UPDATE: Here's what Lucroy told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
"I'm not going to sit here and say we're going to compete for the playoffs this year. If I did that, you'd call me a liar. I'd lose credibility and respect. I want to win and I don't see us winning in the foreseeable future. I want to go to a World Series. That's what all players want. Rebuilding is not a lot of fun for any veteran guy. ... It's not guaranteed that I'm going to win if I am traded. But I'm going to be a 30-year-old catcher (in June). I can't put numbers on how much longer I'm going to play, but as players we want to win. I don't care about the money; I just want to win. That's the bottom line."
As we noted earlier today, the MLB has arrived at a screeching halt in terms of trade rumors. There really hasn't been much talk regarding that market in recent weeks, but it appears as if the Milwaukee Brewers could start facilitating the speculation again.
Catcher Jonathan Lucroy is reportedly (again) garnering interest from other MLB clubs due to his team-friendly contract and down campaign in 2015. Just one year after finishing fourth in the NL MVP voting, the veteran endured a difficult year with injuries and hit just .264/.326/.391 with 51 runs scored, 7 home runs and 43 RBI in 103 games.
Perhaps some clubs believe they can capitalize on his value being low, but the Brewers don't seem as if they're willing to settle with any trades.
"The Rangers, Athletics and Nationals are among the teams that have engaged in trade discussions with the Brewers about catcher Jonathan Lucroy, only to back off when they perceived the price to be too high, according to major-league sources," writes FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
"Lucroy, who has a limited no-trade clause, remains a candidate to get moved."
Rosenthal also reported last week that the Brewers were "involved in ongoing trade discussions" regarding Lucroy.
The 29-year-old is under contract for $4 million in 2016 and then has a $5.25 million team option for 2017 (or a $25K buyout). New general manager David Stearns is likely aware Lucroy is probably the team's best trade chip, so he's not going to let another team take advantage of such a valuable asset.
Then again, this is perhaps the best time to move the catcher, so Stearns may have to continue scouring the market to find the best deal possible - even if it means settling a bit under his initial expectations. Lucroy's value is at its highest right now because whatever team acquires him will have him under control for two full seasons. Milwaukee is in rebuild mode and has little use for him.
Then again, Stearns can take another route - keep Lucroy until the non-waiver trade deadline, hope he performs well during the first half of 2016, and then take offers on him. This could boost his value even more, but there's no guarantee Lucroy will succeed in the weak Brewers lineup. The team traded Adam Lind - arguably their best hitter in 2015 - to the Seattle Mariners this offseason. The lineup also took a hit when Carlos Gomez was dealt at the July 31 deadline.
The Brewers had the 22nd-ranked offense in the MLB last year and it doesn't appear as if it's going to get any better. Reports have suggested the team is open to listening to offers on any of its players, meaning if anyone else is traded - particularly Jean Segura and Khris Davis (since they're other attractive pieces) - the lineup will be even worse and thus hinder Lucroy from maximizing his offensive output.
Nonetheless, Lucroy is a prime trade candidate and he's likely to be dealt within the next six months.