White Sox Aquire Brett Lawrie
Brett Lawrie is on the move once again. Lawrie was drafted in the first round back in the 2008 MLB ametur draft by the Milkawkee Brewers and made his debut in 2011 for his home country Toronto Blue Jays. He posted an impressive .952 OPS in his 43-game rookie season, and earned a reputation of being one of the most high-energy, high-intensity players in all of baseball. Lawrie’s fiery personality could be a lot to handle for some, but there is no denying that the man leaves everything he has out on the field and will go above and beyond to get his team a W.
Lawrie’s stock as a ball player rose dramatically after his rookie year, but after a bit of a sophomore slump in which his slugging percentage dropped from .580 to just .408 and a couple years fighting the injury bug in 2013 and 2014, he has yet to come anywhere close to reaching that bar he set when he broke in. Lawrie has been traded each of the last three years, and last season in Oakland, he saw his OBP drop below .300 for the first time in his five-year career.
After the A’s acquired Jed Lowrie this offseason, it was only a matter of time until they moved Lawrie (those similar last names would have been a headache to deal with anyway). He became expendable, but at just 25 years-old with a projected salary of about $3.9 million for 2016, he also became an attractive risk for a few clubs.
In an effort to both lengthen their lineup and improve their team’s defense, the Chicago White Sox went out and acquired Brett Lawrie from Oakland at the price of two minor league pitchers. Now, neither RHP J.B Wendelken nor LHP Zack Erwin were in the top-30 prospects in the Sox farm system, but they are prospects nonetheless. General Manager of the A’s, Billy Beane has been known to find talent in strange places and gave up a couple more years of Lawrie for 12 total years of control with Wendelken and Erwin. Baseball America says Erwin, 21, could possibly end up developing three plus pitches in his arsenal as he hones his talents in A-ball. Wendelken on the other hand reached Triple-A last year, and with 10.5 K/9 in the minors in 2015, could contribute out of the bullpen for the A’s sooner rather than later.
It was a more low-profile sort of trade, but the White Sox are hoping that ceiling they saw Lawrie scrape in his rookie season is still reachable. He reached a career-high in games played in 2015, and could finally be getting his body right from all that time on the DL. Though his defense had taken a step back last year, Lawrie is still versatile and can play either second base or third for Chicago. He is slated as of now to be the White Sox starting third baseman on opening day and will certainly look to reach that 25-homer potential many scouts believe he has in him. Based on the way he plays the game, I’m sure Lawrie is a prideful guy, and I doubt he wants his legacy to be just “the guy that the A’s traded Josh Donaldson for.”