Gimenez, Perez react to vetoed Lucroy deal

Gimenez, Perez react to vetoed Lucroy deal

CLEVELAND -- Chris Gimenez did not get much sleep on Saturday night. Even though the Indians' backup catcher has developed into a leader in the clubhouse and his work behind the plate has earned the trust of the pitching staff, reports that Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy was coming to Cleveland kept him up.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried that I'd have a job today," Gimenez said after Sunday's 8-0 win over the A's.

In the hours leading up to the Tribe's win over Oakland, an agreement between the Indians and Brewers fell apart after Lucroy invoked his no-trade clause and blocked a trade to Cleveland. The Tribe was prepared to send a four-player prospect package to Milwaukee centered around Minor League catcher Francisco Mejia. With that deal off the table, Gimenez and Roberto Perez will continue on as Cleveland's big league catching duo.

A source confirmed to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy that Lucroy opted to veto the trade when Cleveland would not agree to compensate him for doing so or tear up his $5.25 million team option. Lucroy was also reportedly not promised that he would be the starting catcher in 2017, considering Cleveland catcher Yan Gomes (currently on the disabled list) is under contract.

Gimenez admitted that he did not know Lucroy's specific reasoning, but the Tribe's backup catcher said it was "his loss."

"We all know, from the stories, everything that's been said. But who really knows behind the scenes?" Gimenez said. "Even though he plays my position, he's definitely an upgrade. It'd be ridiculous to say that he wasn't. He definitely could've helped. At the same point, we feel pretty strongly about the guys we have here, too. Unfortunately, he chose not to be a part of it. Hopefully, we can win the World Series and we'll be laughing at him."

Gimenez applauded the efforts of Cleveland's front office, which did acquire elite reliever Andrew Miller from the Yankees on Sunday in exchange for four Minor Leaguers, including highly-touted outfield prospect Clint Frazier. The catcher also knows that the Indians will likely continue to look for offensive help leading up to Monday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline, given that the Lucroy trade collapsed.

"We got the best reliever out there," Gimenez said. "I mean, Aroldis Chapman is what he is, but I think for our team, Miller fits perfectly. I think they went all in. That's really all you can say about it. And I would be crazy to say I wasn't terrified about it. It's part of the job, too. I knew the situation. There was always potential that I could not be a part of it, or I could've been.

"If I was a part of it, and [Lucroy] was here, I was going to do everything I could to get him up to speed as possible on the league, division, our guys."

Gomes (out at least another month with a separated right shoulder), Perez and Gimenez have combined to hit .169 with a .507 OPS this season, marking the lowest offensive output from the catching position in the Majors. Perez, who recently returned from a broken right thumb, has hit .080 through 12 games, while Gimenez has posted a .202 average through 43 games. That group has, however, provided above-average defense.

Perez said he has tried to tune out the rumors over the past 24 hours.

"I can't control those things. This game is a business," Perez said. "I'm just focusing on contributing to this team. Now, [Lucroy] didn't approve it, so we just have to come out and play the game like we have been doing it."

Gimenez said he and his fellow catcher talked about as much before Sunday's win, in which Perez helped starter Corey Kluber through seven shutout innings, while going 1-for-2 with an RBI single and a pair of walks.

"We kind of are taking it as a little bit of a challenge on ourselves," Gimenez said. "All right, if this is going to be our turn, we need to step up and do it."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.