As the Orioles look to add left-handed hitting and some balance to their lineup versus right-handers, they could do a lot worse than Adam Lind.
Yes, Adam Lind, who is a free agent and won’t come at a big price. He has a good track record versus right-handed pitchers. What he doesn’t truly offer is a good fit on an Orioles roster that already has several first base-designated hitter types. Lind, though, has played the outfield and played some in left field for the Nationals in 2017. While no one would rate him a plus defender, he held his own and at times performed better than expected in left for Washington. Some outfield injuries led Lind to get 25 starts in left last season.
The Orioles could use lefty bats that won’t hurt the club in the field and will be able to gain Buck Showalter’s trust on defense. Lind certainly brings some clout against right-handed pitching.
The Orioles have at least six starters pretty set that already bat right-handed in Jonathan Schoop, Manny Machado, Tim Beckham, Adam Jones, Trey Mancini and Mark Trumbo. They also could start righty hitters behind the plate with Caleb Joseph and at times in right field with, for instance, Austin Hays.
The 34-year-old Lind played nine seasons for the Blue Jays. In 269 plate appearance last year against right-handers, he hit .303/.364/.534 with an OPS of .898. In his career, he has hit .288/.348/.504 with an OPS of .852 versus right-handed pitchers.
Just one Oriole last season with a minimum of 200 at-bats against right-handers exceeded that career OPS for Lind. That was Mancini, with an OPS of .860 in 2017 off right-handers. Schoop was at .805 and Jones at .803.
As a team, the Orioles hit .258/.312/.433 versus right-handed pitchers, ranking seventh in the league in average, 12th in on-base percentage and eighth in slugging. They fared better versus southpaws, batting .264/.312/.440 as a team.
With players like Santander and Hays already on the roster, will the O’s look to add an outfielder to get another lefty bat on the team? Or with some outfield depth in the organization on the farm, will the front office not want to tie up an outfielder on a deal beyond 2018?
This could at least lead the Orioles to look at Lind. He is a “have bat, will travel” guy. He has played for three different teams the last three seasons and may be about to make it 4-for-4. But he also has recorded an overall season OPS of .820 or better four of the last five seasons.
Lind provides experience and a track record of hitting well against right-handed pitching, which the Orioles need. But he certainly is not an obvious fit on the current roster.
The scoop on Schoop: Within minutes last night, a national reporter tweeted that the Orioles had begun extension talks with Schoop, per his source. But then he cited another source downplaying the first report.
Schoop is coming off a season where he elevated his offense and wound up finishing 12th for the American League MVP award. He hit .293/.338/.503 with 35 doubles, 32 homers, 105 RBIs and an OPS of .841. He finished sixth in the league in hits and RBIs, and his 67 extra-base hits ranked 12th in the AL. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Schoop produced a career-best 5.1 Wins Above Replacement. He can be a free agent after the 2019 season.
Sources: #Orioles, All-Star 2B Jonathan Schoop have begun extension talks. Schoop is coming off a career offensive season and is eligible for free agency after ‘19. Any deal likely would need to be north of Jean Segura’s 5-year, $70M contract. @MLB @MLBNetwork-- Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 30, 2017
On Jonathan Schoop: Separate source denies anything of substance has been discussed between the parties regarding an extension. If any contact has occurred, it remains preliminary.-- Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 30, 2017