It was announced today that the Milwaukee Brewers have signed starting catcher Jonathan Lucroy to a multi-year contract extension.
Lucroy agreed to a five-year deal (with a club option for 2017) which buys out all of what are probably four years of arbitration eligibility. The arbitration system normally only gives you three years of mediated contract decisions (if necessary), but a status called “Super 2” most likely would have applied to Lucroy after this year which gives an additional year of arbitration.
The contract value is actually variable on whether Lucroy reaches that Super 2 status but reports say that the least amount Lucroy will earn over it is $11 million total.
The versions of Lucroy’s contract structuring are as follows:
Non Super 2: $500,000 signing bonus, $500,000 salary in 2012, $750,000 in ’13, $2 million in ’14, $3 million in ’15, $4 million in ’16 and a $5.25 million club option for 2017 with a $250,l000 buyout.
Super 2: $500,000 signing bonus, $500,000 salary in 2012, $1.9 million in ’13, $2.3 million in ’14, $3.3 million in ’15, $4.25 million in ’16 and a $5.25 million club option with a $250,000 buyout.
***End of update ***
It is rare to leapfrog any steps in the developmental ladder that is the minor leagues, but especially so when you’re a catcher. Lucroy did exactly that, however, in 2010 when the team needed another catcher following a season-ending injury to veteran Gregg Zaun. Lucroy joined the team from Double-A Huntsville initially as a backup to George Kottaras who now currently backs up Lucroy.
The Brewers starter hasn’t looked back since.
This is a move that makes sense on both sides of the ledger. Lucroy, 25, gets that increasingly important guaranteed money. The Brewers gain some cost certainty with an eye on the future budgetary concerns of the ball club.
Lucroy’s ability to handle the pitching staff, keep a running game relatively in check, and contribute at the plate enough are all lauded aspects of his game. Numerous pitchers were quoted last year as saying something to the effect of that Lucroy is still learning but he’s getting very good at his job behind the dish. Public praise from veteran pitchers to a young catcher isn’t exactly easy to come by.
This projects to be Lucroy’s first season as the Brewers catcher on Opening Day. Lucroy was listed atop the depth chart in 2011 as well but missed Opening Day (and a few more days following) due to a broken pinkie suffered during Spring Training.
Back in the saddle this spring, however, gives the starting pitchers a sense of security in the knowledge of who they’ll be throwing to the for the majority of their starts.
With this extension in place now, those good feelings will continue…on both sides.
Jonathan Lucroy is represented by Sports One Athlete Management.