Colorado Rockies: What the Jonathan Lucroy trade means

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 09: Jonathan Lucroy #25 of the Texas Rangers hits a single in the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on June 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. Texas won the game 5-2. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 09: Jonathan Lucroy #25 of the Texas Rangers hits a single in the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on June 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. Texas won the game 5-2. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /

There had been plenty of talk that the Colorado Rockies would acquire a catcher before the trade deadline. On Sunday night, the Rockies did just that.

Looking to upgrade behind the plate, the Rockies acquired Jonathan Lucroy from the Texas Rangers for a player to be named later. But is it really an upgrade? That’s one of the questions we’re asking below.

Will Lucroy improve the Rockies behind the plate?

The 31-year-old catcher is having the worst season of his career, hitting .242 for the Rangers. That includes .167 in 18 games in July. His OPS of .635 is the second-worst of his career. However, looking at another statistic, the Rockies catching corps of Tony Wolters, Ryan Hanigan, Dustin Garneau and Tom Murphy have combined for a -1.1 WAR this season. That’s the lowest of any team in Major League Baseball. Lucroy has a WAR of -0.5 this season. It’s a slight improvement.

Colorado Rockies
Colorado Rockies /

Colorado Rockies

So far this season, Lucroy has thrown out 29.5 percent of would-be base stealers this season. That’s an improvement for the Rockies. Additionally, his catcher ERA ranks 23rd among 30 qualified catchers. Tony Wolters ranks 29th.

One negative, however. Lucroy, once known as one of the best pitch framers in the league, has lost his luster. Baseball Prospectus recently labeled him as the worst in the Majors this season.

Who are the Rockies giving up in exchange for Lucroy?

Ah, the player to be named later. Who will it be? We don’t know. One thing we do know is that it won’t be anyone from the 2017 draft class. Under current MLB rules, if a trade happens before the World Series, no one from that draft class can be included in it.

Looking back on the trade that brought Pat Neshek to the Rockies earlier in the week, Colorado wasn’t forced to give up any prized prospects to make it happen. Neshek was a hotter commodity than Lucroy so it’s safe to say this won’t cost Colorado too much of its future either.

So where does Lucroy fit into the roster and lineup?

The Rockies had an open spot in the 40-man roster so no one loses their spot. However, someone will need to be bumped from the 25-man roster.

Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post tweeted his thoughts that the Rockies could well go with a veteran catching corps of Hanigan and Lucroy and send Wolters to Triple-A to work on his offense (he was hitting .251 with 14 RBI before Sunday night’s action).

The move may not be popular but it would make sense considering the youth of Colorado’s pitchers. Colorado manager Bud Black has praised Hanigan numerous times this season for how he has worked with Colorado’s young pitchers. Lucroy could do the same.

Regarding the lineup, Lucroy has hit everywhere from leadoff to ninth this season. The only spot he hasn’t hit in for Texas this season is second. He’s been most productive batting fourth but he will be nowhere near that with Colorado’s loaded lineup.

Here’s a sample lineup and where Lucroy might fit in…

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Charlie Blackmon, CF

DJ LeMahieu, 2B

Nolan Arenado, 3B

Gerardo Parra, LF

Mark Reynolds, 1B

Raimel Tapia, RF

Trevor Story, SS

Jonathon Lucroy, C


He’s hitting just .156 this season in the eight spot. However, knowing his current struggles at the plate, we can’t see him hitting higher than seventh until he proves he can regain his swing with him back in the National League.

Is this the move that pushes the Rockies further into the postseason?

It depends on if Lucroy can recapture some of the magic from when he played with the Brewers and was one of the National League’s best behind the plate.

This move shows the Rockies are serious about winning this year and looking to upgrade where they can. However, is it enough? Right now, Colorado isn’t worried about catching the Los Angeles Dodgers for the division title. The Rockies are focused on not only making the Wild Card but hosting it at Coors Field.

Next: Will the Rockies make more moves before the deadline?

Lucroy’s name is impressive, but his 2017 season hasn’t been. Anyone can hit at Coors Field, right? If you believe the Coors Field scoffers then, who knows, maybe Colorado is just what Lucroy needs to rediscover his spark. If it is, then Lucroy will be just what the Rockies need as well.

What happens next?

We will find out on Tuesday. The Rockies have an off day on Monday before starting a three-game series at Coors Field against the New York Mets on Tuesday.