Name: Adam Lind
Position: First Base/DH
Adam Lind came into the 2013 season with a lot question marks surrounding what his contribution to the team would be. Lind has had a rather enigmatic history with the club starting with his breakout Silver Slugger performance in 2009, the three seasons that followed that contained brief flashes of that player but Lind was exposed against left handed pitching and constantly seemed to struggle with his position, DH let him dwell on failure too much, first base made his back hurt ect. Most times Lind found success it would be derailed by a back injury but it was hoped he could be the left handed half of a platoon with someone such as Rajai Davis as the season opened.
Adam Lind put up a solid campaign for the Jays. Lind displayed his usual streakiness and cat like good looks but at the same time put up better than expected numbers. As expected Lind gave right handed pitching the Whitney Houston treatment but had some surprisingly successful streaks against lefties too. Although there were times that Lind looked completely lost at the plate especially against lefties overall he came through for the club more than most, myself included, would have expected before the season started. As had been the case in seasons past just when Lind seemed to be firing on all cylinders he was sidelined with back issues, but luckily this year avoided hitting the disabled list. Lind’s .854 OPS while not quite as impressive as the .932 he put up in 2009 it was over a 100 points higher than any of his last three seasons. Although at seasons end his average against left handed pitching was a meager .208 his performance against lefties is still better than J.P. Arencibia‘s performance against anybody. Overall Lind did everything needed to convince the Jays to pick up his team option for 2014 providing excellent production and beard growing skills from a roster spot the team was extremely uncertain about at the start of the season.
Lind is still not guaranteed to be with the club for 2014… but when you take into account that with his $2 million buyout the team would only be saving five million and still need to find a replacement for him… let’s just say all signs point to yes when it comes to Lind remaining with the Jays. While Lind’s failings against left handed pitching and lack of positional flexibility makes carrying Lind slightly annoying when it comes to roster construction his near elite performance at the plate against right handed pitching is more than worth whatever difficulties it causes when filling out the teams bench players. Even with poor performance against lefties having Lind in the lineup helps from a strategic purpose allowing the Jays to split up the big right handed bats of Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Lawrie. Finding someone who brings enough of an upgrade against lefties while keeping close to Lind’s performance against right handed pitching would be difficult enough let alone within the five million dollar difference between his buyout and the cost of his contract. While I’m sure many people have their maple soaked panties on in anticipation of the chance to get Justin Morneau to Toronto that would be a marginal upgrade if it is an upgrade at all.
All in all Lind provides great value for 2014 and while the prospect of picking up his option for 2015 is a little more hazy it seems like a no brainer to have Lind’s big left handed bat in the lineup for the Jay’s 2014 season.