One player that’s been mentioned regarding trades so far this offseason without something actually happening is Jonathan Lucroy of the Milwaukee Brewers, who might end up playing for the Washington Nationals or Texas Rangers eventually.
Lucroy himself isn’t too eager to move according to a recent interview. But there’s a problem for someone like him, an almost 30-year old catcher, being in a rebuilding project, knowing that winning, which means competing for a playoff spot and maybe the World Series, isn’t going to happen this season and maybe not the next one. So while he would like to keep on playing for the Brewers, if things don’t improve quickly, he might be trying to force a trade.
Lucroy was fantastic for the Brewers between 2012-2014, making the All-Star once and hitting 43 home runs, batting .297 and posting a .359/.472/.831, making him one of the best hitting catchers in the game. Last season was a difficult one for Lucroy, missing time (played just 103 games) due to a toe injury, had that concussion late in the season which pushed him down to a pinch hitter or first baseman role, while batting just .264 with a .717 OPS, hitting 7 home runs. Not bad for a catcher, but nowhere near what came before that.
And with that comes the problem of trading Lucroy. His value was hurt with the injuries, and teams are more wary now, and not willing to give up the huge amount of talent and what not the Brewers are asking for if they’re to consider trading someone who has been with the team since 2010 and isn’t just a very good catcher, but an important leader and person in this rebuilding process, which the Brewers would like to see him go through and be some sort of solid rock while things change around him.
Lucroy also has a very affordable deal, making $4 million in 2016 and $5.25 million in 2017, which is a team option. Now, do the Brewers try to trade him now, or see what happens? If his production continues to slip, it might be difficult getting anything worthwhile in return. Right now, it doesn’t seem like they’re in too much of a hurry to move him while getting back some prospects who could make a difference in a year or two.
As for actual interest? The Nationals have been looking for available catchers via trades in order to upgrade the position, which means Lucroy, someone they reportedly like, could be on the shortlist, although they’re not pressed to get someone new. The Rangers are “more” interested, which means they’ve been in contact a number of times with the Brewers, knowing they need an upgrade at catcher. For now, Lucroy is staying put, but things change quickly, so he could end up playing for someone else before the season even starts.