In a surprise move, the White Sox requested waivers on infielder Brett Lawrie today, to save $3 million on his $3.5 million salary for 2017. Should he clear waivers, he will become a free agent. Lawrie hit .248/.310/.413 last year with 12 HR in 94 games, missing a month with leg issues, a health concern that apparently has lingered in camp with the White Sox.
The Royals have a history with Lawrie, dating back to his time with the Oakland Athletics. In a game in April of 2015, Lawrie slid hard into Alcides Escobar, causing ire among the Royals. Bad blood would linger throughout the series, with Yordano Ventura plunking Lawrie the next day, and Kelvin Herrera throwing behind his back on the Sunday finale.
Lawrie was traded the next year to the White Sox, another rival of the Royals. He avoided any incidents with the Royals last year, but he has been known for his intense, unlikable attitude his entire career.
Despite his seemingly punch-able face, Lawrie has been a productive big leaguer in his career. In 2015, with the Athletics, he hit .260/.299/.407 with 16 HR and was a plus defender to finish with a 2.6 WAR season. Moving to second base has hurt his defensive value a bit, but Lawrie has held his own at the position.
The Royals have an open competition this year at second base with Whit Merrifield, Christian Colón, Cheslor Cuthbert, and Raúl Mondesí vying for the job. Ned Yost doesn't seem to think any of them will end up being the everyday regular. Put aside your hatred for Lawrie aside for a second, could the Royals use him?
|2017 ZIPS projections||AVG||OBA||SLG||BB%||K%||WAR|
Note Cuthbert's WAR projection assumes him at third base
It is true the Royals place a high value on clubhouse chemistry, but it seems the Royals could absorb an abrasive personality like Lawrie's better than most. And far as we can tell, Lawrie has only irritated opponents (and umpires and fans), not his teammates.
If he is damaged goods, he is probably not worth the effort. And at age 27, the upside on Lawrie isn't great. But he could provide an opportunity to stabilize the second base position. I just don't know if Kauffman Stadium can handle all the fans throwing up if they were to put him in Royals blue.