The Oakland Athletics signed the top free agent catcher on the market, Jonathan Lucroy, to a one-year contract on Friday. The terms of the salary are currently unknown (this post will be updated when the value is disclosed).
Jonathan Lucroy was a 2-time All-Star while playing for the Milwaukee Brewers, but the 32-year-old experienced a down year in 2017. In 2017, Lucroy hit .310/.428/.437 with 2 homers and 13 RBIs in 46 games for the Colorado Rockies after being sent to Coors in a midseason trade with the Texas Rangers. Lucroy hit .242 with 4 homers and 27 RBIs in 77 games with Texas before the trade. Lucroy’s highly praised defense also took a hit in 2017 despite the Colorado Rockies speaking very highly about his work with their pitchers.
The Oakland A’s’ catching situation going into 2018 was questionable at best, with Bruce Maxwell being a replacement-level catcher as a rookie in 2017 at the very best, along with serious legal issues hanging over his head. While Josh Phegley and Dustin Garneau are stable catchers that can get the job done, they are not the most reliable producers and would do more harm than good for Oakland. Lucroy will now bring experience, legitimate upside, and a familiar face for fans to the catching position.
Oakland is not going to be a good team in any sense of the word (as broad as the word “good” is) in 2018, and are expected to once again be at the bottom of the strong American League West. The A’s will likely play the role of punching bag for the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers, and even the Seattle Mariners and it is going to be a tough season for A’s fans. Oakland is likely only going to go as far as their pitching can take them (especially with them having just one legitimate power threat in Khris Davis) and it doesn’t look like that will be very far.
Lucroy will at least give the Oakland A’s a good starting backstop with great upside (Lucroy is one year removed from hitting .292/.355/.500) and a possible fan favorite. As for Lucroy, 2018 will be the year where he either bounces back or becomes the next Chone Figgins. Hopefully, Lucroy can have a bounce-back season and help his case for the 2018 offseason where he will once again be a free-agent.