Jonathan Lucroy had himself a career year for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2014. The catcher finished 4th in National League MVP voting, receiving a 40% share of the vote, slashing .301/.373/.465 with 13 home runs and 69 runs batted in.
Lucroy was also a doubling machine that year. He doubled a total of 53 times, setting the single-season record for the most doubles by a catcher. Those 53 doubles tied him with 1st baseman Lyle Overbay, who also had 53 in 2004 for the most in Brewers history.
2015 was a different year for Lucroy. His season was cut 59 short because of a toe injury and a concussion. He posted a slash line of .264/.326/.391 with just 7 home runs and 43 runs batted in. This was without a doubt the worst season of Lucroy’s career.
2015 was also bad for the Brewers, who dropped 94 games and won just 68. Notable Brewers like Carlos Gomez and Francisco Rodriguez were traded away, and rumors have been swirling around Lucroy that he could be next to be dealt as the Brewers go into rebuilding mode.
Here’s what Lucroy had to say on the whole situation:
“I’m not going to sit here and say we’re going to compete for the playoffs this year. If I did that, you’d call me a liar. I’d lose credibility and respect. I want to win and I don’t see us winning in the foreseeable future. I want to go to a World Series. That’s what all players want. Rebuilding is not a lot of fun for any veteran guy. … It’s not guaranteed that I’m going to win if I am traded. But I’m going to be a 30-year-old catcher (in June). I can’t put numbers on how much longer I’m going to play, but as players we want to win. I don’t care about the money; I just want to win. That’s the bottom line.”
Now, one thing to keep in mind here is this: Lucroy did not ask to be traded from the Brewers, and he also made it clear that he isn’t expecting to be traded.
Lucroy was left off the Brewers list of players and alumni for their annual Fanfest, ‘Brewers on Deck’ that would be in attendance, but it was because of a prior commitment in his family. Entering 2016, Lucroy is looking to rebound from his bad 2015:
I want to go out and tear it up. It wasn’t for a lack of effort last year,” said Jonathan Lucroy. “I just did not compete at the level I know I’m capable of. There’s always doubters out there, which is fine. I plan on proving a lot of people wrong.”
So, it looks as though Lucroy will not be traded before April rolls around, meaning that the Brewers are put into a risky spot here. If Lucroy struggles from April on and into the season, his value will further decrease, and it will be highly unlikely that the Brewers will be able to get their asking price for him.
The question is of course, do you play it out safe and deal Lucroy before Spring even rolls around, or do you take the risk and bank on him basically being the all-star and MVP type player he was in 2014? Let’s take a look at the five teams that could be in on Lucroy, based on everything we just covered.
1: Texas Rangers
Current depth chart at catcher: Robinson Chirinos, Chris Gimenez
The Texas Rangers already have one former Brewer on their roster that is worth noting: Prince Fielder. Just like Lucroy, Fielder was a MVP candidate during his time in Milwaukee, and with the Rangers clearly lacking depth at catcher, Texas should look to make a move to acquire Lucroy. They have the pieces in their farm system that could land them Lucroy.
The Rangers also reportedly tried to land Lucroy last year at the trade deadline when Doug Melvin was still running the show as the Brewers general manager, so it’s clear that the Rangers really like Lucroy.