The Seattle Mariners avoided arbitration with righthanded pitcher Mark Lowe on Tuesday, agreeing to terms on a one-year, $1.15 million deal.
It just so happened to be the same day the team also reupped with closer David Aardsma (one year, $2.75 million), and reached a preliminary agreement on a five-year contract extension with one Felix Hernandez. So yeah, you might not have noticed that Lowe was returning.
The 26-year-old Texas native made the major league minimum salary in each of his first four seasons in the league. The annual income of $1.15 million for the 2010 season is more than twice what Lowe was making a year ago.
In baseball terms, $1.15 million is nothing. Petty cash, road money to a lot of guys. To Lowe, it’s a king’s ransom. And he’s not even all that bad at what he does. Shoot, you could make the argument that the guy deserves more money.
But oddly enough, Lowe expressed sincere gratitude at the new deal, stating on Geoff Baker’s Seattle Times blog that “the money I’d been making, the major league minimum, was more than enough to get by on.”
He then added that, “the important thing was just to get this done as quickly as possible and get something that was fair for both sides.”
Though some might overlook these comments, you have to appreciate the humility of a guy like Lowe, who just seems to get it.
For most of us, the money he is making is simply unfathomable. Relative to others in his profession, however, Lowe barely registers a blip on the radar.
With statements like these, and a workman-like approach to the game, how can you not root for a guy like Lowe as a fan?
Too often we’re subjected to diva athletes who demand more money every chance they get. In contrast, the Mariners are lucky enough to have a guy like Mark Lowe who is simply thrilled just to be playing the game he loves.
Once upon a time I ran into Lowe at the mall. I watched him walk in unnoticed, then walk out unnoticed. No one so much as turned an eye towards this guy. Dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, he blended in perfectly with the crowd.
And perhaps that is what’s most to like about Lowe: he blends in, he’s one of us.
So if you’re looking for a player to support on this new-look M’s squad, why not take a chance on Mark Lowe. He’s pretty darn good at his job, and on top of that he won’t let you down off the field, either. Two things you have to like.