Duane Burleson/Getty Images

Brad Miller: ‘Obviously, [the Indians] don’t want the best guys up here’

14 Comments

Following Sunday’s 9-8 walk-off loss to the Royals on Sunday afternoon, the Indians designated infielder Brad Miller for assignment, MLB.com’s Mandy Bell reported. The move presumably clears a roster spot for Jason Kipnis, who will likely come off of the 10-day injured list.

Miller went 1-for-4 with an RBI single on Sunday. He’s one of the few members of the Indians who is swinging the bat at even an average clip. Only four players have an OPS above .700: Tyler Naquin (.700), Miller (.742), Leonys Martín (.928), and Carlos Santana (1.040).

Miller wasn’t happy about being DFA’d. Per Cleveland.com’s Paul Hoynes, Miller said, “It’s a tough trend. They acknolwedge that it wasn’t fair. But I’m just a player. I go out there and play my hardest and play for the guys next to me.” Miller added, “Obviously, they don’t want the best guys up here. So I’m just trying to take it somewhere else and see what we’ve got.”

Though Miller was always going to concede the starting second base job to Kipnis, he would have at least been a decent bench bat. Infielder Max Moroff has two hits in 26 plate appearances to begin the season. Miller presumably would be a better option off the bench than Moroff, who owned a career .625 OPS in 84 games entering the 2019 season.

We noted here before the season that the Indians didn’t seem too incentivized to improve the roster. They were the favorites to win the AL Central entering the season, but had obvious weaknesses, especially in the outfield, that went unaddressed. Miller’s claim that the Indians “don’t want the best guys up here” rings true, though it comes off as salty right after he was DFA’d.

Kipnis, 32, started the season on the injured list due to a calf injury sustained in March during spring training. He’s coming off a 2018 campaign in which he hit .230/.315/.389 with 18 home runs and 75 RBI in 601 plate appearances.

Ketel Marte shut down with back injury

Ketel Marte
Getty Images
1 Comment

With just over a week left in the regular season, the Diamondbacks have elected to shut down infielder/outfielder Ketel Marte. Marte has been dealing with some lower back inflammation and stiffness over the last few days; on Friday, the team revealed that he was diagnosed with a stress reaction as well.

It doesn’t look as though the injury will compromise Marte’s 2020 campaign, but as Craig noted on Wednesday, his absence will likely have some effect on his NL MVP candidacy. The 25-year-old will wrap his first All-Star season with a .329/.389/.592 batting line, 32 home runs, a .981 OPS, and a staggering, career-best 7.1 fWAR through 628 plate appearances.

Marte told reporters Thursday that the back pain had been an issue “for the past two months,” though he didn’t comment on the severity of the injury. Despite his ability to play through the pain since July, the issue has clearly escalated in the last week or so. Although the loss of their most valuable contributor may have a negative impact on the D-backs’ chances of competing in the postseason, it’s undeniably a wise move to let Marte recuperate rather than pushing him to play for another week and running the risk of further injury.

Entering Friday’s series against the Padres — their last road series of the regular season — Arizona still has a sizable gap to close in order to earn one of two NL wild card spots. They’re five games out of postseason contention, with the Nationals, Brewers, Cubs, Mets, and Phillies ahead of them.