In something that comes as a bit of a surprise, the Mets are reportedly one of several teams in discussions with the Milwaukee Brewers about their All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy. According to reports in the Daily News, the Mets have discussed a deal with the Brewers that would send Travis d’Arnaud to Milwaukee along with other prospects. Additionally, the Mets are keeping an eye on two Brewers relievers, current closer Jeremy Jeffress and lefthanded setup man Will Smith.
According to that report, the Brewers have already declined a straight-up swap of Lucroy for Mets starting catcher Travis d’Arnaud. The 30-year old Lucroy, arguably the second best backstop currently in the majors after Giants’ star Buster Posey, would be a clear upgrade for the Mets today over d’Arnaud and provide an added force in the middle of the lineup similar to what Yoenis Cespedes gave the club a year ago. Another bonus is that Lucroy would be under the Mets control through 2017, as his contract includes a modest $5.25 million team option.
With the trade deadline approaching next week, the Mets were expected to be active in the relief pitching market. Acquiring one of Jeffress, who has a 2.23 ERA and 3.34 FIP to go along with 23 saves, or the lefty Smith, who saw his ERA jump to 3.86 after allowing 4 earned runs today but threw to a 2.70 ERA and 2.47 FIP last season, could go a long way towards improving one of the team’s biggest strengths this year.
Meanwhile, the offense would receive quite a boost acquiring Lucroy. After a down year in 2015, Lucroy has been worth 2.7 wins so far this season and is hitting an excellent .301/.362/.491 for Milwaukee with 13 home runs, 16 doubles, and 3 triples. With a .189 ISO, Lucroy is on pace for the best power numbers of his career. He has also thrown out a career best 38% of base stealers and has long been known for excellent pitch framing skills.
What this sort of deal would cost beyond d’Arnaud is a question but the Mets have been firm in saying they would be averse to trading 20-year old top shortstop prospect Amed Rosario in any deal. If the Mets were to acquire Lucroy, it would certainly provide a large boost to a struggling lineup.