Prior to the All-Star break, Mark Lowe was used as a setup man and picked up eight holds. However, he was rendered useless when it came to retiring batters and limiting runs as he turned in a 1.85 WHIP and 10.05 ERA over the season's first half. Then, just when it appeared Lowe had nothing to offer, he showed a drastic improvement. In the months following, he chucked for a 3.05 ERA and held batters to a .197 batting average. Despite a resurgent second half, Lowe never earned the chance to pitch in high-leverage scenarios and didn't record another hold. This came courtesy of the one aspect of his game that remained consistent over the year, that being his propensity for walking batters. Of the batters he faced, nearly 10 percent reached base via the walk. Although there was a glimmer of hope, Lowe has never shown the ability to consistently retire hitters. Because of this, he carries little fantasy value and will likely be used at the back end of the bullpen in 2017.
Lowe is expected to sign a contract with the Mariners on Thursday, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports. The 33-year-old posted a 7.11 ERA and 1.58 WHIP in 2016 and struggled again this spring, resulting in the Tigers releasing him. Lowe spent time with Seattle from 2006-10 and again in 2015, accumulating a combined 3.45 ERA across 211.1 innings. He'll once again look to revive his career with the Mariners, as he did so in 2015 after having only pitched 18.2 innings in 2013-14 combined.
Lowe was released by the Tigers on Sunday, Evan Woodbery of MLive.com reports. Lowe signed a two-year deal with the Tigers after a strong 2015, but things never worked out in Detroit. He posted a 7.11 ERA and 1.58 WHIP in 2016 and didn't do enough this spring to make the bullpen. Lowe was formally placed on waivers for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release, so the 33-year-old could latch on somewhere else to begin the season.
After a disastrous 2016 campaign, the Tigers are hoping a mechanic adjustment and the time off help Lowe get back on track, Jason Beck of MLB.com reports. Lowe signed a two-year deal with Detroit after posting a 1.96 ERA and 1.05 WHIP across 55 innings in 2015. But he saw his ERA balloon to 7.11 and his WHIP jump to 1.58 in his first season with the Tigers. Lowe's fastball and slider both lost velocity, and he acknowledged that he tinkered with his approach throughout the season without much success. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Lowe told him he "found something mechanically" over the offseason, making Ausmus optimistic that Lowe can rebound. His career stats outside of 2015, however, make that year look like an outlier. Expect better results this year, but don't expect a sub-2.00 ERA again.
Lowe has a 7.11 ERA and 1.58 WHIP in 49.1 innings of relief this season. Bullpen arms swing hot to cold season-to-season, but Lowe's 2016 is about as cold as they come. His 2015 excellence is looking more and more like an anomaly, so there's little reason to have and hold him this season or even next.
Lowe's struggles continued through June and his ERA now stands at 10.44. His WHIP sits at 1.88. Lowe's game has fallen apart. He has allowed 16 earned runs in his last 7.2 innings; that includes three home runs in his last 3.0 innings of work. Relievers are a dime-a-dozen and they're largely interchangeable from year to year. Lowe's struggles illustrate that pretty clearly.
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