Astros Rumors: Is Luhnow waiting in the weeds for Jonathan Lucroy?

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Astros target? Jul 19, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy (20) at the batting cage before playing the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Astros target? Jul 19, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy (20) at the batting cage before playing the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Will we see Jonathan Lucroy in an Astros uniform?

As I started my normal trade deadline routine this season, I told my kids that I would be unavailable until the 3 pm trade deadline. With the clock ticking down, it is unknown whether the Astros will indeed make a deal. I get out of bed and turn on the MLB Network and see Ken Rosenthal sitting on the couch with the regular morning crew. They asked him about Jonathan Lucroy.

His response was that he felt like the Rangers were the most likely team to make the move to get him. Then he went on to say that the Astros are lying in the weeds, he would not be surprised if they made a push to get him with the stocked farm season they have. He also mentioned that they could also make the move just to block the Rangers from getting Lucroy.

I know the Astros could use an impact bat like Lucroy in the lineup, and he could be the Astros’ catcher next year if they can’t retain Jason Castro. Evan Gattis has been an above average catcher, especially with the fact that he has not played catcher before this season since 2014. Gattis will go through arbitration should the Astros tender him a contract, but Lucroy could serve as the everyday catcher for 2017.

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We could use Lucroy at first base this season, but we would have quite a logjam with Alex Bregman up, Luis Valbuena returning from the DL, and when Yulieski Gurriel joins the lineup. Moving Gattis to the DH full time may not be an option if you are trying to get other hitters in the lineup as a DH. This is why adding someone like Carlos Beltran could help to put some more offense in the outfield where they need the most help.

Lucroy vetoed the trade to the Indians because he was told that he would not be the catcher in 2017 because they have Yan Gomes who is injured right now. Lucroy didn’t want to be a first base/designated hitter going into the 2018 free-agent market. His biggest value for a long term deal would be as a catcher. The Astros are not on his no-trade list, but they could make him the everyday catcher to capitalize on his value next year. This year, I’m not sure the Astros would cut Gattis or Castro to have Lucroy as the everyday guy.

Rosenthal mentioned that the Astros could be trying to block the Rangers from getting Lucroy. I’m not sure that is the best reason behind a trade but instead, does he fit a need that you have now. Lucroy could give A.J. Reed the time to season in Triple-A. The Astros lowest WAR by position is at first base and center field. Lucroy could indirectly help centerfield but would definitely help at first base for 2016.

Next: Astros: Talking Stros With Jake Kaplan Before Trade Deadline

The Rangers apparently have not talked to the Brewers since last night. Rosenthal speculated that another team had entered the discussion. He suggested it could be the Astros. I don’t think they Astros would trade for Lucroy, but if they did, it would be to improve at catcher for the 2017 season.

***Stats from Baseball-Reference***

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