I am coming to realize that the efforts to trade Jonathon Lucroy can’t be viewed in a vacuum. It is very likely that some other things may need to happen before the market clears up for Luc. The teams that are interested in Luc - or rumored to be interested - have other needs.
Those teams may prioritize those needs differently than I perceive. For instance, it would appear that the Indians priorities might start in the bullpen, move to the outfield, and then include catching, as reported by Michael Bradburn here. Matt R. Lyons says that the Yankees certainly see the Indians as possible trade partners. And the Yankees have been variously reported as discussing Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman with the Rangers, the Cubs, the Nationals, or more or less any contending team.
Are the Dodgers more likely to be looking for a starting pitcher, as Jen Mac Ramos says that Clayton Kershaw has suffered a setback in his recovery? And Jerry Crasnick tweets that the Brewers are still having conversations about Will Smith and Jeremy Jeffress with teams, including the Giants.
Steve Adams even includes Jonathan Villar and Scooter Gennett in his discussion about second basemen. Adams discusses Villar's longer term control and break-out season, plus his versatility in the infield (all of which makes him appealing to the Brewers, of course), and thinks that the Brewers would rather move Scoot. However, he calls Scoot a platoon-only player, so he hasn't totally been paying attention to the Brewers this year. Who can blame him?
I'm trying to order all of this in my mind. It makes sense to me that the Indians' and Rangers' purported interest in Miller and Chapman, as well as conversations about other relievers (Will Smith with the Rangers) says that those may need to shake out before either team would consider Lucroy. There are only so many top prospects that either team would be willing to trade. The Indians are a more constrained team financially, whether through need or choice, so Chapman makes more sense there. He would cost less in money and in prospects, as a rental. If the Yankees are really serious in trading Miller, they will demand a lot. It would appear that the Yankees merely need to get back someone equal to the lost comp pick for Chapman, plus whatever the other teams offer above that to sweeten the deal.
There are, of course, lots of other relief pitcher options available, including several Brewers. Besides Smith and Jeffress, Tyler Thornburg would be a seeming target. If they could get anything for Carlos Torres, that would make sense, and Torres has been more than serviceable for the Brewers. Many teams are in the same situation as the Brewers, though few have as many arms available and desirable.
Hence the dominoes. It would make sense for the Brewers to wait for teams to clear up the reliever thing, as those are the most common deals at the deadline, before identifying which teams still have assets that they are willing to trade...that the Brewers want. It also makes sense (to me, anyways) that the Brewers might be well served to deal a reliever or two to get the ball rolling now, so things aren't totally backed up to the deadline. If the Met's interest in Jeffress is real, and Smith can go to the Giants or Rangers, other teams will need to get involved in the shrinking pool of pitchers that could actually help them.
Of course, a team may not have the priorities attributed to them, and decide to go and get Lucroy before somebody else does.
So we hurry up and wait.