Jed Lowrie is still here.
The veteran infielder is a full go during spring-training workouts despite showing up to Port St. Lucie with a brace on his left knee.
It remains to be seen if he’ll be available for the start of exhibition games, but the slow and steady progress suggests that he’s going to be in the picture for the regular season.
Knee, hamstring, and calf issues limited Lowrie’s 2019 season to just nine games after signing a two-year, $20 million contract to join the Mets last winter.
He was projected to provide a boost to the hot corner last season, coming off a career 2018 campaign with the Oakland Athletics in which the 35-year-old slashed .267/.353/.448 with 23 home runs and 99 RBI.
It forced the Mets to roll out Todd Frazier — who struggled for most of the season — as the every-day third baseman.
JD Davis and Jeff McNeil would have been far better choices at third, but injuries elsewhere forced the two to spend time in the outfield and for McNeil, second base.
Regardless of their positional carousels, both McNeil and Davis had breakout seasons that slate them as anchors within the Mets’ lineup in 2020.
McNeil slashed .318/.384/.531 with 23 home runs and 75 RBI while Davis batted .307/.369/.527 with 22 home runs and 57 RBI.
It was both players’ first full seasons in the majors.
With a healthy Brandon Nimmo and possibly, Yoenis Cespedes, back in the fold, both McNeil and Davis’ opportunities for starts in the outfield are expected to dwindle in 2020.
For the time being, though, Davis is slotted in as the every-day left fielder until Cespedes is ready to go from a fractured ankle that derailed his 2019 season.
McNeil is expected to be the Opening Day starter at third base after Frazier signed with the Texas Rangers in free agency over the winter.
Suddenly a secondary option thanks to the emergence of Davis and McNeil, Lowrie could assume the role of utility infielder if he’s able to get back— which is familiar territory for him.
Of his 1,076 career games, Lowrie has spent 508 of them at shortstop, 412 at second base, and 145 at third.
Granted at 35 years old, his range to be the main backup for Amed Rosario at short are likely long gone.
That makes his only options to get playing time backing up McNeil at third and Robinson Cano at second — his best chance for regular playing time coming in the latter situation if Cano’s first-year struggles with the Mets carry over to 2020.