Brett Lawrie Agrees to Brewers Contract: 'The Best News of My Life'
Lawrie announced his agreement with the Brewers on Instagram:
"Life has been a little weird for me this past couple years. To be honest it's been lonely. I worked my whole life to achieve my dreams. I've shared a locker room with 25+ men ever since I've been 19 years old & I blinked and it all disappeared. I've put more effort into finding the people I thought knew what was best for me than any of you could understand . It wasn't until about a week & a half ago I received a call from my agent & shortly into that call I got word that something could be “Brewing”. Yesterday I got the best news of my life & I am beyond excited to share with you that I am signing with the “Milwaukee Brewers”. Im so ecstatic for this opportunity of a lifetime and I cannot thank the Brewers enough for believing in ME when no 1 else would."
The Chicago White Sox announced his release in March 2017, and he quickly garnered interest around the league, with Jim Bowden (of ESPN at the time) reporting the New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays, Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays were all looking into adding the second baseman.
However, Lawrie didn't play during the 2017 campaign and sat out all of last season. He was drafted 16th overall by the Brewers in 2008 before being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays two years later for starting pitcher Shaun Marcum.
Lawrie was at his best when he played for the Blue Jays from 2011 to 2014, although he hit a career-high 16 home runs with the Oakland Athletics in 2015. He turned heads in 43 games during his first season with a slash line of .293/.373/.580 and nine home runs in just 150 at-bats, but he was not the same player in 94 games for Chicago in 2016.
He slashed just .248/.310/.413 alongside 36 RBI, with his 12 home runs and fifth straight season of double-digit long balls something of a saving grace.
Lawrie possesses some speed on the base paths, as his 41 career stolen bases indicate, and he is versatile in the field with experience at second base and third base during his career.
He used to be a prominent defender and was responsible for a combined 31 total defensive runs saved above average in 2011 and 2012, per FanGraphs, but that mark fell to minus-six in 2015 and minus-four in 2016.
Despite recent struggles, Lawrie is just 29 years old and demonstrated solid production and promise early in his career. The 78-84 White Sox were not constructed to win in 2016 during Lawrie's one season with the team, and his production suffered.
Even though Lawrie hasn't been in the Brewers organization for eight years, some members of the 2010 front office are still with the team. Former general manager Doug Melvin, who drafted Lawrie, is serving as a senior advisor.
Ideally for Lawrie and the Brewers, a return to his roots will help him rediscover his previous form, especially in the field. If he does, he will be an under-the-radar signing who will boost Milwaukee's lineup after the team advanced to Game 7 of the National League Championship Series in 2018.