SAN DIEGO – New A’s third baseman Brett Lawrie is getting lots of love from people inside and outside of Oakland’s organization.
With the team having shipped out three All-Stars in the past two weeks, fans will be looking for a name-recognition player that they can identify with. Perhaps the 24-year-old Lawrie, acquired from Toronto in the Josh Donaldson deal, can help fill the void.
“Our fans are gonna love him,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s a blue-collar guy. Plays hard, always dirty, diving. The type of guy our fan base will like right away.”
One scout, who has watched Lawrie since he’s come up to the majors in 2011, thinks he can fill Donaldson’s shoes quite capably if he can avoid the injuries that have plagued his first four big league seasons.
He described Lawrie as “aggressive and confident”, with power in his swing that will hold up well inside the pitcher-friendly Coliseum. But health is truly the key. Lawrie has missed 184 games over the past three seasons due to a variety of injuries. A strained oblique sidelined him for the final two months of 2014, and oblique problems have also hindered him in years past.
But Lawrie said in a recent media conference call that he should be full strength entering spring training.
A’s director of player personnel Billy Owens believes the A’s have brought in a special talent.
“Over the last 10 to 15 years, he’s one of the best athletes we’ve had. Period.”