Rays sign Brandon Lowe to 6-year, $24 million contract

Brandon Lowe, a third-round pick in 2015, had a .774 OPS in 43 games with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2018.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — 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,” said Senior Vice President, Baseball Operations/General Manager Erik Neander. “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.”

Lowe (rhymes with “now”), 24, appeared in 43 games for the Rays in 2018, his first major league action, and made 36 starts (24-2B, 7-LF, 5-RF). Between Double-A Montgomery, Triple-A Durham and the major leagues last season, he hit a combined .281/.374/.530 (143-for-509) with 37 doubles, 28 home runs and 101 RBI. At the time he was selected to the major league roster, he ranked fifth among all minor leaguers with 54 extra-base hits and seventh with 31 doubles.

The left-handed batter joined the Rays on August 4. From August 15 through the end of the season, 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. He and his wife, Madison, reside in Franklin, Tenn.