Mike Rizzo’s business this offseason is still far from done, with Washington Nationals rumors everywhere. Jed Lowrie is the latest subject of those rumors.
Jamal Collier of MLB.com reported that the Nats have reached out to a whole host of free agent keystone options. Lowrie was among those options, as was Marwin Gonzalez the former Houston Astros utility player.
If money were not an issue, there’s certainly a compelling case that Lowrie is the best second base option on the market for the Nationals. He’s coming off of another excellent season for the Oakland Athletics as they made the AL Wildcard Game before falling to the New York Yankees.
More from District on Deck
- Latest DraftKings Sportsbook Promo Code in Maryland: Bet $5, Win $200 Guaranteed
- Nationals Claim Jeter Downs Off Waivers
- Washington Nationals Minor League Spotlight: Robert Hassell III
- Washington Nationals Tuesday Q&A
- 3 Free Agents the Nationals Should Gamble On
Lowrie slashed a great .267/.353/.448 with 23 home runs and 99 RBI last season as he was named an All-Star for the first time in his career and even finished 20th in the MVP voting. Keep in mind, he was able to do this while in the cavernous Oakland Coliseum too, which is one of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in all of baseball.
When we look at his wRC+, which is a stat that accounts for ballpark factor and normalizes it accordingly, he ranks even better. Among qualified major league second baseman, Lowrie ranked fifth in wRC+ with 122, behind just Jose Altuve, Javier Baez, Scooter Gennett, and Ben Zobrist. Pretty good company.
But for the Nationals, in an ideal world, they could probably do with an extra bat who can hit left-handed with a bit of power. As a switch-hitter, Jed Lowrie would certainly fill that void that has become a weakness after the departures of Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy.
However, after a career year in Oakland, the issue with Lowrie is going to be that he will be one of the pricier options at the keystone. In his offseason contract predictions, Jon Heyman predicted a two-year $22 million deal for Lowrie, while his expert had a two-year $15 million contract. MLBTradeRumors predicted a three-year $30 million for the switch-hitter.
Cots Baseball Contracts currently projects the Nats to be about $15 million under the luxury tax threshold after arbitration salaries are factored in. Therefore, if the Nats want to pursue Lowrie, then it wouldn’t give them much more room to address any more remaining areas unless they can restructure some contracts.
As the new year is set to roll around, expect more Nationals rumors to emerge about second baseman, as well as even more pitching. We’ll have to wait and see if the Nats and Jed Lowrie can come to a fair deal in the coming days and weeks.