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!)