Indians reportedly pursuing Brewers' Lucroy

Indians reportedly pursuing Brewers' Lucroy

PITTSBURGH -- The Indians are among the clubs in trade talks with the Brewers regarding catcher/first baseman Jonathan Lucroy, according to reports from MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi and ESPN's Buster Olney.

A source told MLB.com's Jordan Bastian that the Indians' current focus is on improving the bullpen, but the club is open-minded to other avenues to improve the roster. Brewers assistant GM Matt Arnold, who joined his team at PNC Park before Lucroy drove in three runs in a 9-5 win over the Pirates on Wednesday night, declined comment on reports about the Indians' interest.

Catcher appears to be a need for the Indians. Yan Gomes is out for at least six weeks after suffering a separated right shoulder on Sunday. Gomes' current replacement, Roberto Perez, recently returned from the disabled list and entered Wednesday's game against the Royals 0-for-10 on the season.

Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said Tuesday that catcher wasn't a focus for the club at this point, but in Lucroy, Brewers officials believe they have the best player available on the midseason trade market. A club source said the team has been fielding significant interest in Lucroy and a slew of other players, including reliever Will Smith, another player of interest to the Indians, along with fellow pitchers Jeremy Jeffress and Junior Guerra.

Lucroy entered Wednesday slashing .305/.362/.494 with 12 home runs, 16 doubles and 45 RBIs, and was baseball's third-most productive catcher by weighted runs created plus (123). He was an All-Star this year for the second time in his career.

Lucroy's solo home run

Finances are not a significant factor; Lucroy's club-friendly contract pays $4 million this year and includes a $5.25 million club option for next season that is a lock to be exercised.

Lucroy does have limited no-trade rights, though Arnold, who along with GM David Stearns is in his first season leading the Brewers' baseball operations, declined to confirm whether the Indians were one of the eight teams on Lucroy's no-trade list. Even if they were, that would likely be a clearable hurdle; Lucroy has said he would love to play for a contender.

Before the ESPN report emerged Wednesday, Lucroy told MLB.com that the rumors were not a distraction.

"It was a distraction during the offseason, and I learned my lesson with that," he said. "When things are out of your control, you have to basically ignore it. If and when something happens -- and that's a big if -- I'm not going to worry."

Lucroy nabs Marte

Lucroy is in regular contact with his longtime agent, Doug Rogalski, but said they rarely talk about trade rumors. Lucroy said he has not discussed the possibility of a trade with Stearns since Spring Training.

In Wednesday's win over the Pirates, Lucroy delivered what manager Craig Counsell called the key hit of win over the Pirates, a two-run single in the sixth inning that extended a 5-4 Brewers lead to 7-4. Lucroy is on a six-game hitting streak and is 51-for-151 (.338) over his last 42 games, raising his batting average from .275 to .305.

"Those top three guys, 1-2-3, had good ABs all night," Lucroy said, referring to Jonathan Villar, Hernan Perez and Ryan Braun. "I think I came up with a runner on third and less than two outs three times, and whenever you do that, it's a lot of fun." 

He's aware that the Brewers have set a high price in their trade talks to date.

"I feel good about that," Lucroy said with a smile. "I feel valuable. It's a self-esteem booster, for sure."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.