Posted on July 25, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
With one week to go until the August 1 non-waiver trade deadline, one of the biggest names available in terms of position players is Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Several teams have inquired about Lucroy’s availability, as he is a potential difference maker for any contending team. One team that reportedly made a firm offer for Lucroy, only to have it rejected, is the New York Mets, who according to sources offered catcher Travis d’Arnaud in a one-for-one swap for Lucroy.
Most rumors involving the Mets indicate that the team is unlikely to make a major move before the trade deadline, in part because their farm system is not nearly as strong as it was a year ago when they made a slew of moves ahead of the trade deadline. Those movies, including the acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes, helped take New York to the World Series. This season, most believe the Mets may look to reinforce their bullpen, but nothing further. However, reports that they’ve offered d’Arnaud for Lucroy indicate they are open to making a major move, if not actively pushing to pull something off.
The Brewers may have turned down a straight swap of Lucroy for d’Arnaud, but reports indicate that Milwaukee is at least somewhat interested in continuing talks with the Mets. From New York’s perspective, it may be a matter of finding another prospect or two that can help them pry Lucroy away from the Brewers. Of course, Lucroy isn’t going to come cheap, as he has asserted himself as one of the best catchers in baseball and is under team control for 2017 at a cost of just $5.25 million. In d’Arnaud, the Brewers would be getting a catcher who’s shown great offensive promise and is under team control through the 2019 season, but who has also been plagued by injuries throughout his career.
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The Mets are also said to have an interest in a couple of Milwaukee’s relievers, most notably Jeremy Jeffress and Will Smith. Of course, these two teams had a deal in place this time last year that would have sent Carlos Gomez to New York for Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores. But that trade was nixed by Mets doctors who had concerns about Gomez. That trade falling through ultimately led to the Mets acquiring Cespedes, who played a crucial role in New York winning the National League pennant.
If the Mets hope to acquire Lucroy, they will obviously have to offer Milwaukee more than d’Arnaud, but it will be interesting to see if they try to add either Jeffress or Smith to the equation as well and pull off something bigger. It’ll also be interesting to note if the Brewers still have any interest in Flores, who has struggled to find consistent playing time this season, but has 10 home runs in just 181 at bats and has proven himself capable of playing all four infield positions.
At the same time, the Mets are not the only team interested in Lucroy. The Cleveland Indians could also benefit greatly from adding Lucroy following the injury to Yan Gomes and considering their overall lack of production from the catcher position this season. In addition to Cleveland’s obvious interest, the Texas Rangers are said to be shopping for a bat and also have an interest in Lucroy.
The Brewers are under no pressure to trade Lucroy, as they could bring him back this season. But he’s clearly the best catcher on the trade market, and with a year left on his contract, his value may never be higher than it is right now. The Mets appear to be making a push, but with the Indians, Rangers, and potentially other teams also involved, Milwaukee does not have settle, which is why they declined the straight swap for d’Arnaud. If the Mets or any other team wants Lucroy, they will have to sweeten the pot for the Brewers, but clearly a trade involving Lucroy going to the Mets is something to keep an eye on as the deadline approaches.