NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Jed Lowrie could not have scripted a better time to have the best season of his career.
Lowrie entered free agency this offseason as one of the top infielders available after hitting .267 with 23 home runs and 99 RBIs for the Oakland Athletics in 2018. He also led AL second basemen with a .993 fielding percentage. For his efforts, he was named an All-Star for the first time in his 11-year career.
The Mets then signed the 34-year-old to a two-year, $20 million contract.
On Wednesday, Lowrie was introduced at Citi Field. He said he was compelled to sign with the Mets due to how serious they appear to be to build a championship contender. Lowrie is the fifth All-Star added by the team this offseason, following second baseman Robinson Cano, closer Edwin Diaz, catcher Wilson Ramos and reliever Jeurys Familia.
“I think actions speak louder than words. It has been an aggressive offseason here. I think a lot of the moves that led up to us kind of rekindling in the new year helped make this decision easier,” said Lowrie, who will wear No. 4.
Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said Lowrie may be an older player, but he appears to be getting better.
“Jed is veteran, versatile player that makes us better on the field, in the batter’s box and in the clubhouse,” Van Wagenen said. “As an accomplished switch-hitter, Jed also provides balance and length to our lineup.”
The Mets currently have a crowded infield, so it will be up to manager Mickey Callaway to figure out how to use Lowrie, who is a second baseman by trade but can play other infield positions. He has logged more than 4,000 defensive innings at shortstop and more than 1,000 at third base.
“He’s going to be in our lineup virtually every day,” Van Wagenen said. “He’s going to hit at the top of the order. His switch-hitting ability, hitting in front of Cano and after (Brandon) Nimmo, potentially, as we start to configure the lineup, I think is something that is really attractive.”
“If you look at a lot of teams that have had recent success, they are very deep and I think that’s what it takes to win at the major league level at this point,” Lowrie added.
Lowrie hit .271 with 60 homers and 320 RBIs in 687 games with the A’s and appeared in the playoffs three times. He has played in more than 100 games in a season just four times in his career due to injury problems, but over the last two seasons he appeared in 320 games. Clearly something changed.
“I feel great right now. I’ve had a great routine over the last couple of offseasons,” Lowrie said. “All you can do every single day is prepare for the long season. Like Brodie said, you want to have a deep team that’s versatile, so you can cover all your bases.”
Lowrie, who was represented by Van Wagenen back when the executive was a player agent, is a career .262 hitter with 104 home runs and 509 RBIs, playing also for Boston and Houston.