It’s never too early to take guesses on who teams are going to be trading for. Today, through Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, MLB Trade Rumors posted Cafardo’s guess that the Tigers are going to be in the market for Astros’ SS Jed Lowrie.
For those that don’t know much about Lowrie, Lowrie is a 28 year old SS, who can also play a little bit of 2B and 3B as well. He isn’t the most athletically gifted player on the planet, but does have some ability with the bat and the glove. It’s assumed, given the Tigers struggles at 2B, that the Tigers would want Lowrie to play there.
Offensively, there is no doubting Lowrie would be a plus for the Tigers. So far on the season with the Astros, he has 13 home runs, posting an above average wOBA of .369, and a wRC+ of 134. He has walked in 11.8% of his plate appearances while striking out 18.3%. Fangraphs has Lowrie valued at 2.4 WAR this season, which is easily an above average value at SS this season. In fact, it’s second in all of baseball to Elvis Andrus‘ WAR for shortstops in all of baseball.
But what about defensively? Given that Lowrie is a SS, one has to assume that if he can play SS, he is more than likely going to have the skills to be a second baseman. His numbers do bear that out, as he has played 2B in the majors before for the Red Sox. While he doesn’t have a lot of time at the position, Lowrie has posted a 6.4 UZR/150 at second. He currently is right around average defensively at SS.
The one thing that I didn’t see, at least in the Trade Rumors post, is what Cafardo believes it would take to land Lowrie. After all, Lowrie is a cheap player, who is really valuable right now. He doesn’t become eligible for free agency until 2015. If the Tigers are going to trade for him, the assumption would be that maybe he finishes at 2B this year, and then moves to SS to replace Jhonny Peralta in order to save money in 2013.
Shortstops leading the N.L. in WAR for 1.15M dollars this season won’t, and shouldn’t, come cheap. The good thing for the Tigers is the Astros are a little bit pitching starved, so there is somewhat of a match here. This could be an opportunity for the Tigers to part with Porcello, and even work out a deal in which multiple players could change hands. Even though Porcello hasn’t shown that he can consistently become a quality pitcher at the big league level, that could be a dangerous idea. It would mean the Tigers would have to rely on both Jacob Turner and Drew Smyly in their rotation.
Lowrie definitely is interesting, but like any deal, it would depend on the package required to get him.