Astros: Jonathan Lucroy is not likely an option for backup catcher
No official rumors, but Jonathan Lucroy doesn’t look like a fit for the Astros.
As we discussed last night on Talking Stros, there is a surprising amount of free agents left on the market on January 22. With a little more than 20 days left until teams report to spring training, these players want to know where they will be employed. The Astros are early favorites to win the AL in 2018, especially after acquiring Gerrit Cole from the Pirates. Will there be any more moves at this point?
If you ask different Astros fans, they will tell you what player they think the team needs. They range to Tony Watson, Carlos Gonzalez, or even the unlikely Jake Arrieta. Earlier in the offseason, we heard the Astros tied to Jonathan Lucroy. However, all has been quiet on the Lucroy front for the Astros. That is subject to change, especially the longer Lucroy remains on the market.
Like what McCann did for the Astros in 2017, Lucroy could come in a be a positive force behind the plate. After coming off a down season at the plate, teams are not rushing to pay Lucroy the money he could want. As time passes, he could be had at a bargain. However, this is Lucroy’s first time as a free agent, and he is looking for a long-term deal.
Is Lucroy an option?
Lucroy is a 31-year-old catcher coming off a bad season. He is not looking to come over and be a backup catcher to McCann. Yes, Lucroy can play first base and could be the designated hitter, but he will want to be the catcher. McCann has a 2019 vesting option for $15 million if he has 1,000 at-bats from 2017-18, catches 90 games in 2018, and is not on the DL at the end of the season.
McCann is the catcher and Lucroy may not be enough of an upgrade at DH over Evan Gattis or at first base for Yuli Gurriel. While the Astros may be searching for a future at catcher, Lucroy doesn’t fit with McCann in the fold. They also want to finally see what Max Stassi can do as the backup catcher. If Stassi struggles this spring, they can always put Gattis as the backup catcher again. Lucroy is training to be a catcher.
Next: Astros: What we can expect from Derek Fisher in 2018
Don’t forget Garrett Stubbs, who could be the catcher of the future. Once he gets some more experience at Triple-A, he could join the Astros if needed. There are so many options for the Astros at catcher in-house without Lucroy. We can worry about the future catcher in the future. One thing is for sure, they have gotten a taste of having a good catcher with McCann.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***