Jonathan Lucroy Rumors

Rosenthal On Rios, Pirates, Lucroy, Reds

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports posted a brand new edition of Full Count.  Here's a look at the highlights..

  • The Pirates should be in the market for a reliever, but their biggest need might be in right field where they rank last in the National League in OPS.  The White Sox's Alex Rios would be perfect and he would form an extremely athletic outfield with Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte.  However, Rios makes $12.5MM in each of the next two years and two other possibilities, Michael Morse and David DeJesus, are on the DL.  The Bucs are in a tricky spot because they want to improve but they don't want to disrupt their chemistry or budding farm system.
  • The Brewers will move just about anybody, but not catcher Jonathan Lucroy because they consider him too valuable to their future.  They kept suitors away last winter and this season he has full no-trade protection.
  • The Reds will stay open minded about acquiring a pitcher because of the uncertainty surrounding Johnny Cueto.  They've got Tony Cingrani to turn to, but they'll need to monitor his innings.  
  • A scout told Rosenthal that the Rays had a ton of eyes on the Rangers' farm system, fueling speculation that a David Price deal might be brewing, but that's not the case.  Price is about to return from a triceps injury and Tampa Bay is trying to win.  Barring an outright collapse, they are not even going to entertain the thought of moving the hurler until the offseason.  With that said, Texas has long had interest in Price and if/when he becomes available, they'll be at the front of the line.

Super Two Cutoff To Be 2.139

Players with at least two years and 139 days of service time will be eligible for the potentially lucrative arbitration process this offseason, according to the Associated Press (via FOXNews.com). The top 22% of players with between two and three years of MLB service qualify for arbitration under baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement.

Nationals reliever Drew Storen, Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera, Mets catcher Josh Thole, Rays outfielder Sam Fuld, Rockies outfielder Tyler Colvin and Diamondbacks third baseman Chris Johnson are all eligible. 

Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders missed the cutoff by one day. Others, including Justin Smoak, Danny Valencia, Michael Brantley, Jordan Schafer, Giancarlo Stanton, Stephen Strasburg, Daniel HudsonDan RunzlerAndrew Cashner, Alex Burnett, Esmil Rogers and Alexi Ogando, came close to super two status without reaching the threshold.

Jonathan Lucroy, whose contract includes escalators related to super two status, will fall three days short of arbitration eligibility. The difference will cost him $2MM, as I explained last month.

Super two status entitles certain players to four years of arbitration eligibility, rather than the usual three. As a result, players who earn the super two designation generally earn more than their peers. The cutoff would have been two years and 144 days under baseball’s previous collective bargaining agreement, according to the AP. In previous years the top 17% of players with between two and three years of MLB service qualified. The players and owners agreed to a new system last fall.


Jonathan Lucroy Projected To Miss Super Two Cutoff

Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy projects to fall short of super two status by three days this coming offseason. It would cost him the chance at $2MM. The structure of Lucroy’s contract would change if he qualifies as a super two player this offseason, but it doesn’t look like he’ll have enough service time to earn the designation and the money that accompanies it. 

Lucroy will finish the 2012 season with two years and 134 days of service time and while it appeared that would be enough to qualify as a super two, CAA announced this morning that the cutoff now projects to be two years and 139 days. In other words Lucroy probably won’t earn the additional $2MM, according to the agency’s latest projections.

Before the season began Lucroy and the Brewers agreed to a five-year, $11MM contract that includes an option for a sixth year. The 26-year-old Sports One Athlete Management client has since posted a .322/.377/.512 batting line in 285 plate appearances. He also spent time on the disabled list with a broken hand.



NL Central Notes: Berkman, Cubs, Lucroy, Astros

The light-hitting Pirates again didn't generate much offense on Friday, scoring just one run against the Cubs.  Fortunately for the Bucs, that lone run was all they needed — five Pittsburgh hurlers (started off by A.J. Burnett's scoreless 5 1/3 frames) combined to shut out Chicago in a 1-0 result.  The Cubs have now suffered 10 consecutive losses.

Here's the latest from around the division…


NL Central Notes: Pirates, Rizzo, Lucroy

The Cubs traded Kyle Lohse to the Twins in a four-player trade on this date in 1999. Lohse, now a member of the Cardinals' rotation, is putting together a strong season as he approaches free agency. Here's the latest from the NL Central…

  • The Pirates are "laughably overdue" for some offense, Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. Though few trades are completed in May and more teams than ever are in the playoff race thanks to the additional Wild Card berths, Kovacevic says the Pirates must find a way to add offense. No team in baseball has scored fewer runs than the Pirates, who are averaging just 2.9 runs per game.
  • Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com hears that the Cubs will be patient with Anthony Rizzo and that a promotion isn’t likely this month (Twitter link). The Cubs acquired the first base prospect from the Padres for Andrew Cashner last offseason, but first baseman Bryan LaHair is hitting well at the MLB level.
  • The Brewers' decision to lock Jonathan Lucroy to an extension looks wise, Heyman writes. The 25-year-old catcher has a .342/.389/.550 batting line in 132 plate appearances this year.

Brewers Extend Jonathan Lucroy

1:49pm: Assuming Lucroy qualifies for super two status following the 2012 season the deal guarantees him $13MM, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. If he doesn't qualify, he'll earn at least $11MM.

11:39am: The Brewers have signed Jonathan Lucroy to a five-year contract extension with an option for a sixth year, the team announced. The deal is worth more than $11MM, though the exact total depends on whether or not he reaches Super Two status. Milwaukee's backstop is represented by Sports One Athlete Management.

Lucroy is about to start his third season in the Major Leagues. A four-year extension would cover the 25-year-old's final pre-arbitration season and three of his arbitration seasons, assuming the deal starts this year and that Lucroy obtains super two status following the 2012 season. A five-year deal that kicks in immediately would cover his final pre-arbitration season and all four of his arbitration seasons.

Lucroy posted a .265/.313/.391 line in 468 plate appearances last year, preventing 28% of stolen base attempts against him. However, the 2007 third round selection frames and blocks pitches well, according to The Fielding Bible Volume III.

Recent extensions have generally placed the value of a starting catcher's first three arbitration years in the $7-10MM range, as MLBTR's Extension Tracker shows. Lucroy's five-year deal falls right within that range despite his relative inexperience.

Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports first reported that the two sides were near an agreement. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported the agreement (on Twitter) while Rosenthal added details (all Twitter links).

Mark Polishuk and Mike Axisa contributed to this post.


Brewers, Lucroy Nearing Extension

The Brewers are nearing an extension with catcher Jonathan Lucroy, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports report (Twitter link). The deal with the Sports One Athlete Management client would be either four or five years long. An announcement is expected today, Morosi tweets.

Lucroy is about to start his third season in the Major Leagues. A four-year extension would cover the 25-year-old's final pre-arbitration season and three of his arbitration seasons, assuming the deal starts this year and that Lucroy obtains super two status following the 2012 season. A five-year deal that kicks in immediately would cover his final pre-arbitration season and all four of his arbitration seasons.

Lucroy posted a .265/.313/.391 line in 468 plate appearances last year, preventing 28% of stolen base attempts against him. However, the 2007 third round selection frames and blocks pitches well, according to The Fielding Bible Volume III.

Recent extensions have generally placed the value of a starting catcher's first three arbitration years in the $7-10MM range, as MLBTR's Extension Tracker shows. A four-year deal for Lucroy would figure to fall on the low end of that range given his relative inexperience.

This post was first published on March 26th, 2012.


NL Central Notes: Kotsay, Wainwright, Lucroy

Adam Wainwright's potentially season-threatening injury is grabbing a lot of headlines today. Here's more on that and some other items of note coming out of the NL Central.

  • The Brewers' deal with Mark Kotsay includes a few incentives, blogs Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. Here's the breakdown: Kotsay's base salary if for $800K, and he can earn up to $450K in incentives. He'll earn $25K each if he reaches 125 and 150 plate appearances, $50K each for 175 and 200 PAs, $50K each for 40, 60, 80 and 100 games started, and $100K if he's on the roster on July 1.
  • Cardinals GM John Mozeliak remains pessimistic about Wainwright's injury after speaking to a team doctor, tweets Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Wainwright will get a second opinion on his ailing right elbow on Thursday, and the club will decide on a treatment plan from there, writes Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch.
  • Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy is expected to miss four weeks after suffering a broken right pinky during blocking drills on Wednesday, according to a club press release. The injury will require surgery, but Brewers GM Doug Melvin said, "We feel OK for now," when asked whether he'd be pursuing another backstop, blogs McCalvy.
  • Reds outfielder Jonny Gomes was apparently celebrating Wainwright's injury, writes Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News. Seeing as it's all in the name of competition, and the Reds' chance of winning the NL Central jumped significantly on account of Wainwright's injury, Gomes' reaction is not a big deal, writes Rob Neyer of SBNation.com. Gomes, however, said that his reaction was misconstrued and that he'd never celebrate another player's injury, blogs Mark Sheldon of MLB.com.

Brewers Set At Catcher For Now, Open To Options

Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the Brewers are content with catchers George Kottaras and Jonathan Lucroy, though the club may consider pursuing another backstop. Gregg Zaun has a torn labrum and may miss the entire season, so the Brewers are left with a relatively inexperienced catching tandem – the duo has a combined 69 games of big league experience. Melvin says he's "open" to improving the club, but sounds content with Kottaras and Lucroy.

"We're going to go with what we have for now," Melvin said. "We talked about whether we need more depth at Triple A, but there are no catchers really available. A few guys have gone through waivers but they're all backup types."

Those backup types – players like Paul Hoover and Paul Phillips – could be available, but they're not as appealing as an experienced big leaguer like A.J. Pierzynski. The White Sox have said they are not shopping their players yet and Melvin says he wouldn't want to meet the asking price for Pierzynski.

"I'm not sure I want to give up the players they'd be looking for to do that," Melvin said.

It will be easier to deal for Pierzynski before June 14th, when he picks up ten and five rights. Haudricourt notes that Brewers catching prospect Angel Salome has left Triple A Nashville for mental health reasons.