We tossed and turned last night.
Maybe it was the 1-2-3 combo of Boardwalk Empire/Dexter/The Walking Dead that left us feeling uneasy and frightened. Or maybe it was the rampant snacking throughout our TV marathon (Sour jubes! Pretzels! Giant sugary Rockets treats!) that left us in a state. In all likelihood, it had a lot to do with the missus rolling and poking me to try to get my snoring to a somewhat more tolerable level.
But in the middle of the darkness, we rolled over, opened our eyes and thought: "What if Adam Lind sucks this year?"
It's a question that you could ask of any player, really, but we spent a good part of the season figuring that Lind was on the cusp of breaking out of his funk. And occasionally, he'd fool us with a great at bat in a key situation, and we'd think "Hey! It's all gonna be all right. Pass the sour jubes!"
Maybe we should be more concerned about Aaron Hill, who turned into an old man about 47 seconds into last season. But we figure that the best case with Hill is that he was injured and comes back healthy, and the worst case is that he's ground down and this is now what he is, and you cut ties with him and go find yourself another middle infielder. (For some reason, this seems easy to us right now.)
But taking a quiet moment to think on the absolute lunacy of Adam Lind's splits versus lefties kinda crushes our spirits. It's hard to surmount. And it's hard to imagine it suddenly turning around to anything respectable.
Send in a lefty against Lind, and his walk rate drops in half (3.4% versus 7.1%), his strikeout rate nearly doubles (38% versus 21%). Suddenly he turns into a rookie ball scrub in way over his head. A .159 OBP, and a .182 SLG, which adds up to a .341 OPS, which leads us to only somewhat facetiously wonder why the Jays didn't just let Johnny Mac get the DH reps versus lefties.
(Versus lefties, McDonald posted a .743 OPS, and hit two homers. Which is the same number as Lind managed against lefties. His ISO number was .225, versus Lind's .066. So yeah, the PMoD is pretty much twice the offensive player that Lind is in those situations.)
The easy answer here, we suppose, is to just accept that Lind is a platoon guy who shouldn't see at bats against southpaws. But that sort of usage pattern is not why you extend the contract of a player like Lind, nor do look to make him a part of your long term plan. And you probably don't set forth on a project to integrate Lind and his happy feet into a regular role in your infield defense if the return on that investment is offensive numbers versus lefties that would make Yuniesky Betancourt blanche.
(Betancourt put up a .778 OPS versus LHPs last year. In case you weren't wondering.)
We're generally a pretty optimistic dude, and we don't like to be the harbinger of doom when talking about Toronto athletes, because that territory is very well-covered already. We don't feel the need to add to the cacophony of naysaying. But sometimes, when you really start to look at the negative evidence that you're sloughing off, it can yank the lollypops right out of your mouth and cloud over your sunny skies.
And it can make you wonder if this team can really put themselves over the top over the next few years with that sort of a hole in their roster.