Conventional wisdom would dictate that Oakland Athletics shortstop Jed Lowrie is simply a stopgap, a bridge to Addison Russell. It’s a foregone conclusion that Russell will take over duties as shortstop in the not-too-distant future, and will likely hold down the position for years to come. While Lowrie was a pleasant surprise for the 2013 Athletics, his history of injury means longevity cannot be counted upon from him.
All of that said, it was a surprise to see Lowrie’s name included in rumors today involving the St. Louis Cardinals and their pursuit of an upgrade at the position over Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso. Typically an established player like Lowrie is dealt from a team in a deep rebuilding phase, such as the Houston Astros when Lowrie was originally moved to Oakland. A team like the Athletics, who have struggled to shore up the shortstop position since the departure of Miguel Tejada a decade ago, doesn’t seem like the kind who would create a hole after finally filling it to some degree.
Peter Gammons reported the interest from the Cardinals in Lowrie, simply as another option as their pursuit has already included the likes of Troy Tulowitzki and Elvis Andrus. It seems highly likely that the Cardinals will land someone to fortify that position at some point during the offseason. Ken Rosenthal refuted the rumor, reaffirming the notion that the plan was for Lowrie to bridge the gap to Addison Russell, on a two year plan, of which 2014 would be the second.
While all indications at the moment are that Lowrie will don the number 8 for the Athletics in green and gold in 2014, if the Cardinals made them an offer they couldn’t refuse, I would fully endorse moving him to St. Louis. Names like Matt Adams, and Shelby Miller have been spoken in rumors involving Tulowitzki, and while I doubt the A’s could pry away one of them for Lowrie, it’s an intriguing possibility.
Trading Lowrie would likely prove to be a step back in the short term, as the middle infield would be downgraded, that is until Russell is ready to make the jump. It could be worthwhile in the long run, but for a team that has now won two straight AL West titles, an approach like that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The A’s must take advantage of their window of opportunity for contention, and must only consider trading Jed Lowrie if it makes the team better right now.