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Brett Lawrie says he’s returning to baseball, signing with Brewers

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After two years out of the game, the controversial former top Brewers prospect says he’s returning to the organization

Chicago White Sox Photo Day Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Brett Lawrie’s baseball career has seen many twists and turns, and even after two years out of the game, it looks like there’s another in store.

The former Brewers prospect who was traded to Toronto for Shaun Marcum ahead of the 2011 season says he’s returning to the organization that drafted him, making the announcement on his Instagram page.

Life has been a little weird for me this past couple years. To be honest it’s been lonely. I worked my whole life to achieve my dreams. I’ve shared a locker room with 25+ men ever since I’ve been 19 years old & I blinked and it all disappeared. I’ve put more effort into finding the people I thought knew what was best for me than any of you could understand . It wasn’t until about a week & a half ago I received a call from my agent & shortly into that call I got word that something could be “Brewing”. Yesterday I got the best news of my life & I am beyond excited to share with you that I am signing with the “Milwaukee Brewers”. Im so ecstatic for this opportunity of a lifetime and I cannot thank the Brewers enough for believing in ME when no 1 else would. Remember .... “ You, Me or Nobody is gonna hit as hard as LIFE” - R.B

Lawrie has not played professionally since 2016, when he appeared in 94 games for the Chicago White Sox, hitting .248/.310/.413 in an injury-filled season. He complained of a lower body injury that the White Sox training staff could not figure out, and when he said he still didn’t feel right in the spring of 2017, the organization opted to release him. It was his third organization in three years and the fourth in his then-seven-year career, and it didn’t appear any other team was willing to take on a player that had developed a reputation of providing more headaches than he was worth.

Lawrie’s passion has never been in question — in fact, those who don’t like him would likely argue the problem is he’s too intense — but the hope is at 29 years old and two years away he’s in a better place both physically and mentally and still has something left. While he never quite lived up to the initial prospect hype, he was a consistently productive player when he wasn’t hurt, putting up a total of 9.6 fWAR in 588 career games.

While Lawrie didn’t say what type of contract he signed, the safe assumption considering his time away would be some kind of minor league or split deal, and the team will likely see what he has left during spring training. Whether he still has the defensive versatility he once had remains to be seen, but he could potentially provide another option capable of playing both second and third base.

It’s entirely possible this is a comeback attempt that doesn’t amount to much, but it’s a shot in the dark that won’t cost the Brewers much of anything at a position where the organization is lacking some depth.

UPDATE:

Robert Murray of The Athletic has some of the first details of Lawrie’s contract:

While a minor league deal, the option and the maximum value sure makes it sound like a split deal that would pay him more than the minimum if he’s on the major league roster.

Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs