Is There More to Lowell Trade?

An article by posted on December 11, 2009

For most, this is your second favorite time of the year. There’s opening day, and then there’s the hot stove. I guess I’m in the minority; I’m usually very quiet during the off-season because frankly, I can’t stand the constant speculation. Fans don’t know what is going on behind closed doors, and reporters create news to keep their job. It’s kind of like the NFL Draft. Is Mel Kiper Jr. ever right about the NFL Draft? Yet people listen to him week in and week out as he speculates a player’s value or a team’s interest. 

Here’s my take on the Mets right now. Wait and see before you judge. Omar Minaya and the Wilpon’s will be in office on Opening Day. So, there is absolutely no sense in bickering or complaining that they haven’t done anything yet. You want to complain the Mets didn’t sign Randy Wolf? Talk to me in two years and tell me you still want Wolf. 

I’m all for the ideas that this off-season is make or break for Minaya’s career in New York. He knows, and we know it. So let’s just take a deep breath and wait to see what happens. 

Now that I got that off my chest, I had a thought. It’s not a well thought out plan, and really in most part I have almost nothing backing me up on the thought. 

Yesterday, Mike Lowell was sent to the Texas Rangers for basically a catcher we’ll likely never hear from. 

I keep reading that the Rangers plan on using Lowell as a designated hitter or at first base. I don’t buy it. I just sense that something is going on in Texas. 

Remember last year, Michael Young was furious over the fact he was being moved to 3B for Elvis Andrus that he demanded a trade? Of course, he settled down, but now at age 33 after being moved to a position you didn’t want to play, your team acquires a veteran that just so happens to play that same position? Granted, Lowell is not a gold glover, but he can still field the position. 

Also, why would Texas move Lowell to 1B? First of all, Lowell has never played 1B. How many 35 year olds feel like learning a new position? Second, if he was a DH, what does that mean for Hank Blalock, and Julio Borbon? 

The Rangers have Chris Davis at 1B, a 23 year old kid that at least in my opinion will be a household name in the American League soon. They’ve played him at 1B regularly with Hank Blalock backing him up. So if Lowell is “healthy,” he isn’t going to accept a backup role for Chris Davis at a position he’s never played before. Certainly, they aren’t going to tell Davis to hit the pine until Lowell retires. 

If you talk about the Designated Hitter, you have a better argument but it’s still flawed to me. The Rangers have a full OF, which means Julio Borbon who tore it up from August to October will have to take a seat. Is that where Texas wants to go with their team? Sitting young guys who are just about to hit their full stride? I really don’t think so. I’m not saying Borbon is a stud, or deserves anything more than a chance. However, he, like Davis is 23 and has a huge upside. An upside that if he hits the bench for a 35 year old player could fall if they are reduced to coming off the bench. 

The biggest “hmm,” moment will be if Texas decides to offer Marlon Byrd a multi-year deal. He declined arbitration because he knows he can do better, and they know it to. If he does sign with them, then I have no doubt something is going on with Michael Young. 

So what does this have to do with the Mets? Well, Michael Young is of course 33 years old, and he has played 2B in his career. At his age, a role at 2B within a highly skilled offense would not compare to the slap in the face the Rangers gave him last year. 

I hope somebody in the Mets front office is quick enough to think “let me call Daniels and see what’s up with Young?” because early signs are pointing to the fact that they are preparing for Young to leave Texas.

About the Author ()

Michael Branda grew up a Mets fan watching the mid 1980's teams and his favorite Met of all-time is (and was) Wally Backman. When it comes to sabermetrics versus old school thinking, he's in the middle and believes adopting new ways to get answers is helpful, especially when the old way has not produced results.

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