The Texas Rangers could be looking into making a big splash on the trade market this month by acquiring one of the hottest tokens available: Jonathan Lucroy. According to a report from Ken Rosenthal, the Milwaukee Brewers have been notably scouting the Rangers’ minor league affiliates:
“[T]he Brewers had multiple scouts watching the Texas youngsters—an indication, perhaps, that the Rangers are plotting to acquire Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy.”
While this is an interesting realization, Rosenthal remains tepid in his report, suggesting that “one plus one at this time of year does not necessarily add up to two.”
Lucroy’s name has steadily been in the rumor mill since the season began, with many pundits believing he is one of the best available options on the trade market. While having a superb season at the plate and behind it, and with an team option worth $5.25 million remaining on his contract for next season, Lucroy’s stock is likely never going to get better. So long as a good deal materializes, it would be wise then for David Stearns and the rest of the Brewers front office to cash in on their premium asset.
The Rangers seemed like a great candidate to improve their catching situation even before the season began. So far this season, four players have worn catching equipment for the Rangers. Adding Lucroy could help stabilize that end of the battery.
That being said, the Rangers’ catching tandem has actually produced offense at the sixth-best rate of any team in the American League by wRC+. Robinson Chirinos is hitting right around the league average rate, while generating some defensive value as well.
Lucroy currently has the third-best on-base percentage of any qualified catcher and is slugging better than Buster Posey. Rosenthal suggests that the Brewers could look for Jurickson Profar or Joey Gallo in return and that would be warranted. However, in the very young Stearns era, the Brewers seem to be targeting very young and controllable assets. Rosenthal elaborates to suggest the Brewers could target Leody Taveras or Anderson Tejada, who are both in Rookie-ball; where a bunch of scouts have been lately.
While the likelihood of a Lucroy deal happening is seeming to grow, the Rangers are by no means the likely landing place for him. With Lucroy on a very affordable contract next season, the Brewers may even elect to keep him. That being said, the affordability of that option year will likely make the line to acquire him this month too long for the Brewers to pass up.