Twist in the LindFriday, May 18, 2012
It wasn't too long ago that Adam Lind was considered one of the most promising young sluggers in the American League, but he was given a rude awakening Thursday.
After struggling to the tune of a miserable .186/.273/.314 batting line over his first 132 plate appearances this season, Lind was sent down to Triple-A Las Vegas. It's quite a fall from grace for someone who batted .305 with 35 homers, 114 RBI and a .932 OPS back in 2009, but the 28-year-old simply hasn't come close to matching that level of production. He owns an underwhelming .709 OPS dating back to the start of the 2010 season and hitting left-handers has been a constant struggle.
The move came at an interesting time for the Blue Jays, as Lind was 43 days shy of having five full years of major league experience, which would have given him the right to refuse a minor league assignment. He's still owed $5 million in each of the next two seasons and has club options for 2014-16, so the Jays would obviously like to see him turn things around. Playing in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League might not be a bad way to boost his confidence.
The Jays called up Yan Gomes in a corresponding roster move, making him the first ever Brazilian to play in the major leagues. The 24-year-old was hitting .359/.391/.565 with five homers, 22 RBI and a .956 OPS over his first 33 games with Triple-A Las Vegas this year. He has primarily played catcher in the minors, but also has experience at first base and the hot corner. The catcher eligibility makes him worth monitoring in AL-only leagues, but his playing time figures to dry up once Brett Lawrie returns from his suspension.
Edwin Encarnacion should get most of the playing time at first base with Lind in the minors, which opens up some interesting possibilities for the DH spot. Travis Snider might be the most intriguing option from a fantasy perspective, though he has struggled a bit since returning from a wrist injury. Vladimir Guerrero just reported to the Jays' complex in Florida earlier this week after signing a minor league deal with the club, but he had a career-low .733 OPS last year and isn't being promised anything. Feel free to stash either in AL-only leagues, though.
Padres Unveil New Double-Play Combo
The Blue Jays weren't the only team who pushed a disappointing veteran aside on Thursday. The Padres also got into the act by releasing second baseman Orlando Hudson and placing Jason Bartlett on the disabled list with a knee strain while calling up Alexi Amarista and Everth Cabrera from Triple-A Tucson.
Of course, it was only a matter of time before Hudson was shown the door. The 34-year-old has been a major bust since inking a two-year, $11.5 million deal in December of 2010, posting an ugly .238/.313/.344 batting line over 585 plate appearances. The Padres still owe him the remainder of his $5.5 million salary this year and the $2 million buyout on his $8 million club option for 2013, but he should draw interest once he clears release waivers and can sign anywhere at the major league minimum. Many are already speculating that the Giants could be a fit.
Bartlett has a .231/.299/.292 batting over 716 plate appearances with the Padres, including a lousy .133 batting average in 83 at-bats this season. He has already been told that he may not have a starting job when he gets back from the disabled list. The 32-year-old is making $5.5 million this season while his $5.5 million club option for 2013 includes a $1.5 million buyout.
Amarista, who was recently acquired from the Angels in the Ernesto Frieri deal, should get a chance to claim the starting second base job with Hudson out of the picture. The diminutive 23-year-old has a .312/.368/.439 batting line over parts of six seasons in the minors and has swiped double-digit bases every year as a pro. Many think he's best suited as a super utility man in the long-term, but he's worth grabbing in NL-only leagues as long as he's getting regular playing time.
Most fantasy owners are probably already familiar with Cabrera, who batted .255/.342/.361 with 25 stolen bases as a 22-year-old with the Padres back in 2009. The former Rule 5 pick has continued to get on base at a good clip in the minors, including a solid .333/.389/.410 batting line over 34 games with Triple-A Tucson this year. He's not going to hit for any power, but his speed should make him relevant in NL-only leagues and even some deeper mixed formats.
Morse Ahead of Schedule?
You guys aren't going to believe this, but I have some positive injury news for the Nationals to pass along.
While the Nats were originally aiming for Michael Morse to return from the disabled list on June 8 so that he could be eased into action as a designated hitter during interleague play, manager Davey Johnson told Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com on Thursday that the 30-year-old slugger thinks he could be back as soon as June 1.
Nice to hear, but Morse still has some hurdles to cross. His torn right lat was only about 80 percent healed on last check and he only recently began swinging a bat and doing light throwing. The plan calls for him to head to extended spring training in Florida next week to get some at-bats while the Nationals are on the road. If all goes well, he could be sent out on a minor league rehab assignment from there.
The Nationals' offense hasn't had many bright spots this season aside from the surprising production of Adam LaRoche at first base, so a healthy Morse would be a major boost. The team's left fielders entered play Thursday dead-last in the majors in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS.
NL Quick Hits: Matt Kemp (hamstring) aims to return from the disabled list as soon as he's eligible on May 29 … David Wright doubled and walked three times in Thursday's win over the Reds, bringing his batting line up to .411/.513/.621 on the year … Brandon Beachy tossed his first career shutout in Thursday's win over the Marlins and currently leads the majors with a 1.33 ERA … Roy Halladay allowed three runs over eight innings Thursday en route to his first win since April 16 … James McDonald struck out a career-high 11 in a win over the Nationals on Thursday and has a 2.68 ERA over his first seven starts this year … Carlos Beltran (knee) appeared as a pinch-hitter in Thursday's game against the Giants, which is a sign that he could be ready to return to the starting lineup soon … Andrew McCutchen slugged a pair of homers in Thursday's win over the Nationals … Chris Young (shoulder) could be activated from the disabled list Friday and serve as the designated hitter against the Royals this weekend … Adam Wainwright was tagged for five runs (two earned) in 5 2/3 innings Thursday against the Giants and has a 5.77 ERA across his first eight starts this season … The hot-hitting Allen Craig will likely need to miss a couple days due to tightness in his left hamstring … Geovany Soto was held out of Thursday's lineup with left knee irritation and is slated to undergo an MRI on Friday morning … The Diamondbacks have promoted prospect right-hander Trevor Bauer from Double-A Mobile to Triple-A Reno. His control has been an issue during his brief pro career, but he's clearly on the fast track to the big leagues …
AL Quick Hits: Jose Bautista has five homers in his last seven games and appears to be busting out of his early season slump … Albert Pujols homered in a second straight game in Thursday's loss to the White Sox … Brett Lawrie dropped his appeal and began serving his four-game suspension Thursday night … Adam Jones homered in his third straight game Thursday, bringing his tally to 13 on the year … Daisuke Matsuzaka (elbow) allowed five runs (four earned) over 6 2/3 innings Thursday in his latest rehab start and doesn't appear close to being ready to join the Red Sox … Torii Hunter won't rejoin the Angels until his son's legal matter is resolved … David Ortiz is expected to play one game at first base this weekend in Philadelphia, which will push Adrian Gonzalez to right field … Josh Reddick continued his early success surge by socking his 10th homer in Thursday's win over the Rangers … Ivan Nova (foot, ankle) is on track to start Saturday against the Reds after throwing a bullpen session Thursday … Brandon League blew his third save in Thursday's loss to the Indians and has already walked as many batters this season as he did all of last year … Justin Morneau went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI in his return from the disabled list Thursday … Brennan Boesch hit his fifth home run of the season in Thursday's loss to the Twins and currently holds a 10-game hitting streak … The Twins decided against placing Ryan Doumit (calf) on the disabled list and he is currently considered day-to-day …