A September call-up by the Blue Jays in 2006, Adam Lind headed into the 2007 season ranked Toronto’s No. 1 prospect by Baseball America. After a breakout 2009 campaign earned him Silver Slugger honors, he signed a four-year contract worth $18 million in guaranteed money, a pact that was considered team-friendly at the time.
But now, after hitting .238 with a .709 OPS in 309 games since inking that deal and getting optioned to Triple-A on Thursday, CBSSports.com’s Danny Knobler reported last night on Twitter that Lind has been placed on outright waivers.
Outright waivers allow a team to remove a player that is out of options from their 40-man roster while keeping him in the organization on a minor league team. Teams around the league are able to claim the player for a $20,000 fee and no other cost outside of the remaining money on the player’s contract, which in Lind’s case is roughly $12.5 million — a pro-rated portion ($3.95 million) of his $5 million salary this season, $5 million next season, and a $3.5 million in buyouts on his three club options from 2014-16.
Now that it’s past May 1, waiver priority goes by reverse win-loss records so far this season, meaning the Twins would have first crack on Lind. Outright waivers are irrevocable as well, meaning the Jays would not be able to pull him off and change their decision.
Early this morning, however, Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi talked to Lind on the phone and the first baseman said that his being placed on waivers was news to him.
“I don’t know if they have or if they haven’t. When I had my meeting with Alex and John, they said they optioned,” Lind said in the article. “I don’t know what’s true and what’s not.”
Then hours later this afternoon, MLB.com Blue Jays beat writer Gregor Chisholm talked to Jays manager John Farrell about the report.
“I’m not aware of that,” Farrell said in the article on BlueJays.com. “I know he was optioned, beyond that, that’s a confidential procedure. I’m aware of the reports that are out there, but I’m not aware anything beyond the option to Las Vegas.”
If Lind has in fact been put on outright waivers, though, general manager Alex Anthopoulos has no obligation to tell anyone else about the move, including Lind. However, given Anthopoulos’ recent comments and his track record of stressing credibility — Lyle Overbay and John Buck are two examples that come to mind — it would be surprising if he wasn’t up-front with Lind in this case.
Even if Lind is indeed on outright waivers, it’s highly unlikely that a team would claim him given his price tag and performance over the last two seasons. While Lind continued to struggle at hitting balls low and outside of the strike zone this season, he did spike his contact rate and his abnormally low .209 BABIP in 34 games this season suggests he’s been the victim of some bad luck in certain cases, so he could be enticing enough to another club as a reclamation project; assuming the Jays eat the majority of money left on his contract.
What teams would be willing to take a chance on Lind, whether via waivers or a liquidation-type, player-to-be-named trade? The obvious pick would be the Miami Marlins, who just optioned their own struggling first baseman, Gaby Sanchez, to Triple-A, but other teams like the A’s, Indians, Brewers, Mets and Pirates are all dealing with struggling first basemen of their own, though Lind wouldn’t necessarily be a clear upgrade in any situation.
As it stands right now, Lind is playing first and hitting fifth in today’s Las Vegas 51s game against Memphis, and should continue on there as originally planned to work with hitting coach Chad Mottola on getting himself back on track and to the Majors. With Brett Lawrie set to return to action following his four-game suspension, though, an updated move with Lind could be in the works as early as tomorrow.