The Mets are interested in Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, and current Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud seems to be part of any potential package the Amazins could send to Milwaukee, Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports. The Brewers rejected a straight one-for-one offer of Lucroy for d’Arnaud, so as Ackert notes, the Mets’ ability to stay competitive in the race for Lucroy’s services will hinge on the caliber of prospect New York is willing to surrender along with d’Arnaud. As of Sunday, no deal between the Mets and Brewers was imminent.
Lucroy has been speculatively linked to the Mets as a possible solution to their hitting woes, though the Mets were still thought to be looking at d’Arnaud as their catcher of the future. In my recent examination of Lucroy’s trade market, I also dismissed the Mets as a possible candidate mostly due to d’Arnaud’s presence but also due to a lack of minor league depth. While New York has some impressive prospects on hand (i.e. Dominic Smith, Amed Rosario, Gavin Cecchini, Brandon Nimmo), their system is rather thin overall.
For dealing d’Arnaud and years of a controllable top prospect, the Mets would land one of the top catchers in baseball in Lucroy. Not only has Lucroy strongly bounced back after an injury-plagued 2015 season, he has re-established himself as one of the game’s top bargains. Lucroy is in the final guaranteed year of a five-year, $11MM extension signed prior to his breakout 2012 season, and there is a team option on his services for only $5.25MM for 2017. With payroll limitations still a lingering concern for the Mets, they could be particularly eager to obtain a top-tier talent at a low price.
It wasn’t too long ago that d’Arnaud was himself a sought-after commodity, as he and Noah Syndergaard headlined the trade package sent by the Blue Jays to the Mets in the R.A. Dickey trade in December 2012. While d’Arnaud has looked good when healthy, he has been plagued by a wide array of injuries during his brief career, missing time due to varied injuries to his hand, foot, knee, back, elbow and (most recently) a rotator cuff strain that put him on the DL earlier this season. Perhaps most troubling of all, d’Arnaud has also suffered at least three known concussions. There has already been heavy speculation that d’Arnaud will have to be moved to first base for the sake of his health, so he doesn’t necessarily protect as a replacement for Lucroy behind the plate in Milwaukee.
Lucroy may not be the only Mets target on the Milwaukee roster, as the Amazins are known to be looking for relief help and have been linked to relievers Jeremy Jeffress and Will Smith. Ackert reports that the Brewers were one of many teams recently scouting the Mets’ lower-level minor league clubs. This is just my speculation, but New York may be more willing to part with a top prospect in the Smith/Rosario/Cecchini tier if both Lucroy and one of the relievers could be obtained in the same deal.