Why the Adam Lind situation sucks

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.

Wanted and missing: Adam Lind, circa 2009

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.

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7 thoughts on “Why the Adam Lind situation sucks

  1. It’s weird, but in subjecting Lind to what seems to be the worst kind of roster move possible outside of releasing him, the team could legitimately argue that they’re doing right by him. I doubt any other team will pick him up, but I’m not willing to completely rule it out either.

    And if one team is going to pick him up, I’d put my money on Arizona. They love former Jays infielders down in the desert.

  2. Pingback: Why the Adam Lind situation sucks | xalyzax

  3. “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.”

    I believe that due to the type of waivers he was placed on, if another team claims him, then Toronto pays his salary through the end of the contract (not sure about the 3 club option years on the end of those 2 years). So scratch enormous financial burden and replace with, no financial burden. I can’t see a team not taking a shot on him, given them having no monetary stake. Although he doesn’t have the best numbers, he has to be a decent option on some team’s bench.

    How many Jays players own homes in Toronto do you think? I had heard in the past that many don’t spend any of the offseason there (which makes sense from a baseball perspective) and thus many of them don’t really set down ties in the community like the hockey teams. I leave to the intrepid Infield Fly staff to investigate.

    Keep up the good work.

    • According to the story on MLB.com (http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120520&content_id=31801706&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb), any claiming team would be responsible for Lind’s salary: “Outright waivers is irrevocable, so any team that puts a claim in on Lind would obtain him and Toronto would be off the hook for his salary.”

      As for Jays players owning property in Toronto, I don’t know how many do. But, I have it on good authority that Adam Lind married a local girl and I’d therefore be surprised if they don’t own property here — even if it’s not their main offseason home.

      Thanks for checking out the site!

      • Yeah, his wife is Canadian and their kid was born here (late last season – you may remember him leaving the team for a few days on the paternity list), so he’s certainly got ties here that would be tough to break.

        I don’t know if we’ll know the full story behind what happened and why Lind was suddenly placed on outright waivers, but I really hope that whatever happened wasn’t a surprise to him. Apparently it is not required that the player on waivers KNOW he’s on waivers, as it’s a confidential procedure, but that’s so un-human it’s ridiculous. Lind is a lifelong Jay. At least treat him like one.

        It is definitely unlikely that he will be claimed, even though there are rumblings throughout the twitterverse — first about the Marlins (as they optioned Gaby Sanchez shortly after Lind appeared on the waiver wire) and now the Giants, but I highly doubt that will happen. I’m hoping for a good stint for him in the PCL, and then maybe he could be platooned when he comes back.

        If he comes back. I hope so.

        • Although it is possible, I’d be surprised if Lind wasn’t told he was being put on waivers. If the Torontos really do want to establish a reputation for being a “good place to play” and a team that “treats people right,” you’d have to tell a guy you’re putting him on waivers.

          I would like to see Lind figure it out and come back to Toronto, but if another team claims him that wouldn’t be so bad. Not in a hoping-for-the-best-for-Lind kind of way, anyway.

        • Forget a decent winnnig percentage, I think it’s fair to say Blyleven would have those missing 13 magical wins if he pitched for the Orioles in the 90s and the Yankees in the 2000s. With 300 wins, he’d already be in.As for Mussina, you have him pegged correctly as a borderline HOFer who makes for an interesting debate but whose fate will undoubtedly be determined by outside factors like the other pitchers on his first couple ballots. Syferdet has it right in his blog. If he’s going up against peers like Maddux, Schilling, Big Unit, Glavine, Smoltz on a yearly basis, he’s got an uphill battle ahead of him.

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