It isn't exactly news that the Brewers are in the trade business this winter. Right before the World Series began our own Kyle Lesniewski wrote about the first rumors of the offseason. Buster Olney said then that the Brewers were "willing to listen to anybody on its roster." The only Brewer specifically mentioned then was Jonathan Lucroy. Now we hear more of the same. It's Olney again and this time he's reporting that the Brewers are looking to move Adam Lind and Francisco Rodriguez.
Other teams say 2 players who had options exercised in last 48 hours are available for trade right now--MIL's Adam Lind, SD's Joaquin Benoit— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 4, 2015
As mentioned last month, MIL has the likes of Jonathan Lucroy and Francisco Rodriguez available for trade talks, as they look to get younger— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 4, 2015
Neither player being available should come as a surprise though, I find that there's often some confusion when a team picks up a club option on a player as the Brewers recently did with Adam Lind. They had a set amount of time to exercise that option and there was no reason not to pick it up. But that doesn't mean they can't trade him. And it doesn't mean they don't intend to trade him. Clearly they consider it an option.
They're in a pretty good position when it comes to trading Adam Lind too. He's coming off a pretty good season where he answered a lot of questions. Before he came to Milwaukee he was a 1B/DH. It was very questionable whether he would be able to handle playing first base both from an effectiveness perspective and an endurance one. He has a chronic back issue and many worried it would inhibit his playing time.
The back did flare up a couple times but he needed no more than a day or two of rest and ended up getting the most plate appearances of his career since 2010. And he wasn't just able to play first base he played it well. He gets positive marks from both DRS and UZR. His bat was above average as well which isn't a new thing for him. His offense was hurt by facing left-handed pitching though.
Adam Lind is now essentially on a one year deal worth $8 million. That's a paltry sum for a 2 win player capable of manning first base and providing 20+ HR power. A number of clubs could be interested in that profile for that dollar amount at both first base and designated hitter. The options on the free agent market there are slim to put it mildly.
Chris Davis is easily the best 1B/DH option available and he's almost certainly going to get a long term deal worth a large sum of money. The next best options might be Korean first basemen Byung-ho Park and Dae-ho Lee. And both of them carry a lot of risk.
If you're a team looking for a first baseman Adam Lind has to be at the top of your list or right behind Chris Davis. The nice thing about this is that teams that are interested in Chris Davis won't intersect with teams looking at Adam Lind. You have a guy that's going to get 5+ years and 100+ million and a guy that's coming in a 1/8. For that price there might even be some teams not necessarily looking for a 1B or DH that get involved because it's a pretty cheap price for a pretty good hitter.
Francisco Rodriguez might be a bit harder to trade. He's also coming off an impressive season which saw one of the best performances of his career. From a production standpoint there should be no question that K-Rod has learned to pitch with his lowered velocity and can be trusted in high leverage situations. However he's had domestic issues in the past which might be why he's not been able to sign with any team but the Brewers.
His contract isn't exactly team friendly but it's also not outrageous. He makes $7.5 million in 2016--$2 M is deferred until 1/10/2018. Then there is a team option for $6 M that includes a $2M buyout. When you compare the contract to other high leverage relievers it looks more than fair. Besides that the Brewers can always add money to help facilitate a trade. They did this with the Yovani Gallardo, Aramis Ramirez, and Jonathan Broxton trades.
The market for relievers is a bit more robust than for 1B/DH but there aren't a lot of obvious high leverage options. Ryan Madson, Joakim Soria, and Tyler Clippard are probably the top targets. That should work in the Brewers favor. From a purely production standpoint I think only Clippard is a better option and it's debatable.
Olney's report says the two are available in trade talks "right now." It could be an early start for the Brewers this year. Actually they made their first trade last year on November 1. So it's not out of character for them. Regardless of what happens--and when--this is going to be an immensely interesting offseason. I'm very interested to see new GM David Stearns in action.
Contract details courtesy of Cot's Contracts