TORONTO – Adam Lind remains uncertain about what the Toronto Blue Jays will do with his 2014 contract option, even after being told by Alex Anthopoulos that he’s put himself in a good position with the season he’s had.
As a matter of course, the Blue Jays don’t make decisions on contract options until the deadline, which for Lind is three days after the World Series ends, giving them the freedom to explore trades and alternatives before making a final call.
Lind will get either $7 million for 2014 or a $2-million buyout and has been anxiously awaiting word. Anthopoulos tried to ease his mind this week by telling him he’d made a good case for himself, but as always, the GM maintained wiggle room.
That’s why Lind is taking nothing for granted.
“You know Alex pretty well, it’s pretty much the explanation I anticipated,” Lind said Thursday, before clubbing a three-run shot that broke things open in a 6-2 win over the New York Yankees. “I’m not really looking too deep into it, we all know how he answers questions, no matter who you are, and what he told you is exactly what he told me.
“There are still 11 games left, I have a lot of at-bats but still, these 11 games could make or break that decision one way or the other. There’s not really much to say about what he said.”
A regular for the Blue Jays since the middle of the 2008 season, the 29-year-old is one of only two everyday players drafted and developed by the club (J.P. Arencibia is the other). He was a third-round pick in 2004, a compensatory selection for the loss of free agent Kelvin Escobar to the Los Angeles Angels, and sits eighth on the club’s all-time home run list at 136.
The uncertainty over whether he’ll be back has left him a little nostalgic with the club’s home schedule down to three games after Thursday’s win. The Blue Jays close out the season against the Tampa Bay Rays next weekend.
After grabbing a post-game bite Wednesday night, “instead of taking a cab I walked home, a 20-minute walk, just by the Rogers Centre, by the CN Tower, just thinking about some of the guys I played with, some of the memories year-by-year, and some of the fond memories I have of this town.
“I hit a few a home runs in 2007 in the last series of the year (two against Tampa Bay) to put me in double-digits (at 11), John McDonald’s home run on Father’s Day (in 2010), Gregg Zaun’s walk-off grand slam against Tampa (in 2008), some of my opening days that I had here. I didn’t just think of things, I tried to remember the details of those situations.”
The Blue Jays must also make 2014 option decisions on closer Casey Janssen, a no-brainer at $4 million; infielder Munenori Kawasaki, at $1 million; and utilityman Mark DeRosa, at $750,000.
The deadline for the Janssen, Kawasaki and DeRosa decisions is five days after the World Series, which is now standard on all player contracts. Under Lind’s contract, the Blue Jays had 10 days after the World Series to make their call, but that date was moved up to three days when the rules were renegotiated.
Lind is in the final season of a four-year deal that paid him $16 million and included three options – $7 million in 2014 or a $2-million buyout; $7.5 million or a $1-million buyout in 2015; and $8 million in 2016 or a $500,000 buyout.
While the Blue Jays could try to renegotiate Lind’s contract, perhaps something like two seasons for something in the $12-million range, there’s enough production to justify exercising the option.
Lind is batting .284 with 22 homers, 25 doubles and 61 RBIs in 135 games, with 19 homers, 23 doubles and 53 RBIs coming against right-handed pitching. That’s reason to bring him back, but given the season the Blue Jays have had, how Anthopoulos decides to shake things up is anyone’s guess.
“It’s weird, the years we don’t have the expectations have actually been our better years,” said Lind, pointing to an 86-win season in 2008 and 85-victory campaign in 2010. “When we come in with thoughts of trying to get to the playoffs, those are the years we stunk it up.
“I don’t want to use the excuse but if we were in any other division, we probably would have been in the playoffs (in ’08 and ’10). But that’s all part of being in this division. I played on some really, really good teams, just not good enough.”