Note: I had originally started writing this when Adam Lind was simply demoted to AAA. I pick it up here below following the news of his being put on outright waivers.
It’s news like Adam Lind’s demotion to AAA Las Vegas (and subsequent outright waiverage) that makes you really understand how baseball is not just a game of numbers but a game involving real people as well.
Now, I’m not here to suggest that Lind, the owner of a .186/.273/.314 slash line this year, shouldn’t have been sent down. Despite his past successes, there’s only so far the rope should extend and from a make-the-baseball-team-better standpoint, I applaud the move. However, from a man-that-must-be-a-tough-blow view, I feel for Lind.
Like many Jays fans, I have developed an affinity for players and it was hard not to love Lind after his breakout 2009 campaign. He might not come across as the brightest or most personable guy in the world in interviews, but he’s still been a central part of this team for the past seven years. That stretch also makes him the longest-tenured Blue Jay on the roster. Unless you don’t count Jason Frasor’s half-season interruption from the Jays when he was traded to Chicago.
I know Lind expects better of himself, and he really has no grounds to protest the situation, considering the fall-off-a-cliff-esque performance that has been his last few years. But still, the guy has a wife and family and no doubt has a house and other heavy ties in Toronto, it can’t be an easy thing to just pack up and leave.
It’s a situation different than a guy like say Drew Hutchison or even Mike McCoy last year. Both those guys are likely fully aware their time in the major leagues could come to an end at a moment’s notice and as a result they probably aren’t out with real estate agents putting downpayments on fancy houses in the GTA. Lind on the other hand, probably never would have predicted he’d ever have to ride another minor league bus. It must come as a blow to the ego.
That being said, it’s hard to have too much sympathy for a guy who will make more in a year than most of us will make in a lifetime. A guy who could never see another major league pitch and still live comfortably without working for the rest of his life. But still, there does have to be a certain degree of empathy, after all. These are our Blue Jays.
Now comes the news that he has been placed on outright waivers, a move which on the surface seems the Jays are “giving up” on him. I think it’s not so much that as it is a couple things. One, Adam Lind has at the very least earned the respect that if the Jays can’t use him in a major league capacity, he should be given the opportunity to ply his trade elsewhere in the MLB. I am far too lazy to go find the source, but I recall reading on Twitter that Lind was only 45 days away from having enough major league service time to be able to reject assignments to the minors.
Two, it isn’t all that likely he will be picked up. As much as people griped about Lyle Overbay’s production while at first base, he was a guy who AT LEAST got on base at a good clip (typically was one of the top on the team). There would be a market for a guy like Overbay, but I really can’t imagine where there are teams in the major leagues that would look at Lind as an option as a starting 1B.
Of course, a team might want to take him on as reclamation project of sorts, to see if they can tweak or fix something that maybe Toronto coaches couldn’t, while perhaps using him as a bat off the bench. That remains to be seen. His contract isn’t horridly large (relatively speaking, of course) over the next two years, so it’s not an enormous financial burden for a club to take on.
With that said, I found it ridiculous that Gregg Zaun was saying he didn’t like the move by the Jays as he wants Toronto to get something back for Lind should he leave the team. Sure that’s nice in theory, but let’s give Anthopoulos a LITTLE credit. If there was a move to be made involving Lind and another team do you not think he would have made it before giving every team in the league a free crack at him? Alex Rios left the team in a similar situation and while his move was more of a salary dump even in that case the Jays weren’t able to get anything in return (that move is a bit more questionable, to be honest).
Is the Adam Lind era over in Toronto? It’s entirely possible, but I’m guessing no, that the Jays will hold onto him and we’ll see him again in Toronto later this summer.
Is that what fans want? It’s really hard to say. He’s become a Vernon Wells-esque scapegoat in recent years, with fan seemingly not even wanting him to succeed.