The Detroit Tigers may have found their game. They have won four straight games, including an impressive sweep of the Boston Red Sox. With a 55-48 record, they find themselves just two games out of a wildcard spot. This makes it a realistic possibility that the Tigers can contend this season.
Multiple reports have indicated that the Tigers are interested in Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Multiple reports have also indicated that their interest has faded, but they are “waiting in the weeds”. Lucroy is having a great season, hitting .300 with 13 HR and 50 RBI.
A lot of Tigers fans may be wondering why the team would need Lucroy when they have James McCann behind the plate. Well, here’s the thing. McCann is a great leader, but there’s two things Lucroy has over McCann that seems too valuable for the Tigers to pass over.
The first thing relates to offensive ability. McCann is a below average hitter. He is only hitting .201 this season as a starting catcher. Lucroy on the other hand, as I previously mentioned, is hitting .300 this season. Lucroy is one of the best offensive catchers in the game.
Secondly, Lucroy’s ability to call and control a game from behind the plate is second to none. Don’t get me wrong, McCann is good at calling a game. However, a veteran like Lucroy knows a lot more than a sophomore like McCann.
Lucroy can work with pitchers who are struggling to help them and can also gel with a pitcher who’s rolling. McCann is more up and down behind the plate.
People like to point to McCann’s defense and how he’s better defensively. McCann isn’t that much better defensively than Lucroy.
McCann has a fielding percentage that is only .006 points higher than Lucroy’s. They also like to point to McCann’s ability to throw out runners and catch them stealing, which I will agree with. McCann is far better at that then Lucroy.
However, McCann’s defense does not, in any way, shape or form, cover up and make up for the fact that he cannot get it done offensively. The Tigers could acquire Lucroy and honestly, not lose much other than an average catcher and some prospects.
The only thing that would prevent a deal from happening is Lucroy, who can block any given trade, but would be willing to allow a trade to a contender like Detroit.
All and all, trading for Lucroy improves the team offensively and can help get the pitching staff in order. The only glaring difference would be the base runners caught stealing.
The Tigers need this offensive upgrade to catch a team chalk full of pitching like the Cleveland Indians. A veteran catcher also provides leadership for not just the pitching staff, but for all of the young players.
Photo Credit: Joe Sargent