The Red Sox will remove catcher Jonathan Lucroy from their roster today and call up right-hander Chris Mazza from their alternate training site in Pawtucket, Chad Jennings and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic report (via Twitter). The exact nature of the move isn’t clear. It’s possible that Lucroy will simply be designated for assignment, though it’s also conceivable that he could be shipped to another club with a need for catching depth.
Lucroy, 34, cracked Boston’s Opening Day roster as a third catcher behind Christian Vazquez and Kevin Plawecki, but he’s yet to tally a plate appearance with the Sox. He split the 2019 season between the Angels and Cubs, hitting at a combined .232/.305/.355 rate in 101 games and 328 plate appearances.
More than three full years have passed since Lucroy enjoyed his last above-average season at the plate, but for a time, he was considered to be among the game’s elite backstops. From 2012-16, Lucroy batted .291/.353/.465 (120 OPS+) while drawing elite framing marks and registering a solid 27.5 percent caught-stealing rate. Those days, however, have long since passed. Over his previous three seasons, Lucroy has combined for a .248/.315/.350 output as his defensive ratings have tumbled considerably.
In his place, the Sox will add the 30-year-old Mazza — an offseason waiver claim out of the Mets organization who has just 16 1/3 MLB innings under his belt. While Mazza doesn’t have much big league experience, he turned in a 3.67 ERA with 7.3 K/9 against 2.1 BB/9 in 76 Triple-A frames last year — particularly solid marks given the offensive explosion there. Mazza has an overall ERA of 3.72 or better at every individual minor league level and has a composite 3.21 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9. He’s regularly posted excellent ground-ball mark as well, thanks to a heavy sinker that has one of the lowest spin rates in MLB (which, in the case of sinkers, is a good thing).