On Adam Lind’s Inexplicable Shot At Full-Time At-Bats With Toronto Blue Jays

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If you were to look up Adam Lind‘s salary, there’s a decent chance that you’ll stumble upon his profile on the Baseball Player Salaries website, which lists several pieces of information:

A) He’ll make $5 million with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2013.
B) That salary was 5.94 percent of the team’s payroll in 2012, and that Lind accounted for zero percent of the team’s on-field performance.
C) “Adam Lind is a bum”

I might not have put it in those exact terms, but the sentiment is not something I disagree with. Since a 2009 breakout that earned him a contract extension, Lind had not come close to playing up to his modest salary increase.

In fact, at -0.2 fWAR player over the last three years, Lind has done the exact opposite. A large part of why that’s the case is because he’s simply lost against lefties, having put up a .186/.226/.281 triple slash in 390 PA against southpaws over the last three seasons that also comes with a brutal 0.15 BB/K.

So, naturally, the team is going to give him one more shot at full time at-bats in 2013 to see if he can hit LHP.

Of course, any Blue Jays fans who have watched Lind over the last several seasons know how that’s going to turn out already.

Yes, the Blue Jays have money invested in Lind, but the sample size on the 29-year old against left-handers is substantial. Surely, GM Alex Anthopoulos and manager John Gibbons know this, despite their continued insistence that they will give the first baseman/DH the inside track of full at-bats.

Obviously, Spring Training is a time for evaluation, and the team will do just that on Lind, but why not aim to build and defining an effective platoon now, and see if a hot hand can earn more plate appearances later?

Could they be doing it to make sure Lind enters the season in the same mindset that he was in during his breakout season? Is the team trying build his trade value by making him a full-time player?

Either way, it seems counter-intuitive to go into the season with the plan to put a player in a position that they are likely to fail in, as opposed to putting them in a position that best allows them to succeed with their skills first (Lind’s .836 OPS vs RHP), and then see if they can exceed it.

According to Gibbons, there “hasn’t been a focal point on platooning [Lind],” and that the team’s staff “haven’t even talked about that.”

If the Blue Jays want to go into 2013 with the best team possible, perhaps it’s time to start.

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