A trade involving Blue Jays' first baseman Adam Lind is a "good bet" to be the first notable trade of the offseason, according to a report from Joel Sherman of the New York Post. As Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reported last week, the Jays have received strong trade interest in Lind, who is controlled under a $7.5 million team option for next season.
According to a major-league source, the Blue Jays have not yet informed Lind whether or not they will be exercising their option or paying him a $1 million buyout. The team has until three days after the completion of the World Series to make a decision, and is considered likely to either trade Lind before their deadline or pick up the option and try to move him in the next couple of weeks.
Adding fuel to the fire is the Jays' recent addition of first baseman Justin Smoak, who is likely to see time at the position along with starter Edwin Encarnacion and slugger Jose Bautista. Though Smoak is less offensively capable than Lind, he will come at a much lesser price through the arbitration process and is under team control through 2016.
Lind, 31, hit .321/.381/.479 with six home runs and 40 RBI in 96 games last season, and seems to be a solid fit for the Athletics, Brewers, or Mariners, who now have a hole in their roster to fill following the departure of Smoak.
There is a precedent for players with impending club options to be involved in trade rumors, as the Angels worked hard to trade starters Ervin Santana and Dan Haren before their option deadlines two years ago. The team was able to move Santana to the Royals and came close to sending Haren to the Cubs before declining their option on the latter and seeing him sign with the Nationals later in the offseason.