Brett Lawrie once leapt up on 66 inches worth of stacked boxes as a show of athletic prowess. Peak physical condition. Healthier than you or I will ever be. For many on the south side, this was an introduction to their new second baseman, excitable enough to have a shot at being a fan favorite. More than a calendar year later the parting view is of a man whose health limited him to only 94 games in the season, while spending the following spring exhibiting limited indications that he could surpass that number in 2017.
The White Sox have elected to release Lawrie, and will divvy up his playing time between Tyler Saladino and Yolmer Sanchez while keeping an eye on how Yoan Moncada progresses in the minors. The team’s official line is that they want to keep with the spirit of their rebuild by allowing these young players more opportunities to play. Lawrie is younger than Saladino, but Lawrie’s 2,400-plus plate appearances give us a much better view of what to expect moving forward, even before accounting for his likelihood to stay on the field.
One might question the timing of this decision as it pertains to the $3.5M contract the Sox extended Lawrie to play for 2017. It’s likely he was initially retained as a corner infield insurance plan in the event that Todd Frazier was moved. With the season nearly upon us and such a move not yet imminent, it looks as safe as it ever will to part ways, and enables them to utilize spots on the roster in more creative and productive ways. Much like when they released Dayan Viciedo prior to the 2015 season, the organization should only be on the hook for a fraction of Lawrie’s agreed-upon contract.
Good bye, Brett Lawrie. We’ll always have the box jumps and the weird eye black and crazy mouth guard and ramblings about orthotics … Wow, what a strange man.
Lead Photo Credit: Rick Osentosk – USA Today Sports Images