Today it was revealed that Adam Lind was placed on irrevocable waivers after being optioned to AAA Las Vegas earlier in the week. Irrevocable waivers means that if any team puts in a claim on Lind, the Blue Jays would lose him. As CBS’s Danny Knobler writes, it’s “a move that shows their frustration with him and one that would allow them to remove him from the 40-man major-league roster.”
The Jays do have a right to be frustrated. Since the All-Star break in 2011, Adam Lind has hit .193 with a .247 on-base percentage. That’s a 92 game slump. But the real frustration might not only be directed at Adam Lind’s performance, but Adam Lind the person. Let me explain.
In 2009, Jamie Campbell spoke with Adam Lind and Lind told him that “he never used protein shakes and supplements (the good kind) until this winter.” At the age of 25, after playing baseball at a professional level for 5 seasons, Adam Lind had never once used a protein shake. Give your head a shake, Adam. It may seem like not a big deal on the surface, but this is a professional baseball player who’s livelihood depends on mashing the ball out of the yard. To do that, you need to be strong, and preferably stronger than your peers. It behooves any professional athlete to be knowledgeable about nutrition and exercise in order to perform at their best. It’s not difficult either – Lind is surrounded by a staff of trainers and coaches who are paid to support him. The fact Lind has never taken protein supplementation until the age of 25 tells me that he either doesn’t care, doesn’t have a clue, or both.
This past offseason Adam Lind spoke with John Lott of the National Post. It turns out that not only does Adam Lind not pay attention to nutrition and supplementation, he doesn’t really like working out either.
Adam Lind admits it: He was never much inclined to the gruelling workout routine so favoured by modern athletes.
“I don’t like it, to be frank,” he said with a self-conscious chuckle.
When I read these pieces, alarm bells start sounding off in my head. It seems to me that Adam Lind doesn’t have much of a work ethic.
It also reminds me of the time Adam Lind was groomed to become the team’s first baseman in 2010. Did Lind take time in the offseason to work on learning the nuances of the position? Did he arrive early to camp to work with Brian Butterfield to make himself into a major-league calibre first baseman? Nope.
It seems to me that Adam Lind is happy to rest on his laurels. Why work at it now when he’s never had to in the past? He
is was a major league ballplayer but he certainly didn’t act like it. When you take this game for granted, the game will humble you very quickly. Perhaps the Jays brass saw this fact as well. Lind appears to not work very hard to improve his game which is the most frustrating thing of all. What could the team hope to achieve by placing Lind on waivers?
Like Alex Rios before him, putting a player on the waiver wire is essentially giving away a player for free with the hope that someone will claim them and be on the hook for the rest of their salary. Lind’s contract, which pays him $5 million this year and next year and includes three club options that guarantee him another $3.5 million, makes a claim fairly unlikely. With that said, his contract is far from being an albatross and certainly has no impact on the Blue Jays making the moves that they want to make.
If another team does claim him, not only will the Jays be clear of his contract - but perhaps most importanly - it opens a spot on the 40-man roster. This would then allow the Blue Jays additional flexibility in making future moves. Lo and behold, it appears that the Blue Jays may already have a suitor in the Miami Marlins:
What would the Marlins possibly want with a hitter who is in the midst of a 92 game slump? Well, as Guy Spurrier pointed out, Adam Lind’s plate discipline has become progressively worse since his breakout 2009 season. Yet he has shown signs of improvement in 2012. While his outside-the-strike-zone-swing-percentage (O-Swing %) was 34.3% in 2010 and 35.9% in 2011, he has lowered it this season to 27.9%. That means he is swinging at less pitches outside of the strike zone, which is a good sign.
Take into consideration that Adam Lind’s BAbip sits at .209 this season compared to his career mark of .291 and an argument could be made (not by me) that Adam Lind’s struggles are due in large part to bad luck. Put these two factors together and it is within the realm of possibility that Adam Lind is not, in fact, a hopeless case. Add in the magic “change of scenery” spice to the mix and Lind could find his old self again in a Miami Marlins uniform. At least, that’s what Miami Marlins GM Larry Beinfest would be hoping should he place a claim on Lind.
Whether Lind is claimed or not, the fact that he has been plaiced on waivers is a clear sign that his career is at a crossroads. For a guy whose nickname is “Sleepy”, his once promising career is turning in to a nightmare. It’s time to wake up.
Images courtesy of REUTERS/Mike Stone, The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn and bluejays.com