2:42pm: Manager Dave Martinez confirmed to reporters that Lucroy has elected for free agency and will look for an opportunity with another club (Twitter link via Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com). Martinez added that the Nationals’ door “is always open” for a possible reunion (presumably on a minor league deal) if Lucroy can’t find an opportunity elsewhere.
12:10pm: Veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy went unclaimed on outright waivers and has elected free agency over a minor league assignment with the Nationals, per his MLB.com transactions log. He’s now free to sign with any other club.
The 34-year-old Lucroy spent Spring Training with the White Sox, who cut him loose late in camp. He latched on with the Nationals after the team saw nine players, including both Yan Gomes and Alex Avila, unavailable for Opening Day due to Covid-19 positives within the organization. Lucroy wound up starting for the Nats on Opening Day and appeared in five games for the club, going 5-for-14 with a double and a pair of RBIs.
Lucroy isn’t the same player he was at his peak with the Brewers in 2011-14, when he was one of the game’s top all-around options behind the plate. His numbers both at the plate and behind it have waned in recent seasons, as he’s batted just .249/.316/.351 in 1277 plate appearances since Opening Day 2017.
That said, Lucroy is a 12-year big league veteran and two-time All-Star who can still swing the bat more effectively than many backup options around the league. He had a nice showing with the ChiSox this spring, going 6-for-18 with a double, five walks and only one strikeout in 23 plate appearances. He may not find an immediate spot on a big league roster, but it’d hardly be a surprise for several clubs to show interest in adding Lucroy on a minor league deal as a depth option — particularly if said teams are relying on one or more inexperienced catching options on their big league roster.