The Toronto Blue Jays placed Adam Lind on outright waivers yesterday, which means that any teams that wants him can just claim him and assume his full salary. My first thought when I saw this was probably similar to the thought process of a lot of Pirates fans. The thought was “the Pirates have a horrible offense, anything could help.” I’ll also add that I was basing my analysis on Lind on having him on my fantasy baseball teams in 2009, when he hit for a .305 average with 35 homers.
After taking a closer look at him, I don’t think he would make sense for the Pirates. Here is a run down of the facts on Lind.
**He is owed $3.7 M for the remainder of the 2012 season. He is owed $5 M in 2013, and has three buyouts in 2014-2016, totaling $3.5 M. Any team picking him up would assume all of that. It’s unlikely a team would pick up any of his options. So he’s basically a two year, $12.2 M player, and you’re not really getting him for two years, since we’re about two months in to year one.
**To give an idea of what kind of player Lind is, let’s compare his career splits to a similar player on the Pirates roster:
Adam Lind vs RHP: .279 average, .833 OPS
Adam Lind vs LHP: .218 average, .604 OPS
Garrett Jones vs RHP: .273 average, .830 OPS
Garrett Jones vs LHP: .197 average, .592 OPS
Lind is almost identical to Jones, only he’d cost three times as much. The Pirates could try to do a double platoon, with one player at first base and one player in right field. The problem is that they don’t have a second player to platoon with Lind. They don’t really have a player to platoon with Jones, as Casey McGehee has a .226 average and a .656 OPS against left handers this year.
**Outside of that big 2009 season, in which Lind had a .932 OPS, his yearly numbers were:
2006: 1.015 OPS in 60 AB
2007: .678 OPS in 290 AB
2008: .755 OPS in 326 AB
2009: .932 OPS in 587 AB
2010: .712 OPS in 569 AB
2011: .734 OPS in 499 AB
2012: .586 OPS in 118 AB
Lind is struggling this year, and even if he turns things around, it looks like the best case scenario is an OPS in the .700-.750 range.
I ran his production through the trade values calculator, with a best case scenario of a 0.5 WAR in 2012 and 2013. He had a 0.5 WAR in 2011, and outside of 2009, that was his best year as a pro. So that seems a bit optimistic to give him an 0.5 WAR for two years. Even with that optimism, if the Pirates claimed him and his contract today, he’d come with a -$7.5 M trade value. If Toronto was trading him, they’d have to pick up $7.5 M to get nothing in return. So picking him up would just provide negative value.
Lind doesn’t make sense for the Pirates. They already have him on the roster, going by the name of Garrett Jones. Only the version they have costs $2.2 M, and looks like a non-tender candidate after the season. The Pirates don’t have anyone to platoon with Lind. If they played him full time, his numbers probably wouldn’t be any better than what Matt Hague could put up as a full time first baseman. The difference is that Hague would cost about $11 M less over the next two years.
My first reaction to the Lind news was that anything could help the Pirates offense. But that’s not really the case. Lind wouldn’t help the offense, and wouldn’t be worth the price the team would have to pay for him. If they’re that desperate for help, call up Matt Hague, and save the money for a better player once players start hitting the trading block in July.