Lucroy opens up about extension proposal
Catcher expressed desire to make long-term deal with Brewers in preseason
MILWAUKEE -- As his name continues to appear in trade rumors, Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy indicated he was open to remaining in Milwaukee for the long haul. So open, that he proposed a long-term contract extension in January.
"It was a proposal that would have kept me here for the rest of my career, most likely," Lucroy said. "We gave it to them in early January, and when we got to Spring Training, they informed us they weren't interested in doing anything at this point in time."
Lucroy, 29, is in the midst of a five-year, $11 million contract that he signed in 2012, when he was still establishing himself as a frontline catcher. Lucroy earned $2 million last season, when he started the All-Star Game and finished fourth in National League MVP balloting. He is due $3 million this season, $4 million in 2016, and the Brewers hold a $5.25 million option for 2017.
An extension would begin in 2018, Lucroy's age 32 season. Lucroy declined to talk about the terms of his proposal, but recent long-term deals for other catchers provide a guide -- the most recent of which was Russell Martin's five-year, $82 million agreement with the Blue Jays. Martin signed it in November, entering his own age-32 season.
Five years has become a popular length for recent high-profile catching contracts. Yadier Molina signed with the Cardinals for five years and $75 million in March 2012, and Brian McCann got five years and $85 million from the Yankees in December 2013.
A five-year deal would have carried Lucroy through his age 37 season.
"I guess I was 50/50 on whether or not they were going to try to work with us on it," Lucroy said. "Without getting into the specific numbers and length, I don't think they were very comfortable with those parts of it."
The club-friendly nature of Lucroy's current contract makes it unlikely he will be traded before next week's nonwaiver Trade Deadline. But his name has nonetheless come up in published reports about potential deals as the Brewers endure a down year.
"I think there are some changes coming -- good changes for the Brewers.," Lucroy said. "I don't think I'll be involved in those, but I think I'll see some other stuff going on."
The extension proposal came up during a radio interview on 105.7 FM The Fan on Tuesday afternoon. Lucroy was uncomfortable discussing the topic while the Brewers (despite a recent 16-6 run) were in last place in the NL Central, and after spending nearly six weeks on the disabled list earlier this season with a fractured toe. Lucroy entered the night hitting .243 with three home runs and 19 RBIs.
But he did not regret answering honestly when asked about extension talks.
"I want to tell the truth," Lucroy said. "I believe the truth is always the best option when it comes to stuff like this. I just don't want it to seem like I'm complaining about anything. I am thankful for everything the Brewers [have done for him]."