Pitchers and catchers have started to report across MLB Spring Training facilities in both Florida and Arizona, but there are still a handful of players still available on the free agent market. One of those that remain is veteran right-hander Derek Lowe, who’s reportedly still hopeful that a team will come along and offer a Major League deal.
Lowe split the 2012 season between the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees. The Indians had acquired him early that previous offseason from the Atlanta Braves (with cash for left-hander Chris Jones) and the belief was that Lowe might be able to provide some innings for an uncertain Indians rotation. Lowe made 21 starts for the team this past season, throwing 119.0 innings, and went 8-10 with a 5.52 ERA, 1.689 WHIP, and a mere 3.1 K/9. Cleveland released Lowe in early August and he signed with New York three days later. He’d make 17 appearances out of the bullpen for the Yankees, posting a 1-1 mark, 3.04 ERA, and 1.268 WHIP.
A 16 year veteran, Lowe will turn 40 in early June and there are questions about what he may have left in the tank. Lowe was an effective reliever early on in his career with the Boston Red Sox, particularly from 1999 through 2001 when he saved 81 games for the team. He’s primarily worked out of the rotation since, however, making 32+ starts each year from 2002 through 2011.
It’s been widely speculated that Lowe prefers to start and would only consider an opportunity that would let him do so, but it appears that he’s opening up to the idea of working out of the bullpen. Lowe turned down a minor league deal from the Colorado Rockies a little over a week ago, citing his desire to “not have to work for a roster spot” but more recent suggestions indicate that he’s backing off such a strong stance. He may have to if he wants to continue his career.