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Gone with the Lind, Here with the Estrada

Given the rumours over the past week, it wasn’t all that shocking the Blue Jays traded Adam Lind. But it was the return (or the lack thereof) that has surprised many; Adam Lind to the Milwaukee Brewers for starter/reliever Marco Estrada.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a calendar year if Alex Anthopoulos didn’t trade a position player for a reliever, but more on that in a bit. First, let’s address what the Blue Jays gave up; their nine year veteran and last remaining homegrown position player, Adam Lind.

With their glut of corner infielders, first baseman and DH types, Adam Lind was disposable and this was the opportune time for the Blue Jays to sell high. Lind enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance season in 2014, batting .321/.381/.479 over the course of 96 games.



Left-handed pitching has always been Lind’s kryptonite, and this year the Blue Jays finally slid Lind into the platoon role which they had experimented with for years. Under John Gibbons, it worked; but the downside was that it really only left the Blue Jays with part of a first baseman.

Over the past few years, the Blue Jays weren’t really able to find a lefty-masher to pair up with Adam Lind. Rather than go the platoon route at first base, they’ve decided to abandon that game plan altogether and deal Lind instead.

I don’t think trading Lind was so much about payroll flexibility as it
was roster flexibility. It really wasn’t a salary dump as the move only
saves the Blue Jays approximately $4 million dollars.

Clearly, the Blue Jays want to utilize the DH spot differently this season, and with them surely wanting to rest Jose Reyes, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion among others, I guess the Blue Jays felt that Lind took up that coveted DH spot.

Marco Estrada isn’t the sexy name most were expecting the Blue Jays to receive in return. Upon perusing his Baseball Reference page, Estrada gave up a career 29 home runs and is predominantly a fly ball pitcher coming to a home run-friendly park.

Estrada seems like a back of the rotation contingency plan in case the Blue Jays end up trading J.A. Happ, Mark Buehrle or even R.A. Dickey.  If the Blue Jays do deal one of their starters, Estrada could be penciled into the rotation.

The trade fills a need, as the Blue Jays desperately need relief help. If the starting rotation stays status quo, that could make Marco Estrada the new swing guy who could come in for long relief or the occasional spot start

Had Lind’s stock fallen so far that the Blue Jays were only able to receive a middle reliever in return for him? Or was it just that Lind had carved out a niche as a platoon-type player and that’s all the Blue Jays could get back from Milwaukee?

At first blush, I wasn’t really in love with this trade for the Blue Jays, but after some time to think, I can see why the haul for Adam Lind wasn’t more substantial than Marco Estrada.



From the fan’s perspective, there might the tendency to view Adam Lind through rose-coloured glasses. For anyone who witnessed his 2009 Silver Slugger season, they definitely know he possesses a potent bat. However, the caveat with Lind is it has to be against a right-hander.

The most confusing thing about Alex Anthopoulos’ call with the media was when AA said the Blue Jays would have declined Adam Lind’s option had they not worked out a trade. While the Blue Jays would be off the hook for his salary, he would’ve walked away for nothing.

I really can’t imagine Alex Anthopoulos thought carrying Lind for another year would handcuff the roster so much so that they’d just decline his option, rather than keep him on the team.

It’s just my guess that Adam Lind either requested a trade or the organization decided Lind’s time as a Blue Jay was over, one way or another. And given everything that transpired between Lind and the Jays this year, it was likely less than an amicable split.

After coming through Gregor Chisholm’s transcript of Alex Anthopoulos’ conference call with reporters, the word that came up several times (eight to be exact) was “flexibility”. Although he’s a great player with his strengths, Adam Lind is the antithesis of flexible.

He may be coming off a season where he hit .321, but Lind only started 43 games in the field and a total of 171 games at first the past three seasons combined. Lingering back injuries are also a concern with Lind, and of course his struggles against left-handers.

So in that sense, by the number of games he played last season, he was one quarter of a first baseman and really only one half of a DH … all for $7 million dollars. And at a $7.5 million salary for 2015, it’s apparent Lind didn’t fit the Blue Jays’ blueprint anymore.

Image courtesy of Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez “mine” incident. He’ll also retell the story of Game 5 of the ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.


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3 Comments

  1. Peter DeMarco

    November 2, 2014 - 6:04 pm

    I'm fine with trading Lind because I'm concerned with his injury history, declining production and power.

    I'm also fine with Estrada, though I'm thinking he's probably better suited to be a reliever than a starter. Also, I think there is a good chance that he will end up becoming the new Esmil Rogers, which ain't great.

    What I'm not fine with is if the Jays have both Happ and Estrada are in the rotation next year. If that happens, I'm already going to write of their chances at post season play.

    1. Ian Hunter

      November 2, 2014 - 8:23 pm

      Agreed – with Happ still on the roster, Estrada is a bit redundant. Now would be the time to deal J.A. as well and perhaps get some infield help.

  2. Roberto

    November 4, 2014 - 3:48 am

    Just a hunch, but my guess is that Estrada gets nontendered. He's going to cost about $4MM and would fill the same role as Dustin McGowan, who just had his $4MM option declined.

    Unless, as you say, they trade JA Happ for something, in which case Estrada could compete for the #5 rotation spot.

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