The Milwaukee Brewers traded catcher Jonathan Lucroy after all.
Milwaukee moved Lucroy to the Texas Rangers along with pitcher Jeremy Jeffress ahead of Monday's MLB trade deadline, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reported Lewis Brinson and Luis Ortiz would be heading to the Brewers in exchange for Lucroy and Jeffress.
Lucroy commented on his departure from Milwaukee and move to Texas on his Twitter account after being informed of the trade:
This comes after the Brewers already tried to trade the catcher to the Cleveland Indians before the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports initially reported on the prospective deal and said Milwaukee would have gotten four players in return for Lucroy.
While Lucroy would have moved from the Brewers to the AL Central-leading Indians in the deal, the catcher used his no-trade clause to prevent it from happening, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, Lucroy wanted the Indians to get rid of the 2017 club option on his contract. Once Cleveland declined, Lucroy vetoed the deal and remained on the Brewers until Monday's trade.
Cleveland's loss was Texas' eventual gain, as Lucroy is one of the better offensive catchers in the league. He was named to the National League All-Star team for the second time in his career this season (he was also an All-Star in 2014) and currently sports a .299 batting average with 13 home runs and 50 RBI.
This year has been a bounce-back effort from his 2015 season, when he slashed .264/.326/.391 with seven home runs and 43 RBI. Injuries held the catcher back last year, and he appeared in only 105 games as the Brewers struggled on their way to a fourth-place finish.
Fortunately for Lucroy's new team, his 2015 effort appears to be an anomaly. He has demonstrated solid power numbers and the ability to hit for average from the catcher position on a consistent basis:
|Jonathan Lucroy's Career Stats|
|Season||Games||Batting Average||Home Runs||RBI||OPS|
Lucroy is also a steadying presence behind the plate. He rated as a plus-10 in defensive runs saved in 2014, per FanGraphs, and brings veteran experience and the capability of handling a pitching staff regularly.
The Lucroy trade was the second in a big day for the AL West-leading Rangers. Prior to sealing the deal for Lucroy, Texas announced it had acquired outfielder Carlos Beltran from the New York Yankees.
The Brewers are looking up at the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Central and don't have any realistic hope of contending for a playoff spot this season. Trading Lucroy accelerates their rebuild as they eye the future with a farm system that Sam Dykstra of MiLB.com ranked as the 11th-best in baseball before the 2016 season.
Milwaukee lost an All-Star catcher Monday, but it can at least take solace in its talented crop of young players becoming even more formidable with this trade.