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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

How Much Trade Value Does Brad Lincoln Have?

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
2012 $480,000 1.2 $6,200,000 $2,000,000
2013 $500,000 1.2 $6,200,000 $5,700,000
2014 $1,200,000 1.2 $6,200,000 $5,000,000
2015 $2,400,000 1.2 $6,200,000 $3,800,000
2016 $3,600,000 1.2 $6,200,000 $2,600,000
2017 $4,800,000 1.2 $6,200,000 $1,400,000
TOTAL $12,980,000 7.2 $37,200,000 $20,500,000

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.

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Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.


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Kirk Weaver

Why do you think Drew Sutton hasn’t gotten the chance to play SS in Pittsburgh? I think someone like Quentin or Willingham could be a great offensive upgrade over Casey McGehee to hit between Jones and Alvarez and fill a corner OF spot with a power bat. Quentin obviously would be a rental and could be had without giving up any of our top prospects while on the other hand Willingham has a few years of control. What do you think it would take to sway him from the Twins ?


I ran a trade surplus for Willingham earlier this month, but we never published it because he was never officially connected to the Pirates. At the time, he had a surplus of $18.3M. That is roughly the same neighborhood as Chase Headley.
By our new values, that’s a 26-50 hitter. Or two 51-100 hitters. Or one 11-25 pitcher. Additionally, using Sickel’s list for the Top 20 Pirates, a Grade B hitter is $5.5M and a grade B pitcher is $7.3M.

Joe Flannery

Why exactly did you double his WAR for the projection? Would think his overall value will average out to be less than that.

F Lang

Lincoln and another player in a deal for Headley would be nice. Headley is better at 3B than the OF but would be the RF for us and then could spell Pedro against tough lefties and late in games in the field. Headley’s power numbers have never been impressive but they should go up slightly playing in PNC…especially as a lefthanded hitter. I like that Headley has enough speed and on base ability to bat #1 or 2 for us but enough power to move down to 5,6,7 if we need him there. Headley is an excellent baserunner and seems to just keep slightly improving every year. I like him way more than Quentin and he is well cheaper than Upton or a Victorino while still filling a need plus versatility with controlable year. If we could grab him and Scutaro to come in and be insurance for Barmes’ shaky offense we’d fill two top of the order needs fairly cheaply. I like these lineups down the stretch: vs. Righties Headley Scutaro McCutchen Alvarez Walker Jones Barrajas/McKenry Presley vs. Lefties Sutton/Marte/Tabata (You’d hope one of these guys will play well) Scutaro McCutchen McGehee Walker Alvarez Headley Barrajas/McKenry Getting Headley would still leave a hole in the cleanup spot against lefties but I feel like you’d have a lineup with 15+ HR pop all the way through except for Scutaro…who still has pretty decent power for a SS. Really, both lineups should continue to give the Pirates a lot of XBH’s like we have been getting the last 5 weeks, while also improving our OBP a little also. That way when Cutch cools off we will be able to sustain a decent run scoring pace. Then hope either Bedard gets it together or Morton can come back by late August and we should be set to make a playoff run without giving up a Taillon, Cole, Marte, or Heredia.


Charlie Morton had Tommy John surgery last month, so he won’t be available until next summer at the earliest.
As far as Headley is concerned, I would love to see the Bucs acquire him as long as a top 7 prospect isn’t involved. However, I don’t want to see Headley playing in the outfield. Put him @ first or third, but not in the outfield. He has no business playing out there.

F Lang

Sorry, Dicksus killed my formatting. It is garbage. I had the lineups divided up neatly.

Joe Panariello

Tim, I was wondering if you could post the trade value for Jed Lowrie. I think the trade value for him would be relatively cheap compared to a Scutaro or even an Escobar and he would bring a switch hitting bat into the lineup with some descent power.

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