Despite only one game of the World Series under our belts and radio silence in full effect for the remainder of the series for all teams, it hasn’t stopped some intrepid reporters from trying to stoke the Hot Stove just a bit early. Such was the case with Toronto Sun baseball scribe Bob Elliot, who just before midnight last night slipped in what could be the first substantial Blue Jays rumor of the offseason, just a little after the Game 1 victory was handed to the San Francisco Giants.
Speaking with an executive from another team, Elliot was alerted to the fact that the Toronto Blue Jays are already getting phone calls in regards to the availability of first baseban/designated hitter Adam Lind. That same executive went a bit further noting that the interest is spread between both the American and the National Leagues.
"“I hear the Blue Jays are getting a lot of interest on Lind and not just from American League teams. I’ve heard three or four clubs.”"
We heard last season that Lind was drawing interest from the Pittsburgh Pirates, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that Lind would again draw interest this winter, including from National League teams. Pittsburgh would remain a good fit for Lind, as their platoon of Ike Davis and Gaby Sanchez did little to mask their issues at the position this past season.
As for Lind, even in limited duty he managed to make himself an attractive option in 2014. Overall, he slashed a very respectable .321/.381/.479, despite hitting just 6 home runs on the year. That was good for a wRC+ of 141 on the year, which ranked him just behind the duo of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion for the team lead.
That all said, Lind does come with some red flags for potential suitors, especially those that could be looking for an everyday first baseman in the National League.
First and foremost, Lind comes with a certain amount of injury baggage. He’s spent time on the DL for various maladies a few times over the last several season and routinely needs days off due to back tightness, something that will be exasperated with everyday play at first. The Blue Jays are able to offset that a bit by being able to alternate Lind and Encarnacion between first and DH, but a National League team won’t have that luxury outside of interleague match-ups.
“I hear the Blue Jays are getting a lot of interest on Lind and not just from American League teams. I’ve heard three or four clubs.”
Additionall, Lind comes with some pretty drastic splits between facing left and right-handed pitching. In 2014, the Blue Jays opted to only give Lind 34 plate appearances against like-handed pitching and it was for noticable reasons, as he struggled to a .061/.161/.061 in limited exposure. Meanwhile, he raked against right-handed pitching, hitting .354/.409/.533 in 281 plate appearances. Over the course of his career, the splits are pretty drastic.
That all said, the most attractive calling card for Lind is his contract, which has the Blue Jays holding club options for 2015 ($7.5 million) and 2016 ($8 million). FanGraphs has him worth $8.8 million and $8.5 million respectively over the last two seasons, which shows that even in platoon situations, a buying team will still get what it is paying for.
The Blue Jays will basically need to decide if they can afford to let the 31-year-old Lind go and use the money saved on his deal to find a suitable replacement. It’ll also be interesting to see what kind of return package could be recouped for what is basically a platoon slugger, albeit one of the correct side of the plate to maximize value.
Let the offers come in.