UPDATE: Jonathan Lucroy has exercised his no-trade clause and will veto the trade to the Indians, reports Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The Cleveland Indians are going all-in.
On early Sunday morning, the team agreed to acquire catcher Jonathan Lucroy from the Milwaukee Brewers, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
In exchange for Lucroy, the Brewers will receive four top prospects, including catcher Francisco Mejia, shortstop Yu-Cheng Chang, outfielder Greg Allen and someone else.
Lucroy, 30, is regarded as one of the best catchers in the Major Leagues. The two-time All-Star is a threat on both sides of the ball, as he is hitting .300/.360/.484 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI in 375 plate appearances while also being above-average defensively. When looked at as a whole, Lucroy has been worth 2.8 Wins Above Replacement this season (FanGraphs).
Catcher was likely the Indians' most troubled position this season. Yan Gomes, their No. 1 option, is on the disabled list with a shoulder injury and is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks. Roberto Perez, their backup, has one hit in 23 at bats.
As a whole, Indians' catchers have posted a combined -1.2 fWAR this season, easily ranking last in the Major Leagues.
The deal will not go through until Lucroy approves a trade. The Indians are a team on his no-trade list. He is signed to an extremely team-friendly contract that is paying him just $4 million this season with a $5.25 million team option for 2017. It's possible that Lucroy will want some financial obligation before waiving the no-trade clause. This still has to be sorted out before the deal is completed.
Regardless, the Brewers will get a haul for arguably their best player.
Mejia, 20 years old and the headliner in this deal, was the Indians' sixth-best prospect. He's down in High Class A, where he is hitting for a .329/.338/.487 slash line with two home runs and 16 RBI in 18 games. He also boasts a great arm behind the plate. Worth nothing, Mejia also is in the midst of a 42-game hitting streak between his two minor league stops this season.
The 20-year-old Chang is also at High Class A. The Indians' No. 12 prospect, he is hitting for a .272/.346/.490 slash line with 12 home runs and 69 RBI in 95 games this season. The Taiwanese Chang does not have a standout tool, rather he is great all around.
Allen, 23, is closest to the Majors of these three players but still resides in Double-A. The center fielder has some good speed and has hit for a .295/.415/.399 slash line this season with five home runs, 35 RBI and 39 stolen bases in 98 games between High-A and Double-A. He is the Indians' No. 22 prospect.
This deal is an absolute blockbuster for Cleveland. The team is 59-42, the best record in the American League. They want to go to the World Series, and by getting Lucroy, they have really worked on shoring up what was their weakest link in their lineup.
As for the Brewers, it makes sense to move Lucroy now. He's not a rental, which boosts his price tag. They're not a contending team at 46-56, but they proved that they are willing to go head-deep into the rebuild. Prior to this season, the Brewers already had the 10th-best farm system (via Baseball Prospectus) and this deal makes it even stronger.