It’s now clear that Jed Lowrie is not an everyday starting shortstop. He’s never played more than 90 games in any of his MLB seasons since he was first called up in 2008, and only his promising potential led the Red Sox to keep giving him a shot at their starting shortstop position.
After a .252/.303/.382 line last year as a 27-year-old, Boston decided to part ways with Lowrie via a trade to Houston for reliever Mark Melancon. Like most recent moves the Sox have made, the transaction didn’t play out in their favor.
Lowrie has hit .253/.343/.456 this year for the Astros, while Melancon has been awful in the bullpen and had to spend two months in the minor leagues.
Meanwhile, the Sox starting shortstop, Mile Aviles, has put up a a much worse season than Lowrie. Avilies is batting .257/.289/.400, and though his defense is better, it’s not enough to make up for that dreadful OBP.
So should the Sox consider acquiring Lowrie? Only if they plan to platoon the two at shortstop.
It’s known that Lowrie cannot stay healthy, and this year he’s currently on the disabled list due to an ankle injury and will miss over a month. He’s not an everyday starter and never will be.
On the other hand, while Aviles is relatively durable, he’s a below average hitter against right-handers. He’s hitting .245/.271/.376 against them this year. Lowrie, a switch hitter, is batting .270/.354/.498 against righties.
Perhaps surprisingly, Lowrie is awful against lefties, against whom he’s hit .200/.309/.329 this year. Avilies, meanwhile, is at .288/.331/.458.
On their own, each player has their flaws. But together, they can put up one of the top seasons for a shortstop in the American League.
Some fans may be wondering, what about Pedro Ciriaco? The 26-year-old rookie is hitting .337/.344/.472 this season and has come up with some clutch hits.
The problem with Ciriaco is that he’s been aided by a .408 BABIP this year, which is over 70 points higher than what he averaged in the minors. Additionally, he’s never hit above six home runs over an entire minor league season, which makes his current SLG unsustainable.
And his walk rate of 1.1 percent is dreadful. Once his batting average falls to a normal level, his offense won’t be enough to keep him in the lineup.
Speaking of low-offense shortstops, the Sox also have slick-fielding Jose Iglesias in the minors. But he’s hitting .258/.304/.298 in Triple-A, and seems a far way off from producing in the majors.
After another poor Josh Beckett outing last night, it looks like the Sox may finally be counted out for a playoff spot this season. But an offseason trade for Lowrie could go a long way toward helping the club contend in 2013.