The Yankees announced on Friday that they’ve signed free-agent first baseman/outfielder Adam Lind to a minor league deal with an invite to Major League Spring Training. Lind, who is represented by ISE Baseball, would earn $2MM in the majors with $650K in possible incentives, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).
The contract also includes a pair of opt-out opportunities — on March 22nd and June 1st — which will allow Lind to test the open market if he is not added to the MLB roster. The Yankees view the contract as an “insurance policy,” Cashman adds, so it sounds as if the opt-out clauses could well come into play.
Lind, 34, is coming off a strong season with the Nationals in which he slashed a hearty .303/.362/.512 with 14 homers in 301 plate appearances. That marked a nice rebound effort from a down season with the Mariners in 2016 and served as evidence that Lind is still plenty capable of contributing at the big league level. That he had to settle for a minor league pact this offseason speaks to the manner in which corner bats have been devalued throughout the league as a whole; Lind has posted an OPS+ of 123 or better in four of the past five seasons, batting a combined .282/.348/.473 through 2142 plate appearances in that time.
Of course, Lind is not without his limitations. He’s logged a disastrous .217/.263/.329 slash against left-handed pitchers over the course of 12-year MLB career and is largely limited to first base on the defensive spectrum. The Nats did trot him out to left field for 197 innings last season, though that marked his first work on the outfield grass since 2010, and he unsurprisingly did not rate well there.
It’s possible that Lind will simply spend camp with the Yankees before finding a better opportunity late in Spring Training. New York, after all, doesn’t have much of an opening for him with Greg Bird healthy and expected to man first base on a daily basis in 2018. Tyler Austin is on hand as a backup option for Bird and figures to make the team in a bench capacity as well, though he does have a minor league option remaining. Still, given Lind’s success in 2017 it would hardly come as a surprise if he landed with a club looking to deepen its bench later this month or perhaps finds a greater role in the wake of an injury elsewhere.