Detroit Tigers trade target: Brandon Lowe

ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 07: Brandon Lowe #8 of the Tampa Bay Rays hits in the first inning during a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Tropicana Field on August 02, 2022 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 07: Brandon Lowe #8 of the Tampa Bay Rays hits in the first inning during a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Tropicana Field on August 02, 2022 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Brandon Lowe has come up a lot in Detroit Tigers trade talks

Detroit Tigers president of baseball operations Scott Harris said last week at the GM Meetings that he is looking to add a left-handed hitting infielder to the roster. With very limited options on the free agent market, many have suggested Harris should go the trade route to find his lefty bat for the infield. Rays’ second baseman Brandon Lowe is a name that has come up quite a bit amongst fans and media alike.

It makes sense. The Rays do stuff like this all the time. They have a good player that they sign long term and they trade him away after he becomes “too expensive” for them. We saw it a couple years ago with the Blake Snell trade. They also have a lot of young infielders in their farm system, which will all be much cheaper for how Tampa Bay operates.

Lowe, 28, is coming off a rough season in which he was injured for most of it. He played in just 65 games, racking up 266 plate appearances. In that stretch, he slashed .221/.308/.383 with eight home runs and a 104 wRC+. Not exactly great numbers, though his wRC+ would have been second on the Tigers behind Eric Haase (112).

But Lowe has been much better than that when healthy. In 2021, he hit 39 home runs with a 137 wRC+ and a 4.9 fWAR. He had a 151 wRC+ with 14 home runs during the shortened 2020 season. The guy can rake.

He does have a tendency to swing and miss, but he also has a career walk rate of 10.2%. One would think Harris should be able to take the bad with the good in this situation.

Defensively, he’s not great. He’s got -14 outs above average for his career at second base (he’s played some outfield) as well as -2 defensive runs saved. If the Tigers keep Jonathan Schoop, I could see A.J. Hinch pulling Lowe late in games and putting Schoop in as a defensive replacement.

Lowe makes about $4 million a year. He’s signed through 2024 with club options for 2025 and 2026. It’s a very team-friendly contract. Because he has up to four years of control left, he could be a bit expensive. But he’s also coming off his worst season. With the Rays, you never know how much they value their players.

I know some Tigers fans may not like the thought of trading with the Rays again given how the Austin Meadows trade looks at the moment, but remember these two things: Meadows will be fine, and Al Avila made that trade, not Scott Harris. We’d like to think that Harris will be much more savvy with his moves that Avila was.

The Detroit Tigers need to improve against right-handed pitching. Getting a left-handed bat like Lowe would certainly help them with that.

Next. Detroit Tigers trade target: Hunter Renfroe. dark

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