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Lucroy reflects on journey from Milwaukee

Veteran backstop welcomes fresh start in Colorado
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

DENVER -- Jonathan Lucroy once hoped to be a Brewer for life. On Saturday, less than 13 months after he was traded away from his original organization, he reflected on an unexpected road to the Rockies.

"A lot's changed," Lucroy said before Saturday's game against Colorado at Coors Field. "It's been a pretty big adjustment moving around. At this time last year, I never thought I would be in Colorado. … I've learned my lesson twice. You can't have expectations in this game because in my experience it usually doesn't work out."

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DENVER -- Jonathan Lucroy once hoped to be a Brewer for life. On Saturday, less than 13 months after he was traded away from his original organization, he reflected on an unexpected road to the Rockies.

"A lot's changed," Lucroy said before Saturday's game against Colorado at Coors Field. "It's been a pretty big adjustment moving around. At this time last year, I never thought I would be in Colorado. … I've learned my lesson twice. You can't have expectations in this game because in my experience it usually doesn't work out."

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Twice, Lucroy says, he has proposed long-term contract extensions only to be rebuffed. It happened in Milwaukee in 2015, when Lucroy was coming off a breakthrough season that saw him start the All-Star Game and finish fourth in National League MVP balloting. But while examining the offer, the Brewers dove into rebuilding, and a catcher entering his 30s apparently did not fit.

After Lucroy vetoed a trade to the Indians last July over concerns about playing time there, the Brewers shipped him instead to Texas, another place Lucroy hoped to remain long-term. But again, his interest in a long-term contract was rebuffed.

Texas tabled those talks during Spring Training, adding to Lucroy's frustration in what became the most trying healthy season of his career. Lucroy underperformed to the tune of a .635 OPS, and the same concerns about playing time that prompted him to veto the trade to Cleveland materialized in Texas before the Rangers traded him to the Rockies for a player to be named on July 30.

"They just weren't at that time in the state of the organization that they wanted to make those commitments, which I'm fine with. I get that," Lucroy said. "I don't want to be somewhere that doesn't [want me].

"It's like being married, it really is. If you don't want to be with your wife, you shouldn't show her any love. It's the same thought process for me. Whenever I'm somewhere and I know the team is invested in me, I get invested in them emotionally. That's just the way I was made. I guess you could say I care too much. That's what's burned me, that I care too much."

The other player in the Lucroy trade, Jeremy Jeffress, had a similarly sour experience before being dealt back to Milwaukee on July 31. Jeffress, too, declined to talk about his Rangers experience on Saturday, saying only that he was happy that he and Lucroy both wound up with new teams.

After turning 31 in June, Lucroy will be a free agent after the season.

"I'm hoping to be somewhere where I can contribute on an everyday basis and help the team win, where I can go out and be depended on to do the job," Lucroy said. "That's what I'm looking for. Whether that is here [with the Rockies] or somewhere else, I don't know what's going to happen with all that. I do love it here, though. I like it a lot. It's a great place."

While Lucroy has tried to regain his footing, the Brewers have reaped the benefits of the trade. Besides the prospect haul, led by MLBPipeline.com's No. 15 prospect Lewis Brinson, the deal lead to the emergence of new Brewers catcher Manny Pina, who entered Saturday tied for seventh in the Majors at the position with 1.8 WAR (Wins Above Replacement).

"Manny has really taken a big step forward this year and proven that he's a player," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He's been a valuable player for us."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Jonathan Lucroy