The Yankees shored up their first base depth today, as the team announced the signing of veteran slugger Adam Lind to a minor league deal. He will join the squad as a non-roster invitee to spring training.
Lind, 34, spent last season with the Washington Nationals. He hit .303/.362/.513 with 14 home runs across 301 plate appearances. That works out to a very productive 122 wRC+. As a left-handed hitter with power, he’s a natural fit for Yankee Stadium.
There are limitations, of course. Lind is a platoon bat. Against left-handed pitching, he’s authored a career .217/.263/..329 batting line. He’s basically unusable against southpaws. Right-handed pitching, however, presents a different story. He’s torched them to the tune of a 126 wRC+.
At this point in time, Lind is a first baseman or designated hitter only. He has some outfield experience — including 25 games in left field last season — but that won’t happen for the Yankees. The team has plenty of outfielders. If Lind finds himself out there, something went terribly wrong.
According to Bryan Hoch, Lind can become a free agent at the end of camp if he doesn’t make the team. It’s tough to imagine that happening, though. I can’t see a player like Tyler Austin standing in the way of Lind. Austin is nice player and had his moments, but he can’t stay healthy himself. Give me the guy with the proven track record in this case.
The Yankees made an incremental upgrade today, and that’s a good thing. They’re a better team with Lind than they are without him. He can be a strong bat off the bench and give Greg Bird a day off here and there. Should Bird miss an extended period of time, the club will have a legitimate first baseman filling in. This is a breath of fresh air following last year’s Chris Carter saga.