Adam Lind Rumors

Blue Jays Notes: Lind, D’Arnaud, Villanueva

Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos addressed a number of topics concerning the club's future in 2013 and beyond tonight and Chris Toman of MLB.com has the goods..

  • Anthopoulos is hoping to see more out of Adam Lind going forward, but noted that the Blue Jays won't be afraid to look elsewhere for better production.  Toronto is on the hook for $5MM in 2013 with club options on him from 2014-16 totaling $22.5MM. 
  • Even if the Blue Jays don't find an out-of-house upgrade at first baseman/designated hitter, Lind could face competition Travis d'Arnaud, who could be in the mix with J.P. Arencibia as the starting catcher.  David Cooper, a 2008 first-round pick who has hit .300/.324/.464 in 45 games this year, could also factor in.
  • The Blue Jays still aren't sure if they see impending free agent Carlos Villanueva holding up as a starter for an entire season.  The right-hander has made 13 starts for the Blue Jays this year, posting a 3.58 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in that role.  Recently, Villanueva told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet that he wants to continue as a starting pitcher.

Make Or Break Year: How Are They Doing?

Before the season, we identified 11 players who were entering "make or break" years. These guys had experienced ups and downs in their respective careers and were positioned to re-establish themselves as difference makers at the Major League level and set themselves up for nice paydays in the future. Now that we're into August, let's take a second to check in each player (all links go to MLBTR posts)…

  • Scott Baker, Twins — Baker, 30, had elbow surgery in April and will miss the entire season. Minnesota will likely decline his $9.25MM option for 2013 (no buyout).
  • Phil Hughes, Yankees — The 26-year-old right-hander owns a 4.10 ERA in 131 2/3 innings this year, including a 3.40 ERA since mid-May. He's a safe bet to be tendered a contract for 2014, his final year as a arbitration-eligible player.
  • Jair Jurrjens, Braves — Jurrjens, 26, pitched so poorly earlier in the season that he had to be sent to the minors. He's since resurfaced and owns 6.89 ERA in 48 1/3 innings, cementing his status as a non-tender candidate.
  • Adam Lind, Blue Jays — Lind has battled back problems and also been demoted to Triple-A this season, and he's hit .227/.298/.394 while with the big league team. The 29-year-old continues to disappoint since signing his four-year, $18MM extension prior to 2010.
  • Francisco Liriano, White Sox — It's been another up and down season for the 28-year-old southpaw, who owns a 5.03 ERA in 111 innings. The Twins traded Liriano to the ChiSox at the deadline.
  • James Loney, Dodgers — Loney, now 28, hasn't helped himself at all this season, hitting just .251/.301/.330 in 327 plate appearances. He might have to settle for a minor league contract this coming offseason.
  • Kendrys Morales, Angels — The 29-year-old is hitting .282/.327/.455 with 14 homers on the year, well below the level he established prior to his leg injury in 2010. Morales figures to be both a trade and non-tender candidate after the season.
  • Mike Pelfrey, Mets — Pelfrey pitched to a 2.29 ERA in three starts before needing Tommy John surgery. The Mets are expected to non-tender the 28-year-old after the season.
  • Geovany Soto, Rangers — The 29-year-old backstop has continued to deal with injuries in 2012 and is hitting just .201/.289/.356. Soto is an obvious non-tender candidate.
  • Kevin Youkilis, White Sox — Youkilis lost his starting job with the Red Sox and was traded to the White Sox, who are likely to decline his $13MM option after the season. The 33-year-old has dealt with nagging injuries and is hitting .238/.339/.427 overall.
  • Delmon Young, Tigers — Young, 26, has had a below-average season at the plate (.266/.298/.402) and has dealt with some off-field problems. He hasn't helped his free agent stock any.

AL East Notes: Jeter, Red Sox, Orioles, Lind

On this date 20 years ago the 1992 draft took place. A number of future stars, including Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi, were selected that day, but none impacted the American League East like the shortstop prospect the Yankees selected sixth overall. Here's the latest on the AL East…

  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post explains how Derek Jeter fell to the Yankees 20 years ago. Though the Yankees were hoping Jeter would fall to them, they had prepared to start negotiations with right-hander Jim Pittsley in case another club selected their preferred target.
  • Ben Cherington will be running his first draft as Boston's GM on Monday, but it'll be a familiar setting in some ways, Rich Thompson of the Boston Herald reports. The longtime Red Sox executive says his staff will seek the best available player with each pick.  “The key with any draft is to do more with your picks than the 29 other teams do," he said.
  • The Orioles will purchase the contract of utility player Bill Hall today and add him to the 25 and 40-man rosters, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports.
  • Adam Lind could be ready to return to the Major Leagues "soon," GM Alex Anthopoulos said, according to Ken Fidlin of the Toronto Sun.


Blue Jays Outright Adam Lind To Triple-A

The Blue Jays announced that they outrighted first baseman Adam Lind to Triple-A, removing him from the 40-man roster. They selected the contract of right-hander Robert Coello and optioned left-hander Aaron Laffey to Triple-A in related moves.

It appears that recent reports about Lind's presence on outright waivers were accurate. The 28-year-old posted a .586 OPS in 132 plate appearances with the Blue Jays before being optioned to Triple-A, where he has a 1.112 OPS in 53 plate appearances at Las Vegas. Lind is set to earn $5MM in 2013. The Blue Jays have a $7MM option for 2014 ($2MM buyout) that probably won't be exercised.


Stark On Chapman, Twins, Lind, Braves

Reds GM Walt Jocketty told ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark that he doesn’t mind the constant discussion surrounding Aroldis Chapman’s role. "I like it. It creates interest in our club, and that's all good,” Jocketty said. “Everybody has a theory on it.” The GM says Chapman would like to start, and that the left-hander will remain in the bullpen for the 2012 season. Here are the rest of Stark’s notes and rumors:

  • Twins people have told rival teams they aren’t likely to trade Justin Morneau this summer.
  • When teams have asked about Denard Span, the Twins have said they aren’t interested in making trades right now, Stark reports. However, there are indications the Twins will listen on Span if the offers are good enough.
  • Stark hears that the Nationals don’t consider Bryce Harper the answer in center field.
  • Scouts and executives from three teams say they don’t have interest in Adam Lind, who was recently optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas.
  • The Braves are more likely to pursue an impact starting pitcher than a hitter this summer, according to rival teams. GM Frank Wren maintains that Kris Medlen is “probably better than any arm who will be available.” Medlen could join the rotation midseason, according to Wren.
  • Rival teams say the Orioles would like to upgrade at first base and/or third base.
  • Stark hears that Angels manager Mike Scioscia doesn’t have to worry about his job security. The skipper is under contract through 2018.

Blue Jays Place Adam Lind On Outright Waivers?

WEDNESDAY, 8:46pm: As of today, there are no indications that the Blue Jays placed first baseman Adam Lind on outright waivers, writes MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm

If Lind was outrighted, he would have been removed from the 40-man roster after a 48-hour period, but a second source told Chisholm that the 28-year-old was still on the club's official list.

SATURDAY, 6:00pm: The Blue Jays placed recently demoted slugger Adam Lind on outright waivers on Friday, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).

If Lind is claimed, the claiming team will assume the balance of the four-year, $18MM extension he signed early in the 2010 season. That deal also includes club options for 2014-16, with corresponding buyouts. If he goes unclaimed, he will remain with Toronto but will be removed from the 40-man roster.

Lind signed his extension on the heels of a breakout 2009 in which he posted a .305/.370/.562 line with 35 homers. The 1B/OF/DH has fallen well short of that since then, however, hitting .238/.289/.420 with 52 homers in 1,287 plate appearances from 2010 till his demotion to Triple-A this week.

Outright waivers are irrevocable, meaning the Jays wouldn't be able to pull Lind back if another team were to claim him. However, an AL executive tells Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com that there's "no chance he gets claimed" (Twitter link).


Quick Hits: Lind, Rhodes, Renteria, Hunter

Saturday evening linkage …

  • The Marlins are likely to discuss acquiring Blue Jays DH Adam Lind, but their pursuit will be tempered, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel (via Twitter). Miami optioned struggling first baseman Gaby Sanchez to Triple-A New Orleans today.
  • Free agent Arthur Rhodes has remained in playing shape in case a team becomes interested in signing a lefty reliever, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). Rhodes last pitched last season for the Cardinals.
  • Free agent shortstop Edgar Renteria has turned down two offers and apparently wants to remain retired, according to Heyman (Twitter link). Renteria played for the Reds last year.
  • Angels manager Mike Scioscia hopes outfielder Torii Hunter will return from the restricted list during the Halos' ongoing road trip, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). Hunter was placed on the RL on Monday to deal with a family matter.
  • Indians closer Chris Perez suggested free agents prefer not to sign with Cleveland because of poor attendance at Progressive Field, writes Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. Specifically, Perez cited Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran, who turned down an offer from the Indians this offseason in favor of a comparable one from the Cardinals.
  • The Padres' youth movement will pay off someday, but things will be tough in the interim, writes Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. The Padres have one of baseball's top farm systems and will have the opportunity to build on it with six of the first 70 picks in this year's draft.
  • Former Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal thinks that Dee Gordon will work out for the club in the long-term, writes Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. The Dodgers felt that they could part with Furcal last year in part because of Gordon's presence.
  • Indians GM Chris Antonetti doesn't seem to have any regrets over acquiring Ubaldo Jimenez from the Rockies in last year's trade, based on what he told Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer. "Ubaldo's results continue to be inconsistent. His work, his preparation and his commitment hasn't wavered. He's worked tirelessly to solidify his mechanics with [pitching coach] Scott Radinsky, it just hasn't clicked consistently every five days. … With the work he's put in, I believe we'll see more consistency."

MLBTR's Dan Mennella contributed to this post.


Quick Hits: Lind, Gomes, Chapman, Votto

The Blue Jays optioned the struggling Adam Lind to Triple-A earlier today. The 28-year-old has hit just .238/.289/.420 in nearly 1,300 plate appearances since signing his four-year, $18MM contract extension in April of 2010. Toronto recalled Yan Gomes to take Lind's roster spot, and tonight he became the first first Brazilian-born player in baseball history. Here's the latest from around the league…

  • Richard Griffin of The Toronto Star notes (on Twitter) that the Blue Jays would not have been able to option Lind after June 29th, when he would have accrued enough service time (five years) to decline an optional assignment.
  • “The longer we go, it will be harder to stretch (Aroldis Chapman) to start,” said Reds GM Walt Jocketty to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Chapman has not allowed a run in 20 1/3 innings this season with 34 strikeouts and seven walks. “We may be resigned to the fact that he will have to pitch in the bullpen all year," adde the GM.
  • Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com spoke to Reds manager Dusty Baker about the difference between signing a huge contract with a new team (like Albert Pujols) and signing a huge deal with your current team (like Joey Votto). "You get more tolerance," he said, referring to the slow starts each player has endured.

Make Or Break Year: Adam Lind

Uspw_5516222There were more than a few Blue Jays fans disappointed that Adam Lind was still the club's first baseman on Opening Day, given the (mostly unfounded) belief in Toronto that the team would make a push to sign Prince Fielder last winter.  Playoff-starved Jays supporters were no doubt tired of having to wait at least one more year for the team to fully go "all-in" for a postseason run, but given the cost of acquiring a big first base bat, it's no surprise that the Jays are giving Lind another season to pull himself together.

Lind enjoyed a big breakout campaign in 2009, hitting .305/.370/.562 with 35 homers.  That performance earned him a multiyear contract extension worth a guaranteed $18MM from 2010-13, plus club options for each of the 2014 ($7MM), 2015 ($7.5MM) and 2016 ($8MM) seasons, which would have been Lind's first three free agent years. 

The extension was so team-friendly that it could still prove to be a bargain for Toronto, despite the fact that Lind has struggled mightily since signing the deal.  Lind posted a combined .243/.291/.432 line, 49 homers and 48 doubles in 2010 and 2011 — just 14 homers and two doubles more than he hit in 2009 alone.  This poor performance didn't occur in a vacuum, however, as Lind has battled wrist and back injuries, gone through a position shift to first base that he admitted he was physically unprepared to handle and also possibly distracted by off-the-field events like getting married and having his first child.

Now, Lind is healthy and entirely focused on baseball.  Even if he doesn't hit as he did in 2009, I think the Blue Jays would simply be satisfied with Lind proving he can be a productive Major League hitter rather than posting another sub-.300 OBP.  The Jays' plan is to have Lind play every day against right-handers and he'll be occasionally spelled at first by Edwin Encarnacion when Toronto faces a tough left-handed starter. 

The Jays have given themselves flexibility at the 1B/DH spots, between Lind, Encarnacion (the team holds a $3.5MM option on him for 2013), the loser of the long-term left field battle between Eric Thames and Travis Snider, or even Jose Bautista, who the Jays probably have slated to move out of right field within a couple of years' time.  Toronto's deep minor league system also provides depth; it's easy to see a scenario where Bautista moves to first to make room for Jake Marisnick or Anthony Gose in the outfield, with Gose could bumping current center fielder Colby Rasmus to right.

As noted, Lind's contract is not a great burden on the Jays' payroll.  Even if he does again underachieve, he'll be likely brought back in 2013 as a platoon candidate.  A third straight poor season, however, would be the third strike for Lind's place in Toronto's long-term plans.  Lind would be facing a $2MM buyout from the club rather than a pickup of his $7MM option for 2014.  As we saw last winter, 1B/DH types with much more proven track records than Lind had trouble finding Major League contracts, so it's not a stretch to say that Lind's career could be riding on how he hits in 2012. 

It's hard to avoid the parallels to the ignominious end of Aaron Hill's tenure as a Blue Jay.  Hill also enjoyed a big 2009 campaign and had a team-friendly contract extension that included a number of option years.  Hill's productivity after 2009, however, fell off so sharply that the Jays dealt him to Arizona last summer and moved on with Kelly Johnson at second base.  Hill's defensive skill and his premium position made him a more attractive trade candidate than Lind, but his departure confirms that the Jays will only give so much rope to an underperforming player, even one who has a good contract and was very recently thought of as a key part of the club's core.

There are a multitude of reasons why the Jays didn't feel the timing was right to make a play for a big-name first baseman last winter, be it signing Fielder or making a franchise-altering trade (i.e. selling the farm to the Reds for Joey Votto).  If all goes well for the Jays in 2012, however, the team will surely be looking to contend for the postseason in 2013, and they know they won't be able to achieve that goal without at least steady production from the first base spot.  Toronto has already prepared itself for the post-Lind era, so the pressure is on the 28-year-old to show that he deserves to not just keep his job now, but also that he deserves to play for the contender that the Jays fancy themselves to be in the near future.   

Photo courtesy of Michael L. Stein/US Presswire


Blue Jays Rumors: Frasor, Downs, Lind

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos says the organization can afford to be more patient than last offseason, since his team's needs are less pressing than they were a year ago. Here's the latest on the Blue Jays, from MLB.com beat reporter Gregor Chisholm:

  • Anthopoulos doesn’t know whether Scott Downs, Jason Frasor, Kevin Gregg and Miguel Olivo will accept arbitration, but he hopes to have the players back in Toronto for the 2011 season. Asked to predict the players’ decisions, Anthopoulos guessed they will decline the team’s offers.
  • The club thought Adam Lind played respectably good defense at first base, but has yet to determine the 27-year-old’s position for 2011.
  • The Blue Jays are open to acquiring a player with “baggage” under the right circumstances. "It depends, how significant is it? Would it affect other players?” Anthopoulos asked. “If it's the right player, and the right fit, the right talent, at the right price, then you have to be open to it."
  • That's good news for fans hoping to see Manny Ramirez in Toronto. ESPN.com's Buster Olney can't envision any team guaranteeing Ramirez $5MM and expects the slugger to sign an incentive-laden deal.