On Saturday, the Indians agreed to terms with RHP Mark Lowe on a minor league contract after failing to make the Tampa Bay Rays’ Opening Day roster. Lowe posted an 0.87 ERA and 12/1 K/BB ratio as a non-roster invitee with the Rays this spring. He opted for free agency this week after being informed that he did not win a roster spot.
(Photo courtesy of Matt Brown/Angels Baseball LP)
The 30 year old reliever has pitched in the Major Leagues on and off since 2006 with mixed results. He was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 5th round of the 2004 amateur draft out of the University of Texas at Arlington. It only took him about two seasons before he made his Major League debut with the Mariners in 2006. His three seasons with the club saw him post low ground ball rates and high walk rates.
He was traded by the Mariners in a blockbuster deal with Cliff Lee to the Texas Rangers for Matthew Lawson, Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke and Justin Smoak.
Lowe battled through injuries and ineffectiveness with the Angels and Nationals last season, but he was a useful reliever with the Rangers from 2011-2012. Between those two seasons, he appeared in 88 games and posted a 3.62 ERA. Three causes for concern would be the 4.24 FIP, 11.9 HR/FB and the 3.39 BB/9 he also surrendered; not good numbers for a bullpen arm.
However, as fickle as relievers can be, the Indians made a solid move at a low-risk cost to add more possible bullpen depth.