In a somewhat surprising development, this morning the Jays announced that Brett Lawrie has been placed on the 60-day DL, ending his season.
This procedural move comes among a metric shit-tonne of changes made to the roster now that teams are allowed to activate anyone on their 40-man. To wit:
Brandon Morrow (who will pitch out of the bullpen) and Dan Johnson have been activated from the DL. Anthony Gose, Ryan Goins, Kendall Graveman, Sean Nolin, and Dan Norris have officially been called up to the big league club. Dalton Pompey and George Kottaras have been added to the 40-man and promoted to the Jays as well. And in order to clear room for these moves, in addition to Lawrie being placed on the 60-day DL, Darin Mastroianni and Matt Hague have been D’d FA, and Neil Wagner has been released. Sergio Santos, you’ll remember, was DFA late last week, when Chad Jenkins was recalled.
I’ll have more on the youngsters being promoted in yet another Assorted Weekend Thoughts piece later today (or… maybe tomorrow?), but for this one we’ll focus on Brett Lawrie, who somehow finishes 2014 with the fewest games played of any full year in his young MLB career.
Lawrie played 125 games in 2012, 107 last year, and finishes this season with just 70. His numbers don’t look particularly exciting, either, though the hopeful side of Jays fans will have reason to look beyond the slash line of .247/.301/.421. For one, he posted the best ISO of his big league career (.174), save for the explosive late-season cameo he made in 2011. His exactly-league-average wRC+ of 100 was incrementally better than the previous two seasons, the defensive metrics liked him (naturally), and the big one: though it’s an egregious use of arbitrary end points, Lawrie heated up immensely after beginning the season in a funk, posting a 125 wRC+ and a terrific .290/.344/.460 line from April 25th until his season ended on August 5th (three innings into his first game back after breaking his finger on June 22nd).
So, there’s bad — his overall numbers are not encouraging, and he’s done absolutely nothing to shake the “injury prone” label — but there’s also good. He’s still young, he still takes up very little payroll (he’ll be eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter), after the cold start he showed there still can be a lot of potential in his bat, and his versatility and willingness to move to second base (not that he had any right to refuse, frankly) allowed John Gibbons to maximize the value he could get out of his roster. It’s a hopelessly misleading number — the bulk of Lawrie’s playing time this year was accrued before Juan Francisco turned into Pedro Cerrano — but the Jays were 39-31 in the games Lawrie played this season. His ability to move around the diamond and keep Francisco’s then-scorching bat in the lineup was a huge asset to the team — as was his defence at whichever position he was asked to play, not to mention his bat.
Despite the disappointing campaign, he certainly has earned another year as an unquestioned regular in the Blue Jays’ infield whenever he’s healthy. Let’s just hope it’s not another damn wasted one.