Could an Old Foe Be a Welcome Addition to Help the Indians Catcher Dilemma?

Matt Loede

Fan bases love to boo certain players who at one point maybe said something about their favorite team, or did something to draw the ire of the fans.

The year was 2016, and the Cleveland Indians were very active on the trade market, looking for two needs for their playoff bound roster - catcher and relief pitcher.

The team had a need at catcher due to an injury to starter Yan Gomes, and they really didn't know what they had with backup Roberto Perez.

The Tribe had their sights set on one player who they thought could help at that position - Jonathan Lucroy.

Lucroy at the time was a member of the Milwaukee Brewers, and was hitting .300 with 13 homers and 50 RBI, and would be an immediate upgrade at the position.

The loot the Indians were willing to give up was steep at the time, catching prospect Francisco Mejia, and outfielder Greg Allen, who was in Double-A with Akron.

The Brewers and Indians worked out a deal, and it appeared that Lucroy was on his way to joining the Tribe.

Not so fast.

Lucoy had a no-trade clause in his contract, and that no-trade clause included eight teams - and one of them was - yep - the Indians.

The catcher basically said "no" and the Indians were left standing at the alter without a catcher, and with really no options to getting Lucroy at that point.

They shifted their attention to the relief pitcher spot, and struck gold, landing New York Yankees reliever Andrew Miller.

All Miller did was win the MVP of the ALCS, and become a huge fan favorite among Indians fans for the three seasons he was in Cleveland, going 10-7 with a 2.22 ERA.

Lucroy did wind up getting traded, to the Texas Rangers, who were knocked out of the postseason in 2016 by the Toronto Blue Jays, the team the Indians would beat in the ALCS to advance to the World Series.

Fast forward now four years later, and the the 34-year-old Lucroy is looking for employment in baseball - and guess what team could really use a decent veteran catcher?

Yes, the Indians.

Right now the Tribe's two catchers on the roster are Sandy Leon and Beau Taylor, neither of which are going to knock your socks off from an offensive standpoint.

Last season in Boston Leon hit just .192, and mind you this was coming off a .177 season the year prior.

The 30-year-old Taylor has appeared in just 19 career games, including Wednesday night when he was called for catcher interference in the 9th inning which eventually cost the Indians some runs in their 4-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

Lucroy was released on Wednesday by the Boston Red Sox, and really has been a journeyman player since that 2016 season, playing for six different teams (Rangers, Cubs, Rockies, Red Sox, Angels, A's).

Whenever he made his way to Progressive Field as an opponent, Indians fans would boo him something fierce, something that could potentially be a factor if Lucroy has a decision to make to come to the city or not.

Lucroy has never come close to duplicating those All-Star numbers of 2016 when he ended the season between Milwaukee and Texas hitting .292 with 24 homers and 81 RBI.

But to bring him in as a stop gap with the intent on getting Perez back and hopefully close to 100 percent in about two weeks might be all the Indians need him for.

Sure the club would love to bring in Lucroy, have him be a great teammate, and watch him have a big year where he hits for both average and power while handling the team's pitching staff.

That's not likely to happen, but it would be wise for the Indians to at least do their homework on Lucroy to see if he can help out while Perez works his way back from injury.

In 2016 it was Perez who stepped up and played well in the postseason and World Series. Now the Indians can't just sit back and allow the catcher spot to be manned likely by two players who won't hit much over .200 if that.

Lucroy may say "no" again if given the offer to come play with the Tribe, and one can probably understand why.

But based on what we've seen from the catcher spot thus far in six games even with Perez (.105 (2-for-19), 1 run scored, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts), it might be worth a phone call to Lucroy's agent to gauge any interest. 

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