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Why I’m OK trading or blocking Matt Adams

Last night on Twitter, I discussed whether Milwaukee would accept a straight-up offer of Matt Adams for Adam Lind. Immediate reaction is that it seems like an overpay for the Cardinals for Lind, but I don’t think so. Though that may come because I never truly believed in Adams a Major League caliber player. His power plays, no doubt, but does the rest of his skillset? Here’s why I think the way I do.

1. Matt Adams has taken a step back every season he’s spent in the big leagues

I consider 2013 to be his first real big league season. That season he had a phenomenal September in relief of the injured Allen Craig that may have really set that bar too high. He slugged 17 home runs in just 319 plate appearances and put up a 129 OPS+. Since then, he’s taken steps backwards in every season.

Based on his 2013 numbers, projected at 600 plate appearances, he was on pace to have hit 32 home runs. In 2014, that number fell to 16. And then this year, a little further to 15.

In 2013 he had a .839 OPS. In 2014 that fell to .779. And then this year even further to .656.

Now basically two and a half seasons into his MLB career, he’s shown himself to be little more than a platoon caliber player with his .198 career batting average against left handed pitching making him a “must bench” a quarter of the year.

2. Matt Adams will be arbitration eligible this fall.

Because of his injury and the aforementioned steps backwards, he won’t get as much as he could have, but he will still be making more than league minimum. For a guy that you aren’t sure can be an everyday player, is he the right investment for you to be making?

3. Adam Lind is as good or better than Adams right now.

Lind and Adams are similar players. Both have power as their main calling card and both profile as the kind of players that you’d ideally platoon. The only difference is that Lind is five years older and has a little more proven performance in his background.

Lind is on pace for 26 home runs this season and is hitting .285. It isn’t a fluke year for Lind either, who has done this before. More than once. The Cardinals are in position to win now and I think it’s about time that they make a move like their are. If you could add Lind without giving up a top level prospect, that’s a win all around regardless of what Adams goes on to do in Milwaukee.

Going forward, Lind would actually fit well into the Cardinals’ plans. He can platoon with Stephen Piscotty at first base while Piscotty also grabs some at bats in the outfield. It carves out Piscotty the kind of role that Allen Craig filled in 2011 and 2012. When you consider exactly how such a move would fit together, I think it makes sense.

After all of this you may be asking why Milwaukee would want Adams now that I’ve torn him apart. Two main reasons, cost savings and potential.

Out of the gate you’re saving the Brewers $8 million next year and a few million the rest of this year. Obviously the Brewers will pick up that option if they can’t trade him because of the value Lind can provide at the plate.

Then there is the potential of Matt Adams and the player he has been. Milwaukee can give him the ability to play everyday to find that potential in a way that St. Louis can’t. If Matt Adams isn’t going to be good today, a championship contender like the Cardinals doesn’t have the luxury of waiting on him to become it.

The Brewers have the ability to let Adams play everyday and come into his own. I’d even be willing to send along a lottery ticket prospect to grease the wheel.

On our monthly UCB Radio hit, Kevin Reynolds and I talked that 2015 was probably the make-or-break year for Adams, as far as penciling himself into the team’s long term plans. With the injury, he’s probably bought himself another year. That’s lucky for him because this year wasn’t going very well.

For his part, John Mozeliak seems to still be high on Adams as an everyday player that you want to see taking 600+ plate appearances a year. He’s even said that he doesn’t want to block him with a trade acquisition, but I’m hopeful that’s just to create a bargaining position. I see Matt Adams’ value at a tipping point that may be as high as it will be going forward. Historically, that’s when Mozeliak strikes.

Jon Doble has been writing about the St. Louis Cardinals since 2010. You can follow him on Twitter at @JonDobleRBD, find him as R27 at RedbirdTalk.com and you can hear him co-host The UCB Podcast every fourth Wednesday night of the month. Redbird Dugout is a member of the United Cardinal Bloggers.

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