Both Adam McCalvy and Tom Haudricourt are reporting that the Brewers traded swingman-starter Marco Estrada to Toronto, in exchange for 1B/OF Adam Lind. MLBTradeRumors reports that Lind’s contract costs $7.5 million in 2015, although the Brewers offset some of that cost by dealing Estrada, who likely would have received a raise from his $3.325 million salary in arbitration. Regardless of performance, this is a textbook case of “dealing from a strength,” as both Jimmy Nelson and Fastballer Mike Fiers proved that the Brewers did not necessarily need Estrada’s right-handed depth in 2015.
#Brewers confirm they have acquired 1B Adam Lind from Toronto in exchange for RHP Marco Estrada.
— Tom (@Haudricourt) November 1, 2014
Doug Melvin says #Brewers have traded Marco Estrada to Toronto for Adam Lind, who will play first base. Left-handed bat.
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) November 1, 2014
Lind’s Contact Profile
I’ll spare you a chart listing each of the Brewers’ first basemen since Prince Fielder left the franchise, but it is safe to say that the Brewers may have found their most regular 1B option since Fielder played. While Lind’s pedigree is LF/1B, he hasn’t played in the outfield since 2010, so 1B is his likely destination in 2015. As Jonathan has mentioned, the Brewers have several areas where they can improve their offense, and one may question whether Lind gives a new look to the Brewers.
Lind’s career strength is that he hits home runs at a solid rate, without striking out at obscene rates. This means that he is a good bet to bat the ball in play 70% of the time, which is around the league average. While Lind had a few rough years in his mid-20s, he recently improved his plate discipline, while trading in a few home runs. This is quite an intriguing development, and one might not expect Lind to lose his discipline with age, even if other elements of his game decline in 2015. It would be safe to say that the Brewers would trade in a 4% home run rate in favor of a 9% walk rate and lower strike out rate, which would represent an extreme shift in the middle of the Brewers’ order.
At the very least, Lind should give the Brewers their best contact-discipline balance since Fielder left, which is crucial for an offense that carries the Brewers’ power / speed potential. With Runnin’ Ron Roenicke‘s patented aggression, a batter’s ability to get the ball into play can be as important as their ability to hit it out of the park (and the Brewers typically like to play both sides of that coin in recent years). Fans shouldn’t necessarily expect Lind to be a savior at 1B in Milwaukee, but rather, a bat that can round out the extreme edges of the Brewers’ low order. On the other hand, Lind is replacing first basemen that produced 61 R and 61 RBI, so there is a sense that by showing up, Lind should help the Brewers earn another win or two at 1B. Given Lind’s contract and pedigree, the Brewers also have the benefit of adding another 1B if an opportunity arises, and swapping Lind’s time with Khris Davis in the outfield.
Ironically, the Blue Jays traded a change-up first pitcher to the Brewers four offseasons ago, in the form of Shaun Marcum. This time, it’s the Brewers sending a junkballer to Toronto, as Estrada’s success largely depends on whether he can work that offspeed offering. Estrada should be remembered by Brewers fans as a crucial swingman for the 2011 Division Champion Brewers, as well as an up-and-coming, potentially dependable starter through 2012 and 2013. Unfortunately, Estrada simply could not reach his full potential during the 2014 season, which was his worst in Milwaukee. Yet, the righty still served his role in the Brewers’ bullpen and rotation, giving the team necessary pitching depth. One can hope that Estrada finds his strengths again in Toronto, for there is always this sense that if Estrada could sustain his hot streaks deeper into the season, or limit the damage in his worst outings, he could become a very solid value option in a rotation.
I need not remind fans that the best part about this trade is that we can still root for Marco in Toronto, while we watch Lind succeed in Milwaukee. Hopefully Estrada gets his chance to crack the Blue Jays’ rotation and get those junkballs flying past Junior Circuit bats.
Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference, LLC., 2000-2014.
MLB Advanced Media, LP., 2014.
Other sources linked where cited and used.