WASHINGTON -- Looking for an experienced catcher to help a young staff, the Rockies acquired two-time All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy from the Rangers for a player to be named, the teams announced on Sunday night.Lucroy, 31, had struggled offensively this year, hitting .242 with four home runs and 27 RBIs
WASHINGTON -- Looking for an experienced catcher to help a young staff, the Rockies acquired two-time All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy from the Rangers for a player to be named, the teams announced on Sunday night.
Lucroy, 31, had struggled offensively this year, hitting .242 with four home runs and 27 RBIs in 77 games. But offense is secondary for a Rockies staff that, at least currently, fields four rookies and a second-year man in the starting rotation, and even when all are healthy doesn't have a starter older than 28.
"Getting Jonathan gives us a guy with some veteran presence behind the plate, as does Ryan Hanigan [currently backup to second-year man Tony Wolters] as our starters go into uncharted territory the next two months," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "His track record's pretty good. The guy's an All-Star. He's had success in the Major Leagues both offensively and defensively. We should feel good about this one."
This is the second year Lucroy, who is in the final year of a six-year, $15.5 million contract, has been dealt near the deadline. Last year, Lucroy used his no-trade provision to nix a deal from the Brewers to the Indians before accepting a trade to the Rangers.
The deal occurs on the eve of Monday's 2 p.m. MT non-waiver Trade Deadline. The Rockies on Wednesday dealt with the Phillies for righty relief pitcher Pat Neshek. Word around the Majors is the Rockies still seek a strong late-innings reliever, preferably one whose contract they control next season.
The front office's aggression at the deadline went over well in the clubhouse, according to s tar third baseman Nolan Arenado, who shared Uber rides with Lucroy when the two played [along with Neshek and lefty reliever Jake McGee] on Team USA's World Baseball Classic championship team.
In his fifth season, the biggest deal Arenado could remember was shortstop Troy Tulowitzki going to a Blue Jays' club that two years ago was gearing for the postseason the way the Rockies are now.
"It seems like the front office understands that we're for real, we're in this, and they're trying to make the moves to get better," Arenado said. "We appreciate that.
"I guess it gets you a little more pumped up to come to the ballpark every day. With Neshek and Lucroy, it shows that there's a little something to this. It's a little different. The only deadline I remember is when we traded Tulo."
Leadoff hitter Charlie Blackmon said, "I don't know how that's going to shake out, but he's a good player. I know adding good players to your team is always helpful. We've already seen Neshek pitch well, help us win a game."
The deal sends Lucroy back to the National League, where he played with the Brewers from 2010-16, and hit .284 with 79 homers and 387 RBIs. Lucroy also established himself as one of the better pitch-framers in the game, and was a key reason for the pitching staff's success when the Brewers advanced to the National League Championship Series in 2011.
Wolters, 25, is was hitting .251 through June 17 but has dropped to .248 while carrying a starter's load -- 66 games. Hanigan, 36, is hitting .259, in 24 games as Wolters' backup. With Hanigan as a classic backup, the addition of Lucroy as the everyday catcher could allow a breather for Wolters at Triple-A Albuquerque until rosters expand in September.
Righty starting pitcher Jon Gray, who is trying to make the climb from talented second-year pitcher to ace-type, said he doesn't know much about Lucroy but has faith in the team's process.
"From what I've seen so far, I love everything we're doing, the guys we've brought in," Gray said. "I'm not an expert on all the trade stuff, but I completely trust what they're doing."
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and** like his Facebook page**.