Yesterday, Rob Biertempfel reported that Arizona and San Diego had some degree of interest in Brad Lincoln for deals for Justin Upton and Carlos Quentin. Lincoln has been putting up strong numbers this year, mostly out of the bullpen, although he’s also shown the ability to start, if needed. He’s got five years of control remaining after this season, and will likely be Super Two eligible in 2014, as he will finish the 2012 season with one year and 138 days of service time.
Lincoln could be a valuable trade asset for the Pirates. He’s under control for a long period of time, and is low cost for the first few years. This year he’s shown the stuff to potentially be a closer, but he’s also shown the capability to be a back of the rotation starter, or more if he ever learns consistency with his changeup.
To get an idea of what Lincoln would be worth, let’s take a look at his trade value.
Brad Lincoln Trade Value
|Year||Salary||WAR||FA Value||Surplus Value|
I set Lincoln’s value at a 1.2 WAR, since that’s double his current value. I used the 20/40/60/80 scale for his arbitration years to get the estimated salaries there. I could see him getting more on the back end of arbitration if he becomes a closer, although I think his WAR value would go up a bit to make up for that.
Lincoln is worth $20.5 M, mostly due to the low cost years in 2013-2015. Looking at Kevin Creagh’s prospect trade values, that puts Lincoln’s value a few million higher than a top 11-25 pitching prospect, or a top 26-50 hitting prospect.
If other teams saw his value the same way, then Lincoln could fetch a big return. For example, I pointed out the other day that a Justin Upton deal would cost, at minimum, a package of Jameson Taillon, Starling Marte, one of the Indianapolis left-handers, and a prospect like Robbie Grossman or Gregory Polanco. If Lincoln is in the deal, you could remove one of Taillon or Marte.
As for San Diego, Lincoln doesn’t make sense for Quentin, as Lincoln’s value is four times the amount of Quentin. However, Chase Headley’s trade value is $19.56 M, which is on par with Lincoln’s value. Headley is the better player, getting that value over two years and two months, while Lincoln makes up group by being under control for a longer period of time, and being affordable in the short-term. We’ve heard the Pirates are interested in Headley, although that doesn’t mean San Diego would take such a swap.
This really depends on if other teams see the same value with Lincoln. If they view him as a guy who can start, or a guy who can close, then he is more likely to be seen as a guy with the value mentioned above. If they view him as more of a strong middle reliever, he might not fetch the same value.
The Pirates would be better off dealing Lincoln than a top prospect. Lincoln has been great this year, but the Pirates have had no problem finding strong relief pitchers. If they dealt Lincoln, they could replace him with Bryan Morris, who is dominating Triple-A, and looks major league ready. Other possibilities for the long-term include Duke Welker, Victor Black, or Evan Meek.