A’s sign catcher Jonathan Lucroy to one-year, $6.5 million contract

March 12, 2018

MLB, Oakland Athletics

Photo credit: @Athletics

By Daniel Dullum
Sports Radio Service
Monday, March 12, 2018

MESA, Ariz. – Free agent catcher Jonathan Lucroy landed with the Oakland Athletics on Monday morning after agreeing to terms on a one-year, $6.5 million contract, the team announced.

“We’ve been in touch for about a month,” A’s general manager David Forst said. “We kept the conversation going and ultimately, it got to the point where it became realistic and we became excited about it.”

To make room for Lucroy on the 40-man roster, the A’s designated left-handed pitcher Jario Labourt for assignment.

“It’s very positive for me,” Lucroy said. “I talked to Bob (Melvin, manager) and Kots (coach Mark Kotsay) about it. I know from calling some games against them, this is a pretty good lineup and (the A’s) have some pretty good arms on the mound.

“I think there’s a lot of positives to look forward to, and we can sneak up on some people. Our division is going to be good, but we’ll be right there with them.”

Lucroy, a two-time All-Star for Milwaukee in 2014 and 2016, split last season between the Texas Rangers and Colorado Rockies. After hitting .242 for the Rangers, Lucroy was traded to Colorado on July 30 for Pedro Gonzalez, and hit .310 in 46 games before becoming a free agent after the season.

The 31-year-old Lucroy is one of a growing list of free agents signing a one-year deal well into spring training.

“This is a good opportunity for me, both from a competitive standpoint and a playing time standpoint,” Lucroy said. “Any time you get a chance to compete for a division and the league, there’s a possibility to do that. And I’m happy and proud to put this uniform on.”

Lucroy figures to add a veteran presence and power to the otherwise youthful A’s lineup and will likely take over the starting duties behind the plate from incumbent Bruce Maxwell. He’s a .281 career hitter with 96 home runs and 458 RBIs over his eight-year career.

Lucroy, who finished fourth in the 2014 National League most valuable player voting, has also thrown out 177 base stealers, most by an MLB catcher over that span.

Labourt had not pitched this spring after Oakland claimed him off waivers on March 4 from Cincinnati, two days after he was picked up by the Reds on waivers from Detroit.

On Sunday, the A’s optioned Labourt and right-handed pitcher Lou Trivino to Triple-A Nashville. Oakland also reassigned left-handed pitchers Jeremy Bleich and Jarret Martin, right-handed pitchers Nolan Blackwood and Bobby Wahl, catcher Santiago Chavez and infielder Nick Noonan to their minor league camp.

The Athletics have 50 players in camp, including 39 on the 40-man roster (which is full) along with 11 non-roster invitees.

The Giants, meanwhile, rank near the top of numerous Cactus League categories after 18 games. San Francisco leads in team batting average (.307), total bases (365) and on-base percentage (.371). Going into Monday’s game in Mesa, the Giants are also tied for second in home runs (34) and runs batted in (122).

Outfielder Mac Williamson is swinging one of those hot bats for the Giants. In 15 games, Williamson is hitting .412 with two doubles, two triples, four homers and 13 RBIs. Infielder Kyle Jensen, a non-roster invitee, has also had a strong spring for the Giants, with five home runs in 19 at-bats – most of any National League player.

The team reports that third baseman Evan Longoria is still listed as day-to-day with stiffness in his left heel and ankle. Catcher Hector Sanchez is dealing with a hamstring pull and hasn’t played since Feb. 28. He’s expected to possibly miss another week or two.

Following Monday’s game, the Giants optioned right-handed pitchers Tyler Herb, Pierce Johnson, Chase Johnson and Reyes Moronta; left-handed pitchers Steven Okert and D.J. Snelten; catcher Aramis Garcia and infielder Miguel Gomez to Triple-A Sacramento. San Francisco also reassigned right-handed pitchers Tyler Cyr, Jose Flores, Dereck Rodriguez and Madison Younginer; and infielder Alan Hanson to its minor league camp.

The Giants issued a brief update on the medical status of Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda, saying, “The Cepeda Family would like to thank the baseball family for its concern and well wishes for Orlando. We are pleased to report that Orlando continues to make significant progress every day and is showing major signs of improvement. Please continue to keep him in your thoughts and prayers.”

Cepeda, 80, was hospitalized in February after suffering cardiac arrest and falling in a parking lot, where he sustained a severe blow to the skull.

Jarrett Parker’s RBI double in the eighth helped San Francisco regain the lead and take a 6-5 Cactus League decision Monday over the Athletics. Orlando Calixte, who was hit by a pitch from A’s reliever Daniel Gossett (0-1), scored on the play.

Righthander Roberto Gomez (2-0) threw 1 1/3 innings to get the win; Joan Gregorio and Manny Parra each threw a scoreless inning. Parra earned his first save of the spring.

The Giants broke the game open in with five runs in the top of the fifth inning. Centerfielder Steve Duggar’s two-run home run – his fourth – and a two-out, three-run double by catcher Nick Hundley were the key blows off A’s reliever Ryan Buchter.

Oakland rightfielder Stephen Piscotty belted his second CL homer, a solo shot to left in the second inning off San Francisco starter Chris Stratton. It was also the first hit off the righthander, who struck out three and walked one in four innings.

The A’s closed to within 5-4 in the sixth on Franklin Barreto’s two-run homer off Sam Dyson, and tied the game at 5-5 on Jake Smolinski’s sacrifice fly to center.

Jharel Cotton, the Oakland starter, struck out five and walked three in four hitless innings. Piscotty was 2-for-2 before departing in the fifth.

Announced attendance was 8,539.

The Giants (10-7-2) face a Chicago Cubs split-squad in Mesa on Tuesday, then head to Peoria on Wednesday (Seattle) and Thursday (San Diego) before taking Friday off. The A’s split squad visits Scottsdale on Saturday while the Giants send their other split squad to Goodyear to face Cincinnati.

Oakland (8-7-2) heads to Glendale to face Kansas City on Tuesday, has an off day on Wednesday, returns to Hohokam Stadium for games on Thursday (Seattle), Friday (Cleveland), Saturday (Seattle – SS) and Sunday (Chicago White Sox).

San Francisco Giants, Oakland Athletics, A’s, Jonathan Lucroy, Cactus League, Sports Radio Service.

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