Do Toronto Blue Jays Have Viable In-House Option For DH Spot Going Forward?

By Thom Tsang
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s face it — neither Adam Lind or Mark DeRosa are who you’d call excellent MLB players, but could the two of them combined make a good DH for the Toronto Blue Jays going forward?

That’s something that the team seems intent to find out, as Gregor Chisholm of writes that Alex Anthopuolos and co. are likely to pick up the 2014 team option on the two, along with closer Casey Janssen. Should the moves be finalized, it would complete Lind’s career turnaround from someone who was almost certainly going to be leaving town at the end of this season to someone who now has a legitimate future with the club.

Still, given that the team holds one-year team options through the end of 2016, long-term job security isn’t necessarily in the books for the former Silver Slugger.

Whether he’ll successfully earn the $22.5 million remaining over the next three seasons will largely depend on his most effective role (DH vs. righties) and the team’s continued persistence of sticking to it even if Lind is tearing the cover of the ball. With John Gibbons at the helm, that does not seem to be a particular issue; but how does DeRosa fit into the platoon picture?

The good news (if you could call it that) for the Blue Jays is that even with Rajai Davis likely leaving town via free agency, the veteran infielder should prove to be more competent in the platoon role vs. LHP than his 0.1 fWAR in 2013 would indicate. In fact, with a 0.75 BB/K and a .267/.368/.443 triple-slash against southpaws through 155 PA against southpaws, you can see why the team wouldn’t necessarily be shedding any tears over Davis’ departure.

Whether DeRosa will come back for his age-39 season, however … well, that’s another story.

Originally brought in to essentially be an extra bench coach in 2013, retirement was definitely on the mind of the vet heading into last season, and that hasn’t changed even as the Blue Jays seem poised to pick up his $750,000 2014 option. Should he decide to hang ’em up, the Blue Jays would be left with a bit of a conundrum as they’d have to look for another bat to pair with Lind — which could very well affect his future in Toronto depending on how much it might cost.

Let’s put it this way. Assuming that nothing changes, the Blue Jays could effectively have a .850-plus OPS DH with 20-plus homers and a .298 BA (500 at-bats) for a combined $7.75 million. Given the type of players that are available on the free agent market and the type of salary they’ll likely command, there doesn’t appear to be a whole lot of reasons for the Blue Jays to pursue another option, even if that option might end up being a little cheaper (ie. Kendrys Morales).

If they do have to look for a platoon bat, however, then shelling out more resources for a bat who doesn’t have to be platooned and buying out Lind’s option for $2 million might end up being a more cost-effective option for DH.

So while the Blue Jays seem to have that part of their lineup figured out at least for 2014, the fact that Lind is still overpaid as platoon DH vs. RHP means that the team will likely be facing a similar dilemma about his 2015 option by this time next year, especially since the buyout will be dropped to $1 million.

Is it ideal? Probably not. But with the team having more dire needs to be addressed, good enough at DH will have to do for now.

Thom is an MLB writer for Follow him on Twitter @BlueJaysRant, or add him to your network on Google

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