Jonathan Lucroy has seen his name bandied about in trade rumors for quite some time, dating back to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Today, the Brewers’ catcher candidly and openly discussed the possibility of a trade with Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, and while he stopped short of asking new GM David Stearns to trade him Lucroy implied that a trade might be best for both him and the rebuilding Brewers. Via Haudricourt, Lucroy offered the following statement:
“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.”
One thing made clear by Lucroy after those comments is that he is not asking for a trade, nor is he expecting to be traded. In fact, Lucroy told Haudricourt that he’s planning on heading to camp with the Brewers and will be playing this season “with a chip on [his] shoulder” as he looks to prove naysayers wrong in the wake of a down season in 2015. Last year, Lucroy was limited to 103 games by a fractured big toe and a concussion that came with lasting effects and forced him to finish the year at first base. “I want to go out and tear it up. It wasn’t for a lack of effort last year,” said 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.”
Of course, those injuries — specifically the late concussion — make Lucroy a difficult trade chip for teams to assess. On the one hand, Lucroy batted .297/.359/.472 and averaged 18 homers per 162 games from 2012-14 as Milwaukee’s primary catcher. He’s also signed to a highly affordable deal that will pay him $4MM in 2016 plus a $5.25MM club option for the 2017 campaign. Those components of the Lucroy equation paint the picture of a player teeming with trade value — one of baseball’s most coveted assets. However, the other side of the coin is a bit murkier; Lucroy batted .264/.326/.391 with seven home runs this past season — solid production for a catcher, but nowhere near the levels he displayed in the three years prior. On top of that, Lucroy caught his final game of the season on Sept. 8 due to the aforementioned concussion, with the remainder of his time coming as either a pinch-hitter or first baseman.
That creates somewhat of a difficult situation when looking to trade Lucroy. Stearns has reportedly been seeking an enormous return to part with Lucroy, and the 29-year-old’s outstanding track record and contract make that a justifiable request. However, teams are probably wary of the potential for lingering concussion effects, causing reluctance to surrender significant talent to part with Lucroy. By hanging onto Lucroy, Stearns runs the risk of continued diminished production, which would only drop his value further. But, trading Lucroy now would be selling low if Lucroy is indeed able to bounce back to his previous heights.
Haudricourt notes that the Brewers also value Lucroy’s leadership and his ability to be a voice of calm and reason on a rebuilding club that will likely go through some painful stretches in the upcoming season. Lucroy insists that his clubhouse demeanor won’t be any different if he remains with the team, saying he won’t “dog it” or be a bad teammate/clubhouse presence in 2016 if he’s not moved.
A number of teams have been linked to Lucroy over the course of the offseason, with the Rangers perhaps representing the most commonly cited team with interest. James Wagner of the Washington Post recently wrote that the Nationals like Lucroy quite a bit as well, and Washington is said to have explored the trade market for upgrades at the catcher position.
I’ll add that readers are encouraged to check out Haudricourt’s interview in its entirety, as the column contains far more quotes from Lucroy than are transcribed here in addition to plenty of insight from Milwaukee’s seasoned beat writer.
Come on rangers make that trade
w=What do you think the rangers would need to give up? I am honestly high on Chirinos if he can stay healthy. Big if, but relatively same position as Lucroy- and both concussed as well! Still, Lucroy has a nice enough bat were he could platoon w Moreland and DH. I would definitely trade Chi Chi, but I don’t know if i would do Gallo or Mazara. Maybe Brinson w a few throw ins? Doubt they would do that, but seems fair to me..
I don’t know why you would want to trade Chi Chi. He showed some great moments in his ROOKIE season. Maybe he’ll be great and maybe nothing. But check out the first couple years of pitchers like Greg Maddux, Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan, Tom Glavine, Randy Johnson and Bob Gibson. They were hardly great right out of the gate! Texas can win with Chinros behind the plate and Lucroy was not better than him last year. Catchers tend to decline pretty fast in their 30’s and Lucroy turns 30 this year. No reason to give up good young talent for him…especially pitchers.
Jairo Beras, Yohander Mendez, Josh Morgan and Drew Robinson.
Haha. Why don’t you just ask the Brewers to throw in Braun while you’re at it and make them pay his 105 milion remaining salary?
Chirinos, Cordell, and Tate.to start, probably ask for another 45+ arm too. The Brewers need a C in return and the possibility of Corell being a decent 3B option for them would be attractive and Cordell is pretty blocked as of now in the Rangers system. With some decent arms in that Rangers system they should be able to part with Tate and one of Matuella, Jackson, Ortiz, and Mendez.
Its no secret that JD has thought very highly of Lucroy for quite some time. He is a rarity in that he’s a defensive catcher with excellent pitch framing who is also a top tier hitter at his position. He is under control for two more seasons, the last is because of a team option (which will almost certainly be picked up), which ups the value a little more. Finally, he has a reputation as being a really good clubhouse guy which will only raise the demand and create competition.
However, his profile is one elite season, a few good seasons, and a few average ones (including last year). I don’t think the Rangers will offer an elite prospect package for him, nothing compared to what the Phils got for Hamels. The best prospect the Phils got was either Alfaro or Thompson depending on how you look it (I like Nick Williams the best) and neither was ranked in the top 50 at the time of the deal. We can safely assume that the Rangers truly elite prospects (Gallo, Mazara, Tate and probably Brinson) are off the market. The Brewers are always looking for arms so trading Chi Chi or Nick Tepesch could be a possibility. The Brewers backup, Maldonado, is not a starter and they have nothing close in the system so its likely Chirinos heads the other way out of need. I would see the deal looking something like this:
Lucroy for Chi Chi Gonzalez, Robbie Chirinos, Luis Ortiz and Ryan Cordell (like a Ben Zobrist lite).
forget Tepech….the Rangers non-tendered him. Elbow issues. As for Chi Chi, why trade him? He pitched well at times last year in his rookie season. Unless there’s something going on we don’t know about….keeping Chi Chi would see the smartest move. Lucroy might be nice to have but Chinrios is an acceptable backstop.
What do you think the rangers would need to give up? I am honestly high on Chirinos if he can stay healthy. Big if, but relatively same position as Lucroy- and both concussed as well! Still, Lucroy has a nice enough bat were he could platoon w Moreland and DH. I would definitely trade Chi Chi, but I don’t know if i would do Gallo or Mazara. Maybe Brinson w a few throw ins? Doubt they would do that, but seems fair to me..
I understand the Rangers not wanting to trade Gallo or Mazara but a Brinson for Lucroy deal isn’t remotely fair. Just adding some throw ins doesnt work. I would think the deal would have to be Brinson and Tate and then maybe some lower prospects.
Brinson is toolsy, but the Brewers have a lot of OF prospects (Reed, Clark, Phillips, Coulter) at the top of their farm system.
In terms of the Rangers as a match, I like it. I could envision a package of Chirinos, Tate and a corner IF lottery ticket like Forbes. Plus maybe a 19 year old power arm somewhere in the Low-A ball.
Is that fair?
I wouldn’t do that if I were the Brewers. They’re in complete rebuild so having Chirinos does nothing for them because by the time the Brewers are good again he will be a free agent so getting him would be pointless. He’s not very good anyway.
Not all of those Brewer outfielders will turn out to be good, in fact most of them could end up being busts. The Brewers will take the best players they can get regardless of position. Still think it would have to be Tate and Brinson.
Fair points. The Brewers wiukd need a MLB caliber Catcherto pair with Maldonado. thatsmy thinking on Chirinos.
And true enough about the OF prospects. Maybe Stearns is more focused on ceilings less on position like Melvin was.
come on cheap angels. you need a lf and catcher., cepesdes hit 318 on the road. there is only one winner in baseball. whoever has best team, whoever is playing well. angels dont have enough offerense. they need cespedes and upgrade at catcher.. they got to get the mil catcher and should resign howie kendrick. dodgers really need howie. chase is old and cant hit anymore and yet they pay him 8 mil
the white sox or the rangers make perfect sense for lucroy , If the angels didn’t trade Newcomb or Ellis they could of made a trade for him.
It may have been you I have seen say that before about the Angels going to Luccroy rather than Simmons and that is an interesting idea.
Luccroy is the higher upside while Simmons is the safer bet. I could see a lot of points being made for either player beyond what I just mentioned
And Eppler made the farm system the worst once again
Ya, that does suck for the Angels. I’m a Braves fan and I think highly of Simmons but if Eppler was going to use that last two desirable prospects the Angels have, I am not sure I would have used them to get Simmons. He’s a really great acquisition but I think Newcombe should have been held onto by a team that needs pitching and especially one with Newcombes potential
While it’s nice to see players speak candidly, I’m not sure this helps his trade value at all. Teams know that the Brewers would like to move him for the right price, but now they also know he’s vocal about wanting to leave.
I don’t think what he said really makes any difference. I mean what really good player wants to be part of a rebuild? Very few, he was just honest about it.
“Lucroy made clear he is not asking for a trade”
No, he’s not asking for a trade. The purpose of this article was to get the fans ready for the trade, so there will be some groundwork of sympathy and understanding for it when it happens. And it will happen.
I highly doubt this article was to “get the fans ready for the trade.” Every fan knows they are looking to deal him and it seems the fans feel the same way the front office does in that they will trade him for the right return but don’t have to. I think the point of the article was to get the players perspective prior to the start of a new season knowing he may be traded.
You overestimate the awareness of “every fan.” The ones who pay attention when there aren’t games on TV don’t need to be told. The ones who buy most of the tickets, they do.
I really don’t see a trade happening, though I hope i’m wrong. The Brewers are looking for a monster return while the other teams are looking to buy low, don’t see a match.
You’re describing every trade ever
Not really. Rumor is Brewers are asking for Jose Fernadez type deal. That’s ridiculous and I’m a Brewers fan. That also tells you they really don’t want to trade him
I am really curious to see what the Brewers can get for Luccroy. With most any position player, I wouldn’t expect better than maybe one prospect right around 50 in the top 100 and maybe a couple prospects that are high risk/high reward types. But the catcher spot is a really weak hitting spot more so than usual right now. Luccroy is well above average with the bat as well as behind the plate. He could probably catch (pun intended) an impressive return.
Keith Law said if the Brewers decide to trade him they should get 3 very good prospects for him. Not sure what exactly very good means but I think definitely more than 1 top 100 player and a couple of high risk/high reward types. The Brewers would be better off just keeping him if that is all they can get, especially seeing what a closer can get in a trade now.
Can you provide a link for the Lucroy statement by Law? I find it a little difficult to believe he would have that to say about Lucroy currently. I can see that kind of package for him at the deadline if he’s doing classic Lucroy production. Additionally, you must have missed a qualifier I made in my comment. A 50 rank prospect plus 2 high risk/reward guys is what I would expect if it were a position other than catcher. Since he IS a catcher, I would expect much better
It’s on insider so I can’t post it but here I copied and pasted that part
Lucroy is both a valuable player and the most important asset the Brewers have if they want to rebuild; they don’t have to trade him, as he’s due just $4 million this year and $5.25 million in 2017 on a team option, but those salaries make him potentially the biggest name on the trade market this winter. He missed six weeks in April and May with a toe injury and suffered a concussion in September, all of which were factors in his lower production this season. Even if he can’t come close again to his 2014 MVP-level output, he’s a steal at his current salary and should net the Brewers two or three good young players or prospects in return.
I guess he just said good so not sure what that means but still think he should get a decent haul.
Catchers are usually traded now, not at the deadline. It’s asking for trouble to acquire a catcher at the end of July.
Hmm..those injuries don’t seem like they should cause considerable regression, given enough time to heal. Well..here’s to hoping Lucroy returns to normal form. Can’t help but hope for the Brewers a little, one rebuilding team fan to another. (Braves) =}
Concussions an derail careers. Ask Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.
Hoping he gets off to a hot start with a .350 BA through the first two months of the season. By then catchers around the league will start getting beat up. Then his value skyrockets.
While I’m sure that would be nice, your Brewers don’t need that to happen. If Lucroy puts up a slash line that looks like .280/.340/.440, this would be more than sufficient to prove Lucroy has not declined and land Milwaukee a really nice return package.
I agree he doesn’t need to do more than prove he’s healthy to be a hot commodity again. The biggest issue I see is it is generally rare to trade a catcher in season. It’s such a tough position and he needs to be acclimated. So it seems that he would have to show he is healthy but it would also have to be a team that has the need and whatever solution said team came up with isn’t working out. It could get messy too if the teams can’t agree to the players going to the Brewers causing a raucous in season.
.280 is more realistic. A guy can dream, though.
The Astros could use a catcher.
They have Castro.
True, but then again, 9 catchers had qualifying plate appearances. Almost everybody could use a catcher.
I believe it was Bleacher Report that floated the interest of the Twins and Brewers working on a deal last July that would have sent LuCroy and Will Smith to Minny for outfielder Arcia, catcher Suzuki and a pitcher from AA. Not sure that would work but I know the Brewers have a brother Arcia in their system.
That honestly would be a huge bust package if thats all the Brewers were offered. I doubt Arcia and Suzuki even get the Brewers attention for Lucroy alone, much less with another high value lefty reliever. Hard to imagine the Crew picking up any major league talent in return for Lucroy unless a backup catcher to Maldonado is included. No sense in picking up a couple of major leaguer’s who are past their prime’s more or less for your most valuable trade chip.
That’s a horrible offer.
With recent news out of Milwaukee purporting the desire of All-Star catcher Jonathon Lucroy seeking a trade to a contender, along with the reported availability of star right fielder Ryan Braun on the rebuilding Brewers, would it not make some sense for the White Sox to investigate a trade for both.
I would gladly take the lot of them on the White Sox provided they didn’t have to include either of their top two prospects in any trade, #1 shortstop Tim Anderson or #2 right-handed pitcher Carson Fulmer. The guaranteed money owed to catcher Lucroy and Braun would be comparable to the likely dollar investment required to sign free agent left fielder Yoenis Cespedes alone.
Having 29 year old Lucroy fill the catching position for two seasons at the cheap sum of $9.25M and Braun as a RF/LF/DH for 5 years through 2020 for $96M seems reasonable in today’s MLB market. Braun’s contract also comes with a mutual $15M option for 2021 ($4M buyout) that might line up favorably with the long term commitments already in place with Chris Sale, Jose Abreu, Jose Quintana and Adam Eaton. Both Brewers have health concerns attached to them but still seem like a risk worth pursuing pending the return of assets that would be required with their acquisitions.
Well that’s kind of the problem with the White Sox. Brewers would want 1 of Anderson or Fulmer I would think. Not sure your system has enough besides those guys to get it done.
Yeah, Fullmer would have to be included for sure. After that maybe they could fit some pieces together without Anderson being included, but it would still be tough to do with a pretty weak Sox farm system.
Perhaps, perhaps not. Their inclusion was part of my argument against the move. It doesn’t preclude the White Sox from a discussion with the Brewers, at any rate.
Keep in mind that the White Sox just traded for 2 years worth of Todd Frazier from a rebuilding Reds club without including either Anderson or Fulmer, even less talent in acquiring Brett Lawrie from the A’s.
Lucroy would be the player with the highest potential return in assets, Braun would cost less with his salary, with the Brewers likely happy just to rid themselves of his contract while they rebuild. I can see a trade for either or both without the inclusion of Anderson or Fulmer. The White Sox still possess some other high level prospects, particularly among pitchers with #3 rated Spencer Adams and #5 prospect Tyler Danish. Two others round out their top ten.
In addition, if the White Sox were to sign FA Ian Desmond this offseason, it may open the door to them trading Tim Anderson, who has excellent offensive skills and elite speed but is no sure thing defensively at the shortstop position. Some scouts feel he may be better suited at either 2B or CF as a MLB player, positions the White Sox have more organizational depth at.
Adams may not be bad, but Danish has questions around him. I just can’t see either of them being the centerpiece of a trade involving both Lucroy and Braun.
If you’re wanting both Lucroy and Braun, I’d think that both Anderson and Fulmer would need to be included. The Brewers could also throw in a major-league arm with some years of control (Peralta, Nelson, Garza?) and take back a couple of low level power arms as part of the deal too.
That would be a deal worth thinking about for both teams.
He’s kind of getting portrayed as a whiner but I thought what he said was perfectly stated. Brewers are rebuilding and why keep him around? Again, another player whose value his high ( discount last year ) should be able to bring some decent prospects back.
I wonder if the Brewers ever wonder what would have happened if they kept Yost as their Manager?