The A’s reacquired shortstop Jed Lowrie from the Houston Astros on Wednesday morning, leading to intrigue about what other moves might be coming for Oakland’s infield.
The A’s sent minor league reliever Brendan McCurry to the Astros in exchange for the 31-year-old Lowrie, who the A’s have now acquired from Houston twice over the past four offseasons.
"I'm disappointed to leave Houston," Lowrie told MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. "I think the Astros are obviously a team headed in right direction ... I signed the three-year deal here thinking I'd be here for those three years."
He came to the A’s as part of a five-player trade in December 2012 and served as the A’s primary shortstop in 2013-14 before signing a three-year $23 million contract with the Astros before last season. Lowrie is owed a guaranteed $15 million over the next two seasons -- $7.5 million in 2016 and $6.5 million in 2017, with a $6 million team option for 2018 that includes a $1 million buyout.
The switch hitter batted .222 with nine home runs and 30 RBI in 69 games last season, missing about three months with a torn ligament in his right thumb. He began the year as Houston’s starting shortstop but eventually shifted to third base after star prospect Carlos Correa eventually took over short on his way to winning AL Rookie of the Year.
It’s going to be interesting to see how the A’s use Lowrie, who can play any of the four infield positions. He could take over at shortstop with Marcus Semien perhaps shifting to second, but then again, part of the reason Oakland acquired Semien in the first place was to try to get more defensive range at short after Lowrie left via free agency.
It’s not out of the question Lowrie could wind up at second or third, as there have been indications from within the organization that the A’s might be willing to trade either Danny Valencia or Brett Lawrie, who finished 2015 playing third and second base respectively.
McCurry, 23, was a 22nd round draft pick in 2014 who is 3-3 with a 1.37 ERA over 67 career minor league appearances spent mostly at Single-A.