St. Louis Cardinals Should Reel In Jonathan Lucroy
Thanks to a calamitous offseason the St. Louis Cardinals are enduring, we now need a catcher. Fortunately, The St. Louis Cardinals have money, prospects and a very good trade target.
That target’s name, of course, is Jonathan Lucroy. And for all of you who are crying out, “Wait, but we just signed Brayan Pena!” I have but one thing to say to you.
St. Louis Cardinals stalwart Yadier Molina and his bum thumb will now miss most, if not all, of spring training. And the reality is, he’s older now and can’t bounce back from all the foul tips and hours of crouching his job entails. Having Pena is good. Having Lucroy is even better, because remember, he also plays first base.
Granted, Lucroy would bring the St. Louis Cardinals just 40 games worth of experience at first, but he’s capable
Wouldn’t Jonathan Lucroy look much better in St. Louis Cardinals red? Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
(.988 fielding percentage, three errors). And he’d give manager Mike Matheny more freedom to make those late-inning double switches when necessary.
According to new Milwaukee Brewers GM and newspaper-delivery-boy doppelgänger David Stearns, his team needs more players like Lucroy, not fewer. Thank you, captain obvious. But according to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, Stearn’s fellow GMs are telling a different story about Lucroy:
"… the Brewers are listening to trade offers for Lucroy, who has long been a target of teams like the Atlanta Braves and lately has drawn more interest from the Texas Rangers and others. One rival executive told Ken Rosenthal of MLB Network and FOX Sports that he considers Lucroy one of the game’s best bounceback candidates, blaming his offensive dip on the broken toe and concussion that shortened Lucroy’s 2015 season, and the slip of some defensive metrics on the Brewers’ all-rookie starting rotation by season’s end."
It’s worth noting that Lucroy has slashed .310/.375/.391 at Busch II over the last three seasons — numbers that would almost certainly improve by hitting in a better St. Louis Cardinals lineup. Not having to carry the entire catching load over a full season will also help. Lucroy was reduced to a 1.7 WAR player last year thanks to a broken toe that really sapped his swing. The year before, he was nearly an 8-WAR player for the Brewers.
Like the Cincinnati Reds, the Milwaukee Brewers are in full rebuild mode, looking for young, cheap talent to replace their most expensive pieces. For the St. Louis Cardinals, the trouble with acquiring Lucroy is that team-friendly deal he has with the Brewers. In 2012, when the future was a little brighter in Milwaukee, Lucroy signed a 5-year, $10.28 deal with a team option for 2017. So he’ll be more expensive than a payroll black hole like Joey Votto.
Yet, after the Todd Frazier trade, the market doesn’t seem quite as pricey as it may have been before. Could a bunch of non-Alex-Reyes prospects get it done? Who knows? But the St. Louis Cardinals should at least try if they haven’t already. After an offseason like this, we deserve at least that much.