Former Blue Jay Adam Lind Speaks
For months now, we’ve been hearing about the premium the Toronto Blue Jays have placed on a positive clubhouse. At the end of the 2014 season, we heard that there would be movement in order to address the negativity that existed. The way it has been such a topic this winter, you’d think the clubhouse would have been really toxic. One of the moves made that could fall into the category of cleaning house would be the trade of Adam Lind.
But, this is a belief to which Lind takes exception. Or, at least that is what comes across in his recent comments to Bob Elliott of The Toronto Sun.
Basically, Lind’s argument boils down to a formula: A = B. B = C. But, A DOES NOT = C. The Blue Jays were going to make deals to address the clubhouse atmosphere. Adam Lind was involved in a deal. But, according to Lind, that does not mean he was part of the bad atmosphere.
In fact, Lind says that the club hasn’t really changed anything in cutting ties with the likes of himself, Colby Rasmus, Casey Janssen and others.
"“They haven’t changed the culture of the clubhouse. They’re my friends, but the guys who still run it are still there. Jose Bautista is the voice among position players and Mark Buehrle runs the starting pitchers.”"
This is an interesting comment, no? And, just for the sake of argument, is kind of right. IF we believe that he’s right about the leadership of this club (and it’s hard to think he’s wrong), perhaps the attention is pointed in the wrong direction. If Bautista and Buehrle are in fact leaders, wouldn’t they share some of the accountability? None of this is to suggest that either of these two should have been dealt. Instead, it is just to point out some of the curiosity that has surrounded the whole clubhouse talk.
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It is curious that Lind (and Janssen for that matter) have been painted as the ones going against the grain and causing issues, when they were not the ones seen as responsible for maintaining the positivity and professionalism. Of course, if you are accused of being a bad clubhouse influence, isn’t that exactly what you’d say? That it “wasn’t me”?
Or, maybe the issue is not so much what went on in the clubhouse, but more about not being able to follow the company line. We know that Lind and Janssen have both been openly critical of how this team has been operating over the last few years. They’ve been vocal (and somewhat public) about their criticisms. Then again, so has Bautista.
Here’s the thing, though: Lind and Janssen ARE NOT Jose Bautista. Adam Lind’s 0.64 average against lefties last season (for starters) means that his opinion doesn’t carry as much weight. Bautista is the face of the club. Lind is not. Simple. And, when Bautista voices his opinion, he always follows it up with a “we have the talent to win” type of comments.
Lind’s being dealt may or may not have had much to do with clubhouse energy, but the new players brought in are being billed as good clubhouse guys first. That is part of the reasoning behind the 5yr $82M deal for Russell Martin. GM, Alex Anthopoulos has said that he is bringing in players who will positively impact the vibe in the locker room. But, Lind doesn’t buy it:
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"“Do they think that Justin Smoak will change the culture of the clubhouse? Michael Saunders? I don’t know Donaldson, but Martin will make a difference. Martin is awesome.”"
So, aside form the love for Russell Martin, it seems that there is a little disdain for the new guys. Is that because he doubts their positivity? Or, is it a case of sour grapes? Perhaps time will tell the real impact the new guys will have.
But, if you’re leaning toward thinking Lind is just bitter about being labeled this way (and who would be happy?) and is just sounding off, you might want to remember that he did enjoy his time in Toronto. He has fond memories and looks forward to returning one day.
"“I’d like to come back and work for the team when I’m finished playing.”"
This post is not to take one side or the other. No one can actually know for sure to what degree Adam Lind contributed to a poor atmosphere in the Blue Jays locker room. If the team had won, would we even be having this conversation? Frustration over injuries and falling from 1st place can sure cause grief. But, because we weren’t flies on the walls, we’ll just have to go by what those who were there say.
Feel free to chime in below.