While we’re excited to have Adam Lind in town, he’s probably the best first baseman Milwaukee has had since Price Fielder departed for Detroit; we’re more excited that Macro Estrada is somebody else’s problem next season.
I don’t mean to sound overly harsh but as a starter in 2014, Marco Estrada was the worst pitcher in the National League, and while he was effective out of the bullpen, he was not so effective that he would have earned a place on the team when pitching with a lead. He was lock into a long reliever role in 2015, and trading him away eliminates the chance that the Brewers can put him back in the rotation if an injury should come along.
Lind comes to Milwaukee with a $7.5 million price tag for the 2015 season and an $8 million option for 2016 (with a $500,000 buyout). That is a raise on the combination of Lyle Overbay and Mark Reynolds (they made a combined $3.5 million in 2014). Some of that is going to be defrayed by the cost of Estrada. Marco made $3.33 million in 2014 and would probably have seen a raise to $4 million in arbitration.
Lind was limited to 96 games in 2014 due to a broken foot, but when he was in there he hit .321/.381/.479. In 2013 he played 143 games and hit .288/.357/.497. His wRC+ the last two seasons were 131 and 141 respectively. Those wRC+s would have led the Brewers each of the last two seasons among qualifying players.
Unfortunately it is not all sunshine and roses for Milwaukee. Lind was atrocious in limited action against left handed pitching in 2014. In 27 games (37 plate appearances) against left handed pitching Lind hit just .061/.162/.061, good for a wRC+ of -36.
Those 37 plate appearances are a ridiculously small sample size, partially due to his foot injury. In 2013 Lind played a full season and had 100 plate appearances in 52 games against left handed pitching where he hit just .208/.240/.333 for a wRC+ of just 52, which is still pretty bad. Think Jean Segura with Mark Reynolds’ strike out rate.
With the return of Aramis Ramirez and Lind looking like the main guy at first base, all signs (to me) point to Jason Rogers getting a shot on the Brewers roster this season. He can play both corners, and as a right handed bat he can take first base against left handed pitching.