Cleveland is looking for a catcher, and the Phillies may be a partner
Several reports have linked the Cleveland Indians and the Milwaukee Brewers as trade partners regarding catcher Jonathan Lucroy. With Cleveland catcher Yan Gomes heading to the disabled lists for an extended period of time, the potential post-season bound Indians need someone to work behind the plate.
Jonathan Lucroy is the prime trade option for a team needing a catcher, which means he’s an expensive asset in the Brewers pocket. He’s in the final year of his deal, though he does have a team option worth over $5 million next season. A club buyout would only be worth $250,000.
Should a team such as Cleveland not feel comfortable giving up one of their young prospects for a potential rental player, the Phillies provide a cheaper alternative.
Whether it’s a guy such as Cameron Rupp with Paul Bunyan-power, or the wise Carlos Ruiz, Cleveland would pay a third of the price for either guy compared to shelling out a package of prospects for Lucroy.
Carlos Ruiz has a contract similar to Lucroy, where he has a club option worth $4.5 million with a $500,000 buyout. At 37-years-old, this is most likely Ruiz’s last year as a major league contributor.
Rupp on the other-hand is 27, with arbitration on the way. Cleveland has Gomes locked-in through 2021, so acquiring someone like Rupp may not make as much sense.
Regardless of the financial implications, either Ruiz or Rupp will be a cheaper option for Cleveland in the short-term for a post-season run. The two current backups in Cleveland can not carry the pitching staff and offense through a legitimate post-season run, signaling this connection between the Phillies and Indians at the trade deadline this month.