Our season previews here at Amazin’ Avenue are done to serve a certain purpose. The goal is to give a brief look at what each player is trying to accomplish, what role they may serve for the team, and how that player might be important to the success of the team for the upcoming season. But for Jed Lowrie, none of that applies. We have no idea what he can realistically accomplish this year, what he can do for the team, or if he’ll even play for the Mets in 2020. We can’t even say if there is a season we can preview.
Lowrie has been officially a member of the New York Mets since January 15, 2019. Since then, his on-field Mets career has been essentially nonexistent, and his tenure here has mostly just served as a constant reminder that the Mets are a baffling organization that can almost never be forthright about player health.
We don’t really need to recap the bizarre and perplexing saga of unexplained injuries that occurred throughout Lowrie’s 2019 season and sidelined for five months. It was, at the very least, encouraging to see him make his Mets debut as rosters expanded in September last year, signaling that whatever strange issues were limiting him throughout the season had perhaps finally subsided. Even though he looked clearly rushed back, out of shape, and not ready for big league action, it was at least a positive step for him, and it could be assumed that an entire offseason of recovery and rehab would help Lowrie get back to being the player the Mets signed him to be.
Unfortunately, it appears that did not happen, and those vague, unexplained maladies that shelved him last year have apparently have spilled over into 2020, causing Lowrie to be limited to workouts so far this spring and needing a laughably huge brace on his leg to get through them. Both the Mets and Lowrie himself still haven’t explained what injury or injuries he is still recovering from, why he needs that brace, what symptoms it is alleviating, if he could play with it, how close he actually is to getting into game action, or why he was deemed ready to play in September but is not ready to play now.
As such, we are once again left to simply speculate if we will even see Lowrie in a Mets uniform in 2020, much like we did last year, because we still have absolutely no insight into his actual medical status. Given that he still necessitates an Optimus Prime-sized knee brace just to do some workouts and drills, we can probably surmise that the 35-year-old’s prospects for Opening Day are not looking great, and beyond that is literally anyone’s guess. There’s just no way to know.
The Mets will probably want to see Lowrie justify his $9 million salary at some point during the year, so we may indeed see him on the field in 2020, but it’s impossible to know in what capacity. He was physically unable to even play the field when he was activated last September, and now it appears he has only taken steps back—or at least hasn’t taken steps forward—since then.
Of course, if Lowrie can somehow be the player he was in 2018 and 2017, then the Mets will have stumbled upon a 3+ WAR asset to add to their crop of infielders. But it’s very unlikely that he could just step back in and resume playing at that same level in 2020 after taking a full year off.
Whatever the case with Lowrie may be, we are sure to be given more head-scratching quotes and mysterious, ominous updates on his status before he returns, whenever that will be, or if it will happen at all. The veteran infielder could be useful for the Mets in 2020, but the chances of that happening are a complete mystery.