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Measure What We've Lost: Bluebird Banter End of 2011 Dangling Conversation, Part II

Part I is here.  

Hugo: Adam Lind’s season was a big bummer for me.  He had it going so well, then got hurt, then returned hot, and then things just fell apart.  After two straight subpar seasons and a move to the field didn’t fix things, can the Jays afford to carry Lind as an everyday player in 2012?

Tom: Whether they can or not, I think they are going to, for at least one more year. He wasn’t great against RHP but he was just awful against lefties, I wonder if they will consider platooning him at first with Edwin or someone. I guess this is where I wonder if Farrell has platooning in his little bag of strategies? He didn’t show me that he knows how to do it.

Hugo:  Yes, Lind really wasn’t too bad against righties.  He only OPSed .771 against them, which isn’t particularly good, and only walked 7% of the time, which isn’t great, but he was dragged down by a .251 BABIP against righties, which is just poor luck since he was clearly hitting the ball much better against them than against lefties (against whom he had a  .301 BABIP.  Lind also hada  21.7 LD% against all pitching, which is actually quite good.  It was his approach that killed him.  Swinging at over 37% of pitches outside the strike zone just isn’t going to get it done.  Only 42% of pitches to Lind last season were in the strike zone.  He simply has to adjust and lay off the garbage or he will continue to struggle and pitchers will not come over the plate.  On the other hand, those numbers are skewed by his absolutely appalling showing against lefties.  If he was used in a platoon role, I think he could be successful.  

Tom: What do you think the chances are that he will be used that way?

jessef: Unlikely, at least for a while.

JohnnyG: I don’t want to count Lind out, but something has completely changed with the guy. I think he would be mostly successful in the platoon role that Hugo mentioned but I agree with Jesse that it is unlikely to happen. Add into the equation that it seems unlikely that the Jays go out and get one of the big name free agents in the market and it looks like we are looking at another year of primarily Lind at first with Edwin filling in more and more.

Hugo: Edwin Encarnacion, had sort of the opposite season from Lind.  He started awful but really did a nice job at the plate over the second half of the year.  Should the Jays bring Edwin back, and if so, in what role?

Tom: I’d like to see him back, but I’m a fan. I could see him platooning with Lind and DHing, and being around to fill in when Brett Lawrie takes another ball of his hand.

I think they messed up badly with Edwin this year. In spring training they tell him he isn’t going to play third, have him play some first and DH. All is going well, then 2 days before the season starts they say ‘Ok Edwin, you are playing third’. And then they are surprised when it doesn’t go well. If there is a guy that needed all the work he could get at a position during spring training it was Edwin. Then, he has a couple of bad games at third, and they bench him for Jayson Nix. If there is a bigger sign that a team doesn’t know what it is doing than giving Jayson Nix at bats, I’m not sure what it could be.

jessef: At just $3.5 M for 2012, I can’t see them not picking up his option.  The trouble with Edwin is that he hits plenty for a third baseman but third is already occupied and his trade value is limited because his ability to play third is obviously in question.  Unless he can hit like he did in the second half, I can’t see a competitive team wanting to give him 600 plate appearances as a first baseman or DH.  If he can hit like that (wRC+ of 128 in June, 152 in July, 163 in August, and 81 in September), he can play anywhere, but he hasn’t hit like that for a full season.

JohnnyG: Given the fairly cheap option I think it is a no-brainer to bring back Edwin. What his role with the team will be? Who Knows, as mentioned before I think it would best to platoon him with Lind and DH but I also heard that the team is trying him out in LF as well. What the hell? LF? We don’t have enough bodies out there already with Snider, Thames and Loewen? We have to add to Edwin to the equation? Bad call IMO.

Tom: I don’t think ‘trying him out as a LF’ is quite what they were doing. More like practice him there a bit so he could maybe go out there in an emergency. With us only having a couple of guy on the bench, at various times this season. EE

JohnnyG: So what you’re saying is we need more utility players....

Tom: Or that maybe we could live with less than 8 relievers.

Hugo:   Edwin can hit, and that’s worth $3.5 milion.  In particularly, his skill against lefties is a nice balance for guys like Lind and Thames.  I agree with jessef that he’s not exactly ideal as an everyday DH, but I think he’s a fine, risk-free, and inexpensive option until something better comes along.  

Johnny: Better..... like Fielder?