Much like Mark Reynolds, who hit 30 homers last season but had to work his way back to the majors with the Nationals this year, and Chris Carter, who tied for the NL lead with 41 homers in 2016 but has spent most of the last year-and-a-half in Triple-A, Lind has been victimized by the surplus of talented, power-hitting first baseman around the league. Lind, who will turn 35 in July, repurposed himself as a utility player for the Nationals last season, playing 25 games in left field — the most he’d appeared in since 2009 — in addition to 39 at his natural position of first base. He posted a .303/.362/.513 slash line with 14 homers in 301 plate appearances, good for an extremely respectable 124 OPS+.
Lind will have a tough road to the Red Sox’s major-league club with Mitch Moreland having established himself as the everyday first baseman, but he’ll provide some needed depth at first with Hanley Ramirez having been designated for assignment last week. Boston has quite a bit of depth in the outfield — bench players Brock Holt and Blake Swihart plus DH J.D. Martinez have seen action out there this season, and Eduardo Nunez has prior experience at the corner positions — but perhaps if they suffer a string of injuries Lind could see some emergency duty in left.
This is the third minor-league contract that Lind has signed this season; he attended spring training as a non-roster invitee with the Yankees but was released after the signing of Neil Walker made it apparent that he had no chance to crack the big-league club. He re-signed with the Yankees on April 18 and played in 26 minor-league games (eight for High-A Tampa and 18 for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre), posting a combined .302/.362/.477 slash line with three homers in 94 plate appearances before being released on May 25. Now he’ll head to the Bronx Bombers’ archrival and see if he can make them regret not giving him a chance in the majors.