Jonathan Lucroy Signs

Angels Sign Catcher Jonathan Lucroy to One-Year Deal


By David A. Avila

Former all-star catcher Jonathan Lucroy signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for one year at $3.3 million and performance bonuses it was announced.

“It’s exciting to be part of the Angels and players like Albert Pujols and Mike Trout,” said Lucroy to MLB Network on Friday.

Lucroy, 32, played for Oakland Athletics in 2018 and had one of his poorer years offensively in hitting for a batting average of .241 with a .291 OBP and only four homers and 51 RBIs in 126 games. Still, the A’s made the playoffs and had a surprising year in surpassing both the Angels and Seattle in the American League Western Division.

The Angels had sought a catcher since last year when they traded away Martin Maldonado to Houston Astros. The void at catcher was severely felt by the team that missed a veteran presence at the key position.

Back in 2013 and 2014 the catcher Lucroy was considered one of the top at his position while helming the pitching staff for Milwaukee Brewers. He hit .280 with 18 homers and 82 RBIs in 2013 and followed that with a .301 batting average and 13 homers and 69 RBIs in 2014. He had a strong OPS of .837 that year and was an all-star selection.

After being traded in in 2016 to Texas he had a strong year but faded a bit in 2017. This past year was even worse for the Florida native.

“For two years I’ve been terrible. I brought in my old hitting coach from Milwaukee and we identified two things-one I was late. I was late for two years,” said Lucroy to MLB Network about his hitting skills. “If you’re not ready to hit on time, I don’t care how good a hitter you are, you are not going to hit.”

Lucroy said he worked for one week on hand placement and on identifying pitches as a hitter. He also spoke with Angels coaches Jose Molina a former catcher and with new Angel Manager Brad Ausmus who also caught when he played and is taking over for the long-time manager Mike Scioscia. All three talked about the philosophy of catching.

“Nowadays it’s all numbers,” said Lucroy about this new age of sabermetrics. “But there’s a big part of the game that’s feel.”

Lucroy expects an exciting season with a team like the Angels.

“I’m looking forward to this year. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s not often you get to play with Pujols and Mike Trout who are pretty special to be around.”

Lucroy joins other new Angels such as pitchers Matt Harvey, Trevor Cahill, and re-signed Parker Bridwell. Also signed were power hitting Justin Bour and hitting stalwart Tommy La Stella of the Chicago Cubs. They should all provide new manager Ausmus with plenty of boost for 2019.

In 2018, the Angels ended with a respectable 80-82 record despite suffering numerous injuries to its key pitchers including Shohei Otani who will also be unable to pitch in 2019.