As the Rangers prepare to enter the 2016 season, their front office is still considering ways to make their club better. While many teams are tinkering with their respective lineups, eventual roster cuts, and possible last minute yet mostly minor additions, for the most part, the major building phase is over. However for the Rangers, they might still be trying to upgrade their team during the final weeks of spring training.
Sources: #Rangers remain interested in #Brewers' Lucroy, but no recent talks. #Astros, #Athletics were among other clubs interested earlier.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 14, 2016
If the season were to begin today, the Rangers would have Robinson Chirinos as their everyday catcher. In limited action during the 2015 season (273 plate appearances), he proved to be a slightly better than an average major league hitter. His slash line was .232/.325/.438 with a wOBA of .332 and a wRC+ of 104. Those aren't sparkling offensive numbers, but considering that catchers average a wOBA of .310, Texas will undoubtedly take Chirinos' production.
However if they were able to acquire Lucroy, he'd be the more attractive option. While it's unwise to place much faith in spring training numbers, it's good to see that he's hitting well (.313/.353/.438) after a concussion derailed his 2015 season.
Lucroy is also a much better pitch framer, as he was 15th best in 2015, while Chirinos was 69th, and produced a negative value. The difference between the two catchers was 8.4 runs, which is nearly worth one win; and for a team like the Rangers, one win could be the difference between making the playoffs and watching them at home.
It's unclear if Texas has plans to re-engage the Brewers in talks for Lucroy, especially given the fact that they sent away a number of their top prospects for Cole Hamels just last year. Ken Rosenthal also notes that the A's have expressed an interest in Lucroy, as have the Astros, who have a more immediate need given that Jason Castro will reach free agency after the 2016 season.
At this point, it seems fairly obvious that Lucroy is going to be traded, it's just a matter of when. The Brewers have no need for an All-Star catcher as they enter their rebuilding phase, and while David Stearns might not be able to extract the prospect package he desires, it's always better to get something rather than nothing.