Milwaukee Brewers GM David Stearns began to make his mark on the franchise in earnest last week. Slingin' Stearns executed three trades in three days from Wednesday through Friday, adding Jonathan Villar, Ramon Flores, Javier Betancourt, and a player to be named later to the system. Stearns still has plenty of potential trade chips at his disposal, which could hint at quite an active offseason as he continues to rebuild the club according to his vision.
Lind could be next #Brewers player to go. "Lots of activity on him," one source says. Appeals to AL clubs as DH; .883 OPS vs. RHPs in 2015.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 20, 2015
According to Ken Rosenthal, one of the likeliest players we could see shipped out next is first baseman Adam Lind. The Canadian lefty (as opposed to the Teen Mom 2 star) was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the third round of the 2004 draft. He made his big league debut in 2006 has enjoyed a productive 10 year career to this point, spending the first nine seasons in Toronto before being traded to Milwaukee in exchange for Marco Estrada prior to last season. Adam has dealt with injuries throughout his career, most notably back issues, but has slashed .274/.332/.466 with 166 home runs in 1102 games.
Lind had one of his best seasons in 2015 for Milwaukee. He managed to avoid the disabled list for the first time since 2010 and played in 149 games, the third highest total of his career. After settling in as the Brewers' cleanup hitter for most of the season, Lind hit .277/.360/.460 with 20 home runs and a 119 wRC+ in 572 plate appearances. Though he's often described as a "professional hitter" and came with a poor defensive reputation after spending most of his time at DH in recent years, Lind acquitted himself quite well at first base. His Defensive Runs Saved (5) and UZR (3.8) totals were both the best marks of his career while he played a career-high 1163.2 innings in the field. Lind was valued at 2.2 fWAR and 3.1 rWAR for his contributions to the Brewers last season, the highest he's been rated since his 35 home run campaign in 2009.
Lind signed a four year contract extension with Toronto prior to the 2010 season that included options for 2014, 2015, and 2016. After his excellent production in 2015, the Brewers made the easy decision to exercise his 2016 option that will pay Lind a guaranteed $8 mil salary. That's quite a reasonable sum for a player of Lind's ilk, considering the open market WAR value is now between $7-8 mil. Next year will be his age 32 season before he's eligible to hit the open market for the first time in his career.
Fortunately for the Brewers the market for first baseman is relatively bare. Chris Davis represents the only real everyday option on the free agent market. His services, of course, will go for well over $100 mil, making a one year, $8 mil commitment for Adam Lind look paltry in comparison. Any team that misses out on Davis or isn't comfortable with his high asking price could be a potential fit for Lind. This list could include the Orioles, Astros, Mariners, or Angels, among others.
So what is Adam Lind worth in a trade, exactly? His meager contract and the fact that he's proven he can handle first base everyday definitely help his cause, and staying on the field for a full season certainly didn't hurt, either. However, Lind is more of a "good" hitter than an "impact one." He comes with significant issues against left handed pitching (.575 OPS in 2015, .586 career), so he's probably best employed as the strong side of a platoon at first base.
Still, a full season of control over a first baseman who posted a 135 wRC+ against righties last season should hold plenty of value. Slingin' Stearns wouldn't be out of line seeking a 55 grade prospect in return for Lind, and if he can't find that, I'm sure that a 50 grade prospect plus a proverbial "lottery ticket" type would be enough to get a deal done. With "lots of activity" on him already, it seems almost inevitable that Adam Lind will be traded this winter if he's not already the next man out the door.