Brett Lawrie, just 27 years old, an age when most players are just beginning to reach their prime has been released by the Chicago White Sox, his third team in three years. Some Blue Jay fans think Toronto should consider bringing Lawrie back. As much as I hope this young man can figure out why he keeps bouncing from one team to another, Toronto and Lawrie are most definitely not a good match for each other at this point in time.
When I first heard of Lawrie, he was a promising prospect in the Brewers farm system and was tearing up the minor leagues. At the time, I couldn’t help but wonder how great it would be to have a young and talented Canadian player like this playing for the Blue Jays. Oddly enough, in 2010, Toronto was able to swing a deal with Milwaukee for Lawrie, with pitcher Shaun Marcum going the other way. Marcum had been a reliable starting pitcher for the Blue Jays and was coming off his best year in 2010 (13-8, 3.64 ERA), but parting with him seemed like a reasonable price to pay for a prospect like this.
At the time of the trade, there were a few rumblings that Lawrie had a bit of an attitude problem, but this didn’t worry the Blue Jays too much (if any) because Toronto had just landed the most promising Canadian prospect in all of baseball. At first, things were good with Lawrie and Toronto. He was showing flashes of the power hitter that made him such a force in the minor leagues, and he appeared to be Toronto’s 3rd baseman for years to come. After a little while though, you began to pick-up on strange behavioural things with him that weren’t the sort of stuff you’d normally see from a professional ball player. He had a weird energy about him…far too erratic and intense for a sport like baseball. Every little thing he did, whether it be making a routine play at 3rd base or taking the turn at 1st after hitting a single had to be done in this overblown and grandiose style to try and make the play appear that much better than it really was. Lawrie also displayed a temper which quickly earned him a poor reputation amongst umpires throughout the league.
When he was traded by the Blue Jays to Oakland in 2014, it was something that had to happen, and not just because it meant getting Josh Donaldson. Toronto realized then that Lawrie was far too much of a hot head and did not fit-in with the type of ball club Alex Anthopoulos felt the Blue Jays needed to be in order to take the next step towards making the post-season. Sadly for Lawrie, he didn’t change his ways in Oakland, or in Chicago, and now this young and still talented ball player is looking for a major league job and is probably wondering what he has to do differently next time around in order to stay with a team longer than a single season.
The biggest issue with Lawrie is his attitude. At only 27, he still has the potential to be a good big league ball player, but first he needs to sort out his attitude problem and curb how he goes about carrying himself on a ball field. Hopefully there’s someone out there willing to take a chance on this still young athlete and drill into him what it means to be a professional. The Blue Jays already took their chance on Lawrie six years ago, this time around, its best to let some other team take a chance on him.