There was a flurry of news coming out of the Toronto Blue Jays’ camp yesterday as the Jays traded their longest-serving position player and declined the option on their second-longest-serving pitcher.
The big news was that Adam Lind, whose $7.5 million option had just been picked up, was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for right-handed pitcher Marco Estrada. We all know what Lind is capable of and, although his home-run power declined last year, Lind has made up for it with improved plate discipline and a whole bunch of doubles, hitting .321/.381/.479 last season with 32 extra-base hits (24 doubles, two triples and six home runs) in just 96 games.
We also all know of Lind’s limitations which is probably why the return for him is a swingman righty. Lind can’t hit left-handed pitching (hitting just .061/.162/.061 off lefties last year), he can’t stay healthy (his back issues and platoon splits kept him to just 96 games last year and 93 in 2012), his defense isn’t great and he isn’t getting any younger. It will be interesting to see how he’s used in the National League as well as how he holds up physically.
In Estrada, the Blue Jays are getting a 31-year-old Mexican righty with a below-average fastball (88.9 mph average on PITCHf/x last year) and a high home run rate. The positive is that he appears to have very solid control and has proven that he can throw a lot of innings as a spot starter, throwing over 125 innings each year for the past three, culminating with a 150 2/3 innings total last year. On the down side, he has a low ground ball rate and high home rate that are both cause for concern in Rogers Centre.
In other news, the Blue Jays picked up options on backup catcher Josh Thole and J.A. Happ while declining them on Brandon Morrow, Dustin McGowan, Justin Smoak and Sergio Santos. None of these developments come as any surprise. By declining the option on Smoak, he will still be under team control and is eligible for salary arbitration. ML rules prohibit players from earning less than 80% of their previous season’s salary, meaning that Smoak, who made $2,637,500 last season with the Mariners, will not make less than $2,110,000 in 2015 (and likely will make more). After trading Adam Lind‘s $7.5 million salary, the two players who will be on the field will make about $6 million combined (with Marco Estrada set to earn around $4 million).
Finally, the Blue Jays re-signed right-handed reliever Bobby Korecky to a minor league deal. Korecky, 35, was absolutely dominant with the Buffalo Bisons last year, saving 22 games and posting a 1.97 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP with 18 walks and 60 strikeouts in 64 innings last year.
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