Yes, the Toronto Blue Jays‘ biggest goals should still be to fix the starting pitching staff and second base. With those two pursuits looking fairly fruitless thus far, however, why not take the opportunity upgrade elsewhere if it presents itself?
Well, it just so happens that the Miami Marlins are giving potential trade partners a chance to convince them to part ways with first baseman Logan Morrison, a player that the Blue Jays should have a little more than some passing interest in. It’s likely to be something of a time-sensitive opportunity as well, as there are rumored to be no fewer than three other MLB teams who are already in the fray.
Fortunately for the Blue Jays, they just happen to have something that the Marlins might want: Adam Lind.
That a team would be interested in the platoon hitter should be enough to pique their interest, although it would be easy to see things through the “what have you done for my lately” lens and ask just why the Blue Jays would want to part ways with their 1.8 fWAR, 23-homer slugger to bring in an injury-prone 26-year-old who was below replacement in each of the last two seasons.
The answer mostly comes down to control, cost and replacement value. While Lind was certainly a resurgent piece in 2013, the team has to consider that it would not have been possible had he not been given a strict platoon role where he was essentially not allowed to hit vs. LHP. This severely limits his value as a first baseman, and it’s worth mentioning that while a platoon hitter is his ceiling, the team options to keep him around will only get more expensive for 2015 and 2016.
Besides, for the good that he showed in 421 PA vs RHP in 2013, the team can’t forget that there were essentially three full seasons (barring a couple of hot months) where Lind was easily the worst player in the league at his position (1B/DH). That’s a much larger sample size to work with, and considering that the 30-year old was in some ways playing to not have his contract be bought out in 2013, it’s not unreasonable for the team to think they’re selling high here.
On the other hand, they’d be doing the opposite for Morrison, who is entering his first year or arbitration and should come much cheaper.
While he also wasn’t able to hit lefties over 79 PA in 2013, the .707 career OPS vs. southpaws (compared to .786 vs. righties) suggest that a platoon would not be a surefire necessity.
Besides, it’s important to keep in mind that as much as he had his hands in struggling over his young career thus far, Morrison was a victim of both poor health and mismanagement. These two elements are closely linked in this case as the first base prospect was pointlessly moved to an outfield position that he never belonged in (so the team can keep rolling with Gaby Sanchez), exacerbating the eventual knee issues that has ailed him.
Even in the worst-case scenario where the lefty turns out not to be able to hit southpaws, a full healthy season should at least see him produce similar power numbers.
After all, he has hit 33 homers over 1072 PA against righties, posting a slugging percentage of .446 and an ISO or .195 in those situations. While it doesn’t quite match up with Lind’s numbers, it’s close enough that this floor is a sufficient to favor the younger player at the much lower cost with a bounce-back upside that is considerably better (a full-time player) than the known ceiling of Lind as a limited asset.
The extra money save in such a swap could then conceivably be put to use towards a starting pitcher on the market … well, that is if Alex Anthopulos‘ hands aren’t already tied there, anyway.