After the surprising news last week that the White Sox had released Brett Lawrie—likely to clear playing time for top prospect Yoan Moncada—the Mets are among four teams interested in the infielder, according to ESPN’s Jim Bowden.
Bowden lists the Royals, Blue Jays, and Rays as the other three teams with interest. The Rays have Brad Miller and Evan Longoria at second and third, but injuries to Logan Morrison and Matt Duffy could allow Lawrie significant playing time as a starter and as a utility player upon their return. The Royals are slated to start the season with Whit Merrifield as their second baseman, so their interest makes sense.
The Blue Jays’ interest seems more sentimental, since they traded him to the A’s for Josh Donaldson before the 2015 season and also have Devon Travis at second base. Lawrie a fan favorite, however, and was featured on Canada’s MLB the Show covers in 2013 and 2014.
The Mets are the most intriguing suitor. With David Wright’s shoulder injury, Jose Reyes is slotted to start the season at third base with T.J. Rivera, Gavin Cecchini, or Matt Reynolds likely filling his utility role. If the do seriously pursue Lawrie, he could take over at the hot corner and push Reyes back into a utility role.
The 27-year-old former top prospect is a career .261/.315/.419 hitter coming off a mediocre campaign in which he hit .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs, 36 RBIs, and 7 stolen bases over 94 games. As a short-term utility option, that might be just what the Mets need to fill in for Wright’s. But it also might seriously cut into time that could be used to develop previously-mentioned players who may have more upside.