I asked Adam Biittner from SB Nation Pittsburgh for a scouting report on Brad Lincoln. Here is what he had to say:
Brad Lincoln was the Pirates' first round pick in 2006 and was a starter most of his way through the minors. He's had stints with the big club since 2010, but it wasn't until he was moved to the bullpen early this season that he really carved out a role for himself as a long reliever. His command has improved significantly from where it was in 2010 and 2011, and he gets his fastball into the 93-94 range out of the pen, where he's been mostly in the low 90s as a starter. He also likes to throw the curve, but that's basically it on the repertoire front. He's thrown a changeup in the past, but he's pretty much abandoned it this season, probably another reason his numbers have improved. He'll probably have to figure it out if he's going to have a future starting with the Blue Jays, though, because his fastball doesn't get nearly the velocity in extended outings for him to be able to lean as heavily on it as he does in relief.
At 27 and with parts of three big league seasons under his belt, Lincoln is probably out of the "prospect" range. At the very least, Toronto is picking up a dependable-to-above average arm out of the bullpen. There have been murmurs in these parts about him taking over the closer role if the Bucs were ever to move Joel Hanrahan. Not sure what the situation at the back of the pen is up there, but my guess is that must have been part of the conversation. But he could still have a future as a starter, too, if he can develop the changeup into something approaching functional.
Thanks Adam. It really doesn't help back me feel better about the trade to read that Lincoln has to figure out his change up to be a starting pitcher. I don't want to think we gave up on Moonraker for reliever. Alex, I hope you see something more here than I do.