be labelled as a true contender, they seem to be on the right track. Bringing in a player like Jed Lowrie certainly helps.
Jed Lowrie may not be the piece that brings the Astros to the postseason, but he can certainly help. This signing was perfect for the Astros.