Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Pirates and Adam Lind

Yesterday the Blue Jays did something that was thought to be overdue when they outright wave Adam Lind after he has struggled for much of the season. Lind had a breakout year in 2009 when he went off for a .305/.370/.562 line and blasted 35 home runs and 114 runs driven in. Since then, not so much. It all hasn't been terrible as Lind has hit for 23 home runs in 2010 and 26 home runs in 2011 so you can see why my timeline was a flutter with talks of claiming Adam Lind. At first I was intrigued about the possibility but the more I looked into the idea the worse idea I thought it was. Let me explain.

First when you talk about getting Lind you are getting him and his bloated contract he signed in the 2010 season which was for four years for a total of $18 million. That deal also includes team options for the 2014-16 season with buyouts for each of those years. Basically what it comes down to is that if you picked up Lind through the waiver period you will be buying the remainder of the contract for this year plus next year plus the option years/buyouts. That means if you get Lind and have him this year and next year then buy him out you will pay for about $12M for two years of Lind. That is a lot of dough.

Tim did a really nice post over at Pirates Prospects about the value of Lind. What it basically boils down to is do the Pirates want to pay Lind $12M over this season and next season to be a platoon player? Why a platoon player? Well, to be honest, Lind isn't very good at hitting left handed pitching. In his career he has a career triple slash line of .218/.261/.343 against lefties in 691 plate appearances. That is not a guy I want playing every day and probably someone that wouldn't play in an every day role.

I was talking with some people last night about the idea of the Pirates picking up Lind and the most common thing that they brought up was the fact that Lind can hit the ball out of the ballpark and has done so the past three teams. While I agree 100% that Lind could probably hit the ball out of the field of play more often than anyone else on the Pirates roster that shouldn't be the end all be all of picking up a player. When you are looking to acquire a player and you are only able to cite one statistic as to why he should be picked up then you probably don't have a great reason for getting him on the roster. While the 26 home runs were great last year he also had a .295 OBP, .315 wOBA and a 95 wRC+ and was only a 0.5 bWAR. At what point to do address the average to below average other numbers across the board when you talk about his home run totals? Couple that with his terrible career line against lefties and I would as again, is this work $12M over two years? Actually when you look at Lind's entire career the 0.5 WAR from last season is his second best season. The best was obviously in 2009 when it was 3.7.

As Tim broke down in his article here are Lind's OPS over his career:

2007: .678
2008: .755
2009: .932
2010: .712
2011: .734
2012: .586

So the 2009 season seems to be more of an outside number than any of the others so you are looking at someone who is mostly going to play against right handed pitching that will give you anywhere from a .700 to a .750 OPS. Again, is that worth $12M over two years?

The Pirates platoon situation hasn't been good this year as Casey McGehee (.198/.288/.264) and Garrett Jones (.230/.253/.425) haven't been good but if you are getting him for that platoon role then you would be playing him instead of Garrett Jones with Casey McGehee still playing. Sure, Jones could play right field but is that really the answer the Pirates are looking for?

As I was talking to James Santelli last night he brought up the good point that a more justifiable solution would be for Lind to come in as the replacement for Nate McLouth who has been awful this season but again are you willing to pay that much for a platoon bench guy. Couple that with the fact that Lind doesn't offer you anything defensively (career -13.3 UZR) and hasn't play a full outfield slate since 2009.

This is all assumed, however, that the Pirates would pick up Lind on waivers, something that I would doubt any team would do. After he clears the Pirates would be able to talk to the Jays about a trade where they could get him for much, much, cheaper, but at probably only a 0.5 bWAR guy how much is a good price? Probably not a whole ton. I am not saying that the Pirates shouldn't inquire about Lind, but saying that they should absolutely pick him up off waiver is not the way to go about it. The same arguement was made that "he's better than anything we have now" which sounds good at first but doesn't mean you should make bad decisions because of it. When it isn't your money it is an easy decision but those same people are flipping out about Clint Barmes' deal are begging for this Lind deal.

Like I said nobody will probably pick up Lind on waivers, which is good for the Pirates, and if they want to try to go after him that would be great, but lets not act like he will turn this offense around, because he will not. I would have to say thanks, but no thanks, for Lind.

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