No, the Pirates have not acquired 1B Adam Lind for SS Jordy Mercer. There isn’t even a rumor that the Jays and Pirates might possibly – maybe – perhaps be considering such a trade. Just some interesting conjecture from an astute Blue Jays blogger at Jays Journal. But I thought I’d take a look at its feasibility.
The Jays blogger, Kyle Franzoni, speculated that it would take more than Adam Lind for Toronto to acquire Jordy Mercer. I didn’t have a clue, so, naturally, I looked at the numbers. (It’s what I don’t get paid to do.)
Mercer had an encouraging year at the plate for the Pirates in 2013. He hit .285/.336/.435 — .771 OPS. His performance in the field was not so inspiring; especially at SS, where his UZR/150 was 9.4 runs below average.
Lind had a big “bounce back” in 2013. He hit .288/.357/.497 — .854 OPS. But the problem with bounce back years is from whence the player bounced back. A player can’t have a bounce back year unless he was well below average in the prior season. And Lind was – for two seasons. In 2012, his OPS was .728 and, in 2011, it was .734.
Lind’s defense, like Mercer’s, is suspect. His UZR/150 was 7.4 runs below average in 2013.
But OPS and UZR/150 are not the best ways to compare a SS with a 1B. There are drastically different expectations and league averages for the two positions. So, we have to look at a statistic that adjusts for position and ballpark and estimates the overall value of the players’ production. And you know what that means.
Lind’s 2013 WAR was 1.8, while Mercer’s was 1.4. But, no! I’m not ready to send Jordy Joe Mercer to the Jays.
Mercer only had 365 plate appearances last season. Lind had 521. And WAR is a cumulative statistic. Given the same amount of playing time as Lind, Mercer’s performance had him on pace for 2.0 wins above replacement level.
Mercer and Lind provide a similar level of overall value to their teams, so, from that perspective, a trade looks feasible. But there are other issues involved.
1. Trading Mercer would essentially leave the Pirates without a SS.
2. Lind very much needs to be platooned. He had a .924 OPS against right-handers last year, but just a .573 OPS against lefties. And that is a trend. His OPS v. lefties was .553 in 2012 and .639 in 2011.
3. Lind is affordable. He will be paid $7 million in 2014 and has options for $7.5 million and $8 million in 2015 and 2016. But Jordy Joe plays at league minimum and is under team control through 2018 (and we know that team control is a massive issue for GM Neal Huntington).
Lind would be an upgrade in a 1B platoon for 2014, but the Pirates also need a SS. The two players are close in current value, but, (and I’m a little surprised at this) for the Pirates, this deal just wouldn’t work.