The Milwaukee Brewers had a relatively quiet offseason following their epic collapse in September of last year. Brewers’ brass decided that the core of the team should stay intact, and made only smaller, under-the-radar type moves to augment their roster heading into 2015. The Brewers have had the worst offensive production of any team in the majors at first base over the last two seasons, and GM Doug Melvin made an early move all the way back in October to acquire Adam Lind from the Toronto Blue Jays, giving up only seventh starter and likely non-tender candidate Marco Estrada in return for the Jays’ slugger.
Lind’s offensive potential could be a huge boon to the Brewers lineup. Last season, Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay received the lion’s share of at bats at first base and the Brewers received an overall .642 OPS from their first basemen, which was 30% below league average for 2014. Lind has posted OPS marks of .854 and .860 over the past two seasons, providing a combination of power and an on base threat that the Brewers have sorely lacked at the position since Corey Hart‘s departure. Lind’s left handed bat also brings more balance to a very right-handed Brewers lineup, one that features only one other lefty in Scooter Gennett. Though Lind has struggled against lefties in his career, this weakness is minimized by the lack of strong lefties in the NL Central as well as Jonathan Lucroy‘s ability to play first against southpaws.
Adam Lind has a strong track record of production on the field, but the key has always been staying on the field for Lind. He was limited to 96 games last season with injuries, and apparently Lind has already experienced his first set back this season.
Lind’s back has given him issues dating all the way back to 2011, when he had his first DL stint for “lower back stiffness.” Lind has spent significant stints on the disabled list in three of the past four seasons, and the fact that Lind has already experienced issues with his balky back could foreshadow a troubling road ahead. Lind joins Jonathan Lucroy as the other Brewers’ lineup regular to experience a set back this spring, though Lind should hopefully be back long before Luc is ready to return.
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In Lind’s stead, the Brewers started lefty Matt Clark at first base yesterday against the Dodgers and will start right handed Luis Jimenez today. Clark and Jimenez are both battling for bench jobs, though Jimenez figures to have the upper hand given his ability to play third base as well as first, and can even serve as emergency catcher. Clark, unlike Jimenez, also has minor league options remaining.
The injury bug has wasted no time in biting the Brewers this spring, causing both Jonathan Lucroy and now Adam Lind to already miss action. The Brewers will need all hands on deck in a stacked NL Central this year, so it is imperative that the team can get and stay healthy before the new season begins on April 6th.