Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 3/26/12

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.

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Adrian Beltre completes cycle, gets mad when assaulted

Gruden had to convince Dan Snyder to bench RG3

Jim Mora turns P. Diddy fight into recruiting pitch for UCLA

Illinois releases results of women's basketball probe

Richie Incognito named starter by Rex Ryan


DeMarco Murray isn't thrilled Eagles limited reps in practice

Brandon Weeden: 'God forbid I am forced to play' for Dallas

Ben Roethlisberger: Markus Wheaton is ready to break out

Hernandez tipster allegedly had sexual relationship with him

Rookie WR Tyler Lockett has Pete Carroll, Seahawks gushing

Packers TE returns to practice in wake of family tragedy

WATCH: Giants players fight during training camp

Lindsey Vonn shows support for Tiger Woods on Twitter

Report: Rousey to star in film based on her autobiography

Porn star offers to cook meal for any sports champion

Why everyone is wrong about Cowboys Tony Romo, Part 1

Oregon was only team drug tested during CFB Playoff?

Five 2nd year NBA players ready to take the next step

John Daly wants to be US Ryder Cup captain

Rodgers appears in another Olivia Munn workout video

Matt Hasselbeck is still getting random drug tests

Five teams that won at the MLB trade deadline

What should be expected from Aaron Rodgers in 2015?

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.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Adrian Beltre gets mad when assaulted after HR

Lindsey Vonn shows support for Tiger

Notre Dame doesn't need a conference

Rex takes jabs at Jets' management

Sanchez: It's 'crazy' to call Chip racist

Ronda Rousey calls out Cyborg

Five most underrated players in the NFL

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Pirates do Pirates at deadline: Neat little moves

Mets acquire Cespedes from Tigers

Ranking the NFL’s 32 head coaches

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker