He was awesome, then awful, then awesome-ish again.
Adam Lind has had a bit of an up-and-down career with the Toronto Blue Jays. He came up as a well regarded prospect. Baseball America named him the top Jays prospect and 39th overall prospect in 2006. After two underwhelming part seasons in the big leagues Lind broke out in 2009. He hit 35 home runs and had a .396 wOBA. It also marked the last time he managed to be even league average against left handed pitchers.
Though he continued to hit okayish against righties, his overall numbers sagged.
When John Gibbons came on as manager he came with a pretty bright idea: don’t bat him against lefties!
Avoiding southpaws like the plague, Lind has put up solid numbers in the past two years. Last year he hit 23 home runs, with a .368 wOBA. This year, though the home runs have gone down, his wOBA has actually increased to .381. His slugging percentage is actually similar to last year (.497 last year to .489 this year). His ISO has dropped but is still a respectable .168.
He also has an $8 million team option, with $500,000 buyout next year.
While that certainly doesn’t seem like a ton of cash for a team like the Jays who it appears are facing a payroll crunch at least for 2015, is it money well invested?
Consider Lind doesn’t offer much defensively, as shown by his being a sub-2 WAR player each of the past two years. He can play a little first base, but with a chronically bad back the Jays have been hesitant to put him in the field too often.
Also, consider the fact that having Lind requires two roster spots for any team serious about competing. And with the way the Jays roster is constructed there isn’t much opportunity to have a dual-purpose platoon partner. The Danny Valencias and John Mayberrys of the world don’t have much use other than being platoon guys.
So if you have one roster spot taken up by your Lind platoon, another one is the backup catcher, you’re not left with much after that.
But it’s more than that. With a core roster of guys who aren’t getting any younger (as opposed to those other teams with players are are getting younger), does it really make sense to carry two roster spots that only serve as DH?
Perhaps it makes more sense to re-purpose those dollars to an infield spot. The general consensus around the team seems to be that they’ll likely have enough to resign Melky (or sign someone similar) and address one of the infield or centre field holes. But by shedding Lind’s contract you might be able to address both positions.
Now I don’t mean declining his option. I’d say pick it up and try to flip him to address another need. It seems plausible that another team would be interested in a player like Lind.
That leaves the DH spot open for Cabrera, Melky, Bautista, Reyes and Encarnacion to get some time off the harsh Rogers Centre concrete floor. And with the added roster flexibility you can carry more useful tools on the bench.
I’ve always kind of like the Man from Muncie. He seems like a good dude and is a pretty strong batter against opposite side pitchers.
But I’m also thinking that the roster just might not be the right fit for Kittenface.