Detroit Tigers Trade Target: Milwaukee Brewers’ Adam Lind


Adam Lind could be a Detroit Tigers trade target if they’re looking to add offense by bolstering the designated hitter position.

Trade season doesn’t typically heat up until mid-to-late July but the Detroit Tigers — with their ever-closing window and win-now attitude — may seek to get a jump on things. Players acquired on deadline day (July 31) only have two months to make an impact on the season. A player acquired in early June would have nearly twice that amount of time.

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The Tigers have been having some difficultly scoring runs. Twenty teams scored more runs in the month of May than did the Tigers who now rank 14th overall in runs scored in 2015. They seem to be hitting the ball better than that, they’re still sixth in wRC+, but it would not be altogether surprising if Detroit makes a move for more offense at some point this summer.

The Tigers are actually getting above-average offensive production from seven of the nine positions in their lineup. Only third base (.640 OPS) and designated hitter (.596 OPS) look to be easily upgradable from an offensive standpoint. Victor Martinez was re-signed to a four-year contract this past offseason to be the full-time DH, but injuries and ineffectiveness have caused him to be (1) on the disabled list now and (2) unproductive when previously in the lineup.

Martinez is ostensibly on the mend and getting closer to re-joining the team — and hopefully that’s the case — but the Tigers should be preparing a backup plan in case the balky knee doesn’t get better in the near future.

We already identified one Detroit Tigers trade target that wouldn’t make sense in Ryan Howard, but a move for Adam Lind of the Milwaukee Brewers (who are well out of the race already). The Brewers owners of baseball’s worst record at 17-34 and should already have resigned themselves to a summer of selling off assets and repositioning themselves for the future.

Lind, a big left-handed slugger, absolutely kills right-handed pitching. He has a career .862 OPS against righties and has been even better than that in recent years (.902 this season, .942 in 2014, and .924 in 2013).

The flip side of that success is his complete inability to hit left-handed pitchers (with a career OPS of .587), but the Tigers already lean right-handed with their sluggers (Miguel Cabrera, Yoenis Cespedis, and J.D. Martinez), and Victor Martinez had remained effective batting right-handed against lefties (in limited action) this season.

The difficult part of concocting a trade scenario is trying to figure out what the Tigers would have to give up. Milwaukee acquired Lind from the Toronto Blue Jays in November for Marco Estrada, a right-handed swingman with only one year remaining on his contract (2015) before he hits free agency.

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  • That recent trade would suggest that the price for Lind wouldn’t be particularly high (one year of Marco Estrada would probably be less valuable than five years of team control of Kyle Lobstein, for example), but the Tigers don’t have a deep farm system and can ill-afford to give up many pieces who provide even the most basic levels of depth.

    Lind’s contract only pays him $7.5 million in 2015 and carries a club option for $8 million in 2015, so he’s affordable and wouldn’t require a long-term commitment. That’s potentially good news for a team like the Tigers — they could fit him into the payroll structure relatively easily — but it also makes him attractive to other teams looking for offensive help.

    If Martinez returns from the disabled list in good health and begins producing at the .800+ OPS level we’ve come to expect, then the Tigers obviously wouldn’t need to make this move, but if there’s any uncertainty with respect to Martinez’s health down the stretch they should be quick to act.

    Detroit has used up a roster spot on an essentially useless Hernan Perez all season, so finding a roster spot isn’t an issue. And even if they did acquire Lind and Martinez rounded back into form and they had to shuffle playing time, having an extra bench bat wouldn’t be a terrible thing to have going into September (and hopefully October).

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