Well, it looks like the Angels found their next catcher, and his name is not Wilson Ramos. Counter to your hopes, it is also not Yasmani Grandal. That would be Jonathan Lucroy.
Fancred’s Jon Heyman was first with the news that Lucroy would sign with the Angels, while Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports gives us the details on Lucroy’s deal itself.
Catcher Jonathan Lucroy and the Los Angeles Angels are in agreement on a one-year, $3.35 million deal, league sources tell Yahoo Sports. Lucroy took his physical today and deal should be official soon. He can make more than $4 million total with performance bonuses.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 29, 2018
The deal is a one-year pact with a base salary of $3.35 million.
Lucroy, a once-elite catcher, has had a hard fall from grace in recent years, bouncing between four teams in the past three seasons. His 70 wRC+ and .241/.291/.325 slash line is a hard fall from his career wRC+ of 104 and his 2017 wRC+ of 81. His framing numbers are less bad than in 2017 but still below average, and his blocking runs and throwing runs have both dropped by a tinge, per Baseball Prospectus.
Even if you see Lucroy as a value signing, it’s untruthful to say there’s low risk here, as a catcher entering his age-32 season whose numbers fell off a cliff. A testament to the Angels’ modest offseason, Lucroy presents a high-risk, low-reward alternative to Yasmani Grandal, a catcher who the Angels can still conceivably get—though it appears unlikely given their pursuit of Yusei Kikuchi.