Mets free agent "punchline" officially retiring from MLB
By Tim Boyle
New York Mets legend? Maybe in his own way. Jed Lowrie joined the organization ahead of the 2019 season with many fans wondering exactly where he’d fit in. He was coming off of a productive season with the Oakland Athletics and was one of Brodie Van Wagenen’s clients from his time as an agent.
Despite having Robinson Cano on the roster, an up-and-coming Jeff McNeil about to embark on his sophomore campaign, and Todd Frazier hanging around at third base, the Mets GM handed out a two-year deal worth $20 million to Lowrie.
We all know how it went. Lowrie was hurt in the spring and didn’t make a single appearance at all in 2019 until late in the season when he had 8 plate appearances. A walk was his lone time on base. He did play at all in 2020 and spent the previous two seasons with the Athletics again. He’s now hanging up his cleats for good.
Jed Lowrie has a unique place in Mets history
Plenty of players have signed contracts and either never played for a club or barely did. How many of them received $20 million to do so?
Ineffective short-term deals were a big part of the Mets from 2018-2020. Even before Van Wagenen was hired, the Mets inked players Anthony Swarzak, Jason Vargas, Jay Bruce, and Todd Frazier. It wasn’t so much a general manager thing as much as it was likely a way of thinking the ownership had.
The most comparable player to Lowrie during this time span might be Dellin Betances. He agreed to a two-year deal worth $13.5 million after the 2019 campaign. He was meant to give the Mets a huge boost in the back of the bullpen. Many had doubts. He pitched only a single game for the New York Yankees the season before.
Betances would pitch in 15 games and just 11.2 innings for the club in 2020 while delivering a 7.71 ERA. He managed to outdo Lowrie by making an appearance in his second season with the ball club. Betances tossed an inning for the 2021 Mets before getting shut down for the rest of the year.
You can’t win every free agent signing. That recent era of baseball in Queens seemed to have many misses. Lowrie is also the last of these guys to officially call it quits. He’ll have his own unique place in Mets history. He was, and will probably remain, a punchline for those who vaguely remember seeing his late season pinch-hitting appearances. Could it be a case of the Mandela Effect and they never really happened? No one would be surprised.