An interesting deal in the NL Central today – these things become more relevant as the Chicago Cubs look to be competitive in 2015 (isn’t that fun?) – with the Milwaukee Brewers reportedly picking up a bat in Adam Lind, while losing an arm in Marco Estrada.
Lind, 31, will make just $7.5 million in 2015, and he comes with an $8 million option for 2016. He bounced back in a big way the last two years with the bat, posting a 131 wRC+ in 2013 and a 141 wRC+ in 2014. Thanks to well-below average first base defense by UZR/150, and a broken foot in 2014, Lind’s overall value was suppressed, as he didn’t top 2.0 WAR in either season.
Given the contract and the bat, you can see why Lind would hold particular value for the Brewers, but did they really get better in the exchange?
Well, it depends on what you think of Estrada. The 31-year-old righty looked like he was breaking out two years ago when he posted a 3.64 ERA and 3.35 FIP in 2012 and accumulated 3.2 WAR over just 138.1 innings. He slid a little in 2013, and then dove in 2014 – 4.36 ERA and 4.88 FIP over 150.2 sub-replacement-level innings.
Estrada made $3.325 million in 2014, and he’s got two more arbitration years left [EDIT: Miscounted. Only one arb year left. Thanks to Brocktoon in the comments]. So, on the financial end, the Blue Jays are saving some money with this deal.
All in all, I can see the virtue – the upside and downside – on each side of the swap. I’d probably bet on Lind being more valuable over the next two years, and, with some solid pitching depth, the Brewers may have gotten a little better today.
With Ryan Braun in decline and Aramis Ramirez possibly on the way out (the Brewers picked up their half of a mutual $14 million option, but he may choose to walk), though, the Brewers may have needed to add a bat like Lind’s just to stay flat offensively.