Adam Lind Wouldn’t Help the Pirates

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.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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I haven’t been reading your site for a long time so am not sure what the trades value calculator is and how his best case scenario is a .5 WAR. I have a hard time believing he has NO chance of producing higher than that but I’m not sure I’m understanding that correctly.

Secondly, I have no clue how we can consider Adam Lind who has 109 career homers and three years of 20 plus as no better of an option than Matt Hague who has 9 career MLB at bats and his career high is 15 HR in AA. Sure he’s more of a contact hitter but we have the worst offense in baseball and our front office brought up Gorkys Hernandez instead of Hague.

Also, Lind is 3 years younger than Jones and has already accomplished WAY more than Jones at the ML level.

The money owed shouldn’t be a detractor either. We have one of the lowest payrolls in baseball despite a huge increase in ticket sales last year. We have been starving for a power hitter and a 1B for years and I hardly think 2 years/12 mil is breaking the bank. IMO he could be what Carlos Pena was to the Rays for the Bucs.

Thom Kay

I wish you weren’t right, Tim, but you definitely are. No good reason to pick him up, no matter how badly we need offense.

Lind just doesn’t bring much. He was a true one year wonder and might not belong on a major league roster anymore, especially at that price.

Randy Linville

I’m torn on this one. If he were to be picked up, Lind would automatically become the most proven power threat in the lineup – he’d be the only one on the roster with two seasons of 25+ HR in his career. That being said, he certainly seems to be on the decline (independent of his home runs, he scored 30 runs last year in over 500 plate appearances) and I have no faith that the Pirates organization is the type of place that can right whatever flaws he has in his swing or whatever bad habits he has picked up. So, I agree pass on him.

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