UPDATE: The deal is now official.
2 p.m. ET: Andrew Walker of 590 The Fan in Toronto reports that the Blue Jays will receive right-hander Marco Estrada from the Brewers. The 31-year-old posted a 4.36 ERA over 18 starts and 21 relief appearances this past season while his 29 homers allowed were the most in the National League. Rogers Centre isn’t exactly the best place to hide his warts, but he could start or pitch in a swingman role.
1:52 p.m. ET: We learned earlier today that the Blue Jays exercised Adam Lind’s $7.5 million option for 2015, but it sounds like he’ll be playing elsewhere next season.
Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that the Brewers have acquired first Adam Lind from the Blue Jays. Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca previously reported that a deal was close. No word yet on what Toronto will receive in return.
First base has been an area of need for Milwaukee for a while, so Lind is a solid fit as a left-handed bat, even though he’s not great with the glove and will likely need a platoon partner against lefties. The 31-year-old batted .321/.381/.479 with six home runs and 40 RBI over 96 games this season and his contract still includes an affordable $8 million club option for 2016. Brewers first baseman were last in the National League in batting average (.207), on-base percentage (.287), and slugging percentage (.356) this past season.
The Blue Jays claimed Justin Smoak off waivers from the Mariners earlier this week and figure to keep him as a low-cost replacement for Lind.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Zach Buchanan report that the Diamondbacks are one of several teams that have used labs other than the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory in Utah to process COVID-19 testing. MLB has encountered delays with its testing, despite promising 24-hour turnaround time, so teams have tried other avenues — with the league’s endorsement — in order to get faster results.
The SMRTL had processed performance-enhancing drug screenings for MLB. The league converted it to process COVID-19 tests amid concerns that having a season and all of the testing that would be required throughout would take away testing resources from the general public. That some teams are utilizing labs other than the SMRTL suggests the league, indeed, is usurping those resources.
In prospect Seth Beer’s case, he tested positive for COVID-19. He needed to test negative twice consecutively to be cleared to return to play. Beer went to a third-party site in the Phoenix area. He received his second negative test and was cleared to return on July 9.
The Diamondbacks said that the labs they have used have assured them that they are not taking away tests from the public. That seems like a claim MLB and the D-Backs should demonstrably prove. Per Rosenthal and Buchahan, the D-Backs have gone to an outside lab about 20 times, which accounts for less than one percent of COVID-19 tests taken by players and staff. Still, those are 20 tests that could have been used by the general public. And if the D-Backs and a handful of other teams already are using outside labs, then the rest of the league likely already is or soon will be doing the same. In the end, there will be a lot more than 20 tests taken at outside labs by MLB players and staff. Considering that “Tier 1” players will be tested every other day throughout the season, the total of third-party tests taken — if things continue the way they are now — could easily reach into the thousands by the end of October.
We all want baseball back, but the players, coaches, and all other staff are no more important than cashiers, teachers, and delivery drivers, so they shouldn’t have more access to COVID-19 testing simply by virtue of being associated with Major League Baseball and all of its influence and financial muscle. It would be unethical for MLB to be cutting in line ahead of other people who need testing just as much as if not more than the players.