It is finally here. The official start of the 2013 Major League Baseball season is underway with the opening of camp for the Toronto Blue Jays camp in Dunedin. We have spent countless hours geeking ourselves up for what promises to be an exciting season, discussing the possibilities, and building up our expectations.Now the real work falls on the team and we, as fans, get to watch as it all unfolds.
One of the more interesting angles that will unravel shortly will be the status of Adam Lind and what role he will serve the team, both in 2013 and beyond.
It is no secret that 2012 was an utter disappointment for Lind, who has seemingly regressed during his prime rather than step up his game. He finished the season with an unbelievably bad .255 batting average, .729 OPS, 11 home runs, and 45 RBI. It was his third consecutive season of playing at or below replacement level, so it is no mystery of why Jays fans are clamboring for him to be replaced.
That said, Lind will be given the chance to prove himself yet again in 2013, albeit with a relatively short leash. His performance in the second half of last season, where his OPS was 100 points higher than the first half has earned him that much.
However, should he struggle, this team will not hesitate to cut its losses there. There is too much riding on this season than to have a man on the roster whose sole responsibility is to hit not do so. Toronto will simply find an alternative option.
Could Moises Sierra become that option?
The 24-year-old certainly has the power chops to do so. He has put together two consecutive solid campaigns in the minors, first in New Hampshire and then in Las Vegas, hitting 18 and 17 home runs in 2011 and 2012 respectively. That earned him a call-up to Toronto last season, where he proceeded to hit 6 more for the Blue Jays.
Now, there are two detriments to this. Firstly, Sierra is a solid defender with a great arm, making that a wasted attribute as a Designated Hitter. The Blue Jays will not want to create any deterrent to his development in that regard by taking repetitions away. However, his bat may play him onto the roster, with or without an available position in which to play him in the field.
Secondly, Sierra’s plate discipline during his brief stay last season was something to be desired. In just 157 plate appearances, Sierra struck-out 44 times while walking just 8. Granted, his numbers in the minor leagues were better, having ratios of 39 BB’s/93 K’s and 39/86 in 2011 and 2012 respectively. It is certainly an area for improvement on Sierra’s part, but it is also something that typically comes along with maturity at the upper levels as well.
That all said, Moises Sierra will definitely begin the 2013 season in Buffalo. But if Lind should struggle this spring and in the initial month of the season, he presents an interesting alternative should the Blue Jays want to go with an internal option.
And having available answers to potential questions is exactly what the Blue Jays have been missing in recent seasons.