The Oakland Athletics announced several days ago that they would be exercising Jed Lowrie’s $6 million option after the veteran infielder posted some of the best numbers of his career during the 2017 season.

In 567 at-bats over 153 games, Lowrie, nearly 34, batted .277 with an on-base percentage of .360 and a .448 slugging percentage. He contributed 86 runs, 14 home runs, and 69 RBIs, and garnered 73 walks. Most impressively, Lowrie recorded 49 doubles—an Oakland A’s record. (The Athletics franchise record of 53 is still held by Al Simmons, who set it in 1926 when the A’s were still in Philadelphia.)

Only Lowrie’s 2013 campaign is comparable: in his first year with the A’s, Lowrie hit for .290 with an on-base percentage of .344 and a slugging percentage of .446, as well as 80 runs, 15 home runs, 75 RBIs, and 45 doubles (by far the most of his career, until 2017).

Lowrie heavily regressed during the 2014, 2015 (with the Houston Astros), and 2016 seasons, due in no small part to injuries that significantly shortened his time on the field. From 2015 to 2016, Lowrie only appeared in 155 games (87 with the A’s in 2016), totaling just 568 at-bats during that span.

However, Lowrie was finally able to overcome his poor luck with injuries in 2017, for which A’s fans were grateful. One of the only bright spots on a lackluster, rebuild-mode roster, Lowrie provided a source of fire for an otherwise underwhelming (to say the least) Athletics squad that won’t be playing mid-October baseball for the foreseeable future.

Aside from his commendable offensive contributions, Lowrie also brings a fair amount of defensive flexibility to the table. Primarily a shortstop, Lowrie is also capable of playing second and third base, and has started at the former ever since Oakland traded for shortstop Marcus Semien in 2015.

Overall, this is a smart move by the A’s. Lowrie has shown himself to be a reliable hitter and decent defender, so picking up his contract option was likely an easy decision. Then again, Lowie is nearly 34 years old and plays for a rebuilding, small market franchise—the possibility of him being traded during or after the 2018 season remains. (We’re talking about the A’s, after all.)

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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