Free agent catcher Jonathan Lucroy has turned down a few minor-league offers in hopes of landing an MLB opportunity, reports Robert Murray of FanSided (Twitter link). The 34-year-old has been on the open market since electing free agency after he was outrighted off the Nationals’ roster last week.
Lucroy is obviously far removed from his days as one of the sport’s premier backstops, having struggled to a .248/.315/.350 line with declining defensive metrics between 2017-19. He only played in one game for the Red Sox last season and unsurprisingly had to settle for a non-roster invitation to Spring Training with the White Sox over the winter.
The veteran backstop performed well this spring, but Chicago turned to younger options to back up Yasmani Grandal. Lucroy hit the open market and signed with the Nationals, who were down their presumptive catching tandem of Yan Gomes and Alex Avila due to COVID-19 spread within the organization. He made the Opening Day roster and played in five games, going 5-14 with a double and two strikeouts. Shortly after Gomes and Avila cleared health and safety protocols, though, Washington designated Lucroy for assignment.
The veteran cleared waivers and again hit free agency, but Nationals manager Dave Martinez expressed interest in bringing him back (presumably on a minor-league deal). It seems Lucroy and his representatives at Excel Sports Management remain willing to hold out for a more direct path back to the majors for now.
Murray suggests the Yankees, Blue Jays and Athletics as potential fits for Lucroy, although it’s unclear if any of those clubs have expressed interest. New York only has two catchers on the 40-man roster but current backup Kyle Higashioka is off to an incredible start to the season. Toronto is in the opposite situation. The Jays have four catchers on the 40-man, but their current big league options (Alejandro Kirk and Danny Jansen) haven’t played well early on. The A’s have a pair of 40-man options (Austin Allen and the struggling Aramís García) who could back up starter Sean Murphy. Lucroy spent the 2018 season with Oakland.