Late Saturday night, the Brewers agreed to send prized All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy to the Indians. Given Lucroy’s stated desire to play for a contender, Cleveland seemed like a perfect destination: While Milwaukee languished in fourth place in the NL Central, the Indians led the AL Central, boasted the third-best run differential in baseball, and featured a godlike pitching rotation behind Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar, and Carlos Carrasco. Plus, the Tribe desperately needed an upgrade behind the plate. This was the deal to push them over the top; all Lucroy had to do was waive his limited no-trade clause.
That turned out to be a problem: On Sunday morning, Lucroy nixed the deal, reportedly because the Indians refused to void his club option for 2017. On Monday afternoon, he was dealt to the AL West–leading Rangers (a team not included in his no-trade clause), leaving Cleveland to continue platooning catchers Chris Giménez and Roberto Pérez until the struggling Yan Gomes comes off the DL. Lucroy is now public enemy no. 1 in Northeast Ohio, and deserves nothing but unbridled scorn. We Clevelanders may not be shook up, but we are most assuredly fed up:
Some well-meaning but misguided observers have defended Lucroy on the grounds that he was well within his rights to exercise the no-trade clause, which his agents had shrewdly written into his contract. To which I say: Shut. The. Hell. Up. Sure, he still ended up on a contender in Texas, but he could have become a veritable legend in Cleveland. Lucroy had a chance to matter, to be a part of something special, and he took the cowardly way out.
I have nothing left to say to him, so I’ll let the ghost of Babe Ruth explain:
What’s wrong, L’Affaire Lucroy? Was this city not good enough for you? Were you scared of losing playing time in 2017 to Gomes, who is hitting a whopping .165 in 249 at-bats this season? Did you not want to experience the wonders of our vibrant food truck scene, our great tourist attractions (like the house from A Christmas Story), or our potential Cody Kessler–led NFL team? Was Cleveland not glamorous enough for a Eustis, Florida, native such as yourself? Did attending Louisiana–Lafayette imbue you with hoity-toity sensibilities? Don’t turn your nose down at Cleveland, you prig.
Remember: This is the year of Cleveland sports, baby, and the Tribe is on a mission to break the AL’s longest-running World Series title drought, which dates back to 1948. Buoyed by the Cavs’ title run, the Andrew Miller acquisition, and The Ringer’s Cleveland Week coverage, Lucroy should have tatted INDIANS OR BUST on his back and caught an Uber to the North Coast. Instead, he forced his way to the Rangers, because Arlington is apparently the new Paris. It’s like he’s never read LeBron’s letter. What a philistine! Nothing is given, everything is earned, and Jonathan Lucroy is my sworn enemy.