I don’t know very much about Jed Lowrie other than what his stat sheet says. I know he came up with the Boston Red Sox, and he’s had a bit of an injury history. Other than that there isn’t much to go on as far as who Jed Lowrie really is. After he was acquired by the Athletics though he said some things that may have opened a window into his mind just a bit. He was questioned about his role on his new team, which at this point is very much up in the air. His response, “I think I’ve proven that I can play shortstop every day, and that’s what I think I am,” he continued “I’m an everyday shortstop that can play other positions.” (Via Jane Lee on MLB.com). That’s a problem, the A’s already have a shortstop, and they told Hiroyuki Nakajima he is their man at the position. So unless the A’s plan to renege on their promise to Hiro, Jed isn’t going to get his wish.
In an interview with 95.7 The Game‘s Bucher & (Uncle) Towny, Lowrie stated that his preference is definitely to be up the middle, and indicated that if he were to be positioned at third base it would not be his ideal situation. While he didn’t come out and say anything that would seem to ruffle anyone’s feathers, listening to how he said it showed me he’d be more upset than perhaps he’d like us to believe. So while it remains a distinct possibility that Lowrie ends up the starting second baseman if Scott Sizemore and/or Jemile Weeks fail to impress, what happens if he isn’t and is forced into either a utility role or perhaps slides over to the hot corner if Josh Donaldson struggles? One would assume that as a professional he would do what is asked of him, but is that guaranteed?
Dating back to last season’s trade deadline, the A’s were constantly involved in rumors surrounding talented but flawed shortstop Yunel Escobar. This was a frightening thought to many who follow the Athletics. His questionable character, with regards to his work ethic and his maturity level was something many feared would disrupt the amazing team chemistry that was carrying the A’s towards the postseason. The A’s didn’t pull the trigger for those very reasons, and hesitated again during the offseason before Escobar was dealt from Toronto to Miami, and on to Tampa Bay. While not anywhere near the documented case of character flaws that Escobar was, Lowrie’s words make me wonder if he could be the same type of threat to the A’s clubhouse.
The chemistry of this team seems like it should be just about indestructible, but at the same time it hasn’t been truly tested. Bob Melvin assures everyone that he’ll find the at bats needed for everyone on the roster, including the crowded infield and the crowded outfield. If there ever was the right manager to deal with such a good problem to have, it’s Bob Melvin, the ultimate players manager.
There’s no doubt that Jed Lowrie has a lot to offer, and his presence should be an asset to the Athletics in 2013 no matter where he plays. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he won’t become a malcontent if he’s forced into a role that’s less than perfect for him, but I’ll be keeping a close eye on him as well. The last thing we need is another situation like we saw in 2011 in the bullpen with Brian Fuentes vs. Bob Geren and the dust up that occurred in the media. The expectations are too high, and the possibilities are too limitless for this Athletics team to let any one player get in the way. This is something that’s bigger than any one individual, and all should have their eyes on the prize.