Tag Archives: Marco Estrada

Who are the Brewers getting in Adam Lind?

First base has been a cause for concern for the Milwaukee Brewers ever since the mighty Prince Fielder packed his bags after the 2011 season. The team has gone through the likes of Lyle Overbay, Travis Ishikawa, Alex Gonzalez, Mark Reynolds and even Yuniesky Betancourt to try to fill the void, but as you can probably tell by those names, the experiment went awry.

But the Brewers are still trying. On Satuday,  the Brewers acquired first baseman Adam Lind from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for RHP Marco Estrada. We all know who Marco Estrada is; a decent long reliever and a dreadful starter. But who is Adam Lind and what can the Brewers expect from him?

Lind is 31 years old and has been in the major leagues since 2006. Lind  has hit over .300 only twice in his career, but batting average is hardly a good measurement of a player’s offensive production, so don’t let that scare you. The left-handed hitter has a career .342 wOBA and 110 wRC+. To put that in comparison, Jonathan Lucroy has an identical career wOBA and a 113 wRC+. Lind also brings power to Milwaukee; he’s hit 20+ home runs in three seasons, including 2009 in which he blasted 35 homers.

Lind has never found consistency when it comes to getting on base, but has seen his on-base percentage rise over the last four seasons.

OBP
2011 .295
2012 .314
2013 .357
2014 .381
Average .337

Milwaukee’s first basemen have only managed a .290 OBP since 2012. The addition of Lind will surely improve that.

Lind will need a platoon partner, however. Like Scooter Gennett (I miss you, Rickie), Lind has an extremely hard time hitting southpaws and only saw 33 at-bats against them in 2014. He’s a career .212 hitter when a lefty is on the mound. But this shouldn’t be a problem and I don’t believe the Brewers need to go out and find a right-handed hitting first baseman. They can just use Jonathan Lucroy.

When the Brewers face a left-handed pitcher, move Lucroy to first and Martin Maldonado will spell him at catcher. Maldonado is a phenomenal defensive catcher and about average with the bat, and Lucroy has played in 28 games at first, so it’s not like experience is an issue. Obviously, this shouldn’t/won’t happen every time they face a lefty as Lucroy needs his rest, but for the most part, it’s a perfectly sound solution. No available first baseman is as good a hitter as Lucroy, anyway.

On the defensive side, Lind leaves a lot to be desired. The last two seasons he’s posted a -3.9 UZR which is just below average, but I’m sure the Brewers won’t mind his defensive flaws if he can make noise with his bat.

Before the trade went down, the Blue Jays had exercised Lind’s $7.5 million option for 2015. Lind also has a $8 million team option for 2016.

So to recap, the Brewers traded a potential non-tender candidate in Marco Estrada for a good hitting first baseman who could be with the team beyond this upcoming season. This was a great trade by Doug Melvin and Co.

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Pick a pitcher: Marco Estrada vs. Brandon Kintzler

Let’s play a game.

If you were the general manager of the Milwaukee Brewers and were forced to choose between relief pitchers Brandon Kintzler or Marco Estrada for the final spot in the bullpen for 2015, who would you pick?

Now, before we dive any deeper into my fascinating game, let it be known that there’s a very real possibility that both players return to the club next season, as neither of them are pending free agents. Kintzler is entering his first year of arbitration and Estrada will be entering his last. But, for the sake of my game, let’s make a decision anyway.

Both pitchers are coming off abysmal seasons, but we’ll start with Contestant #1 Marco Estrada.

Estrada couldn’t keep the ball in the park and was kicked out of the starting rotation in July. As a starter, he had a 4.96 ERA, 5.73 FIP and 4.25 xFIP. He also had the league’s 23rd-worst RE24 (-10.45) as a starter. It still amazes me that Ron Roenicke waited all the way until July to stash him in the bullpen. I mean, the guy gave up 27 home runs in 107 innings. Roenicke probably wanted to wait until the home runs began to normalize, but they never did. Jimmy Nelson or Mike Fiers should have replaced him in early-to-mid June. And what do you know, once Estrada got to the bullpen he started to pitch like an actual major league pitcher. His spot is in the bullpen. The starting rotation is his Mount Everest and he hasn’t conquered it yet, and who knows if he ever will.

Estrada is 31 and hasn’t done enough to keep a roster spot, but there are limited options to replace him. SB Nation’s Brew Crew Ball predicts he’ll make $4 million in 2015, a raise up from $3.3 million in 2014. But you have to decide if he’s really worth $4 million for one year. Remember, you’re the GM. It’s your call.

Next up, Contestant #2 Brandon Kintzler.

Kintzler was arguably the best reliever in 2013 before completely imploding for most of the 2014 season. But the funny thing was, he actually thought he pitched well. Here’s my favorite quote from him this past season:

“I never know where I’m going to throw, but it’s to the point that’s what I deserve,” Kintzler said, “because apparently a three-something ERA isn’t [good enough].”

Those were some harsh words he dished out in August. He actually finished with a respectable 3.27 ERA, mainly because of his superb month of September (0.90). But his FIP was a mere 4.68, and really struggled for the majority of the season. His sinker, his main pitch, decreased in value and wasn’t nearly as dominant as it was a year ago. He gave up five home runs on his sinker after allowing only one in 2013.

Kintzler is only a year older than Estrada, but will cost roughly $3 million less. If the Brewers are confident he can return to the Kintzler of 2013, the Brewers will gladly offer him arbitration and welcome him back with open arms. But where would he be used? He can’t be trusted in the seventh or eighth innings and his arm isn’t stretched out enough to be a long reliever like Estrada.

This is a tough decision.

My pick would be to keep Estrada and let Kintzler walk. Yes, Estrada is older and more expensive, but he’s had success in the long-relief role and can make a spot start whenever necessary. Those are two things Kintzler can’t do, and because of that, Estrada is more valuable.

But I’m not the GM in this scenario. You are. Who would you choose?