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MLB Roundup 1/11: The infield market gets moving

Including an old friend signing in New York.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Oakland Athletics Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Jed Lowrie signs with the Mets

An old friend that came up with the Red Sox at the start of this decade is still plugging away in the majors, and he just agreed to a two-year deal to come back east for the first time since being traded from the Red Sox. Jed Lowrie, who has spent the last seven years in Oakland and Houston, is heading to New York after agreeing to a two-year deal worth $20 million with the Mets. For the Mets, they get a veteran infielder who has hit very well in each of the last two years who also has a strong reputation in the clubhouse. Defensively, he can play first, second and third and will likely roam around for the Mets. With a crowded infield this move was a little confusing, but they are adding good players. As for the Red Sox, there was some hope Boston would target players like this given the question marks around Dustin Pedroia’s health, but it was always unlikely. There are only so many roster spots, and if you truly believe in Pedroia’s knee — and the Red Sox seem to — you just don’t have the room for a player on a major-league deal. That is, unless you’re willing to release Eduardo Núñez, but there’s nothing to give the impression that the Red Sox are willing to do so.

Brian Dozier signs with the Nationals

Lowrie wasn’t the only veteran infielder to sign with a National League East team on Thursday. A little before that deal was reported, news came out that the Nationals had agreed to a one-year deal worth $9 million with Brian Dozier. This is another interesting deal, as the Nationals had been looking for second base help all offseason after losing Daniel Murphy, but had some pieces in Howie Kendrick and Wilmer Difo in the majors and prospect Carter Kieboom possibly ready to take over midseason. Dozier, however, gives them some more upside than those names if he can get back to his pre-2018 levels, and the commitment isn’t so large that they’ll feel obligated to hold back someone like Kieboom if things don’t work out.

Will Middlebrooks retires from baseball

We go back to a old friend for the earlier part of this decade with a former top prospect in the Red Sox organization hanging up his cleats. It wasn’t all that long ago that Will Middlebrooks came up for the second half of the disastrous 2012 season and providing one of the few bright spots on the team. The third baseman hit .288/.325/.509 in his first taste against big-league pitching and looked like he’d be manning the hot corner in Boston for a long time. Of course, that didn’t work out. Pitchers adjusted and took advantage of some holes in his swing, limiting his contact ability plummeting his value. Middlebrooks still hit for solid power in 2013 while winning a ring, but he was still below-average that year and only got worse from there. He tried coming back over the last couple of years but injuries have marred that effort, and now he’s ready to move on to the next stage of his life. He announced his retirement on Thursday. Middlebrooks will be remembered as a bust around here, but he did provide excitement in that 2012 season that desperately needed something, and he was part of that beloved 2013 team. Plus, he’s married to former NESN analyst Jenny Dell, so he’ll never totally be separated from Boston.