Dealing with a rash of injuries and their offense struggling to hit with runners in scoring position, the Mets are reportedly interested in catcher Jonathan Lucroy, the New York Daily News’ Kristie Ackert reports. Incumbent catcher Travis d’Arnaud would be a part of any package sent to the Milwaukee Brewers for Lucroy.
Ackert noted that Milwaukee already turned down a straight-up one-for-one swap of Lucroy and d’Arnaud. The deal reportedly hinges on New York including a top-tier prospect along with d’Arnaud in a trade. There’s currently no indication of a trade being imminent.
Lucroy, 30, is enjoying a strong rebound season after an injury-plagued 2015. In 89 games, Lucroy is slashing 0.302/0.362/0.494 with 13 homers and 50 runs batted in. The two-time All-Star appears destined to eclipse his career-high of 18 HR and 82 RBIs from the 2013 campaign, health permitting.
With the Brewers out of contention, a Lucroy trade has been rumored for the better part of a year. During the offseason, Lucroy spoke to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel about his desire to play for a winning team.
“I want to win and I don’t see us winning in the foreseeable future I want to go to a World Series. That’s what all players want. Rebuilding is not a lot of fun for any veteran guy.”
In addition to acquiring a winning mentality, Lucroy brings a lot of financial flexibility. While he could become a free agent after this season, his contract includes a team option for $5.25 million with a $25,000 buyout. However, considering his age and history of above average production, that option is a bargain and safe bet to be picked up.
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Lucroy would also help the Mets’ woes with RISP; Lucroy is hitting 0.250 in those situations while the team owns a feeble 0.207 average.
The Mets, a team notorious for being frugal with their cash, would jump at the chance to retain a premium catcher for a bargain rate. However, they must first create a package of enticing assets to present the Brewers.
D’Arnaud, 27, has looked like a good major leaguer when healthy, but injuries have been the story of his Mets tenure. Last year, the Mets’ catcher endured two disabled list trips with a broken hand and a sprained left elbow. This season, d’Arnaud missed time with a rotator cuff strain. More alarmingly, d’Arnaud has suffered three known concussions during his career, making it likely he may have to switch positions at some point.
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In 34 games, the Long Beach, California, native is slashing 0.246/0.302/0.339 with two homers and 10 RBIs. The last two seasons, he has mashed 13 and 12 bombs, respectively. Acquired as the centerpiece from the Blue Jays in the trade that sent R.A. Dickey to Toronto, d’Arnaud has become a throw-in with the success of Noah Syndergaard.
The Mets have been linked to a pair of Brewers relievers, so it’s possible one of them could join Lucroy in a potential trade. However, whether it is the Mets or another contender — like the Indians, who had an interest in Lucroy earlier this week — he is looking to win.
“Yeah, absolutely. I want to win,” Lucroy said about his desire to play for a contender. “It’s not guaranteed that I’m going to win if I am traded. I can’t put numbers on how much longer I’m going to play, but as players we want to win. I don’t care about the money; I just want to win. That’s the bottom line.”
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