When the Red Sox announced their initial 47-man player pool for the upcoming summer camp to get ready for this year’s shortened season, the biggest surprise was that Jonathan Lucroy’s name was curiously absent. The former All-Star catcher had been getting some major buzz in normal spring training before baseball was put on hold, and was being seen as the favorite to make the Opening Day roster as the backup catcher over Kevin Plawecki. The surprise of him not making the initial player pool quickly wore off, though, as it was made clear that it was strictly procedural and that he’d be added soon. That was today, as the Red Sox announced the move Thursday afternoon.
What’s interesting to note here is that he is still being announced as a non-roster invitee, which means whatever procedural change that was made did not involve switching his contract to a major-league deal. Instead, the safe guess would likely be that this had something to do with his opt-out dates.
As far as his place on this roster, one would imagine he still has a leg up to make the new Opening Day roster. With the roster being expanded to 30 players to start the year the decision should be easier to make as the Red Sox can find room for three catchers. Still, I maintain that if it is a race between Lucroy and Plawecki the latter makes more sense given his defensive prowess and the fact that Lucroy frankly hasn’t been good since 2016. In the last three seasons he’s hit .248/.315/.350 (77 OPS+) with declining defensive metrics.
Still, more options are always better than fewer and Lucroy did undergo surgery last winter on a herniated disc, leaving room for some optimism that some of his woes can be solved. Whatever the end result, Lucroy will indeed be in camp trying to fight his way onto the roster, and he makes player number 48 that will be at Fenway working out this month.