Kill Your Darlings: Jonathan Lucroy as Trade Bait


This is the third edition of Kill Your Darlings – a series in justifying selling off your favorite Milwaukee Brewers before the July trade deadline for the greater good of the team.

The Milwaukee Brewers appear, at least on the outside, to be willing to move anyone they can for appropriate value two to three seasons down the road. Brewers GM Doug Melvin has not specifically named most of the players that are going into this series yet, but word around the league is that he would listen to offers for pretty much anyone.

That brings us to Jonathan Lucroy, the Brewers catcher and one of the fan favorites on this team.

Jonathan Lucroy does a lot of little things for the Milwaukee Brewers. Would he be more valuable on the trading block? (Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)

The Situation: In the big picture, Jonathan Lucroy’s locker seems pretty safe in Miller Park. He’s under team control until 2017 and he has been the team’s primary backstop since 2011. Not only that, the Brewers have him locked in a pretty sweet deal for the next four years and through the likely peak of his career.

Jonathan Lucroy offers a lot of value worth keeping to the Brewers as well. He’s already drove in 42 runs this season, makes a lot of contact, and can give the team some good power. He’s even been known to steal a handful of bases a season. He’s on pace this year to blow his numbers from 2012 out of the water. In all, the 27 year-old offers up a good mix of tools and potential that can help this team remain competitive even after a fire sale.

Why He Should Go: Despite the numbers we just mentioned, there is still plenty more room between Lucroy’s head and the ceiling above him. That is to say, while we might love his potential it is far from fulfilled.

What that can mean to a team looking for extra pieces in their championship run is they would rather take a chance on potential with MLB service time at a good deal than waste an option on a prospect with potential who isn’t ready yet. When a Major League player like Lucroy comes along, he can very easily sweeten the pot in a multi-player trade by adding good defense behind the plate, and a bat that has proven its worth when runners are in scoring position.

Lucroy’s deal is also intriguing if you’re heading up another team looking for trade pieces. Having a player you can pick up and not have to worry about for a few seasons is a very good thing if you are rebuilding. It’s even better when you realize that the very same player under team control will barely make a dent in your payroll for the entirety of his contract.

I will say that it is highly unlikely Jonathan Lucroy is one of the pieces moved during the trade window. While Martin Maldonado may yet grow into a high-performing catcher in the Majors, I’m not sure if Milwaukee would be willing to give up the kind of security he offers both behind the plate and in the lineup. But we are living in strange times and the Brewers are struggling to redefine their direction. If the right deal does come along and Lucroy can be packaged up and shipped along for good value, it would behoove the Brewers to sign that deal.

He’s affordable, he has room to grow, and he could easily make an impact on any roster that would have him. I’m not saying he’s gone, I’m just saying that maybe we shouldn’t get too attached.