The Rangers were reported all winter as potential buyers in the catching market. With their deep farm system they essentially could have had their pick of the trade market, with their top targets being reported as Derek Norris of the Padres and the Brewers' own Jonathan Lucroy. Ultimately a blockbuster deal was never reached, and Texas settled on acquiring Bryan Holaday from the Tigers to back up incumbent Robinson Chirinos.
Chirinos performed well last season with a .232/.325/.438 slash in 273 plate appearances and three Defensive Runs Saved behind the plate, so it perhaps wasn't altogether surprising that the Rangers were willing to enter 2016 with him as their featured backstop. For a club that was reportedly hesitant to add payroll late in the winter, the fact that the 31 year old is still earning close to the league minimum couldn't have hurt his cause either. Unfortunately for the Rangers, things rarely work out exactly as they are planned.
Robinson Chirinos has a broken right forearm. #Rangers— Jeff Wilson (@JeffWilson_FWST) April 10, 2016
Early estimates have the Rangers' catcher missing somewhere between 10-12 weeks, and the club placed him on the 60 day disabled list yesterday afternoon. In the immediate Texas has purchased the contract of 27 year old Brett Nicholas, a 6th round pick from 2010 who hit .268/.314/.412 with 12 home runs (92 wRC+) in AAA last season. Evan Grant opines, however, that the club could have renewed interest in the trade market.
Of course that could mean rekindled talks with Slingin' Stearns and the Brewers regarding Jonathan Lucroy. After missing time at the end of last season with a concussion, Lucroy has shown no ill effects so far in 2016. He had a torrid spring training and has hit .278/.350/.333 so far in a short 20 plate appearance sample during the regular season.
Word on the street is that the Stearns was holding out for a king's ransom during the winter in exchange his homegrown star, and obviously no one has met that price as of yet. Of course now with the regular season in full swing there's a real possibility that other clubs may be lowering their assessed value of Lucroy as his club control continues to dwindle.
The Rangers certainly have the ammunition in their minor league system to get a Lucroy trade done, but given that the season has started and Texas has other options that they can pursue, it may behoove Stearns and the Brewers to consider lowering the asking price on Lucroy in order to facilitate a deal. If for some reason the club holds on to Lucroy through the trade deadline and into the next offseason, they will have almost certainly missed the opportunity to maximize their trade return.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs