Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times speculates that Rays’ shortstop Brad Miller could see some time at second base in 2017. The team is hurting for infield depth after trading second baseman Logan Forsythe to the Dodgers last week and reportedly favors their internal options over another free agent pickup.
While Miller has the big league experience to stick at second, the Rays also have backup options in Tim Beckham, Nick Franklin and Daniel Roberts. The club hasn’t made any significant acquisitions since they swapped Forsythe for right-hander Jose De Leon, and Topkin doesn’t see many viable free agent options left on the market.
The 27-year-old shortstop batted .243/.304/.482 with a career-best 30 home runs and 81 RBI for the Rays in 2016. After the team traded for the Giants’ Matt Duffy in August, Miller was shifted from his full-time role at shortstop over to first base — a disappointing change for the infielder, per MLB.com’s Bill Chastain:
Obviously, I’m a shortstop. I’ve been working hard and doing everything, and playing well there. Yesterday was kind of a punch to the gut, them telling me he was their shortstop now.
With Miller at second, the Rays should have an easier time filling the void at first base. The pool of available free agent candidates includes Mark Reynolds, Mike Napoli and Chris Carter, the latter of whom delivered a league-best 41 home runs with the Brewers in 2016.