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.