Archive for the ‘Adam Lind’ Category

lindrobin

The information we’re given is scant, the source is anonymous, and there are myriad possibilities for why what we’re being told may or may not make any sense. So…

It’s here!!!! Bullshit rumour season is here!!!!

And it’s actually a somewhat interesting little nugget, to boot. Something that could unlock a whole lot of the roster turnover that Alex Anthopoulos has suggested he is excited to create this winter. If… y’know… it’s not utterly meaningless.

The rumour comes from Bob Elliott in this morning’s Toronto Sun, as he checks in from the current centre of the baseball universe, Kansas City, to tell us that the Jays have been receiving multiple phone calls on Adam Lind — and not just from American League clubs. Or, to put the exact same information another way: “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,” one executive said.

Already this month I’ve fawned over Lind and the spectacular bat he brings to this lineup when facing right-handed pitching. To reiterate:

In 2014, among left-handers with 250 plate appearances in the split, Lind was tied with Michael Brantley as the best in baseball against right-handed pitching, with a 164 wRC+. In 2013 he ranked tenth. Over the last two seasons combined the “as L vs. R” leaderboard goes: David Ortiz, Freddie Freeman, Adam Lind, Robinson Cano, Chris Davis, Joey Votto.

Add in right-handed hitters — i.e. among all batters against right-handed pitching — and Lind’s wRC+ is still sixth in baseball over the last two years, with only Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, and Andrew McCutchen leapfrogging him on the list. For 2014 on its own, only Trout and McCutchen were better. Only McCutchen got on base at a better clip against right-handers.

That’s a tonne of value, narrow as it may be, especially given his contract situation. The Jays will surely pick up his $7.5-million option for 2015, and the $8-million 2016 option for the best platoon DH in the game looks pretty good, as well. “Salivating to get rid of Adam Lind this off-season just for the sake of it? Because he seems replaceable? Because of what he can’t do?” I asked, somewhat incredulously. “I don’t get it. At all.”

I haven’t changed my tune since then, but it’s not untrue that all of what makes Lind an attractive piece for us will certainly make him attractive to others. With legitimate, middle-of-the-order bats seemingly becoming less and less easy to find, maybe there’s something to be done here. And maybe it could even be in the Jays’ interest.

The Jays currently employ an aging top of the lineup — especially if Melky Cabrera returns or is replaced by an older free agent acquisition — and have a stated intent to have Jose Reyes take some days at DH, along with Edwin Encarnacion spending a lot of 2014 games at DH out of necessity rather than choice, and Jose Bautista starting 24 games at either first base or DH. Those guys aren’t likely going anywhere, and perhaps that means flexibility is more important going forward than is locking in two roster spots — one for Lind, one for his lefty-mashing caddy — to the designated hitter position. Especially if Lind can bring back an everyday player either for the outfield or for second base.

Lind’s elite production against right-handed pitching won’t be easy to replace, so the rush to unload him is still confusing to me. But opening up an extra roster spot? Opening up the DH spot? Removing one of the club’s less athletic players from the basepaths? Using him to fill one of two major holes on the roster? To upgrade team defence by creating extra room for glove-first backups to fill in when your top players shift to DH?

It could work.

So… there’s that.

lindsmiling

It’s playoff time! And naturally that means the Jays are no longer in it. But that doesn’t mean things around here are going to stop, and just like last year, to get you set up for each (non-weekend) night’s playoff action, and to give you a space to talk about the game, I’m going to be taking a hopefully-quick look around at some splits and stats and whatever else stands out on a Jays player’s 2014 season, because… what the hell else is there to do for the next month? Or the next week. Or just today– or however long I actually continue to follow through on this exercise. Tonight: Adam Lind.

Tonight:
5:00 PM ET – Nationals (0) @ Giants (2) – Doug Fister (4.5 rWAR) vs. Madison Bumgarner (4.0 rWAR)
9:00 PM ET – Dodgers (1) @ Cardinals (1) – Hyun-jin Ryu (1.9 rWAR) vs. John Lackey (1.1 rWAR)

Adam Lind rubs some Jays fans the wrong way, I think. Maybe he rubs management the wrong way, too. As this season has taken the turn towards winter, I’ve heard calls for his option to not be picked up, or for it to be picked up just so the club could trade him. His wonky back can become an issue at a moment’s notice. He’s not a good defender. He can’t play at all against left-handed pitching. He forces the team to waste a roster spot on a platoon-mate. He’s slow — a “base clogger.” He is (unintentionally) outspoken: there was the incident this summer where he claimed his mom told him to get an MRI on his ailing foot, which revealed a fracture that put him on the DL and made the Jays’ medical staff look foolish, and just last week he second guessed the organization, wondering what might have been if Marcus Stroman had made the team out of camp.

He’s also an absolutely fantastic bat against right-handed pitching.

In 2014, among left-handers with 250 plate appearances in the split, Lind was tied with Michael Brantley as the best in baseball against right-handed pitching, with a 164 wRC+. In 2013 he ranked tenth. Over the last two seasons combined the “as L vs. R” leaderboard goes: David Ortiz, Freddie Freeman, Adam Lind, Robinson Cano, Chris Davis, Joey Votto.

Add in right-handed hitters — i.e. among all batters against right-handed pitching — and Lind’s wRC+ is still sixth in baseball over the last two years, with only Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, and Andrew McCutchen leapfrogging him on the list. For 2014 on its own, only Trout and McCutchen were better. Only McCutchen got on base at a better clip against right-handers.

Granted, only J.D. Martinez had a higher BABIP in the split, but the fact that Lind ranked 43rd by BABIP the year before, yet was still tenth by wRC+, suggests his great season wasn’t purely driven by an outlier in that regard.

Adam Lind will make just $7.5-million in 2015. This year right-handed pitchers were on the mound for 72% of all plate appearances in MLB.

There are plenty of warts on him, yes. Save for any that might be hidden behind the squirrel on his face, we can all see them. And I’m certainly not remotely saying that he comes anywhere close to bringing what guys like Trout or McCutchen do in all the other dimensions of the game. But at the plate, against 72% of the pitches thrown in the majors this year, he was very nearly equal to the best of the very, very best. That is seriously impressive stuff.

In other words, to me, $7.5-million and the need to get creative with a roster spot doesn’t seem like such a high price to pay. And the production the Jays would be losing by flipping him to fill another need? That would be extremely difficult to replace.

Salivating to get rid of Adam Lind this off-season just for the sake of it? Because he seems replaceable? Because of what he can’t do?

I don’t get it. At all.

lindoak

The Jays made official this morning what we all knew was going to happen after the results of Adam Lind’s “Mom-RI” revealed that he’d be out six-to-eight weeks with a fractured right foot [Update: Actually, Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets that this afternoon the Jays said that Lind will be in a walking boot for 5-7 days, and back into games in 2-3 weeks. OK!], placing him on the disabled list and recalling Dan Johnson from Buffalo to make his Blue Jays debut (D’ing Bobby Korecky FA in the process to make room on the 40-man).

Fans can probably be forgiven for believing that while Lind has actually not been great over the last few weeks, and Johnson has been crushing at Triple-A, seems almost beside the point given the “no light at the end of the tunnel” sort of situation that the Jays are currently mired in. We all know the litany of troubles: the losses, the wasting of good pitching performances, the coughing up of a late lead on Wednesday to an Albert Pujols home run, Encarnacion and Lawrie and now Lind being on the shelf, Juan Francisco going full pumpkin, Bautista and Reyes hurting and not hitting like their normal selves. A 4.5 game lead in the AL East on June 11th turned into a 3.0 game deficit today.

Shit, the Jays losing Lind didn’t even warrant mention (likely because it was already old news by then, but still!) in Drew’s piece at theScore on MLB’s “Black Thursday,” which saw Masahiro Tanaka, Brandon Phillips, and Yadier Molina all go down.

But it’s not untrue that Lind has hit a pedestrian .275/.333/.377 (98 wRC+) in his last 75 plate appearances, and an awful .174/.174/.261 over his last ten (23 PA, wRC+ of 9). Or that Johnson — a lefty-hitting 1B/DH with some ability to be bad at a few other positions (3B/OF) — has been fantastic in the International League, posting a .248/.402/.471 line (144 wRC+) in 403 plate appearances for Buffalo.

Obviously those numbers won’t translate to the big leagues, but he’s actually been a decent enough big league hitter over 1556 career plate appearances, posting a 101 wRC+ by way of a .236/.337/.411 line. He’s had some short and terrible stints — a .119/.187/.202 line in 91 plate appearances for the Rays in 2011, for example — but some extended good ones, mostly in his early career, and has been an excellent Triple-A hitter over nearly 4000 plate appearances at the level, posting a .283/.403/.513 line.

So, yes, he’s been a journeyman (he took a year off to go to Japan, even) and there maybe isn’t a tonne to dream on for a guy who has been overlooked so many times this season, and had so many chances to establish himself in the big leagues, but he’s hardly nothing, either. He’s an immediate upgrade on what a hobbled Lind was offering, he can take a walk (13.2% walk rate as a big leaguer), some of his big leauge struggles and time spent in the wilderness was due to a hand injury, and he’s even shown enough against same-sided pitching — a .796 OPS against lefties this year in 149 plate appearances, and a couple hollow OBPs above .325 in the previous three seasons in AAA, for whatever that’s worth — to, sadly, probably be an upgrade on some of the bats this club has been running out against lefties of late.

And he’s not short on self belief, either. In an outstanding piece at Bull City Summer, Adam Sobsey writes about Johnson,

Two seasons ago, while he was playing for Charlotte, Johnson told me that he had had interest from National League teams, who wanted to put him on their major-league bench for left-handed platoon and pinch hitting duty. But Johnson turned down the guaranteed major-league salary (half a million dollars), plus pension and union membership. He still believed he could be a big-league regular, and in order to land that full-time job he’d have to play in the American League, which has the designated hitter, the position where Johnson’s skills most comfortably belong (although he’s a better first baseman than his reputation allows.) So he gambled on a much lesser minor-league contract and started the last two seasons in Triple-A, hoping for a crack at the bigger dream.

He also tells us that this season Johnson has adopted a new batting stance this season, more traditional looking than the open stance many fans may remember. It would be a bit of a stretch to think that maybe this will have changed him for the better and for good as he gets set to make his 2014 debut in the majors (he hits 8th tonight in Tampa, the city where he made his most famous baseball moment, a game-tying, two-strike, two-out home run on the epic last day of 2011 that saved the Rays’ season), but one can hope.

Of course, all this doesn’t mean that losing Lind, who currently ranks fourth in MLB among hitters with over 100 PA against right-handers with a 178 wRC+, won’t hurt. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be the sort of death blow to the club that the news maybe felt like when it was first learned that yet another of their key bats was leaving the lineup for an extended period. Not that the way they’re teetering they necessarily need a death blow at this point anyway. Ugh.

Breaking: Adam Lind

lindMIN

Adam Lind has a bad feeling about his back after crossing the plate in Tuesday’s win at Minnesota

Brutal.

Adam Lind left tonight’s win over the Twins in the seventh inning, after moving quite gingerly after crossing the plate on Moises Sierra’s ground out, on which Joe Mauer inexplicably chose to take the out at first base rather than coming to the plate, allowing a run to cross. On the TV broadcast Drs. Buck and Pat were hopeful, based on the fact that Lind remained in the dugout for a while, and didn’t look like he was laboring too terribly, that it was mostly a precaution or something that wouldn’t require much time off.

Not so, according to the reports coming from the clubhouse following the game.

In case those tweets don’t make it quite clear enough, this doesn’t sound good. Mind you, not multiple-months not good, but certainly like something that could require a DL stint, as was required in 2011, when he missed 24 games with back trouble, and 2012 when he missed 29.

If you recall — and I only barely did, though Scott MacArthur was kind enough to confirm via tweet — Lind and Encarnacion were flipped, positionally, at the last minute before Sunday’s game (Scott’s original tweet here), which was due to the back injury at that point.

Brendan Kennedy quotes Lind as saying that he hasn’t felt pain like this in his back “for years.” Ugh.

Hey, but at least Jose Reyes is coming back soon, right? Right???

We’ll keep you posted on any roster moves, should they happen — and with the Jays’ already stretched bench, it wouldn’t be surprising if they felt they had to do something quickly, just to avoid playing shorthanded, however, it also wouldn’t necessarily be surprising if they waited, given that the forecast for tomorrow doesn’t look great, and they may get an extra day to figure out what to do here — and… um… we’ll also remind you that Dan Johnson is hitting .242/.366/.545 so far at Buffalo this year… so… that’s something, right? Right???

Cleveland Indians v Toronto Blue Jays

Here’s how dire the Day One rumour mill is going: everything you need to know about this one– pretty much– you read in the headline of this post:

So… yeah. That makes sense. Especially since Perrotto also tweets that the Pirates and have talked about a deal that would send the Marlins’ own platoon lefty, Logan Morrison, to Pittsburgh in exchange for Josh Harrison and “a second unknown player.”

Especially especially because Harrison is a 26-year-old utility guy with a .250/.282/.367 line in 575 career plate appearances, and a 2.6% walk rate. And while Lind is better against right-handers than Morrison, the price for him would surely be higher than practically nothing.

So… there’s that.

No, really. That’s the whole post.

Oh, There’s More Update!

According to Shi Davidi’s roundup at Sportsnet of comments from Alex Anthopoulos, the ask by the Jays was indeed quite a bit higher than the suggested discussion between the Pirates and Marlins.

The Blue Jays are also looking for help at second base, and when the Pittsburgh Pirates inquired about the availability of Adam Lind last week, the ask in return was for Neil Walker, according to sources.

He adds that “there was no fit and talks quickly withered” before suggesting that the club isn’t looking to move Lind, but is monitoring the market for him anyway, just in case there’s a deal that fits.

Walker, understandably if you’re Pittsburgh, doesn’t.

Oh, and some probably goes for the Jays, who are real comfortable with Izturis and Goins, right???

So… there’s that.

encarnacion-lind

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of a possible link between the Jays and the Pirates regarding that club’s first base situation, but why should that stop us from looking at it again? Especially since, according to this tweet from Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, there appears to have been some actual dialogue. Y’know, maybe.

The defensive metrics sure don’t like Edwin Encarnacion at first base, but he provides more than enough lumber to make up for whatever deficiencies he may have there (plus, he looks perfectly passable by the ol’ eye test, I’d say), so I don’t think I’d have an issue with the Jays shipping Lind off to Pittsburgh– or anywhere, really– in that regard. Nor would I have an issue with the club finding a DH (or an even better-fielding first baseman) without such a crazy platoon split. But despite how maligned he’s been over the years in certain corners of the internet (like this one!), and how streaky some may feel that he can be, it’s undeniable that Lind’s is a pretty large bat to be taking out of this lineup in its own right– against right-handed pitching, at least– and would certainly require some additional manoeuvring that might not end up making the club better.

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lindhits

Adam Lind is having a fine season and deserves to have his option for 2014 picked up, not just because of his play on the field, where he’s been a near-elite bat against right-handed pitching (he currently ranks 14th among qualified hitters vs. RHP), but because of how cheap he’ll come– as I wrote earlier in the week.

In writing that piece I was pivoting off the work of Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet, who had spoken to Lind about his potential contract limbo. Last night, in another piece at Sportsnet, Shi Davidi followed up with Lind, beginning his piece thusly:

Adam Lind remains uncertain about what the Toronto Blue Jays will do with his 2014 contract option, even after being told by Alex Anthopoulos that he’s put himself in a good position with the season he’s had.

As a matter of course, the Blue Jays don’t make decisions on contract options until the deadline, which for Lind is three days after the World Series ends, giving them the freedom to explore trades and alternatives before making a final call.

Lind speaks in the piece about already getting nostalgic for his time here, as though he seems to think there’s a genuine chance that he’s could be gone, but what’s most interesting, across both pieces, is the fact that he seems to find the Jays’ policies somewhat irksome.

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