Chris Cotillo of Masslive.com reports that the Red Sox and Jonathan Lucroy are nearing a deal. The terms are not yet known, but one presumes it’s a minor league deal with a spring training invite.
Lucroy started the 2019 season with the Angels, who released him early August. He finished the year out with the Cubs, He had hit just .242/.310/.371 over 74 games in Anaheim and was even worse — .189/.283/.283 — in 27 games in Chicago. Over the past three seasons he’s hit a combined .248/.315/.350 batting line over 1,263 plate appearances. He is simply no longer an everyday catcher and, frankly, he’s approaching borderline as a backup.
Right now he’s not even well-positioned to stick with Boston as a backup, who currently have Christian Vázquez and Kevin Plawecki ahead of him on the depth chart. But the season is long, injuries happen, teams want depth in camp, and veterans want to be in camp in order to showcase themselves in case the present situation doesn’t pan out. Which is to say that this arrangement works for everyone involved, at least for the the time being.
Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.
Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”
Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.
The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.