ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The AL West-leading Texas Rangers have acquired two-time All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy and closer Jeremy Jeffress from the Milwaukee Brewers in a trade for two former first-round picks.
Texas completed the deal Monday, a day after Lucroy blocked a trade that would have sent him to AL Central-leading Cleveland. The Rangers dealt outfielder Lewis Brinson and right-hander Luis Ortiz to the Brewers.
The Rangers also sent three pitching prospects to the rebuilding Yankees on Monday for All-Star outfielder Carlos Beltran, New York’s top offensive player this season.
This is the second year in a row at the deadline that the Rangers acquired a top player who had first rejected a deal to another team. They got All-Star left-hander Cole Hamels last season after the pitcher voided a proposed trade that would have sent him from Philadelphia to Houston.
The 30-year-old Lucroy is hitting .299 with 13 homers and 50 RBIs in 95 games this season. He has been with the Brewers for all six of his major league seasons, hitting .284 in 805 games, and his contract includes a $5.25 million team option for 2017.
On his verified Twitter account, Lucroy wrote, “Now, moving on to the @Rangers let’s take this bad boy to the ‘ship! Really excited and can’t wait to get after it!”
In another tweet, Lucroy thanked Brewers fans and said they would always have a special place in his heart.
The Rangers have used four different starting catchers this season, with Bobby Wilson making a team-high 38 starts. Robinson Chirinos has started 33 games.
Jeffress, 29, is 2-2 with 27 saves and a 2.22 ERA in 47 games this season, the first year as a closer for the 2006 first-round pick. He likely will be in a setup role for the Rangers behind Sam Dyson.
Texas has an AL-high 62 wins, and is coming off a four-game series sweep of the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals. With the Astros losing three straight, the Rangers have pushed their division lead to six games, the biggest gap since the All-Star break after leading by as many as 10 games in late June.
Hamels was traded by Philadelphia to Texas after he had vetoed a deal that would have sent him from the Phillies to the Houston Astros, who at the time led the Rangers in the AL West. Hamels is 19-3 with 3.15 ERA in 33 starts since, including a three-hitter on the final day of the 2015 regular season to clinch the division title.
Brinson is a 6-foot-3 center fielder who was the 29th overall pick in the 2012 amateur draft. He is hitting .237 with 11 home runs and 40 RBIs in 77 games for Double-A Frisco in the Texas League.
Oritz was the 30th overall pick in 2014. He is 4-6 with a 3.48 ERA in 16 games combined this season for Class-A High Desert of the California League and Double-A Frisco.