While you were sleeping, Ken Rosenthal reported that the Rays had signed infielder/outfielder Brandon Lowe to a six year extension.
No, really. This is not a drill.
#Rays in agreement with IF/OF Brandon Lowe on six-year, $24M contract with two club options, sources tell The Athletic. Lowe, 24, has only 148 plate appearances in majors. Started 0-for-19 last Aug., but rallied for .847 OPS in Sept. No. 93 on BA’s list of top 100 prospects.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 20, 2019
The story was later confirmed by Juan Toribio.
Lowe has followed up his breakout season last year with a solid spring, hitting 359./405./692 with seven doubles and two homers. He’s also added first base to his second base/corner outfield toolbox.
More news to follow when the signing becomes official.
11:00 a.m. - March 20th - UPDATE
The contract extension has been made official.
The Tampa Bay Rays have signed infielder/outfielder Brandon Lowe to a six-year contract through 2024, with club options for the 2025 and 2026 seasons. The pact will pay Lowe at least $24 million, and up to $49 million if options are exercised and incentives are reached.
“We believe Brandon has the potential to make a longstanding impact at the major league level. He’s shown both an advanced feel for hitting and the ability to drive the ball to all fields, and he’s quickly becoming a versatile defender who can help us in many ways. Brandon’s development, both offensively and defensively, is a testament to his commitment to his craft, and a credit to all of our staff who have scouted, coached and worked with him. With this agreement, we’re excited to cement his place in our young core for years to come.” - Senior Vice President, Baseball Operations/General Manager Erik Neander
Lowe joined the Rays last August and he hit .273/.357/.527 (30-for-110) with six home runs and 25 RBI in 37 games. All six home runs came in his last 28 games, including five in 26 games (21 starts) in the month of September, and his last three home runs all came off left-handed pitchers.
This spring, Lowe is batting .359 (14-for-39) in 13 games, splitting time between first base, second base and left field. His seven doubles are tied for the Grapefruit League lead, his nine extra-base hits are tied for second and his 14 RBI rank third.
The Rays selected Lowe in the third round as a redshirt sophomore of the 2015 June Draft out of the University of Maryland. While there, he tore his left ACL two days before his freshman season would have begun, and broke his left fibula in their final game of his redshirt sophomore season, two days before the 2015 June Draft. He made his pro debut with Class-A Bowling Green in 2016, reaching the majors in his third professional season. In 2018, Lowe was named to the Southern League midseason All-Star Team and Rays Organizational All-Star Team by MLB.com. He enters the 2019 season ranked by Baseball America as the No. 93 overall prospect in baseball and the No. 8 prospect in the Rays system.
With 58 days of major league service time, Lowe is the fourth player with less than a year the Rays have signed to a long-term extension, following Evan Longoria (24 days, 2008), Matt Moore (17 days, 2011) and Chris Archer (156 days, 2014). Over the duration of the deal, he has elected to make annual donations to the Rays Baseball Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization and the official charity of the Rays.