Brett Lawrie will take the field at Rogers Centre tonight against the Toronto Blue Jays for the first time in his career
[Update: as predicted, Lawrie went 0-4 at the plate last night with two strikeouts. For those who think I’m being too harsh on Lawrie, think back to how he acted while with Jays. He always made himself the centre of attention, getting into visible disagreements with everyone from teammates to umpires. I get it: he’s an intense person, but this justifies intense criticism where warranted. He’s a good player, not a great one. I stand by that statement 100 per cent and I don’t miss him at all.]
You can be forgiven for overlooking Brett Lawrie‘s unceremonious return to the Rogers Centre tonight. Lawrie hasn’t played in Toronto since he was traded to the Oakland Athletics in the off-season, but no one seems to care. There’s no reason to care.
We have bigger things on our minds these days, such as a late-season playoff push and an MVP-caliber season from Josh Donaldson – the man we acquired for Lawrie. In other words, these are good times in Toronto and Lawrie has no part in it.
If anything, he’s a hurtful reminder of the recent past – a past we’re eager to forget now that everything is finally working out for the Jays.
Jul 29, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics third baseman Brett Lawrie (15) celebrates after scoring against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Lawrie has made only three career starts against the Jays and the numbers aren’t pretty. He’s gone 2-11 at the plate, hitting .182 and posting a OBP of .250. This cold streak will likely continue tonight as he enters the matchup hitting .167 (3-18, .200 OBP) in his last five games.
At one point in time, we used to brag about Lawrie’s defensive performance at third base, but even that’s trending downward these days. After committing 18 errors in 99 appearances at third base, the Athletics are now auditioning Lawrie at second base; he’s split his last six games between second base and third base with Danny Valencia (another former Jay) getting three starts at the hot corner since joining Oakland earlier this month.
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Whereas Donaldson has elevated his game to a whole new level since joining the Jays, the Athletics have seen no notable improvement in Lawrie. As suggested above, it can actually be argued that he’s regressed over the past two seasons. The baseball world may have seen the best of Lawrie in 2013.
When the Jays and the Athletics hit the field tonight, I’m sure Lawrie will want to remind us why we once thought so highly of him. Donaldson, for his part, will simply show us why he’s an MVP-caliber player and herein lies the problem for Lawrie: no one seems to care about his return to Toronto. It doesn’t matter.
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