Coming off an underwhelming 2016 campaign, Adam Lind will hope a change of scenery brings him better luck. The veteran first baseman reportedly agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Washington Nationals on Monday.
Lind hit 20 home runs for the sixth time in his career, but beyond his power production, he added little to the Seattle Mariners lineup last season. In 126 games, he had a slash line of .239/.286/.431.
It was feast or famine for the 33-year-old at the plate. According to FanGraphs, he had a 6.0 percent walk rate and a 20.7 percent strikeout rate, which explain his troubles getting on base. His on-base percentage was tied for sixth-lowest among hitters with at least 400 at-bats.
|Adam Lind's Platoon Splits (2016 vs. Career)|
Based on his age (33) and offensive decline, it's little surprise the Mariners opted not to re-sign Lind. The News Tribune's Bob Dutton reported on Oct. 8 the team planned on using Dan Vogelbach as a replacement for Lind in 2017.
Vogelbach is 10 years younger, so Seattle is smart to focus on his long-term development over the short-term impact of bringing Lind back.
With that said, signing Lind could be a relative bargain for Washington. He had the 14th-worst batting average on balls in play (.259) among hitters with at least 400 at-bats, per FanGraphs. BABIP can be a volatile statistic from year to year.
Lind is in the twilight of his career, so it's unrealistic to expect dramatic improvement in 2017. Still, a .259 BABIP is indicative of some rotten luck. He's due for a little more good fortune, which would see his average and on-base percentage climb next year.
In general, this is a thin free-agent class, especially for teams trying to add power to their lineup. Lind is a proven MLB slugger with a limited ceiling but a high floor, given his financial commitment.
As a situational hitter against right-handers, Lind should carve out a meaningful role for the Nationals.