The Oakland Athletics have signed veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy to a one-year deal, as Jane Lee of MLB.com first reported on Friday. Lucroy will earn $6.5 million plus a $500,000 assignment bonus, per the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The news comes shortly after Lee reported the team’s interest in Lucroy and veteran catcher Matt Wieters. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick also reported the two sides were closing in on a deal.
To clarify, A’s have been in talks about either trading for Matt Wieters or signing Jonathan Lucroy. Sources indicate they will get one of them.— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) March 9, 2018
Jonathan Lucroy is close to agreement on a deal with the #Athletics, sources say.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) March 9, 2018
Lucroy fell off a cliff last season, hitting just six home runs with an 84 OPS+ after slugging 24 homers in 2016 with the Brewers and Rangers. The 31-year-old was traded to the Rockies last summer, but failed to rediscover his offensive success that has been absent since the end of the 2016 regular season.
Lucroy enjoyed the majority of his major league success in Milwaukee, where he posted a .779 OPS over seven seasons, earning two All-Star selections.
Wieters, also 31, signed a two-year deal with the Nationals last season, but finished with a 63 OPS+. It seems like he’ll be staying put as the A’s close in on Lucroy.
As of this morning, Bruce Maxwell was the team’s starting catcher. The 27-year-old hit three home runs in 76 games last season.
The A’s would likely also use Lucroy as a veteran mentor in 2018 as they continue their rebuilding efforts. The team has finished below .500 in each of the past three seasons.