Jon Heyman added that Lowrie will earn $20 million over the two years. This move reunites him with his former agent, and Mets general manager, Brodie van Wagenen.
Lowrie had a career year in 2018, hitting 23 homers with a 123 wRC+. Fangraphs’ Steamer projections have Lowrie regressing in 2019. Across 631 plate appearances, Steamer project Lowrie to be just a tick above league average with a 103 wRC+.
Van Wagenen has been the busiest general manager this offseason. Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz arrived in a bumper trade from Seattle, Keon Broxton was brought in from Milwaukee and Jeurys Familia re-signed as the Mets attempt to contend again after a difficult couple of years.
Lowrie joins a crowded Mets infield. Cano, Peter Alonso, Amed Rosario, Todd Frazier and Jeff McNeil will all be competing with Lowrie for plate appearances. New York are following the Dodgers’ roster construction blueprint, giving them a lot of depth and plenty of flexibility. The veterans – Frazier, Cano and Lowrie – will need rest days, while this takes pressure off the youngsters – Alonso, McNeil and Rosario.
Yet again, with a relatively tight budget, van Wagenen has made a move that has benefited the 2019 Mets. The mix of experience and youth in the infield gives a balance of guarantee and upside. Lowrie, whether as a utility guy or a starter at third, provides the Mets with options.
This is not a move that is going to make or break the Mets. That is a good thing. For a team who are not going to have a $200 million payroll, big money, long-term contracts are a tightrope walk. Smaller moves like this are where the Mets can edge their roster towards genuine contention in the National League.
Lowrie was worth 4.8 bWAR last season. He is unlikely to reach those heights again in 2019, but he is, at worst, a very good insurance policy against injuries or struggling youngsters.