Since his breakout in 2009, Adam Lind has been one of the worst players in the major leagues. Since the start of the 2010 season Lind has hit 241/292/426, numbers that would be unacceptable for nearly every position outside of catcher or shortstop. And yet it took nearly two years for Adam Lind to be removed from the middle of the lineup. Lind would later be sent to the minors, and he’s been significantly better since he’s been recalled.
However, Lind has shown that he simply can’t stay healthy, as over the past few seasons he has missed time with several back injuries. He’s currently on the disabled list now with a back injury, although he’s expected to return as soon as the 15 days on his disabled list clock is up. When you look at how unreliable he’s been in terms of production and health, it brings up a very important question – can the Toronto Blue Jays count on Adam Lind in their starting lineup next season?
It’s easy to look at Lind’s production since he’s been recalled and suggest that he’s returned to form. Since being recalled to the majors Lind has hit 288/337/513 with 5 homers in 80 at bats. If Lind is for real, then his ability to provide the Jays with a strong left handed bat in the lineup will be beneficial given that middle of the order sluggers Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarancion are both right handed.
However, this isn’t the first time that Adam Lind has had a spike in production in the middle of a poor season. It was only a year ago, after returning from a stint on the disabled list, that Lind destroyed opposing pitchers to the tune of a 1.000+ OPS. But that only lasted for 112 at bats before he regressed into one of the worst hitters in the major leagues. So there is no guarantee that Adam Lind will continue to produce like an above average hitter like he has since his return to the majors.
Adam Lind is only guaranteed through 2013 with a $5 million deal, as his 2014-2016 seasons are controlled with team options. So his contract isn’t preventing the Jays from making a big signing. But like Aaron Hill one year ago, Lind’s career is at a crossroad. If he struggles to hit next season he’ll have his options declined, and he’ll be lucky to get a minor league contract. However, if he proves he can hit over the course of a season, it’s likely the Jays will accept his options and let him bat in the middle of the lineup.
It’s possible that if Lind continues to hit well this seasonhe might draw some interest in a trade. If that’s the case, the Jays would be advised to make a deal given how unpredictable Lind’s production can be. However, if they choose to keep Lind, they better protect themselves by signing or trading for a player capable of stepping up in the event that Lind struggles to produce. Because we’re going on three seasons of Adam Lind being one of the worst hitters in the major leagues, and failing to get adequate depth could cost the Jays a shot at the playoffs.