The Pirates and General Manager Neal Huntington made their second big trade of the season, moving pitcher Brad Lincoln to Toronto for 24-year-old outfielder Travis Snider. Snider was Toronto’s first-round selection, No. 14 overall, in the 2006 draft and made his Major League debut with the Blue Jays in 2008 at age 20. He was a part-time player from 2009 to 2011 and has spent most of 2012 in the minors. The left-handed hitter entered tonight’s action with a.235 average, three homers and eight RBI in nine games with Toronto. In 61 games with Triple-A Las Vegas, Snider hit .335 with 17 doubles, 13 home runs and 57 RBI.
Snider will be arbitration-eligible for the first time after 2013 and can be eligible for free agency after 2016.
Brad Lincoln was the Pirates' first-round pick in the same draft. He made his debut with Pittsburgh in 2010. The 27-year old Lincoln saw limited major league action, mostly in a starting role in both 2010 and 2011 before working primarily in relief this season, posting some of the best numbers in all of baseball. He's given up just 22 hits and eight walks against 40 strikeouts in 23 appearances. His 0.50 ERA in 35.2 IP is the lowest of any major league reliever with a minimum if 30 IP.
Lincoln won't be arbitration-eligible for the first time until 2015 and the earliest he can be eligible for free agency is 2018. So effectively in the one-for-one player exchange the Pirates have given up two years of player control.
Despite that, and even as a fan of Lincoln, my initial reaction to the deal is favorable. I think Toronto will give Lincoln another chance to start, which I think the Pirates would have done next year as well, while Snider is going to get a chance to be penciled into the lineup and play every day, something that never happened in Toronto. As with the Wandy Rodriguez deal, the long-term ramifications are probably even more enticing than the fact that Snider will help the Pirates playoff push this year. The Pirates have pretty much now nailed down their starting outfield for the next few years if things pan out as hoped. Obviously, that didn't happen this year, so we'll keep a cautionary tone on it.