New York Mets: Signing Jonathan Lucroy could give them a boost

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 17: Jonathan Lucroy
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 17: Jonathan Lucroy /

Free-agent catcher Jonathan Lucroy doesn’t appear to have very many options this offseason. The New York Mets, a team in need of a boost, could use his services.

The New York Mets seem undecided about how they will tackle the 2018 season. They haven’t made any significant move this winter, leaving them with as more holes than they finished with at the end of the 2017 season.

Although their primary interest is at first base and second base, they may want to look at free agent catcher Jonathan Lucroy.

Once regarded as a top catcher in baseball, Lucroy fell on hard times at the beginning of 2017. He didn’t play up to his talent for the first few months of the season while wearing a Texas Rangers uniform. In his 306 plate appearances with Texas, Lucroy slashed .242/.297/.338 and added only four home runs.

These numbers hardly compared to what Lucroy gave the Rangers at the end of 2016. Following a trade from the Milwaukee Brewers, Lucroy ended the year strong and helped put the Rangers in the playoffs. He batted .276/.345/.539 for them and provided them with 11 home runs in only 168 opportunities.

For as poorly as 2017 started, things improved when Lucroy joined the Colorado Rockies. While there, he hit .310/.429/.437 in his final 175 plate appearances. His power numbers didn’t return as he knocked only two representing Denver.

Adding a new catcher is not at the top of the Mets’ post-Christmas wishlist. In particular, one which will cost as much as Lucroy may be out of reach.

However, if this is a team determined to get back into the playoff picture quickly, they might have an opportunity to land Lucroy at a discount.

It seemed like an excellent fit for the Rockies re-sign Lucroy. They decided to reunite with Chris Iannetta instead. Understandably so, Iannetta is more affordable and coming off a pretty good year with the rival Arizona Diamondbacks.

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So, this has left Lucroy with fewer landing spots. It has also presented the Mets with an opportunity to upgrade the catcher position by signing a guy ready to agree to a discount.

The urgency to sign Lucroy is non-existent. The Mets have Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki to share the innings behind the dish.

As inefficient as they have been, it’s only a little below average what they get from them.

Compared to the Washington Nationals’ pairing of Matt Wieters and Jose Lobaton last season, d’Arnaud and Plawecki look like Johnny Bench and Roy Campanella.

As much as Lucroy may not make immediate sense for the Mets, a healthy rotation in 2018 will require some offense to support it. Lucroy can help add some runs to their side of the scoreboard.

Furthermore, Lucroy can solve the Mets’ need for a first baseman. Their concern over playing Dominic Smith for 162 games would go out the window.

This kind of positional flexibility would give Mickey Callaway more options with his lineup card. If someone is slumping, it’s easy to take away at-bats and plug in the hotter player.

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Plenty of offseason remains. Many top free agents remain unsigned. Jonathan Lucroy just happens to be the best catcher without a home for 2018. Should the New York Mets decide their fans deserve a winning team in 2018, it’s players like them they must sneakily add.