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MLB free agency: Astros interested in Jonathan Lucroy

The Astros could be a suitor for Jonathan Lucroy’s services this offseason.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Colorado Rockies Photo by Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Astros are “among teams looking at” free-agent catcher Jonathan Lucroy, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Lucroy, 31, saw his free agent value take a nosedive as he posted a .242/.297/.338 slash line with just four homers and saw his defensive metrics regress over four months with the Rangers in 2017. But after being dealt to the Rockies at the trade deadline, he recovered a bit, hitting .310/.429/.437 with two homers over 175 plate appearances while also making a slight improvement as a pitch framer.

It still seems likely, however, that teams will be concerned by the fact that Lucroy’s power was completely zapped in 2017; even though he played 27 games at Coors Field, he hit just six homers for the season, one year after he hit 27 between Milwaukee and Texas. Since there are only a couple teams with obvious needs at catcher but several other starting-caliber options on the market, including Welington Castillo, Alex Avila, and Chris Iannetta, Lucroy might have to settle for part-time duty and a one or two-year deal this offseason.

Houston isn’t in great need of a catcher, as they just won a World Series with the tandem of Brian McCann and Evan Gattis, with Juan Centeno and Max Stassi also making solid contributions in reserve roles. But if the Astros are looking to limit the innings behind the plate for the 6-foot-4, 270-pound Gattis next season, perhaps they could decide to bring in another backstop. While Gattis graded out well as a defender in 2017, the Astros previously were skeptical enough of his abilities behind the plate that they didn’t use him at all at catcher during the 2015 season. At this point, Gattis also looks like the most logical option to fill the Astros’ designated hitter in 2018, though it’d seemingly be pretty easy to put him behind the plate and plug in another hitter there on days where McCann needs a breather.