In 2009, his first full year in the majors, Toronto’s Adam Lind hit .305 with 35 homers and 114 RBI. But Lind has not approached those numbers since. This season, after hitting just .186 with 3 homers and 11 RBI in his first 34 games, Lind, now 28, was sent to the minors. At first it was reported that Lind was designated for assignment, but that turned out not to be the case. Still, after the ten-day minimum, Lind remained in the minors, with no timetable for his return.
Lind has been a starter for the Blue Jays since his breakout 2009. He started every game he appeared in last season and 31 of his 34 games in 2012 before he was sent down. But Lind’s troubles started as far back as 2010. His 23 HR and 72 RBI were well off his 2009 pace, but still usable. But Lind’s batting average was just .237.
Struggles against left-handed pitchers
Most striking was Lind’s lefty-righty split. The left-handed Lind actually did fairly well against righties, hitting .275 with 21 HR and 62 RBI. His OPS was .829.
Against lefties, however, Lind hit just .117 with only 2 HR and 10 RBI in 137 at bats. His OPS was a grisly .341.
Lind appeared to regain his form in the first half of 2011, hitting .300 with 16 HR and 52 RBI. But his average sank to .197 in the second half. Still, Lind finished 2011 with a .251 BA, 26 HR and 87 RBI. His left/right OPS split improved to .771/.639.
In 2012, however, Lind’s problems against left-hander returned, with a .129 BA and .382 OPS. Only now his numbers against right-handers were lousy as well – .207 BA and .655 OPS. Lind was hitting just .140 with a .492 OPS in 43 AB against all pitchers in May when the Blue Jays sent him to the minors.
The Jays are exploring possibilities for a life without Lind. They signed designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero to a minor-league contract and gave current DH Edwin Encarnacion some starts at first base, Lind’s position.
The Jays probably wouldn’t mind trading Lind, but that isn’t likely to happen. In fact, it’s more likely that Lind will eventually return to Toronto. The reason is that Lind will make $5 million this season. And he will make $5 million in 2013 as well. So Toronto would probably have to pick up most of Lind’s salary if they were trade him. And if they don’t trade him, that’s a lot of money to pay someone to play in the minors, especially when he doesn’t turn 29 until July and was a very productive player as recently as the first half of 2011.
But first, Lind has to make it back to the majors. Then he has to regain his form, at least against right-handers. Until then, it’s not clear why Lind remains on 23% of Yahoo! rosters at this writing.
Ben Hargrove is a fantasy baseball expert for sites like DraftStreet, a popular fantasy sports website.