Jonathan Lucroy knows how the Oakland Athletics operate. The team has never met a player it wasn’t willing to trade. After signing a one-year deal with Oakland, Lucroy knew he would be a prime candidate to be shipped out at midseason.
Instead of simply accepting that fate, Lucroy took action. He managed to work a clause into his contract that gets him more money if the Athletics decide to deal him.
Jonathan Lucroy's $6.5 million deal with the #Athletics pays him a $500,000 bonus if the A's trade him, as well as two premium tickets to every A's home game
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 12, 2018
Considering the team’s track record, it’s a brilliant move for Lucroy. The club specializes in signing bounce-back candidate veterans players so they can ship them off for younger, cheaper prospects who they can keep for years. It’s exactly what they did with Rich Hill in 2016.
There’s a good chance Lucroy finds himself in that situation. After a run of All-Star type years, the 31-year-old hit .265/.345/.371 in 2017. While it’s possible Lucroy is completely cooked, it’s not out of the question that 2017 was an outlier.
Even if Lucroy doesn’t return to superstar level, there’s still a good chance he’s a desirable asset at the deadline. Decent catching isn’t common these days, and he could be a clear upgrade for a team charging to the postseason. We’re looking at you, Washington Nationals.
The $500,000 charge isn’t all that much in baseball, so it’s doesn’t prevent the A’s from making the move if Lucroy is sought after. Think of it as a player re-location fee. It covers some of the expenses and the hassle that comes with Lucroy uprooting his entire family midseason.
It’s all shaping up for Lucroy to have it pretty good by midseason. There was already a strong chance he would find himself playing for a contender by August. The extra cash is just the cherry on top.
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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik