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Blogfather Gets Shot In The Arm In East Oakland

05
MLB: New York Mets-Workouts
“Vimael Machin? No, I need Time Machine.” | Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

I couldn’t bear to look, but I was certain that I was losing blood fast. As I prepared to slip in and out of consciousness, I looked up at the nurse and asked, timidly, “Give it to me straight. Am I going to die?” She rolled her eyes. “No, you absolute wuss. Come back in 4 weeks for your booster shot.”

Yes, I am now a member of the Moderna Family, which probably won’t run for far too many seasons on ABC. I am on a schedule that should render me fully protected right around Opening Day, for whatever that’s worth. Not much, I’m afraid. Currently my left arm is sore and I don’t have a lot of stamina, so I am officially changing my name to A.J. Puk.

Onto baseball...I am here today to go against the grain and wax optimistic about Jed Lowrie and the possibility he could make the opening day roster and be a contributor. I know, I know, he is 36 and coming off two seasons that produced a total 8 plate appearances. But he did walk in one of those, and that is my entire argument. Just kidding.

It’s spring, and so we are allowed to be overly optimistic and believe that everyone is truly in “the best shape of their lives”. My hope is that being utilized primarily as a hitter — and let’s face it, even missing two fingers, one leg, and battling gout Lowrie can still put together a solid plate appearance — there is a special role for Jed to be a useful contributor on the roster.

Here is what I envision, if his body is just healthy enough to allow him to hit without breaking down... I see Lowrie holding down that newly born 26th spot on the roster, with the primary role of serving as Mitch Moreland’s DH complement against LHP.

On a career basis, Lowrie brings above-average BA and OBP skills to the table against LHP: .275/.343/.419 (110 wRC+). Combine that with Moreland’s righty bashing ways (only 107 wRC+ career, but .270/.352/.586, 146 wRC+ in 2020, .262/.338/.549, 125 wRC+ in 2019), and the combination of Moreland and Lowrie could give you a very solid and productive DH with the kind of contact skills to balance out oakland lineup quite nicely.

But as they say on cheesy commercials, that’s not all. Lowrie’s left-handed batting skills become a luxury off the bench, where he could be one of the league’s most valuable pinch hitters. Wouldn’t you love to be able to lead off the 9th inning with Lowrie anytime you need?

Furtherless, if able to play the field at all (and I acknowledge that he has to prove this in spring training), Jed also becomes an available spot starter for Matt Chapman at third base as Chappie returns from hip surgery unlikely to play in 162 games.

Finally, Lowrie’s role on the team includes a function even his body will accept, and that is to be an informal hitting coach/mentor/role model in the cage and at the plate.

Now all this and $4.50 will get you only a latte if Lowrie’s bat and body don’t have any hits left to give or take. But Jed’s hitting style — reliant on a great batting eye, plate discipline, and an all fields line drive swing — is one that does age well. And while playing second base requires strenuous use of the knee, it is more reasonable to hope that a knee will hold up to the demands of DHing about 54 times, maybe playing 3B on a dozen occasions, pinch-hitting, and mentoring.

How might this all look in terms of a lineup and a roster? Something like this:

vs. RHP

Laureano - CF
Moreland - DH
Chapman - 3B
Olson - 1B
Canha - LF
Piscotty (or Tom) - RF
Murphy (or Allen) - C
Andrus - SS
Kemp - 2B

vs. LHP

Laureano - CF
Chapman - 3B
Pinder - 2B
Canha - LF
Piscotty - RF
Murphy - C
Olson - 1B
Lowrie - DH
Andrus - SS

This mentions all 13 position players, leaving Vimael Machin (one option remaining) to start the year at AAA. This isn’t what I’m counting on, but as I sit here on February 20th, feeling like I have been punched in the arm and injected with COVID instead of Moderna, it is what I am hoping for. Thoughts?

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