The Indians and Brewers reportedly agreed to a deal Saturday that would have sent Jonathan Lucroy to the Indians for four prospects … C Francisco Mejia, SS Yu-Cheng Chang, OF Greg Allen and a fourth unidentified player.
The Indians would have ended up shipping three of its top 30 prospects to the Brewers for one of the best catchers in the game. Baseball America ranked Mejia (10), Chang (16) and Allen (28) in the Indians pre-season Top 30 list.
Shortly after the Yankees and Indians announced the trade that sent Andrew Miller to Cleveland, a report surfaced out of Milwaukee that Lucroy invoked his no-trade rights and vetoed the trade to the Indians.
Lucroy has a limited no-trade clause in his contract and can block a deal to eight teams (Indians, Tigers, Angels, Twins, A’s, Padres, Mariners and Nationals).
Jonathan Lucroy has one more full-season of club control left on the five-year, $11 million extension he signed in March 2012. Lucroy is owed the remainder of his $4 million salary for this season. The contract includes a $5.25 million club option for next season (2017) with a $250,000 buyout.
According to Jeff Passan, Lucroy asked for the Indians to “rip up” the 2017 club option for him to waive his no-trade rights. The Indians were not willing to trade the same players for Lucroy and surrender a year of control.
Ken Rosenthal reported that Lucroy was also concerned about his playing time next season with Yan Gomes expected back.
Jonathan Lucroy invoked his no-trade rights and the Indians have reportedly moved on to other areas of the team they would like to address.
The Mets and Rangers were the other teams believed to be very interested in acquiring Lucroy before the news surfaced he had been traded to the Indians. Both of those teams, along with the Astros and Dodgers, are expected to re-engage talks with the Brewers.
Jon Heyman reported that the Cubs were one “mystery team” in on Lucroy. This should not come as a surprise. The Cubs were believed to have talked to the Brewers about Lucroy last off-season. Heyman reported the talks with the Brewers didn’t go far because the Cubs thought they were being asked to pay too much for Lucroy due to an “in-division tax.”
Heyman is not sure if the Cubs would not get back in the mix for Lucroy at this late date but the Brewers appear to be focused on moving him.
Catching is one of the areas of the team the front office wanted to address last off-season.
David Ross is retiring. Miguel Montero is still a very good receiver. His other skills are in decline but he’s under contract for next season (2017 salary, $14 million). Willson Contreras is viewed as the Cubs’ catcher of the future. Contreras has shown improvement. He still has a lot of work to do defensively, especially with his receiving and game calling skills. And Kyle Schwarber figures to be a back-up when he returns next season.
It’s highly unlikely the Cubs will make a deal with the Brewers for Jonathan Lucroy. However, it’s interesting that the front office explored the option of trading for Lucroy beyond last winter.
Will update with additional information …