There are approximately one thousand things you could call Brett Lawrie, but uninteresting has never been one of them. From his early prospect days as a tatted-up youth playing Edward Fortyhands to a slightly more mature young adult with a vampire mouthguard and a love for playing DJ in the clubhouse, his blood comprising at least 85 percent Red Bull at all times has made him entertaining to keep at least one eye on even in his oft-injured seasons. And the White Sox cutting him loose on the verge of spring training this March was another perfect example of this.
Why did the Sox do this? There was a place for him on the roster and it would be easy enough to make sure both he and Tyler Saladino would get regular playing time. If everything broke right, he could potentially be flipped for a middling return or take over full-time at second or third after doing the same with Todd Frazier. It was weird! But it only got weirder!
It is now mid-May and somehow Lawrie remains a free agent. Which is kind of insane. Baseball players can hover around forever. Just this past week I learned Endy Chavez is still playing organized baseball down in the Mexican League. Pull up any random Triple-A roster and you’re guaranteed to find at least one name that makes you go “wait, he still exists?” and we’re somehow almost one quarter of the way through the season and Lawrie hasn’t laced up even once.
HOW?! It’s not like we’re talking about Jermaine Dye’s strange career denouement. He was old, he stopped hitting, the end. Lawrie is 27. He’s been a league average bat the past three seasons while being worth an average of 1.7 bWAR per year that can capably play second and third base. That’s not particularly sexy, but it’s pretty danged useful and can mean the difference between playoff baseball and sitting October out. Some minor roster scanning of teams that came into this season with at least somewhat reasonable aspirations of contending came up with eight franchises that would benefit from having a player like Lawrie on the roster right now (Boston, Toronto, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, the Mets, Texas, the Angels, and San Francisco). Surely one or two of those contenders would be happier with Lawrie over what they’re currently trotting out every day.
But when you Google his name, the most recent news that comes up is still stuck in early March with his agent talking about minor soft tissue discomfort in his lower body and Lawrie’s comments about the orthotics he obtained last season messing him up. His Twitter page is full of short videos of him doing sprints and jumps with quotes about getting his springs back and all of a sudden the Sox cutting ties seems far less odd.
Lead Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports