The Toronto Blue Jays will face many decisions when the 2013 season comes to an end. With holes to plug at catcher, second base, and in the starting rotation muddying the water, making the easy decisions sometimes gets a little more difficult.
Take for instance the one facing Toronto in regards to picking up Adam Lind‘s option for 2014.
The Blue Jays hold a team option on Lind for each of the next three seasons; $7 million for 2014 ($2 million buyout), a $7.5 million for 2015 ($1 million buyout), and $8 million for 2016 ($500,000 buyout). For the immediate future, we will focus on the 2014 option, which as noted above clocks in at a fairly reasonable $7 million.
Generally speaking, that option would be a relative no-brainer, as Lind has enjoyed quite the rebound season in 2013, hitting a solid .284 with a .847 OPS, 22 home runs, and 61 RBI. Splitting time between designated hitter and first base, Baseball-Reference has Lind worth 1.8 Wins Above Replacement and FanGraphs checks in at a 1.9 WAR and an above average 129 wRC+.
As Shi Davidi mentioned on Thursday, Alex Anthopoulos has indicated to Lind that he has “put himself in a good position” to have that option picked up, but that nothing is final until the deadline to do so.
But why the indecision?
Well, there could be a couple of reasons.
First, while Lind’s numbers are in fact solid over the entirety of the season, his splits against left-handers and right-handers are still heavily skewed. As you can see below, despite some early success against lefties, Lind reverted back to a platoon hitter toward the end of the season.
|vs RHP as LHB||126||404||107||22||19||53||45||69||.302||.379||.531||.910||.326|
|vs LHP as LHB||49||94||19||3||3||8||4||30||.211||.245||.344||.589||.281|
The need to platoon Lind may work out in the team’s plans for 2013, with Moises Sierra, Melky Cabrera, and possibly a returning Mark DeRosa as options. However, that leads us to the second consideration.
The Blue Jays will enter the 2013-2014 offseason with $110,475,000 committed in salaries to just 15 players next season, according to Baseball Prospectus. Lind’s $7 million option may not sound like a lot, but given the need to add so many other pieces, it becomes a question of allocation of funds. With Melky already under contract and his health likely to be a concern into the offseason, a DH role may be in the cards, meaning the Blue Jays can free up the money from Lind to address their other needs.
That $7 million can also be used as part of the bidding for international prospects. Cuban free agents Alexander Guerrero (a fit at second base) and Jose Dariel Abreu (a possible replacement for Lind) could fit with the team, but thus far there is no indication as to the interest level of the Blue Jays. There is also the matter of Masahiro Tanaka, who would slot nicely into the Blue Jays rotation, but given the new posting system, that may be a moot conversation anyway.
In the end, Alex Anthopoulos will weigh the decisions in front of him and make one that he feels is in the best interest of the club. While Adam Lind has done what he needed to do to stick around, the end decision is likely to be determined more by team needs than by any particular shortcoming of Lind’s.