Adam Lind on notice after Jays sign Vladimir Guerrero

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Adam Lind hit .305/.370/.562 for the Blue Jays in 2009 and finished fifth in the AL with 35 homers and third with 114 RBI. Toronto rewarded him after that season with a four-year, $18 million contract that took him right to free agency.

So far, Lind hasn’t paid them back. The 29-year-old has hit .240/.290/.424 in 1,169 at-bats since the beginning of the 2010 season. He opened this year in the cleanup spot behind Jose Bautista, but he was dropped to eighth in Wednesday’s lineup. He’s currently hitting just .198/.283/.347 in 101 at-bats this season.

That puts the Jays in a tough spot. They’re still committed to Lind for about another $4 million this year, $5 million in 2013 and then a $2 million buyout of his 2014 option. However, he’s nothing more than a fringe platoon guy at the moment, and it’s hard to imagine that he has any trade value.

The Jays already had to be giving some thought to trying 2008 first-round pick David Cooper a look in his place. Cooper didn’t exactly thrive in his major league debut last season, hitting .211/.284/.394 in 71 at-bats, but he’s back tearing up Triple-A pitching again, albeit in a very favorable environment for offense in Las Vegas. He’s hitting .328/.398/.546 with just 13 strikeouts in 119 at-bats.

Now Toronto has another option: putting Guerrero at DH and making Edwin Encarnacion the new first baseman. It’s not an immediate solution — Guerrero is going to have to go to the minors and show that he has something left in order to earn the opportunity — but it is a pretty intriguing possibility. Personally, I like Guerrero to outperform Cooper and probably Lind as well, if he gets the chance.

The Phillies plan to spend money and “maybe even be a little bit stupid about it”

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In an age in which even baseball’s richest teams talk about tight budgets and keeping payroll low, it’s pretty rare to hear anyone connected with a front office talking about freely spending money. Phillies owner John Middleton, however, offered up something rare about the team’s approach to free agency.

“We’re going into this expecting to spend money, and maybe even be a little bit stupid about it,” he told Bob Nightengale or USA Today. He then added, “we just prefer not to be completely stupid.” That save aside, it was a pretty unusual sentiment these days.

“Stupid” could certainly mean Bryce Harper, who the Phillies have long been expected to pursue. It could even mean Harper and Manny Machado. Why not? At the moment the Phillies’ payroll for 2019 is looking to be just a shade above $100 million, so even adding, say, $70 million to that would not put them in an unreasonable position compared to other competitors. And that’s before you figure in any sort of back-loading or deferred money that Harper and/or Machado might agree to.

Or, even if they didn’t get one or both of those guys, they could spend that same kind of money on multiple free agents. Patrick Corbin? Marwin Gonzalez? A handful of others? We counted down the top 100 free agents last week and any number of them could be acquired given the sort of payroll flexibility a large market team like the Phillies appear to have. It merely requires the will to do it. A will which, it seems, John Middleton possesses.

How novel.