Rockies catcher Jonathan Lucroy, acquired just six weeks ago at the deadline, has fit in well with his new team, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. With the open market beckoning at season’s end, Lucroy says he’d “absolutely” have interest in re-joining the organization as a free agent.
The 31-year-old Lucroy noted that he’s not yet thinking in earnest about his next contract. But he also emphasized that he intends to consider quite a bit more than salary in making his choice. “As a free agent, you look at a lot of things,” he tells Saunders. “I look at things even more than money. I want to know what teams are going to be in there. … I want to contribute to a playoff team.”
Lucroy has turned things around at the plate somewhat after a rough stretch to open the year with the Rangers. He’s batting .274/.388/.400 through 116 plate appearances in Colorado, which equates to roughly league-average production when ballpark effects are taken into account. While the power hasn’t quite come around, Lucroy has recorded more walks (15) than strikeouts (14) since changing uniforms.
It seems Lucroy has had an even greater impact with the catching gear on. Manager Bud Black and members of the pitching staff credit his overall impact as a defender and leader behind the plate. Lucroy has also shown much-improved framing numbers, though it’s still quite a small sample and he remains below-average in an area he once excelled.
Understandably, neither Lucroy nor the Rockies are thinking too hard about the future at the moment. The club is busy fending off challengers to its hold on the second National League Wild Card slot, though it remains in solid position with just over two weeks left in the regular season. Like Lucroy, GM Jeff Bridich says the team isn’t “focused on that right now,” but also expressed satisfaction with the veteran backstop.
When he does hit free agency, Lucroy figures to represent an interesting player to watch. Entering the year, it seemed possible he’d challenge for a five-year contract of the sort that Russell Martin landed a few years back with the Blue Jays. Expectations have certainly trended down, though Lucroy still figures to command a solid, multi-year deal. He’ll face market competition from players such as Welington Castillo and Alex Avila.