The Brewers don't typically get off to quick starts in the offseason. This offseason may not be your typical Brewers offseason.
The Brewers have acquired first baseman Adam Lind from the Toronto Blue Jays, reports SBN's own Chris Cotillo. Reportedly, Milwaukee is sending Marco Estrada to Canada in exchange for the big slugger.
Thus, the rumors of Adam LaRoche being the prime target for the team in the offseason may already be over. Lind will most assuredly receive most of the playing time at first base for Milwaukee in 2015 as he is set to earn $7.5 million in 2015 after the Blue Jays picked up his option for the year recently. Worth noting, too, is he has another option for 2016 worth $8 million with a $500,000 buyout.
Lind, 31, may end up being the best first baseman the Brewers have had since Prince Fielder left after 2011. In 96 games for the Blue Jays in 2014, he hit .321/.381/.479 with six homers and 24 doubles. He missed much of the season due to a broken foot. He'll more typically hit between 20-30 home runs in a full season and once posted a 35-homer year in 2009.
After earning a big contract from Toronto, Lind had a down couple of years in 2010-2011, just when he was hitting what should have been his prime. Those two seasons he combined for a .243/.291/.432 line and earned a stint in the minors in 2012 to correct his swing. Since that point, however, he's been excellent with an .859 OPS since the start of 2013.
Meanwhile, Marco Estrada was a strong non-tender candidate for the Brewers heading into his final year of arbitration. Though he posts great strikeout/walk numbers, home runs destroyed his season in 2014. He gave up a league-leading 29 homers this past year despite being taken out of the rotation after just 18 starts.
Estrada did well in the bullpen after being taken out of the rotation, allowing just a .611 opponents OPS and posting a 2.89 ERA over 43.2 innings as a reliever. However, that wasn't enough to guarantee he would return as he would have received a raise on the $3.33 million he made in 2014 through arbitration. It's possible he puts it together in Toronto and becomes a very solid pitcher, but he'll need to correct his long-ball tendencies.
Though Lind will take over primary starting duties at first base in 2015, the Brewers might be wise to find a platoon partner for him. Over his career, the left-handed Lind has an .860 OPS against right handed pitching but a .588 OPS against southpaws. The Blue Jays recognized this and only allowed him to have 37 plate appearances against lefties in 2014. Mark Reynolds could be kept around as the other part of a platoon and insurance at third base. Matt Clark has become less likely to make the roster as a fellow lefty.
We'll see what the rest of the offseason holds for the Brewers. If Aramis Ramirez picks up his side of the mutual option the Brewers already exercised their part on, most of the lineup is already pretty well filled out. After third base, platoon options at second and first as well as help in the bullpen and on the bench will likely be the primary concerns.