Washington Nationals: Jonathan Lucroy a decent target

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

With the Washington Nationals quickly running out of catching candidates, they must make a move soon. Jonathan Lucroy could be a decent target.

The Washington Nationals have been attempting to acquire a catcher all off-season, but to no avail. They have recently intensified their pursuit of J.T. Realmuto, but they may find Miami’s asking price to be too high.

If that is the case, Jonathan Lucroy is a decent Plan B. The 31-year-old backstop is coming off of a bit of a down year by his standards, but is a prime bounce-back candidate.

Lucroy spent the first six and a half seasons of his career with the Milwaukee Brewers, but has spent time with the Texas Rangers and Colorado Rockies over the last two years.

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2017 was not a poster season for the veteran backstop, which was largely due to a prolonged slump in the first half. He was eventually shipped to Colorado at the trade deadline, where he enjoyed much more success.

While Lucroy’s second-half numbers are promising, they should be taken with a grain of salt. He hit .310 in 46 games with the Rockies, raising his season batting average to .265, but his home/road splits are concerning.

Throughout Lucroy’s stint with the Rockies, he hit .367 at Coors Field and just .238 on the road. This is a relatively small sample size, with 27 games at home and 19 on the road, but the advantage of hitting at Coors Field is definitely evident with Lucroy.

Although Lucroy struggled in 2017, he is just one year removed from an all-star-caliber season. In 2016, he owned a .292/.355/.500 slash line to go with 24 homers. If he is able to return to a similar level of production, he would be an enormous asset.

Lucroy should also come relatively cheap. He made just $5.2 million in 2017, which was by far the highest annual salary of his career, and his stock is now at an all-time low. Add in the fact that there is not much of a market for catchers, and he should theoretically sign a team-friendly deal.

Perhaps Lucroy would even sign an exceptionally team-friendly deal with the Nats. He was on the WBC-winning Team USA, but only has 14 postseason games under his belt. He is not getting any younger, and his opportunity to win a World Series may be coming to an end. With the Nats, he would have an excellent shot to possibly win a ring.

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Although most Nats fans are hoping for Realmuto, Lucroy could be a decent target as well. He struggled a bit in 2017, but there is certainly reason to believe he will return to form in 2018. He should not be the Nats’ primary target, but could be a solid fallback if they find Realmuto’s price to be too high.