Mets and Royals Among 4 Teams Reportedly Interested in Free Agent Brett Lawrie

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2017

CLEVELAND, OH -  JUNE 17: Brett Lawrie #15 of the Chicago White Sox celebrates after scoring on a double by Avisail Garcia #26 during the ninth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on June 17, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Chicago White Sox announced Friday they released veteran infielder Brett Lawrie, and the 27-year-old is beginning to garner interest on the free-agent market throughout MLB

ESPN's Jim Bowden reported Sunday the Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Mets and Tampa Bay Rays are all weighing potentially signing Lawrie.

Toronto would be an ironic landing spot for Lawrie, since the Blue Jays traded him in 2014 as part of the deal that netted them Josh Donaldson. Sportsnet Stats highlighted how the two players have had differing offensive fortunes in the two seasons since the trade:

Lawrie also has history with the Royals. During the Oakland Athletics' 6-4 defeat on April 17, 2015, he slid in hard on Alcides Escobar, which resulted in a sprained knee for the Royals shortstop:

Tensions between the teams flared up again when Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera threw a 100 mph pitch behind Lawrie two days later:

Given his history with the team, signing Lawrie may be a hard sell for Royals fans.

Lawrie is coming off an underwhelming 2016 season. He had 12 home runs and 36 RBI to go along with a .248/.310/.413 slash line. Among 31 second basemen with at least 500 innings played, he also tied for 23rd in defensive runs saved (minus-four) and ranked 25th in Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 games (minus-8.2), per FanGraphs.

Considering his age, it's too early to definitively say Lawrie's days as an every-day MLB infielder are over. But he has played in 140-plus MLB games once in six seasons, and he's a career .261 hitter with a .315 on-base percentage.

Lawrie may have to settle for more of a platoon role in 2017 until he rebuilds his value enough to warrant a full-time job in the infield.

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