Lind signs four-year deal with Jays

HOUSTON -- Outfielder Adam Lind and the Toronto Blue Jays agreed Saturday to an $18 million, four-year contract that includes three additional club option years.

The 26-year-old Lind hit .305 last year with 35 home runs and 114 RBIs. He was happy to know he'd be with the team long term and could make Toronto his second home.

"It will mean a lot for my parents, for my future kids, just so they can do what they want and they can go to the schools that they want and they can breathe for the rest of their lives," Lind said before the Blue Jays' exhibition game against the Astros in Houston.

Lind gets a $600,000 signing bonus, $400,000 this year, and $5 million in each of the following three seasons. Toronto holds a $7 million option for 2014 with a $2 million buyout.

The deal also includes a $7.5 million club option for 2015 with a $1 million buyout, and an $8 million club option for 2016 with a $500,000 buyout.

Toronto had renewed Lind's contract last month for salaries of $410,000 in the major leagues and $247,100 in the minors.

Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said the signing was "vital and critical" to the future of his young team.

"This is a great player to build around along with Vernon Wells and Aaron Hill and some of the other young players that we do have coming right now," Anthopoulos said. "Not only is it an indication to the fan base, but also to those other players in the clubhouse that this is the type of player that we want to make a commitment to."

Several of Lind's teammates, including Wells, missed the early part of batting practice to attend the news conference where the contract was announced. Lind thanked them several times and said it was "special" to have them there.

Though the Blue Jays aren't expected to do much this season, Lind is confident things will improve as the young players develop.

"We've got a good solid core and a bunch of draft picks coming in the system now this year and for years to come," said Lind, a .287 hitter who has spent his career in the Toronto organization.

Anthopoulos and Lind said this contract shows that team owner Rogers Communications Inc., is willing to spend to make the franchise successful again.

"It just means that we're going to try and win," Lind said. "Those guys are pretty savvy business people and they know what it takes to win in the Canadian market. I don't think they do this for any other reason than to put a champion out on the field because that's what Rogers people are used to."

Anthopoulos has been impressed with Lind, who made his major league debut in 2006.

"Adam Lind is a hardworking player, a good person, a smart baseball player," said Anthopoulos, who is in his first season as general manager. "The more I've been around Adam, I've been really amazed with his baseball intellect, his intelligence, the things that he observes."