Adam Lind wants to stay in Toronto, so he’s hopeful that the Blue Jays will exercise his 2014 contract option. But if the Blue Jays decide to let Lind go, he wants to learn his fate face to face and, preferably, sooner rather than later.
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos has until three days after the World Series to decide whether to exercise Lind’s $7-million contract option for 2014 or pay him a $2-million buyout.
“I want to be here and I don’t want to be at home for a month,” Lind told sportsnet.ca. “I would prefer Alex to do it face to face and not over the phone. I’ve been in this franchise for 10 years. I think I deserve to be treated man to man, in a face-to-face conversation. Maybe it’s not to him, but to me it’s obviously a life-changer, so I would prefer to have it face to face.”
Selected in the third round of the 2004 draft, Lind’s tenure in Toronto has included many highs and lows. He hit 35 home runs in 2009, winning a silver slugger award and earning a four-year contract extension. But his offensive production diminished and the Blue Jays removed him from their 40-man roster last year, sending him to triple-A.
The 30-year-old’s numbers look considerably better this year. He has 21 home runs, a .280 batting average, a .352 on-base percentage and a .487 slugging percentage. That production would create interest among teams seeking offence if the Blue Jays decline his option.
“I feel like I’ll have a job somewhere, so I’m not too worried about free agency,” Lind said.
Lind hit his 20th home run of the season Friday, reaching the milestone for the fourth time in the last five years. In doing so, he got closer to achieving his pre-season goal of hitting 20 home runs with 80 RBIs.
“If you put up numbers that are close to those marks you’ll have a job somewhere,” he said.
“I think my track record may not statistically be the greatest, but I’ve been in the AL East for my whole career. I’ve been in the heart of the order for most of that career. So I’d say I’m seasoned for whatever the future holds.”
Lind has not hit left-handed pitching well in the course of his career, leading many to suggest he’d be best used in a platoon.
“I know my batting average against left-handed pitching may not be the best, but who does have a good average against David Price and Matt Moore and Jon Lester?” Lind asked. “That’s why they’re the best in the business. If I go to a different division, I won’t have to see those guys as much.”
So far, Lind hasn’t heard how the Blue Jays intend to approach his 2014 option, but in recent years, the Blue Jays have waited until after the World Series to announce option decisions as a matter of course.
Contract discussions have not yet taken place between the Blue Jays and SFX, Lind’s agency. It’s conceivable that the sides could discuss a two-year deal with an average annual value below $7 million.
In the meantime, Lind says he’s focused on finishing the season strong in order to “leave a good impression, not just here but on any organization or franchise that’s watching.”
The Blue Jays haven’t reached the playoffs in any of Lind’s eight seasons, and if he does hit free agency, he hopes to play for a contender.
“Honestly the most important thing for me would be to try to go to a winning team — a team that has a chance to go to the playoffs,” he said. “I haven’t been real successful in this organization from that standpoint, but that would probably be my biggest factor. Obviously I want a fair deal, but I’d love to go to a team that has a chance to go the playoffs.”
It’s not yet clear how many changes the Blue Jays will make before next season. Do they have what it takes to reach the post-season in 2014? With improved pitching, Lind believes it’s possible.
“Man, I’d like to think so,” he said. “Ultimately I want them to pick up my option. That’s what I want to happen. I want to stay here, I want to win here and experience winning in this city. Do I think we can do it? Yeah.”
Lind, who’s married with two children, made it clear that his preference is to remain in Toronto. Ideally, Anthopoulos would call him into his office on the last day of the season and inform him that the Blue Jays are exercising his option. That would give Lind peace of mind entering the off-season.
“Alex really doesn’t have to answer to anybody, so he can do what he wants,” Lind said. “Like I said, I think if he can get me out of the way, he’s got a lot of things to figure out, and I don’t think he needs to be worried about my option decision until the end of October.”