encarnacion-lind

Player A has a .391 wOBA, a wRC+ of 147, a 13.2% walk rate, and a .370 on-base in 492 plate appearances.

Player B has a .385 wOBA, a wRC+ of 143, an 11.4% walk rate, and a .376 on-base in 396 plate appearances.

Over two seasons, Player A has a .386 wOBA, 144 wRC+, 12.6 BB%, and a .371 OBP in 968 PA.

Player B, over two seasons, has a .369 wOBA, 133 wRC+, 10.4 BB%,and a .361 OBP in 653 PA.

Obviously Player A is a shade better– especially factoring in the two year data, where his numbers are basically the same, whereas Player B’s 2012 was not quite as good as this season, which is dragging him down in the overall. But it’s pretty close, and those are some pretty spiffy numbers, regardless.

As you could probably guess from the image and the title of the post, one of those lines belongs to Adam Lind. No, really! Player B is Lind’s split against right handing pitching.

And Player A?

That’s Edwin Encarnacion’s line against right-handers.

Now, since Lind is hopelessly terrible against left-handed pitchers (a .253 wOBA over two years, compared to Edwin’s .410), I’m not about to suggest that there’s anything resembling equality between the two in terms of value. But Lind, derided as he’s been in these parts– over, and over, and over– has actually carved out more than just a little value following his return to form after being outrighted off the Jays’ 40-man roster last summer. Though we were mighty skeptical at the time, he came back looking like something of a new hitter, and that has carried over into this season, despite a fairly significant 38-game trough, in which he OPS’d .584 at the most crucial point in the campaign (beginning when the Jays were 40-40 at the end of June).

He’s also, I doubt coincidentally, been healthy for the better part of that span.

Streaky as he might be, and as worrisome as the mid-season trough would have been if it had continued, the overall numbers are nothing short of thoroughly impressive– in this particular split, that is. His wRC+ against right-handed pitchers this season is good for 18th place among 153 qualified batters in MLB, tied with Troy Tulowitzki, just behind Andrew McCutchen and Brandon Moss, and ahead of Joe Mauer and Brandon Belt.

Though they’re rarely talked about, Lind’s contract actually has three pretty interesting looking options remaining on it. Following this season the Jays are faced with the decision to either let him walk away with a $2-million buyout, or pay him an additional $5-million (that is, $7-million total) in order to keep him around another year (after which he’ll have a $7.5-million option with a $1-million buyout, and then an $8-million one with a $500K guarantee).

I can’t speak to what should be done regarding the following seasons without seeing first what he can do in 2014, but I have no choice but to admit I have come around to the idea that Lind’s option for next year needs to be picked up– no matter how much it may complicates things like late game match-ups or what happens with the left fielder.

In fact, I think those are probably two entirely separate issues.

Sure, anybody who watched Melky Cabrera lumber around in left field this year must understand that another year of the kind of defensive play we saw this season from him would be completely unacceptable, but the tumour discovered in his back– and successfully removed– seems a reasonably plausible explanation for why a player who patrolled centre for the Royals in 2011 looked about as mobile as a half-buried boulder in 2013.

If he can’t move in the outfield in 2014, I’m thinking there’s a good chance he’ll be sunk cost at the plate as well, and the Jays might have no choice but to move on from him (a la B.J. Ryan or Frank Thomas, though hopefully without the same kind of acrimony)– which won’t be as tough a pill to swallow as maybe it seems, given that they won’t really be able to make that determination until a couple months into his final season under contract (meaning there will be something like $6-million or so remaining), and the fact that outfielders like Kevin Pillar and Anthony Gose will likely still be in the organization, waiting in the wings. One of those two could at least provide adequate production until a permanent solution is found on the trade market, assuming they don’t take the opportunity and run with it.

In other words, I don’t think you go and get rid of Lind to accommodate Melky.

You certainly don’t do it to accommodate a guy like Justin Morneau, who, as a free agent, is the talk of far too many of the maple dick set, despite the fact that he is pretty much exactly the same guy who you’d be paying $2-million to take a hike. A platoon player himself, Morneau’s wRC+ (which, FYI, is park-adjusted) over two seasons is 133 against right-handed pitchers. Lind’s is 132. This year Lind’s is 146, compared to Morneau’s 126.

Not Kendrys Morales, either– whose name I’ve considered, given that he’s at least a switch hitter– as the Mariners very well might tie a compensatory draft pick around his neck with a qualifying offer. Plus his wRC+ against right-handers is 20 points behind Lind’s, while against lefties it’s just 115– exactly what Mark DeRosa has posted so far this year.

Yes, Lind is going to need to be handcuffed to some kind of right-handed hitter, but maybe that’s not quite as bad as it seems. Maybe with a core of relievers like Janssen, Santos, Delabar, Loup, Cecil and McGowan, the club can go ahead and, y’know, not spend most of the year with a damn eight man bullpen, and leave some room on the bench so that Lind can be utilized properly.

For Lind’s part, he wants to be here, though– perhaps rightly given his tenure with the club and the company he’s keeping this year among righty-mashers– he wants respect too.

According to a piece from Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet, Lind explains:

“I want to be here and I don’t want to be at home for a month,” Lind told sportsnet.ca. “I would prefer Alex to do it face to face and not over the phone. I’ve been in this franchise for 10 years. I think I deserve to be treated man to man, in a face-to-face conversation. Maybe it’s not to him, but to me it’s obviously a life-changer, so I would prefer to have it face to face.”

It’s somewhat stunning to be about to write this, given all the consternation over Lind in this corner throughout his time in the wilderness, and also given where he’s come back from in his career, but Alex ought to be making plans for that conversation, and for picking up that 2014 option. Looking at the numbers– not just on the field, but on the balance sheet– it simply makes too much sense.

Crazy words, but it’s true. It also maybe should make us think twice before being so quick to write off J.P. Arencibia or Ricky Romero, huh? (No, really!)

Comments (79)

  1. So we enter the Chuck Barris time of the year…

  2. I figure they’ll probably pick it up, but if they’re going to have him around I think it makes a lot of sense to start working him out in LF again. Even if it’s one of those “5 innings in, 4 innings on the bench” type of situations.

    • Yup especially if Davis leaves

    • No, it doesn’t. Not for a second.

    • I’d sooner work on teaching Sierra to play 1B.

      • Sierra’s line in Buffalo: .261/.309/.422.

        Let’s not go nuts.

        • Fair enough. Tricky though. How do you allow guys to surprise you and become mainstays, while still fielding a competitive team?

          Sierra looks solid. Like Yan Gomes looked. Or Bautista at the end of 2010 (Bautista is like the Godwin’s Law of baseball “potential” discussion).

          • Indeed he is. I just don’t know why you’d expect guys to surprise and become mainstays who weren’t able to be successful in the minors. And while Gomes raked in Vegas, like everybody else, he wasn’t terribly impressive in New Hampshire in 2011. Plus his BABIP looks like it could be a little high this year, and he still can’t take a walk, so it’s not like he’s Bautista.

            Still, though, that a team now looking for a catcher and a guy who can crush lefties appears to have had one and given him up is pretty fucking scandalous, I know.

  3. He’s really not bad defensively either. Takes short-hopped throws ok. Knocks down hard hit balls.

    • Seems comfortable going over his shoulder into foul ground. I think he defense at first is way better than it ever was in Left Field.

  4. I’ve been onside with this for awhile. I would think that even if you don’t feel you have a space for Lind, the value to the team is greater to exercise than not. Presumably Lind could be traded for some return (admittedly not a lot) with that contract.

    • I don’t think you got around the match up problems. It should be a great bullpen, but the Jays seem to prefer an 8-man bullpen if the rotation isn’t pitching a lot of innings. That sounds obvious, but it’s not – the 8th guy doesn’t get in to games that much, he’s more like insurance. But anyway, getting around the match up problems is likely more contingent on improving the rotation than anything to do with the bullpen.

      My big concern is that not only is he totally one-sided, but he’s a one-sided DH. His presence in a bat-only role forces you to have a partner. It’s not preferable.

      The late game match ups can also be mid game match ups, with Lind having key at bats in the 6th and 9th. Pinch in the 6th and your RHB faces a RH closer. Save Lind for the 9th and you give up a big out in the 6th.

      • That last stuff is all very true, so yes, it’s not exactly ideal, but given the money and the production in the one thing he does really well, makes it pretty easy to see why they should pick up the option.

        I know what you mean about the starting pitching, but I don’t think I agree– they had guys coming off surgeries this year, like Jansen and Santos (when healthy) and McGowan, and Oliver’s usage had to be monitored too, so I’m not sure it’s entirely down just to the rotation that they had an expanded bullpen– though that certainly didn’t help.

        • Fair enough. If money was no thing, or maybe not a big thing, I’d prefer Morales because he doesn’t come with the platoon problems. Also draft picks would have to be not a thing too.

          At this point I’m hoping Cabrera and someone to play left combine to push Lind out the door.

  5. Will this format be part of a series stoeten?

    • If there are other guys on whom there are questions– which I guess there are– then sure. I created a category tag for it, and added the one I did about Gibbers to it as well. So… yes, I suppose it is. Gotta do SOMETHING until the GM Meetings, right?

      • Sounds like a good plan. There are the obvious ones (FAs and Options) plus the guys who are “probably” or “maybe” on the block…

        Lind
        Johnson
        Davis
        Jannsen
        Oliver (prob retiring)
        Melky
        Izturis
        etc. etc. etc.

        • Yeah, but not a lot of those are full posts. I’ve just done the Lind one, Johnson I’ve written about a bunch, Davis is obviously gone, as is Oliver, Izturis you have little choice but to keep or eat the money on. Melky I kinda addressed here. I don’t know…

  6. Nice article. I figure roster management is a combination of priority and opportunity and I can’t imagine AA wants to add another item to his to-do list given the needs at SP, C, and 2b. I’d be really surprised if he’s not picked up by the end of the season so that more attention can be paid to the real areas of need. Plus, the $5 million owed would be a pretty reasonable amount to pay for this kind of production over 400+ PAs (love the structure of this contract).

  7. Yup, picking up the option seems like a no brainer. Whether or not you trade him is a different story.

    • My thoughts exactly. Even if he doesn’t fit in with the Jays next year, $7MM for 2014 is a reasonable price most teams would pay for a platooning 1B/DH, I’d guess.

      Maybe he gets packaged in a deal to bring in a LF, so that Melky can be the every day DH, and a substantial amount of talent can be placed in left, as opposed to Gose/Pillar.

      I don’t know that Melky is any better of a DH option than Lind+platoon partner, but he is at least taking up only one roster spot and allows Lind to be leveraged to solve problems elsewhere on the roster.

      Plus it’s a wonderful sell-high option.

  8. I think the only reason not to do this is if you think you can use the movie you save on Lind to upgrade at catcher or 2b, and I’m not sure that $5 million is enough to make a big difference there.

  9. Lind needs to go. He is so fucking streaky and hes unplayable when he is bad (even vs righties) like he was in july and august after being red hot. The jays should get a DH that can get an on base at a good clip and has some pop (morales).

    • Always the voice of reason.

      Ugh.

      • Ummm I know you think im a fucking idiot (which is fine btw). But Is their anything inaccurate in what i said? Lind has been bad since 2009. He was super streaky this year. Bad in april, awesome in may/june, shit in july and aug, and now good again in september. They really needed him to be better in july when they were still in it but he was one of the main reasons the team struggled on offense along with shit pitching of course. You tell me, does his track record warrant him staying? fuck no.

        • Read the post you’re commenting on, maybe.

          • OK so your justification for lind being awful is him not being healthy. I would argue his back issues could very well be chronic and a deterrent in his performance for the rest of his career. Still think they are better with morales as long as they are willing to pay him a little more than lind.

            • Are you for real??? My justification for him being awful??? I didn’t say a damn thing about him being awful, because I’m talking about him in the last year and a half, in which he has been an elite hitter against RHP. Was not AWFUL awful before that. It’s a big enough sample to continue employing him.

              Morales will cost at least $20-million, and likely a first round draft pick. Lind costs $7-million, though you have to pay him $2-million of that either way.

              Lind missed two games with back soreness in July. He hasn’t been on the DL in over a calendar year.

            • are you a fucking idiot? did you even read the post? how about looking at Lind’s numbers rather than just spouting BS?

  10. Makes sence. I’m with you. Except for this line:

    ‘maybe should make us think twice before being so quick to write off J.P. Arencibia’

    God no. Seriously, let’s not think twice on this one.

    • I know Arencibia is terrible– historically terrible– but he can also strap on that mask every day, which is not a thing a lot of guys can do, and if you look at some of the other catchers out there, a previously normal JPA season is really not that bad. Not that I believe in him or anything– at least not until he shows some kind of willingness to acknowledge that his approach doesn’t work (which for all I know he’s doing behind the scenes– I know there are guys who will work on things in the cage but not implement them in a game situation until they’re ready)– but I’m just saying, look at where Lind is now, and how badly we’d wanted him run out of town. Look at how awful everyone thought Encarnacion was a couple of years ago, too. Not that they were ever quite JPA bad, but all things considered, relative to positional value, it’s closer than you think.

      • I’m with you here, philosophically, but when we are discussing someone making a run at the lowest on base percentage since they lowered the mound, positional adjustments and context can kinda take a backseat.
        He is bad this year on an unprecedented, transcendent level. It isn’t really close, although again, I’m with you in sentiment.

        • Additionally, I sat beside some girl at a game a few days ago who told me that he’s dating a dixie chick or something and that he’s kicked the sauce, so maybe he’s set to regress toward acceptable.

          She was more well spoken than that but I wanted to look tough on the internet.

          • Or maybe he’s been sober and dating her for most of the season and that’s why he sucks now.

            It happens to musicians when they make that leap, witness Paul Westerberg and Ryan Adams.

            If there’s any way to make JPA someone else’s problem this offseason I’m all for it.

      • if we can find any kind of decent C at all I think JPA should be in the minors next year

  11. I have no problem keeping Lind as a bench/platoon dh. But that tagged-on sentence at the end about JPA and Ricky Romero? That is bs as far as JPA is concerned. Lind’s possible defensive positions can be played by other guys. And he can take the field occasionally if necessary when someone goes on the dl from 1st base or LF. But JPA plays the premium defensive position on the field. Every day and badly. You don’t want to keep taking a flyer on guys behind the plate. You want someone who can call a decent game and field an overthrown ball. Oh and it would be good if said guy had a reasonable 2-strike approach in the batter’s box. That does not describe Arencibia. He really really needs to go.

  12. I have moved on from JP Arencibia. I hope everyone else has too. How big of a sample size do you want, Stoet?

    • Are you joking? He hates him. I’ve defended the JPA lots here. I’ll wear my shame proudly. At this point I’m rooting for him to go under .200 just so we have something to remember him by.

      • Just as the sub-.200 BA is the “below the Mendoza Line”, maybe in the future players falling under his final OBP could be called “below the JPA Zone”.

    • See: my reply to CowTownJay.

    • why waste a potential asset? he still has options, send him to the minors. i don’t understand why so many people pretend to be a fan and then hate the Blue Jays and want to run 20% of the players out of town with a pitchfork and torch. baseball is about hoarding assets, why the fuck do you want to run so many people out of town?

  13. Do the Jays bring back Rajai for another year if Lind sticks around?

    • I like Rajai as a 4th, but I’m not sure the dollars spent on him aren’t better off spent elsewhere. Then you let the kids duke it out for his roster spot.

      • For $2.5M I pick him up.

        • I would definitely pick him up too, great 4th outfielder in my opinion. Against LHP, great on the basepaths, solid defender, has a knack of game-winning hits +++

          • I’m not totally sold on the “solid defender” bit and your last point is BS, but yeah. I wouldn’t cry if he was the 4th OF and Lind’s crutch again next year.

  14. My vote is definitely in the “stay” column. He’s cheap as hell compared to what you’d get to “replace him”. As long as you keep minimizing his exposure to LHPs then you’re good to go.
    So sign him. tick of that checkbox and move on to acquiring all the other pieces this team needs.

  15. Any chance of the Toronto Blue Jays going all in and signing Jacoby Ellesbury?

  16. How can you not bring Lind back? Not absurdly overpaid, very nice numbers.

    As part of a DH platoon, I’m totally fine with him. What about trying Moises Sierra as an extra outfielder/DH against lefties?

  17. If he stays there will be trouble,
    If he goes he might hit doubles.

    I thank you … I’m here all week.

  18. I actually tuned into the game for a few minutes on Sunday and happened to hear ol’ Zaunie telling frothing at the mouth telling people that they need to ‘stop messing with Adam Lind and leave him in the lineup everyday’. For reals

  19. I pick up the option only because I know for pretty much a fact that if he leaves he will have a 2009 season next year.

  20. The author does flip flop ….ball knowledge aside.

  21. “a player who patrolled centre for the Royals in 2011 looked about as mobile as a half-buried boulder in 2013.”

    I got a good chuckle out of that one. Ah, Melky.

    I agree Lind is way better option than Morales, cost effective, keep our first rounder and lets face it, Kendry isn’t a big enough of a difference(if much at all), to justify the price.

  22. In his article, Ben mentions that working out a 2 year deal is another option.

    IIRC, Arizona worked out a 2 year deal with Aaron Hill instead of picking up his option and Chicago did something similar with Jake Peavy.

    Maybe 2 years and $10 million with an option could work for Lind and the Jays.

    In any case, it would be easier to only have to worry about 2B, C and SP.

    Espinosa and Ruiz would look nice in Toronto and the acquisition cost wouldn’t be exorbitant I don’t think.

    • Espinosa are you for real I’d rather take Lombardozzi

    • hill’s contract was structured way differently though. lind is basically a year to year player at this point whereas with hill they had to make the call on picking up all his options that year. no sense in the club restructuring because the current structure allows them to walk away pretty cleanly if he turns into a shitty player again.

  23. [...] Andrew Stoeten from DJF takes an interesting look at whether or not the Blue Jays should bring back Adam Lind. I agree with Stoeten that Lind’s production against RHP alone is worth the $5 million extra that the Jays would pay to retain his services, which is the difference between his $2 million buyout and $7 million contract next season. [...]

  24. Adam Lind is a good pick up for sure now… can’t be any worse than buying a lotto ticket.. and seriously this guy has looked waaay different this year… enough to make me wonder if we need to start packing to escape from a black hole.

  25. I`d keep Lind, but Stoeten you said there were two outcomes, keep him or buy him out. What about trading him in a package before the option has to be picked up and let some other team make the decision to keep him or not. Like others have said, when he`s cold, he couldn`t hit a barn door even if he was standing right next to it. He has nice overall production but if we can fill a hole that needs filling (catcher) by sending him to a team that needs a decent right handed bat off the bench, then by all means get on that.

  26. I would like to see the Jays Sign Mark Reynolds if DeRosa retires. Also I was thinking if the Jays could run out a 6 man bullpen next year with Rogers and Happ both taking longman duties logging a 100+IP in RP. and with injuries one would slide into the rotation. not sure if it would work but its interesting

  27. I find it really hard to deal with the “he could turn out great like EE” argument. It’s not that I disagree with it, but I just don’t know how one turns it into an actionable thought. I mean, we could make the same argument about almost any young player, and say keep sticking with them because they could come good. But at the end of the day one has to decide when to cut bait on a struggling player, even if we think they could still have some upside. And I don’t know when that is — that’s why Im not a GM in MLB — but a GM can’t just wait for everybody to hopefully reach their early potential. It’s a tough business indeed, with millions of people waiting to show you that the guy got good two years after you traded him.

  28. [...] Speaking of contending in 2014, the Blue Jays must decide what to do with 1B/DH Adam Lind and his options this offseason, which given how he looked early last season is a miracle in itself that it’s even a question. [DJF] [...]

  29. I don’t understand all of the Lind hate year in and year out. Look at his stats. he is a career 123 wRC+ and .846 OPS vs RHP. Most pitchers are right handed btw.

    He is a masher! Why do people want so desperately to get rid of him? Use logic and quit being so emotional.

    • I agree. And his numbers are not far off Bautista’s numbers from this year. To me this is a real no-brainer. He is a good hitter and $7 million is not very much in baseball these days.

  30. Lind needs to stay. He crushes righties. Paired up with Jose Reyes and a healthy Melky Cabrera from the left side would be potent if they are all on their game. Yeah…wishful thinking…I get it. But who knows, right? Why not dream a little.

    Ron Washington would make it happen. Here’s how…

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/09/17/toronto-blue-jays-rumors-ron-washington-a-perfect-fit/

    Jonny Adornetto
    Toronto Blue Jays Writer
    RantSports.com

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