Leadership Problems, Pt. 2: Adam Lind, Jason Frasor Says Toronto Blue Jays Lacks Veteran Presence

By Thom Tsang
John E. Sokolowski-US PRESSWIRE

So, first the 45-year old veteran shortstop with the 24-year career tells the media that the Toronto Blue Jays have a leadership/communication problem, and now the longest-tenured batter on the team says there’s a lack of veteran presence in the clubhouse too?

Wait, what? The pitcher with the team record for most number of appearances also says the same thing? Has no one ever told these people about the pot and kettle?

Seriously, though, if Omar Vizquel‘s comments about John Farrell and the coaching staff seemed somewhat tinged with self-serving purposes, the latest comments from Adam Lind and Jason Frasor are just…well, I don’t even know what they are, exactly. Whether it’s been exaggerated or not, there’s something afoot in the Blue Jays clubhouse, and that two of the longest-serving players on the current squad is coming out and making comments about not having veterans on the team is more than just a little out of left field.

Not that either make direct criticisms to anyone in general, though. Lind, speaking to the Toronto Sun about his exit interview with Farrell, said that “it’s a two-way street and it was all very positive”, and that he’d expressed his thoughts to management about how the Blue Jays can “be a better team through leadership and communication”. Please, tell us more, Adam:

“I’ve only been in this clubhouse so I can’t speak for other teams, but we don’t have anyone like [a veteran leader] in this clubhouse,” says Lind, apparently having not remembered that this year’s team had players like Vizquel (who must have been so un-veteran-like in the clubhouse that he thought there should be someone with more veteran presence), Darren Oliver (who has been in the league since the early 1900s or something), and not to mention Edwin Encarnacion (8 years), and of course, Jose Bautista (9 years). I wonder what Bautista thinks about that, having been the Blue Jays clubhouse leader the last couple of years?

But wait, what about Lind himself? Did he not get the whole “leadership has no age” message at the team meeting held after the whole Vizquel deal?

““I’m not really the biggest … I’ll have 5 1/2 years of service time,” Okay…but you’ve been here the longest… “So I’m not a 10-, 11-year veteran that’s been in three or four clubhouses, that doesn’t really care what a young kid thinks. I’m such a nice guy that I want people to like me.” Ah. I see. I’m sure saying that this will do wonders in making people like you more, both in the clubhouse and in the public. “There’s some things that I’d speak out about but I don’t feel like I’m in that position to do so yet.”

Really? If you’re not in the position to do so, being the longest-tenured position player on the team, and Vizquel, whose been in the league forever but makes the same excuse because hasn’t been in the Blue Jays clubhouse for long, who, exactly, is in that position? Methinks it has more to do with Lind being a well-below-average baseball player over the last few years than anything else.

In any case, whoever it is, it’s certainly not Jason Frasor, who didn’t mince any words, saying that the team has “too many young guys”, and that it lacks “veteran leadership”, suggesting that Alex Anthopoulos has to “make some major decisions because this wasn’t a good mix this year.” The veteran reliever mused on about his potential future with the club, saying “If I was back with the Blue Jays, I’d like there to be some older guys. Guys who carry themselves a little more professionally” – the key point of course, being if he ends up resigning with the team, or if the team wants him back.

Neither are sure things for Frasor, and perhaps less so for Lind; but one thing seems fairly clear – even if they may be touching on a legitimate issue (as Vizquel were) about professionalism and clubhouse leadership, the professional thing to do would probably be to communicate that thought to management, not in comments to the media that serve little purpose than to prolong this little bit of controversy. It’s just a tad ironic that Adam Lind feels like a veteran enough to make the comments, but apparently not so to take on some of the responsibilities.

If anything, perhaps these comments is just a way for both of them to preemptively sever ties with the Blue Jays. With Frasor coming off his worst season in 5 years, and Lind being Lind, maybe that wouldn’t be the worst thing for the Blue Jays.

After all, it’s not looking like either of them is contributing much else – like clubhouse presence – on the off-field side, yes?

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