CLEVELAND -- As the Indians prepare for their first World Series appearance in 19 years, Jonathan Lucroy looks on from afar, with no regrets that he missed out on an opportunity to be part of the team's deep October run.
Lucroy, a two-time All-Star catcher with the Milwaukee Brewers, was on the verge of being traded to the Indians at the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline, but he blocked the deal by invoking a no-trade clause in his contract. The Brewers changed course and traded Lucroy to Texas, where he hit .276 with 11 home runs and an .885 OPS in 47 games. But the Rangers were swept by the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League Division Series after leading the league with 94 regular-season victories.
As the Indians move on, Lucroy refuses to second-guess his decision.
"I'm good, man,'' Lucroy told ESPN in a text message Monday. "There's too much drama with all that. I'm not worried about it at all. It's over with and in the past.''
Lucroy, who has a $5.25 million club option for 2017, outlined the reasoning behind his decision in a first-person account to ESPN The Magazine's Robert Sanchez in early August. He said the decision to reject the trade to Cleveland was "an economic decision. Period.'' But he was cast as a villain in Cleveland, and Indians backup catcher Chris Gimenez made some comments shortly after the deadline that look prescient in hindsight.
"Even though he plays my position, he's definitely an upgrade,'' Gimenez told reporters after the Lucroy trade failed to materialize. "It would be ridiculous to say that he wasn't. At the same time, we feel pretty strongly about the guys we have here, too. Unfortunately, he chose not to be a part of it. Hopefully, we can win the World Series and we'll be laughing at him.'' The Indians had problems at the catching spot all season. Yan Gomes hit .167 in 74 games and barely played after mid-July because of a separated shoulder and a broken right hand.
Roberto Perez, anointed Cleveland's starting catcher in October after hitting .183 during the regular season, played a pivotal role in the American League playoffs. Perez earned praise from the Indians' pitchers for his defensive work and contributed several big hits even though he batted only .174 against Boston and Toronto.
"Roberto is below the radar, but he shouldn't be,'' said Indians reliever Andrew Miller. "He's incredible with his ability to receive the ball and call pitches, and he's a better hitter than he gets credit for. What a special guy back there.''