The story of Jonathan Lucroy exercising his no-trade clause and vetoing a trade to the Cleveland Indians is one that is going to stick around for a while.
If you are out of the loop, the Indians and the Milwaukee Brewers came to an agreement in the early hours of Sunday morning that would have sent prospects Francisco Mejia, Yu-Chang Cheng, and Greg Allen to Milwaukee in exchange for the All-Star catcher. But by the time the sun came up, Jonathan Lucroy decided he'd rather not go to the Indians.
Lucroy has the right to do that, of course. He negotiated the no-trade clause into his contract when he signed the five-year, $11 million deal with the Brewers, but the circumstances around why he used it seem to be getting spun back and forth between his camp and the Indians front office.
The latest bit of spin comes from Indians general manager Mike Chernoff, who was on MLB Network Radio talking about the deadline and, specifically, what happened with Lucroy on Sunday. You can find the full three-minute clip from MLB Network's Soundcloud below.
The most important part comes a minute in when Jim Bowden asks Chernoff to clarify earlier reports from Lucroy's camp that the Indians were going to make him a backup C/DH/1B in 2017 instead of keeping him as their starting catcher. When Bowden gets right down to it and asks "So you never talked to Lucroy?" Chernoff responded simply "That's exactly right."
Later in the interview, Chernoff notes that the two teams talked well after the trade, and while there can be "windows" for teams to talk the players they may be acquiring, that apparently did not happen in this case.
At this point, it's hard to know what is real and what is spin -- from either side -- but the idea of Lucroy being a backup in 2017 was always pretty ridiculous. Despite Yan Gomes being signed through 2019, his bat has not been the same since last season and there is not a lot of hope for it in the future. At the very least, Lucroy would have been a starting first baseman or designated hitter if Mike Napoli left, or there is also the possibility that the Indians were hoping to flip him after the season to recoup some of their lost value and make him into a half-season rental.
Don't expect this saga to die down anytime soon, and hope for a fun playoff series if the Indians and Lucroy's new team, the Texas Rangers, make it into the postseason.