A Moveable Piece: Adam Lind

“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.” Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

I always wondered what Hemingway meant when he said “even the false spring.” I had always assumed it meant those few days in March that are nice and warm before one last inevitable snowstorm; but that is the easy answer, and the easy answer never feels right. Does a false spring happen every year or is it less frequent? Is it one that makes promises to us that are broken?


It’s never a sign of ‘good times’ when an inaugural article is about veteran players that may be worth something on the open market. However, it is the action that savvy management must take, and Adam Lind has a destination that’s seeking his particular skill set.

The St. Louis Cardinals’ Matt Adams went down with an injury that required surgery less than a month ago and will likely be out until at least September. Known as a righty-killer (.309 TAv against right-handed pitching as opposed to .209 against LHP to start 2015), the Adams/Reynolds platoon worked out as well as it could, considering it was a platoon with Reynolds. Now Matheny’s hands are tied, and Mark Reynolds is the Cardinals starting first baseman. Additionally, with Matt Holliday now shelved with a quad strain of his own, the need for an effective bat has only grown. Enter: Adam Lind.

Lind has been a bright spot on an otherwise dull team. While he has probably been asked to bat against left-handers too often, it’s hard to blame Counsell too much for using the assets he has. It’s not like his other option at first base (Martin Maldonado) has been playing well enough to earn much time (.197 TAv as opposed to Lind’s .314). In Lind’s 2014 season with the Toronto Blue Jays, he had 37 plate appearances against left-handed pitching. This season, in just over half the games, Lind has 30 plate appearances. For being such a good hitter against right-handed pitching, I understand the temptation to see if he can ‘figure it out’ against lefties. However, at no point in his career has he had sustained success against them. This makes Lind an extremely clever trade candidate for Mozeliak to target and an easily expendable piece for Melvin to move. It’s so easy, let’s count the ways:

First, he has been a Brewer for a total of 65 games. He hasn’t had time to become much of a fan favorite. Similarly, Lind probably hasn’t become attached to Milwaukee. Busch Stadium is even closer to Central Indiana (where Lind’s family resides) than Miller Park. Truthfully, neither of these facts would impact management’s decision to move a player, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t note the implications for Lind, his family and his fans.

Second, Lind has a club option for 2016 worth $8 million, but it comes with a $500,000 buyout. Mozeliak would definitely have to weigh his future plans with a player before picking up a platoon bat for the 2015 playoff push, but this contract isn’t at all onerous. Furthermore, Matt Adams becomes arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. Now, I would normally not suggest trading away a player with at least three controllable years left, however, if Billy Beane thinks it’s a smart idea to turn over Josh Donaldson, then there’s no reason Mozeliak wouldn’t do the same with Matt Adams if the offer was right. Again, this is not to suggest that trading away Matt Adams would have to be part of the future plans of acquiring Adam Lind, I’m merely considering the options Mozeliak would have at his disposal. If the return for Matt Adams was good enough to excuse giving Adam Lind more work in 2016, Mozeliak would have to consider it. While the summer prior to the 2016 season may have some difficult choices for Mozeliak, a GM with options is happier than their counterpart.

Third, trading a player of Lind’s ilk doesn’t signal a rebuild and is easily ‘sold’ to fans by public relations. In fact, I can hear the PR team now. It’s a move Melvin ‘had to make,’ and it would be ludicrous not to ‘trade away a veteran player with one year left and his skill set.’ Adam Lind is the type of player a manager trades away out of the necessity to make a move to appease fans. For instance, Alex Anthopoulos needed a bullpen arm badly following this season. So he traded Adam Lind to Milwaukee for Marco Estrada to hopefully quiet the riot. The Blue Jays still need a bullpen arm, but nobody in Toronto is looking back on that trade specifically and getting upset with the return or at Anthopoulos for not at least trying. Trading away Lind is a way for Melvin to improve his approval rating and his team. With due respect to Lind, he is a player that is worth a lot more as a platoon player on a contender than as a full-time player on a last-place team.

Fourth, I don’t think it would be a terribly long phone call between Mozeliak and Melvin to find a deal that works for both parties. Whether Melvin decides it’s time to replenish the prospect pipeline or he wants to see what a different major-league piece would look like before making further evaluation on a potential rebuild, Mozeliak could probably be coerced. I’d be interested to see what Lind could be traded for, but I am somewhat skeptical he would be worth Marco Estrada again. I think Melvin could get the most value for Lind by going for a prospect in this case, as the Cardinals injury woes have impacted their bullpen and rotation as well. For instance, in 2009, Adam LaRoche was traded for a package of prospects that included Hunter Strickland (the #19 prospect in the Pirates system following that season) and Argenis Diaz (the #17 prospect in the Red Sox system prior to that season) after barely having a positive WARP in the first half of the season. Lind has already amassed 1.0 WARP and could definitely generate a similar haul, though probably a better one.


It’s become a bit clearer to me what a ‘false spring’ could be now, as, here we are, months after Milwaukee’s false spring has turned into a regrettable summer. I don’t think many people anticipated this bad of a season for the Brewers. In Hemingway’s opinion though, there is no problem in spring other than where to be happiest. Somehow, in 2015, I feel this isn’t true of Doug Melvin, but it could be for Adam Lind.

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