Houston Astros Rumors: How Jonathan Lucroy would fit with this team

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 01: Jonathan Lucroy
DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 01: Jonathan Lucroy /

The Houston Astros have wasted no time in tinkering with their World Series roster to make it even better.  According to recent report, the team does have interest in free agent catcher Jonathan Lucroy.  How would he potentially fit?

The stove is plenty hot for us Houston Astros fans and the latest swirl of rumors points toward free agent catcher Jonathan Lucroy drawing the attention of the brass of the front office.  He still is quite a solid catcher just fresh of a All-Star nomination back in 2016.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported on the development of signing the 31-year-old vet formerly of the Colorado Rockies:

I’m actually not surprised by this news because Jeff Luhnow is always looking for ways to improve this team.  There’s just absolutely no way you can bring the entire band back together because the likelihood that the same level of success could be achieved with the same group of guys diminishes a bit.  That’s why changes are certainly imminent.

But where are the Houston Astros going with this if they’re interested?  Brian McCann has two years left of a five-year, $85 million deal that he signed with the New York Yankees back in 2013.  We know, especially with the way he commanded the plate during the playoffs, that man isn’t going anywhere.

However, the intriguing wrinkle is Evan Gattis, who has been the backup catcher/designated hitter for the past two seasons.  Gattis came up big in the playoffs, especially in the ALCS Game 7 where he hit a solo homer out to left-center off C.C. Sabathia in the 4th inning which arguably was the spark that pushed the Astros to a 4-0 series-clinching win.

Gattis is in his final year of arbitration before hitting free agency in 2019 and could fetch about $6.6 million for the upcoming season according to the latest arbitration projections from MLB Trade Rumors.

But that certainly depends on what the Astros offer and what Gattis files his salary numbers at.  Aside from the home runs, their slash lines for 2017 are quite similar and the team may feel they’re getting the same guy either way.

Please let me illustrate:

Gattis — .263/.311/.457, .767 OPS and 12 home runs

Lucroy — .265/.345/.371, .716 OPS and six home runs

With Gattis’ value at an all-time high, who knows if the team is planning to trade him to bring in additional talent to help.  It’s no secret that we’re looking for left-handed pitcher and even a closer at this point so one has got to have all the chips on the table to make the offer one can’t refuse.

This is also clearly signaling that the Houston Astros don’t feel that Juan Centeno is ready to embrace the backup catcher role just yet.  He had some terrific flashes of brilliance and was on the World Series roster but I think they’re going to let him cook in the oven just a bit longer.

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If this does come fruition, I definitely want the Lucroy from 2016 where his numbers were off the charts with the man putting up a line of .292/.355/.500 with a .855 OPS and 24 home runs!  I think he still has it in him!

But can McCann, Gattis and Lucroy all co-exist?  It’s possible because there’s some versatility with the aforementioned — especially Gattis — but I’m sure the Astros don’t want any redundancies on this roster.  Lucroy just finished a five-year, $11 million deal that was a buyout of his remaining arbitration years and is ready to hit the market.  He made $5.25 million last season.

I’d suspect that he could command double from what he made this past season — a salary of $10 million or more per season because there is a huge market for a guy of his stature.  Will the Astros outbid to attain his services?  We’ll have to see as somehow they were able to land Justin Verlander in a seconds-before-deadline deal.

Next: An Open Letter to Carlos Beltran with reflection

But would I be for signing Lucroy?  Absolutely!  But I honestly think we still have it good with the catching duo we have now in McCann/Gattis.  But I have to be honest as well as keep my eyes and options open.

We’ll see how this pans out on the hot stove!  No pun intended! Well…maybe.

Go Astros!