The flurry that started the Blue Jays’ off season could have looked quite different. Instead of sending Adam Lind to the Brewers for Marco Estrada, the Jays could have gone another way. According to Roch Kubatko at MASN (h/t MLBTR.com), the Orioles and Blue Jays discussed a trade for Adam Lind that would have seen Steve Pearce sent to Toronto. The Orioles did not want to part with Pearce, though.
That would have been a very interesting get for Alex Anthopoulos.
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Essentially, it would have traded one first baseman for another. In fact, the major difference between the two is roughly $5M. While Lind’s $7.5M option was picked up, Pearce’s is expected to jump to the $2.2M neighborhood. Lind is a lefty who struggles mightily against same hand pitching. Pearce is a righty who hits respectably (.279) against righties, but does much better (.327) against southpaws.
The Blue Jays tried to bring Pearce aboard in the past. Earlier this season, Baltimore let him go due to roster inflexibility. Toronto tried to claim him off waivers (shocking, I know), but the Orioles presented more opportunities for more at bats than the Blue Jays could offer, so he was able to reject their claim and re-sign with the O’s. Pearce can play outfield as well as first base. If anyone had a working crystal ball, they could have seen that the Blue Jays would have had plenty of at bats for Pearce.
Instead, he went on to hit .293/.373/.556 with 21 HR and 49 RBI for the division champions. It should come as no surprise that the Blue Jays came calling again in an attempt to save some money.
Why not? If you can replace Adam Lind with similar power, but a higher average against lefties, wouldn’t you? Add to that the versatility of being able to play the outfield and Pearce looks like a really nice replacement for $5M less.
This is an interesting bit of news. Trading Lind on a one for one basis within the division shows an interesting approach by Alex Anthopoulos. Can we see this as a less cautious approach to this off season? Is he throwing caution to the wind and upgrading this team at all costs? Or, is he just doing his “due diligence” and checking in on cheaper replacement options? Whichever is the case, once again, we have proof that the Ninja GM is working. Working hard.