The Red Sox picked up Adam Lind yesterday, which is neither significant or insignificant. It just sort of is. It’s the kind of move that people try and get excited about, but just can’t quite get there. While he will report to Pawtucket to start, it feels like Lind’s going to be a bench bat for the major league club sooner or later. So what are the Red Sox getting in Lind? It’s listin’ time:
- First of all, he’s a much better hitter than what I thought. That’s presumably my fault for not following the career of Adam Lind closely enough, but baseball just has so many players. His career slash line is .272/.330/.465 with a .795 OPS. In fact, Lind has never had a slugging percentage below league average. That goes for his ISO as well. For a bench bat, that’ll play just fine.
- He’s coming off one of the best seasons of his career, in which he hit .303/.362/.513 over 301 plate appearances with the Washington Nationals. I saw a dozen or so games at Nats Park last season, and can confirm he was good.
- After his great 2013 season, Lind was slowly but surely making worse contact. In that 2013 campaign, he made hard contact 40 percent of the time. Since then, Lind’s hard-hit percentage came in at 37 percent, 37 percent, and 36 percent. Last year, he got that number right back up to 40 percent (technically 39.4, but whatever). It was the second-best hard-hit percentage of his career, so there’s hope that Lind’s coming into this year in a good spot at the plate.
- I guess you don’t want to go into the summer with Blake Swihart as your primary backup first basemen, but boy, the Red Sox continue to do a number on him. He got a semi-vote of confidence when they chose to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment (even if that was more a financial decision than a vote of confidence in Swihart), and then immediately turn around and bring in an established player that will presumably take his spot without much effort. Free Blake Swihart.
- Lind’s defense is… something. Whether you’re a DRS person or a UZR person or anywhere in between, this is one example of when defensive numbers actually do tell a pretty complete story. It’ll be interesting to see what, if any, effect that has on Cora and Co.’s decision to pinch hit him late in important games.
- Spending the better part of a decade with the Toronto Blue Jays, he’s no stranger to playing in Boston. At Fenway Park, Lind has a career average of .294/.322/.495 with a .817 OPS. He’s played 56 games there and has 11 doubles, two triples (!!) and eight home runs in 205 plate appearances — good for a career .201 ISO. His power plays at Fenway, even as a left-handed hitter.
- Dusty Baker once spent a significant portion of a post-game press conference referring to him as Jeremy Lin, which is extremely on-brand for ol’ Dusty.
If I were a betting man (and soon I might be, shout out to SCOTUS), I’d wager that Lind finds his way on to the major league roster sooner rather than later. The team is clearly not interested in Blake Swihart, and your Brock-Holt’s-a-firstbaseman-if-he-has-to-be ideas are not welcome here. Hell, the Red Sox could get real weird and DH him occasionally. There’s unquestionably a late-August getaway game start at DH in Lind’s future. Probably in Tampa.
Header photo by Derik Hamilton — USA TODAY Sports