The New York Mets could use an upgrade behind the plate. If you believe trends, Jonathan Lucroy can save the season.
After weeks of Jose Lobaton and Tomas Nido behind the plate for the New York Mets, it’s clear this team needs a new catcher. Kevin Plawecki should return, but is he really enough to carry this team through the year?
One of the rumored targets of the Mets this offseason was veteran backstop Jonathan Lucroy. The 31-year-old catcher eventually settled on a one-year deal with the Oakland Athletics worth an unexpectedly small $6.5 million.
It’s understandable why Lucroy earned far less than many predicted. Not many teams needed a catcher and organizations like the Mets passed on him.
Lucroy played poorly in the first half of 2017 with the Texas Rangers. However, he did heat up once he joined the Colorado Rockies. Though he didn’t hit with much power, Lucroy slashed .310/.429/.437 with Colorado in 175 plate appearances.
The year prior, Lucroy had a similar surge once traded. When he was traded by the Milwaukee Brewers to the Rangers, Lucroy found his power stroke. His slash line numbers took a small dip, but he hit 11 home runs in only 168 trips to the plate.
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For two straight years, Lucroy has been traded at the deadline. Both times he heated up and helped his team to the postseason. Unfortunately, the Rangers were swept in the ALDS in 2016 and the Rockies fell in the Wild Card game in 2017.
Trends are important in sports. This is a small sample size, but there’s something to be said about a veteran going from a team going nowhere to a contender and putting up good numbers.
Nobody expects the Athletics to sniff the postseason this year. He’s one of the most likely trade candidates in July. If you believe in streaks, the Mets need to pay whatever it takes to get him.
Lucroy has already started off 2018 well. In his first 97 plate appearances, he’s batting .284/.351/.384. He has yet to hit a home run, but can Mets fans really complain about that?
Lucroy can get hits and right now that’s all anyone wants to see from the catcher.
As a guy with a track-record of hitting well and playing above-average defense, Lucroy is certainly a target the Mets cannot shy away from. The Athletics are rarely shy about trading players. After all, this is the same franchise that dealt Yoenis Cespedes to the Boston Red Sox to acquire Jon Lester in the middle of a pennant race.
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Lucroy won’t cost a lot, but he will have an asking price the Mets will need to meet. Everyone knows they are desperate for help and you better believe they aren’t about to do any favors.