Griffin: Jays' Alex Anthopoulos in no-lose situation with Adam Lind
On Saturday, CBSSports.com reported it had learned from two major-league sources that the Blue Jays have placed first-baseman Adam Lind on outright waivers for the purpose of removing him from the 40-man roster. Major-league teams that choose to claim him during the waiver period of 72 hours, would be responsible for the existing Lind contract, consisting of $3.7 million for the remainder of this year, plus $5 million guaranteed for 2013. There are three options seasons, 2014-16, with a combined buyout of $3.5 million.
This is a no-lose situation for Jays' GM Alex Anthopoulos in an either-or way. Either another major-league team takes a huge gamble on a struggling player and selects him off the waiver wire, or he clears waivers and the Jays have cleared a spot on the 40-man roster to use for their next move, adding someone to the 25-man. That player might be Vladimir Guerrero, at Dunedin's extended spring training working himself into shape.
Lind, in 34 games with the Jays, has three homers and 11 RBIs, with a .186 average, a .586 OPS and has had visible struggles on the field and in the clubhouse.
The move by the Jays is likley not a sign that they have given up completely on Lind, but as befits his playing in Las Vegas, it is a gamble, an educated guess by Anthopoulos that no GM would take on a $12.2 million payroll hit for Lind, who is struggling mightily to regain his three-years-ago batting skills. However, if the Jays had waited for another month and Lind had turned his season around with the 51s, and then they needed the 40-man spot, it might be more difficult to pass the first-baseman through the same waivers.
If Lind clears waivers now and goes on play in Vegas, the next time that the Jays feel the need to call him back up to the majors, there is no waiver process required. Lind indicated to Sportsnet.ca that, in his conversation with Anthopoulos, the GM had said nothing to him about outright waivers. The fact is that all MLB waivers are confidential and GMs, in general, do not discuss the process in advance. However the fact of the Lind waivers were leaked, seemingly by fellow MLB executives, which likely has Anthopoulos fuming.
The Jays can't lose in this move. Either they have that guaranteed Lind money taken off the books by another club, or they keep their homegrown player as an asset, with the hopes that he can turn his career around out of the glare of the major-league spotlight and with the help of Vegas batting coach Chad Mottola, who worked with him extensively at major-league training camp this year and is credited with helping Eric Thames, Travis Snider, Adeiny Hechavarria, Anthony Gose and others.
The no-lose scenario, using the wording of the inner-machinations of major-league's collective bargaining agreement, is similar to what Anthopoulos did with second baseman Kelly Johnson this past winter. With Johnson qualifying for draft-choice compensation as a free agent, Anthopoulos offered him salary arbitration in order to get the pick.
If Johnson chose to accept the one-year non-guaranteed offer, then the Jays would have their 2012 second baseman. If he had turned them down, then the Jays would get a June draft pick in 2012 and go about finding a starting second baseman elsewhere.
At the winter meetings, Anthopoulos was guessing in his situation that Johnson would move on, but the second baseman confounded experts by accepting the Jays' offer. Right now he is one of the shining lights of the Jays' first 40 games. It was a win-win for the Jays.
As for Lind, he is struggling and the Jays made a gutsy move sending an established veteran to the minors, using his final option. But they are taking a calculated risk in exposing him to waivers. It would be a gutsier move if another GM was to take him.