We may never see this scene again...
No blog post in 2 weeks, you say?
Why, thank you, I did have a nice Christmas break, I respond. There was a turkey dinner, lots of college football, and some nice time relaxing with relatives. Not a lot of baseball talk, other than the relatives who know I am a Jays fan slapping me on the back (metaphorically) and saying "You must be pretty excited about the Jays!"
And that, I am. The Jays had holes at DH/1B, 2B, LF, and in the rotation when the season ended. As you know, they've added three solid-to-great starters, a new left fielder, and a couple of second base options... plus, they've made the team faster and acquired a lot of extra offense at shortstop/leadoff.
All that remains is the question mark that is Adam Lind, but even the black hole in the lineup that Adam Lind has been may be fixable. How? Well, the other major move the Jays have made to this point in the offseason was bringing back John Gibbons to manage the team. Gibbons (unlike successors Clarence Gaston and John Farrell) employed platoons to good effect during his time with the team, and Adam Lind, he of a career OPS of .836 against righthanded pitching (.607 against lefties) could be very useful if the Jays could find someone else to bat against lefthanders in his place. Conveniently, Rajai Davis is already under contract, and he has the opposite platoon split - Davis's career OPS is .766 versus left, .659 versus right. Lind's and Davis's splits have been even more pronounced over the last 2 seasons:
Adam Lind (vs RHP/LHP):
Rajai Davis (vs LHP/RHP):
So, that's done, right? Problem solved? Well... not so fast.
The principal problem with a Davis/Lind platoon is that they play two different positions when in the field: Lind is a 1B, Davis an OF. Reed Johnson and Frank Catalanotto were a great platoon combination in Gibbons' first go-round in Toronto, but they were both left fielders with similar skill sets. The Jays can't really start Adam Lind at 1B against a righty starter and then replace him defensively with Davis, who has never played first base in his career. Moreover, Davis doesn't really have an opening in the outfield (unless you play him in place of Rasmus, who also struggles against lefty pitching... and then you still need a 1B or DH). So for a strict platoon to work, you pretty much have to rotate Davis and Lind through the DH position.
Unfortunately, a DH platoon effectively shortens the bench quite a bit. The Jays will probably just have 4 bench players in 2013. One will be a catcher. One will be a backup infielder, presumably one of Maicer Izturis or Emilio Bonifacio, whichever one is not anointed the starter at 2B. That leaves 2 spots for pinch hitting/pinch running purposes. Rajai Davis is a great pinch runner, but if he starts the game as a DH, he's unavailable to do that. If he's replaced Lind against a lefty reliever, he's equally unavailable. On top of that, if you use two players at DH in the course of a game, neither are available for "double switches" (e.g. pinch hitting an infielder for an outfielder, then moving an infielder already in the game to the outfield so the infielder who pinch hit can play defense) unless you want your pitcher to bat. The Jays had a lousy bench last year (thank you, Omar Vizquel). It looks better this year (Bonifacio and Davis can run, at least), but it's a bit more awkward with Davis and Lind as platoon DH's.
Lind and Davis also have pretty dissimilar skill sets as offensive players. Lind's value comes from his being capable of hitting 25+ home runs in a season, while Davis is most useful when he gets on base and steals bases. It shouldn't be an issue - they shouldn't be batting higher than 6th in the lineup, regardless - but I can see the lineup being shuffled when Davis is starting, versus how it looks when Lind is starting. Will that matter?
Finally, a Lind/Davis DH platoon makes Edwin Encarnacion the Jays' everyday 1st baseman. Neither of Lind nor Encarnacion are great 1st basemen defensively, but Lind is probably a little better in the field than Encarnacion is. Is that a crucial point? Probably not, but it's something to consider, anyway.
So... at the end of the day, I'm on board with Lind and Davis sharing the DH role, but that arrangement will create some fallout affecting the team's lineups, bench strength, and defense. A DH platoon isn't ideal, but right now, it looks like the best solution to the what-to-do-with-Lind problem.