In Cleveland Indians trade talk, one MLB Trade rumors writer believes the Tribe may have to think outside the box to land Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy.
The Milwaukee Brewers are on the fast track to nowhere in the near future, and that means catcher Jonathan Lucroy will probably be on the market before the MLB trade deadline.
MLB Trade rumors writer Mark Polishuk was looking at possible destinations for Lucroy, and listed the Indians as a possibility.
The Tribe’s current catcher, Yan Gomes, has really struggled this season after being set back by injuries in 2015. The Indians would love Gomes to look like the player he was en route to a playoff berth in 2013.
But it’s unclear if he can be that productive on consistent basis.
"“If you really look outside the box, you could conceive of a scenario where Cleveland offers two of their ‘untouchable’ prospects in Clint Frazier, Bradley Zimmer or Bobby Bradley for Lucroy, then either trades Gomes in the offseason or uses Lucroy at first in 2017. (Gomes could also go to the Brewers in a Lucroy trade.) I would think it’s much more likely, however, that the Tribe focuses on outfield help at the deadline.”"
The idea that the Indians would move Frazier or Zimmer, or even Bradley, for that matter, seems unlikely. Zimmer and Frazier are at least 1 1/2 years away from making their big-league debuts, and the Indians aren’t rushing their top prospects.
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Bradley is a power-hitting first-base prospect currently playing at Class A Lynchburg. He hit 27 homers a season ago, and already has 15 this year. He entered the year as the Tribe’s fifth ranked prospect, according to The Baseball Cube.
Lucroy is having a nice bounce-back season in 2016. He’s slashing 304/.361/.515 with nine home runs through 227 plate appearances. He’s thrown out 24 of 32 runners. The 2015 season saw Lucroy hampered by a concussion and broken toe. He slashed 264/.326/.391 with seven homers over 415 plate appearances.
He has an extremely team friendly contract. He’s owed approximately $2.7 million for the rest of this season, and a $5.25 million for 2017. No matter Lucroy is playing, his team is going to pick up that option.
The price seems to fit the Indians wallet, but dealing Frazier or Zimmer, two prospects the team has spend a considerable amount of time developing for a player who would only be here for 1 1/2 years?
Yes, Chris Antonetti traded two top prospects for Ubaldo Jimenez a few years back, but he was under control for 2 1/2 seasons–and at the time of the deal, was supposed to be a top of the rotation starting pitcher.
It’s probably more likely that the Tribe tries to let Yan Gomes come alive, although the signs aren’t encouraging. Gomes hit .200 April, and followed up that by batting .148 in May.
As for outfield help, Abraham Almonte will be eligible to play July 3. He was supposed to be the team’s starting center fielder, but got popped with an 80-game PED suspension. He’s been playing in extended spring training in Arizona, and should he should be in good baseball shape when he finally returns.