If Jonathan Lucroy is Available, Cardinals Must Take Advantage of Opportunity
Recently, former All-Star Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy expressed his interest to be traded to a playoff contender. Who can blame him? Last year, the Milwaukee Brewers finished 68-94, good for 4th in a loaded NL Central Division in which three teams went to the playoffs, while the Brewers were 29 games out of Wild Card contention. With the number of trades the Brewers have completed this winter, the organization has made it clear that they are focused on building the team for the future.
At 30-years old, Lucroy knows that his time in the Majors is ticking away and he wants to win now. After spending his entire professional career in Milwaukee, Lucroy wishes for a fresh start and to be playing for a team that will have meaningful games long into October. Because of his consistence and his adaptability to play both catcher and first base, the St. Louis Cardinals would be an ideal landing spot for Lucroy.
Even though the Cardinals have Yadier Molina, an 8-time Gold-Glover and the heart and soul of the team, they can convert Lucroy to a first basemen and add another consistent bat in their lineup. Last year, first base was the weakest position on the team, batting wise. Mark Reynolds batted a measly .230. Lucroy is a lifetime .282 hitter. Only two years ago, Lucroy finished 4th in NL MVP when he batted .301 and had a career high 53 doubles. In the last couple of spring trainings, the Brewers have already begun working on Lucroy at first base, so this would not be an extreme makeover, but rather a project that needs more refining.
Lucroy averages about 10 games a year at first base, since he first begun learning the position in 2012. In 40 career games at first base, Lucroy has committed only 3 errors. Also, Lucroy would be a viable fill-in at the catcher position when Yadier Molina begins to take more days off. Yadier Molina is 33 years old and has already played more than Major League 1400 games in his career. Catching so many games has undoubtedly had an effect on his aging body.
In the last three seasons, his batting average dropped from .319 to .282 to .270. Even if the Cardinals had Lucroy play first base and put him at catcher in games where a DH is available, where Molina would presumably bat, those extra games where Molina gets off his knees can have an impact later in the year when the games start to matter more in October. Though the Brewers are likely to ask for a lot in return, the Cardinals should pursue this trade and offer assets from their farm system.
After losing Jason Heyward to the Chicago Cubs, the Cardinals need another consistent #3 in the batting line-up worthy hitter and they should look no further than the Milwaukee Brewers for Jonathon Lucroy to get that.
Statistics from www.Baseball-Reference.com