Free agent infielder Brett Lawrie is returning to the professional baseball circuit on a minor league contract with the Brewers, per an Instagram announcement on Saturday. While the signing has yet to be formally announced, Robert Murray of The Athletic says the deal comes with a club option for 2020 and includes a potential $1 million salary if he makes the big-league roster, which could then reach a ceiling of $7 million with performance bonuses and escalators.
Lawrie broke the news of his own signing in a lengthy post on social media:
The 29-year-old second/third baseman has not set foot in the majors since 2016. After enjoying some of the best years of his career in Toronto, he played back-to-back gigs with the Athletics and White Sox in 2015-16 and spent his last MLB season batting .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs, seven stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .723 OPS through 384 PA in Chicago. While he garnered some interest from teams after getting released by the White Sox in the spring of 2017, lingering lower-body discomfort complicated his attempts to secure another contract and effectively kept him off the field and out of a job.
It’s not yet clear whether the Brewers envision Lawrie in a starting role for the 2019 season, though any thought of him displacing Travis Shaw at the hot corner seems ludicrous at this point. Barring any spring training disasters, however, he might still find himself in a backup role to Cory Spangenberg and Hernán Pérez at the keystone.