There was not a direct connection between the Cubs and catcher Jonathan Lucroy, but as one of the veteran, back-up-catcher-plausible types on the free agent market, he could have found his way into the team’s orbit.
Catcher Jonathan Lucroy and the Los Angeles Angels are in agreement on a one-year, $3.35 million deal, league sources tell Yahoo Sports. Lucroy took his physical today and deal should be official soon. He can make more than $4 million total with performance bonuses.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 29, 2018
To be honest, when we talked about potential Cubs back-up catcher options (giving Willson Contreras more of a break, and maybe a mentor; giving Victor Caratini more time to develop), Lucroy was not my favorite option, so this news doesn’t bother me too much.
Still, Lucroy is another option off the market. Former Cub Rene Rivera is still out there, as is perhaps the priciest back-up-ish option, Martin Maldonado (the guy Lucroy is replacing). Matt Wieters doesn’t offer much at all behind the plate. Nick Hundley rates horribly as a framer. And the rest of the available free agents look more like minor league depth types.
Which is not to say the Cubs might not want a guy like that … it’s just that I really, really want to see them landing a true, defensively-inclined back-up catcher to pair with Contreras. Maldonado, 32, has an adequate bat for a back-up catcher (think 75 wRC+ type), is a superlative defender, and is among the best framers in the game. He projects to get anywhere from $4 million annually to $8 million annually, depending on whom you ask. Since the Angels opted to replace Maldonado with Lucroy for nearly $4 million, you can bet Maldonado is at least seeking more than that.
Given the Cubs’ financial tightness right now, they might consider that too rich for their blood, but dang … he would be such a nice addition. And he’s still out there …