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

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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.

Straight-away center field will be 385 feet at London Stadium

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Marley Rivera of ESPN has a story about some of the on-field and in-game entertainment, as well as some aspects of the field conditions, for this weekend’s London Series.

The fun stuff: a mascot race, not unlike the Sausage Race at Miller Park or the President’s race at Nationals Park. The mascots for London: Winston Churchill, Freddie Mercury, Henry VIII and the Loch Ness Monster. I suppose that’s OK but, frankly, I’d go with Roger Bannister, Shakespeare, Charles Darwin and Guy Fawkes. Of course no one asks me these things.

There will also be a “Beat the Streak”-style race which had better use the theme to “Chariots of Fire” or else what the heck are we even doing here.

They’ve also taught ushers and various volunteers who will be on-site to sing “Take me out to the ballgame,” which is a pretty good idea given how important that is to baseball. As a cultural exchange, I think some major league team should start using “Vindaloo” by Fat Les during the seventh inning stretch here. It’s a banger. It also seems to capture England a bit more accurately than, say, “Downton Abbey” or “The Crown.”

That’s all good fun I suppose. But here’s some stuff that actually affects the game:

The end result will have some interesting dimensions. The field will be 330 feet down each foul line, and it will have a distance of 385 feet to center field, which will feature a 16-foot wall. Cook also said it would have an expanded, “Oakland-like” foul territory, referencing the Athletics’ Oakland Coliseum expanse.

Those dimensions are unavoidable given that the square peg that is a baseball field is being shoved into the round hole that is a soccer stadium. As Murray Cook, MLB’s senior field coordinator tells Rivera, that sort of thing, while perhaps less than ideal, is at least in keeping with baseball’s strong tradition of irregular field conditions. It will, however, be one of the shortest dead center distances in baseball history.

Oh, and then there’s this:

Protective netting was also an important issue addressed when building the ballpark, with Cook stressing that his team has implemented netting that “is the largest you’ll ever see in any major league ballpark.”

[Craig makes a mental note to bookmark this for the next time MLB says it won’t mandate extended netting in the U.S. because doing so is too difficult]