Minnesota Twins Hot Stove: Jonathan Lucroy on the block?


ESPN’s Buster Olney reports (Insider) that the Milwaukee Brewers are open to offers on anyone on their roster. This includes Jonathan Lucroy, one of the game’s top catchers, and a name the Minnesota Twins have been mixed in with if he hits the block.

Lucroy is owed just $9.25 million over the next two seasons of a very team-friendly contract. Olney notes it is possible the team opts to make a deadline trade in hopes his value increases. Lucroy hit just .264 in 103 injury-plagued games in 2015, but is generally considered a top defensive catcher with a plus-bat.

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New General Manager David Stearns is likely to continue the team’s rebuild by dealing first baseman Adam Lind, among others. Lucroy would signal a big change as he’s the most marketable player behind Ryan Braun. Combined with Lucroy’s contract, his skill, popularity and position make his value pretty high to begin with.

If Lucroy is available in the off season, the Minnesota Twins are among the teams that could go in on the 29-year-old catcher. Kurt Suzuki was a disappointment in 2015 at the plate, and A.J. Pierzynski is the only sensible upgrade circulating in the rumor mill for the Twins to date, besides a Lucroy trade.

The Twins could center a deal around a package of Trevor Plouffe, Jorge Polanco and a starter — possibly one of the younger arms that lose out on the 2016 rotation battle (Trevor May, Tyler Duffey or Tommy Milone). Plouffe would fill gaps at third base and first base and Polanco would slot in at second base as Milwaukee awaits highly-touted prospect Orlando Arcia at shortstop.

A young, ready starter is a guesstimate on my part, but May could be a selling point as some scouts see him as a better bullpen arm, though he’s made it clear he wants to be a starter, and Milwaukee may be willing to take the chance he develops into a useful rotation part. On the Twins’ side, they have an abundance of mid-rotation starters competing for spots in 2016.

This is speculative, of course, as a player like Lucroy could bring in a higher return than above.

The Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels are rumored to have interest in Lucroy as well. Minnesota has the deepest prospect base ahead of Atlanta, who would likely include catching prospect Christian Bethancourt in a deal.