Adam Lind Rumors

AL Notes: Correa, Hicks, Angels, Tanaka, Red Sox, Kazmir

Promotions are always interesting to keep an eye on this time of year, as teams look to balance future control and cost with developmental prerogatives and the needs of the MLB roster. One of the most-watched players, shortstop Carlos Correa of the Astros, will make his debut today at Triple-A after destroying the Double-A level at just twenty years of age. The next stop could be Houston, where the big league club playing well but dealing with a significant injury to Jed Lowrie. Meanwhile, the Twins have decided the time is ripe to give another shot at former top prospect Aaron Hicks, still just 25, who has struggled in his time in the majors but forced his way back with a .336/.415/.561 run through the highest level of the minors this year.

Here’s more from the American League:

  • The Angels, who have fielded a somewhat surprisingly unproductive lineup thus far, look in need of a bat, as Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register writes. While GM Jerry Dipoto says that he expects at least some of the team’s group of established hitters to return to their usual contributions on offense, Fletcher says that the front office is ready and willing to pursue an acquisition over the summer. Given the team’s struggles against right-handed pitching, Fletcher opines that Brewers first baseman Adam Lind would make for a particularly sensible trade target. He ticks through a few other plausible options as the market begins to take shape.
  • Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka is set to throw his first bullpen today since suffering a forearm strain, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch tweeted yesterday. At this point, it would seem to rate as a pleasant surprise if Tanaka is able to contribute more quality innings this year, though the club seems determined to give him every opportunity to return before pursuing more drastic options.
  • Indeed, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes, the Yankees rotation has plenty of issues but still rates as the most complete outfit in the division. GM Brian Cashman continues to say that he believes Tanaka can stave off a Tommy John procedure. And as Sherman rightly notes, Chris Capuano and Ivan Nova both appear on track to deliver useful arms in the relatively near future. If the club stays in position and has a need, of course, it should have no difficulty finding ways to add quality innings via trade over the summer.
  • The Red Sox staff, meanwhile, has been a source of near-constant hand-wringing and speculation for months. There are reasons to believe in improvement from the peripherals, as MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince explains, though as he notes the biggest reason for hope may lie in the club’s evident ability (and demonstrated willingness) to swing deals to add additional arms.
  • Red Sox GM Ben Cherington continues to emphasize the organization’s commitment to delivering better results from its internal pitching options, as Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports“We knew we needed good pitching coming into the year to win games, and we still know that,” says Cherington. “I believe we’ll pitch better, and I believe we have a lot of the solutions here already.” Cherington emphasized that he wants to see how things proceed with a new pitching coach (and new backstop duo) now in place. Regardless, as he notes, it would be hard to make a move now. “Not a lot of teams are in that (trade) mode,” said the Red Sox GM, “but there wouldn’t normally be this time of year anyway. We’re not really there yet. There’s not a lot of team-altering moves being discussed this early. Probably need a little bit of time on that.” In Lauber’s estimation, Cherington’s protestations notwithstanding, Boston must and will strike one or more trades and/or promote well-regarded lefty Eduardo Rodriguez for an infusion of talent.
  • One possible trade target for the Red Sox (and, of course, other teams) is Athletics lefty Scott Kazmir, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe opines. Indeed, Kazmir’s strong recent track record and meager remaining commitment, to say nothing of the free-wheeling nature of Oakland GM Billy Beane, frame him as a popular source of trade speculation over the next few months. If the team decides to market him, which seems more and more plausible with each passing day for the 12-22 A’s, it will be fascinating to see what the 31-year-old returns in a trade.

NL Notes: Brewers, Pirates, Rockies

There have been numerous reports about the Brewers trading veteran players and rebuilding. But they aren’t likely to do so this early in the season, if only because it’s hard to find trading partners, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. If the Brewers don’t start trading immediately, though, it doesn’t sound like it will be because of any lack of eagerness on their part. “Very few teams are open to taking on money at this time of year. You get similar answers: ‘We’re still looking at our club right now,'” says GM Doug Melvin. “The frustrating part is you would like to make some moves and do some things. But, early in the year, the only thing you can do is (between) your club and Triple-A.” Here are more notes from the National League.

  • Brewers first baseman Adam Lind could make a good trade target for the Pirates, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets. The Pirates could certainly use more offense, but they already have a left-handed first baseman in Pedro Alvarez, and he’s one of a handful of players on the team not hitting poorly. The Bucs could also move Alvarez to third base and have Josh Harrison go back to a utility role, although that seems unlikely, given Alvarez’s extreme problems with throwing last season.
  • The Rockies have struggled in part because they haven’t been bold enough in their pursuit of starting pitching, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. The team has been reluctant to make big commitments to starting pitchers since their deals with Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle went south, Saunders writes. Of course, one problem is that it’s very difficult to get free agent starting pitchers to play half their games in Coors Field. Instead, Saunders suggests the Rockies could make a bold trade for a top starting pitcher, the way the Royals did with James Shields.

Quick Hits: Personal Catchers, Mariners, Parra

Several MLB teams continue to value the relationship between certain pitchers and otherwise reserve backstops, as Jay Cohen of the Associated Press writes (via the Dayton Daily News). While the concept is hardly a new one, Cohen explains that pitch framing (to say nothing of pitch calling and the even more nebulous notion of pitcher handling) all come into play as well. Whether it is worth giving up a roster spot to a specific player with the idea that he will primarily catch just one (or more) particular starters is, of course, a difficult and context-specific question.

Here are a few more stray notes from the day:

  • The Mariners posted a $11.6MM operating profit last year, which — as MLB.com’s Greg Johns explains — the team reported per its stadium lease agreement. Seattle has a provision in is lease that requires it to share profits with the public entity that operates Safeco Field, the details of which are included in the above-cited piece. Needless to say, this is just another indicator of the current upswing that the team has enjoyed since a disappointing run from 2010-2013.
  • Still searching for options at first base with Adam Lind dealing with back issues, the Brewers plan to give Gerardo Parra a look at the position, as Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel tweets. The 27-year-old has some experience in that role as an amateur, though he has played exclusively in the outfield as a professional. As a roughly league-average hitter, much of Parra’s value has come from his work with the glove in the outfield grass.


Quick Hits: Orioles, Blue Jays, Rockies, Sandoval

The Orioles and Blue Jays discussed a potential Adam Lind trade before the Jays sent Lind to the Brewers, reports MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko. The Jays asked for Steve Pearce in the deal, which would have amounted to something like a challenge trade — Lind and Pearce are the same age and play the same positions, although Lind is left-handed and Pearce right-handed, and Lind has one more year of team control. Pearce is coming off a significantly better season and will be much cheaper in 2015 (a projected $2.2MM for Pearce versus $7.5MM for Lind), however, so it’s not surprising that the Orioles said no. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.


Blue Jays Notes: Lind, Cabrera, McGowan, Sanchez

When the Blue Jays brass met to discuss the offseason, Adam Lind was at the top of the list, writes John Lott of the National Post. The first baseman’s presence on the roster impeded flexibility, which is why the club dealt him for pitcher Marco Estrada earlier today. GM Alex Anthopoulos expressed hope that the trade would be the first domino in a series of moves. Here’s more from north of the border.

  • FOXSports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets that the White Sox were also interested in Lind but did not make a substantial offer. I’m not surprised the Sox did not match the Brewers’ offer. With the possible exception of Dayan Viciedo, the White Sox don’t possess a player like Estrada, i.e. an established major leaguer coming off a disappointing season.
  • The Jays and free agent Melky Cabrera are far apart in contract negotiations, writes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca. Anthopoulos was forthcoming about the talks, comparing the situation to some arbitration cases. “Sometimes you need to have that third party, which is the market…so they truly know what they are worth.” Based on those comments, it appears likely that Cabrera will test the market. We at MLBTR pegged Cabrera for a five-year, $70MM contract, but he’s obviously among the hardest players to gauge due to his history with performance enhancing drugs and a lost season in 2013 from a back injury. For what it’s worth, I consider the $70MM estimate to be conservative in today’s offensively anemic game.
  • Toronto declined Dustin McGowan‘s $4MM option because the contract was too rich for his projected role, says Davidi (Twitter link). Anthopoulos did not rule out a reunion with McGowan at a lesser rate, per Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star (via Twitter).
  • Anthopoulos confirmed that the club views prospect Aaron Sanchez as a starter long term, tweets Kennedy. However, there may not be a spot in the rotation. My observation from strolling around the internet is that many fans hope to see Sanchez installed as the closer. No plans have been made at this time.
  • The Blue Jays will not make a qualifying offer to Colby Rasmus or Casey Janssen, tweets Davidi. He referred to the news as “confirming the obvious,” since neither player was viewed as a candidate for an offer.

Blue Jays, Brewers Swap Adam Lind, Marco Estrada

The Brewers have acquired 1B/OF Adam Lind from the Blue Jays, Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish tweets. SportsNet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith initially reported the two sides were close to a deal. The Jays will receive righty Marco Estrada in return, Andrew Walker of Sports590.ca tweets.

USATSI_8030089_154513410_lowresThe Blue Jays exercised Lind’s $7.5MM option on Lind earlier today, and Lind’s contract also includes a 2016 option for $8MM or a $500K buyout. Even though the Jays picked up the option, there were rumors they might trade Lind. Lind hit .321/.381/.479 in 290 plate appearances this season, but the Jays’ acquisition of another lefty first baseman, Justin Smoak, last week was a possible indication that they were planning for Lind’s departure.

The Brewers had a need at first base, and Lind will presumably take most of the at-bats there. He’s below average defensively at any position, but he should be able to make up for that with his hitting. At age 31, there isn’t much reason to expect a steep decline from his .273/.336/.450 career numbers, although a repeat of his 2014 offensive performance is perhaps unlikely.

Lind is a career .212/.257/.331 hitter against lefties, so the Brewers will surely use him in a platoon, possibly with someone like Jason Rogers or with another outside addition. As Brewers GM Doug Melvin points out (via Todd Rosiak of the Journal Sentinel on Twitter), though, the NL Central is heavy on right-handed starting pitching. The main Brewers 2014 first basemen, lefty Lyle Overbay and righty Mark Reynolds, are both set to become free agents.

Estrada posted a 4.36 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 for the Brewers in 2014. He’s entering his last season of arbitration eligibility (in which he’s projected to make $4.7MM) before he can become a free agent. He lost his job in the Brewers’ rotation in July, then pitched significantly better down the stretch as a reliever. He’s a fly ball pitcher and he isn’t a hard thrower, which led to 29 home runs allowed last season. Still, his other peripherals are solid, particularly if he can revert to his 2013 numbers, when he posted 8.3 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9. The Blue Jays currently appear mostly set in their rotation, particularly after picking up J.A. Happ‘s option last night, so Estrada could be ticketed for the bullpen.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Brewers Nearing Deal For Adam Lind

The Brewers are close to a trade for 1B/DH Adam Lind, Ben Nicholson-Smith of SportsNet.ca tweets. The Blue Jays exercised their 2015 option on Lind today, but they’ve taken calls on him already this offseason.


Blue Jays Exercise Option On Adam Lind

The Blue Jays have exercised their option on 1B/OF Adam Lind, Shi Davidi of SportsNet.ca tweets. The Jays will pay Lind $7.5MM for next season rather than a $1MM buyout. They’ll also have an option on his services for 2016 for $8MM or a $500K buyout.

Lind hit .321/.381/.479 in 318 plate appearances for the Jays last season, so picking up his option was probably an easy decision even though he’s a liability on defense and rarely hits against lefties. The move does not preclude a trade, however — Toronto recently claimed lefty first baseman Justin Smoak, potentially giving them another option at first and DH if they deal Lind. The Jays have reportedly already taken a number of calls on Lind this offseason.

 


AL East Notes: Rays, Lind, Robertson, Ichiro

The Rays are compiling a list of managerial candidates and could announce a formalized list by the end of the week, writes Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune. The team’s goal is to have a new skipper in place by Thanksgiving, according to Mooney, who also notes that the Rays are taking the unusual step of asking their players on the qualities they would like in a new manager. “We don’t really bother ourselves with what is the norm,” Silverman explained. “We do what we think is right for our ballclub. They’re an important voice into who leads our clubhouse.”

More from the AL East…

  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post adds to the recent Adam Lind trade speculation by writing that those looking to guess the first significant trade of the offseason would be wise to bet on the Blue Jays moving Lind. There are “strong indicators” that the Jays would like to reallocate the funds that are dedicated to Lind, so the team could very well exercise his $7.5MM club option and deal him. Sherman lists the Mariners and Athletics as potential fits, noting how well his platoon role fits the A’s model.
  • Meanwhile, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet tweets that he doesn’t see the Mariners as a fit for Lind given the team’s bulk of left-handed bats. While I agree that it’s an imperfect fit, Lind strikes me as a reasonable fit there if the club can find a right-handed bat to pair with him at DH.
  • In his latest Yankees Inbox, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com writes that the team’s likely preference would be to retain David Robertson for one more season before handing the ninth inning over to Dellin Betances. That, of course, makes a qualifying offer likely, though I can’t envision any scenario where Robertson would accept the offer. Hoch also writes that Ichiro Suzuki will be seeking more at-bats than the Yankees have to give, even in a part-time role. Hoch wonders if he’d be a fit for an NL club who could use him off the bench and in the late innings while giving him occasional starts in the outfield as well.

Blue Jays Receiving Calls On Adam Lind

Blue Jays first baseman/DH Adam Lind has drawn interest from a number of teams, including National League clubs, reports Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun. One executive tells Elliott that he hears at least three or four teams have called to check in on the 31-year-old Lind.

The Blue Jays hold a $7.5MM club option on Lind, whose contract also contains an $8MM club option for the 2016 campaign. Lind batted .321/.381/.479 with six homers, 24 doubles and a pair of triples in 318 plate appearances this season, though he missed some time with a fractured right foot that was initially misdiagnosed. While his slash line looks appealing, it should be noted that the Blue Jays have shielded him almost entirely from left-handed pitching in recent years. Many players have platoon deficiencies, but Lind is an extreme example, as evidenced by his lifetime .212/.257/.331 batting line against southpaws.

Nevertheless, Lind’s price tag makes him an appealing option for a team like Pittsburgh, in my opinion, as a club that has a potential need at first base but lacks the financial muscle to bring in a more traditionally expensive slugger. The Padres and Marlins could also make some sense as a trade partner for the Blue Jays, and within the American League it wouldn’t surprise me if the Indians, White Sox or Mariners (to name a few clubs) had some interest in Lind as well. Of course, all of these teams are solely my speculation, although the Pirates did show interest in Lind on multiple occasions last winter.

Obviously, the Blue Jays will first have to make a decision on whether or not to exercise Lind’s option or pay a $1MM buyout, but it seems like a fairly easy call given the relatively modest price and his production against opposite-handed pitching.