The Rockies’ search for catching help could lead them to a familiar face, as Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes that “Jonathan Lucroy could return to the Rockies for a second stint.” Lucroy first played for Colorado in 2017, suiting up for 46 games in the purple pinstripes after a deadline trade from the Rangers. The veteran backstop had a big hand in the Rockies’ run to the NL wild card game that season, batting .310/.429/.437 over 175 plate appearances with the club.
Lucroy’s time in Colorado also represents the last consistently good stretch of his career, as he has otherwise struggled badly over the last three seasons. Over 782 PA with the Athletics, Angels, and Cubs in 2018-19, Lucroy has hit only .237/.297/.338 with 12 home runs. Prior to the Rockies trade, Lucroy also batted .242/.297/.338 in his first 306 PA of the 2017 season.
It has been a stark dropoff both offensively and defensively for a player who was arguably the game’s best catcher in his 2012-16 heyday with the Brewers and Rangers. As per Baseball Prospectus, Lucroy’s blocking and framing numbers have been far below average over the last three seasons. On the more intangible front, Lucroy was heavily praised for his game-calling ability and work in managing Oakland’s makeshift pitching staff in 2018, as the A’s overcame a barrage of rotation injuries to win a slot in the AL wild card game.
This type of veteran stability would be a boost to a Rockies’ catching situation that was a big problem area in 2019. Tony Wolters has yet to show anything at the plate (.653 OPS) over 1123 career plate appearances, and Wolters’ framing numbers dropped precipitously from near-elite level in 2018 to below average in 2019. Drew Butera and Elias Diaz has have already been added as veteran backup options, and Lucroy would bring more of a track record than either of that pairing, though he has shown little of his old form in recent years. The pickings are slim on the free agent catching market by this point in the offseason, so Colorado could opt to just add another relatively inexpensive option in Lucroy or perhaps seek out a trade.