Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lind Your Glove

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There is no question that Adam Lind will be a huge contributor for the Blue Jays offensively this season. The problem is that defensively, he's the equivalent of the kid on the little league team who sat down in the outfield and picked grass.

It's funny because even though it seems like the Blue Jays stick Adam Lind in the outfield in hopes that he won't cause much damage out there, over the course of his 208 career games spent in the outfield, Lind is the owner of a fairly average -6.4 Ultimate Zone Rating.

While his 2009 on the field was less than impressive, we all too quickly forget that Lind had a very respectable 7.7 UZR in 2007 and he even contributed five outfield assists.

So why has Adam Lind suddenly turned into a liability in the outfield?

Personally, I feel it's much too early to give up on Adam Lind defensively. I find it extremely hard to believe that he's really that hopeless that the Blue Jays need to relegate him to the designated hitter position at just 26 years old.

That spot is usually assigned for aging sluggers who can't take the physical toll of spending nine innings out on the field, not young sluggers who are just getting comfortable at the major league level.

Lately, it feels like the Blue Jays and more specifically Cito Gaston are pigeonholing Adam Lind into the DH spot. Don't get me wrong - Lind did an incredible job last season and surpassed all expectations when it came to being a designated hitter. However, offense only one facet of the game of baseball - you also need to run, catch, and throw.

By only giving Adam Lind the chance to hit, the Blue Jays are inherently sending the message that they have no confidence in him as an outfielder.

The Blue Jays are now at a defensive crossroads with Adam Lind. They have to make the decision to either fully commit to work with him to make him a better everyday left fielder, or just cut their losses  and abandon the concept of having him play in the field entirely.

Personally, I hope they choose the former because Lind can be so much more than a one-tool player. Somebody who can crush the ball and even just do an adequate job fielding is far more valuable that a player whose sole mission is to make contact with the ball.

2 comments:

  1. Ian, I agree that the Jays shouldn't give up on Lind as a left fielder just yet.

    The more I think about it the more I believe the Jays should just put Lind and Snider in LF and RF respectively every day for this upcoming season. The season will be a wash, so why not find out what you have in these guys defensively then make a more informed decision next season on where there ultimate position may be.

    This would also open up the DH spot for Ruiz, free agent signing (Delgado, Dye, etc.) or other options.

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  2. Peter, you must have read my mind. What's the difference if Lind costs the Jays a few runs here and there - it's not like they're going to be in a pennant race anyway.

    The other point you raise is very valid - Lind as a DH takes up a spot who could easily be occupied by another slugger down the road in a few years, but immediately could be used to slot in Randy Ruiz.

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