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2015 Free Agent Profile: Jed Lowrie

It's no secret that the Mets are in need of an everyday shortstop. Could Jed Lowrie be the solution they're seeking?

Ronald Martinez

Jed Lowrie represents an unexciting but potentially stable option at shortstop for the 2015 season. While he's not the sort of player to generally light the world on fire, Lowrie could act as a reliable offensive contributor for the Mets in 2015.

A career wRC+ of 103 spanning seven seasons suggests that Lowrie is the epitome of league average at the plate. However, at a position where offense often comes at a premium, having a league-average-hitting shortstop is not something to dismiss casually. He has shown the occasional ability to hit for power in his career, launching 16 home runs during his 2012 season with the Astros, and followed up that campaign with another 15 home runs in 2013.

However, this past season Lowrie only managed to slug .355 with a .676 OPS playing for Oakland, a fairly rapid decline from the previous two seasons, perhaps suggesting he could be a buy-low candidate with room to rebound.

Along with the potential for power, Lowrie has always demonstrated good plate discipline, a trait often lauded (but not as frequently achieved) within the Alderson regime, with a below-average strikeout rate every year since 2010 paired with an overall walk rate that was above average for the same time span.

If offense alone were all that were required for a shortstop, the Lucas Duda experiment would have already begun. Over the past three seasons (generally enough time for defensive statistics to stabilize), Lowrie has been slightly below average in the field by UZR, and well below average by DRS. While his defense improved slightly in 2014 compared to the previous year, he still grades negatively in nearly every aspect of his defensive game, and is approaching the decline phase of his career, which may be a red flag to potential suitors.

One selling point to Lowrie is the lack of an attached qualifying offer, especially since the Mets have already forfeited their 2015 first-round pick by signing Michael Cuddyer. Given the current shortstop market, though, it's likely that signing Lowrie will require a three-year, $30 million deal to get the job done, especially with a number of big-market teams in search of their own answers at shortstop. This would be a significant investment for the Mets, and may prove too big a risk for a team with tight payroll considerations.