Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/19/14

The Brewers added another to their list of core players under long-term contracts, inking catcher Jonathan Lucroy to a four or five year deal Monday. Lucroy, who broke through to the majors in 2010 and was the starter from day one in 2011, will be covered through at least his arbitration seasons and possibly his first free agent year.

Although Lucroy hit well for a catcher last season at .265/.313/.391 (94 wRC+), he hasn’t developed into the hitter he showed he could be in the minor leagues. Between rookie ball, both levels of A-ball and Double-A, Lucroy posted wRC+ totals above 125 in every one of his minor league stints, showcasing solid contact rates and patience. The patience has left him in the majors, as he’s walked in just 6.2% of his major league plate appearances. His free-swinging ways partially resulted in his 21.2% strikeout rate as well, nearly five percentage points above his previous high at any level.

But any extra offensive production from Lucroy will be gravy at this point. His glovework provides immense value to the Brewers’ pitching staff. According to Mike Fast’s seminal work on catchers framing pitches, only Jose Molina betters Lucroy on a per-game basis. Lucroy’s ability to get umpires to call strikes saves 24 runs per 120 games – similar to the impact of an All-Star level bat.

The Brewers may be able to get similar or better value on Lucroy going year-to-year with his arbitration years, but the monetary risk is minimal here and the Brewers really need some cost certainty with the rest of their core progressing up the payroll ladder yearly. Yovani Gallardo, Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, Aramis Ramirez, and Corey Hart will all see raises soon, and the Brewers need to lock in some cheap pieces to be able to maintain this core throughout the next few years.

Jonathan Lucroy isn’t a key part of the Brewers’ core just yet, but he provides some value at the plate and heaps of value behind it. Although we don’t know the exact financial details, it’s hard to imagine this deal breaking the bank – think a bit more expensive than Salvador Perez’s $7 million deal, but not exorbitantly so. As a cost-controlled player over the next five years who can help balance the monetary loads of the Brewers’ stars, he and his contract could be very important in keeping the Brewers competitive over the next half-decade.


GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bryant attends Cowboys OTAs despite not signing contract

Are Dwyane Wade and the Heat headed for a split?

Good news for the effort to bring an NHL team to Vegas

Adrian Peterson goes on social media rant regarding contract

Report: John Wall, friends kicked off plane in Las Vegas

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Broncos OT Ryan Clady suffers torn ACL in practice

Report: Buffalo Sabres to hire Dan Bylsma as head coach

Marc Trestman will make Joe Flacco a Pro Bowler

Could Tyrod Taylor be the Buffalo Bills’ savior?

Chicago Bulls fire Tom Thibodeau after five seasons

LeSean McCoy refuses to return Chip Kelly's calls

Five NFL players who paid dearly to obtain jersey numbers

Dee Gordon thought Marlins’ manager hire was a joke

Which MLB teams are most changed since Opening Day?

Seattle Mariners: Back to .500

JJ Watt doesn't care for chance to be on 'Hard Knocks'

McElwain compliments Muschamp culture at UF, previous staff 'snakebit'

Montreal mayor to meet Manfred in hopes of getting a franchise back

Five things we'd like to see on 'Hard Knocks' with the Texans

Chipper Jones challenged military veteran to fight

President Obama answers NBA questions on Twitter

'Entourage' creator rips Eli Manning for ditching movie

Ronda Rousey upset with Bethe Correia for suicide comments

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Are Dwyane Wade and the Heat headed for a split?

Good news for the effort to bring an NHL team to Vegas

JJ Watt doesn't care for chance to be on 'Hard Knocks'

Ryan Clady suffers torn ACL

'Entourage' creator rips Eli Manning

Brandon Marshall, Geno Smith are roommates

The Cavaliers are top (under)dogs

Bryce Harper on his breakout

WATCH: Jon Lester sets MLB hitless record

Six moves that made the Warriors NBA title contenders

USA Soccer, CONCACAF losers in FIFA’s ‘World Cup of fraud’

The 3-point shot has become a divisive metaphor in the NBA

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.