By: Bill Tewes
UPDATE: According to MLBTraderumors.com, the Rangers are back in the mix for Jonathan Lucroy. The talks are “productive” and we may see Lucroy dealt today after all. Texas is not one of the eight teams that Lucroy can veto a trade to, so we’ll see if Stearns and company get a deal done!
Deadline day is upon us and it was only a matter of when we see Jonathan Lucroy in a jersey other than Milwaukee Brewer blue. Brewer fans were expected to wake up this morning and read the headline: “Jonathan Lucroy traded to Cleveland Indians for package of prospects.” Not so fast Brewer fans! As it usually is, MLB Trade Deadline day has many twists and turns. Lucroy has nixed a deal sending him to the Cleveland Indians due to the fact that Cleveland is one of the eight teams listed on his limited no-trade-clause. ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted suggesting that the Brewers are working feverishly to convince Lucroy to waive his no-trade-clause and accept a deal to Cleveland.
Additionally, it appears that the major stumbling block in this trade as reported by Jeff Passan, is that Lucroy was expecting the Indians to do away with the 2017 Club option as part of his contract. The Indians would have been foolish for doing so as they would surely lose Lucroy to free agency after this season. Brewer fans should be rightfully upset with Lucroy if he seriously expected the Indians to do that (after he complained about not being on a contender), but it is also the ugly side for the organization of the no-trade-clause.
The 30-year-old catcher fetched a substantial offer from the Cleveland Indians, which was expected to yield four prospects with catcher Francisco Mejia (#6 prospect in Indian’s organization) being the top prospect of the trade. The Brewers and Indians had a deal in principle and now that deal is for naught.
In a tweet from MLB.com writer Ken Rosenthal, the Brewers were expected to get Indians’ prospects Yu-Cheng Chang (#12) and outfielder Greg Allen (#22) plus a fourth player yet to be named. The Brewers were allegedly heavily interested in Justus Sheffield, but the Indians just traded him to the Yankees as part of a deal to get reliever Andrew Miller. It would have been an incredible trade for the Brewers if they could have received Sheffield as part of the Lucroy package.
Jonathan Lucroy was very vocal about wanting to play for a contender in the offseason and Cleveland has been making moves to solidify them as a top flight contender this year. For everything Lucroy has said, it is hard to believe that he would outright deny a trade to a team that looks like a serious threat in the AL.
The Brewers had multiple trade partners for Lucroy and it seemed as if the cost would rise for his services. Now the Brewers have to go back to the drawing board and hope that they can get as good of a deal or possibly slightly better now that the Indians are out. The Mets offered what I think is a lowball offer for Lucroy. They offered catcher Travis D-Arnaud and outfielder Brandon Nimmo (#5 prospect in their system) plus a player yet to be named. The other substantial trade partner was the Texas Rangers, but they fell out of the running early yesterday as it appears they do not want to part with a top prospect like Jurickson Profar or Joey Gallo.
It would behoove the Brewers to take their time today and wait this trade deadline out as long as possible. Brewers GM David Stearns is not going to sell low on Lucroy just because a deal fell through with Cleveland. Lucroy would still have one year left on his contract and can easily be traded in the offseason, so that a team can get a full year of his services behind the plate. In that aspect, it might be better for them to keep Lucroy in Milwaukee for the rest of this season.
The Brewers still have their relievers they could move and it is encouraging to see the haul that the New York Yankees received for reliever Andrew Miller. Milwaukee should be able to move Jeremy Jeffress and Will Smith to contenders or teams on the verge of contending. It also would not surprise me to see Chris Carter moved for a team in serious need of a power bat, but so far there have been no rumors regarding Carter. By the end of the day, the Brewers should net some nice prospects, adding to their continued pursuit of a better future.