Despite some early-season struggles at the plate, the Cleveland Indians can’t give up on second baseman Jason Kipnis just yet.
The MLB season is five weeks old, and offensive production has been just a rumor for Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis.
Kip’s off to a Mendoza-esque start, batting .194 (.560 OPS). He’s hitting .282 against lefties, but a shockingly awful .156 against right handers.
Tune into Indians Twitter during a Kipnis at bat, and the masses would have traded him away for a candy bar and a box of rocks.
It’s easy to yell “Trade Kipnis!” at the clouds, but what’s the alternative to replacing him right now?
Jose Ramirez‘s name is often talked about when it comes to replacing Kipnis at second, but if Ramirez is forced to abandon the hot corner, who plays third?
Third base has long been a black hole in the Indians lineup ever since Travis Fryman retired. Remember, Andy Marte and Lonnie Chisenhall were supposed to be saviors at the position who didn’t work out.
As fate would have it though, the Indians stumbled onto Ramirez, a legitimate MVP candidate who possesses the combination of glove work and a feared bat to solidify the third base position.
Ramirez’s stick is one of the hottest pieces of lumber going in MLB right now, and Fan Graphs currently rates J-RAM as the best defensive third baseman in the game.
We’re talking baseball here, not rocket science (although Trevor Bauer may be talking rocket science. Leave Ramirez alone.
Dealing Kipnis in a move that doesn’t return a second baseman, doesn’t solve a problem, it creates a new one.
The Indians recently designated Giovanny Urshela for assignment. Gio is a glove man who hasn’t been able to hit MLB pitching. Yandy Diaz is batting .278 at Triple-A Columbus, but posting just a .333 slugging percentage. He has zero home runs and four doubles.
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Erik Gonzalez is the Tribe’s current super utility man, capable of playing second, third or short. If Kipnis continues to falter, he could be worth more looks.
Cleveland will most likely have to make a bullpen trade before the summer deadline because even with a healthy Andrew Miller, the group is not as good as it has been the past couple of years. The Tribe’s pen is the 28th in all of baseball with a 5.11 ERA. Yep, that’s really bad.
Some may want to throw Kipnis into a trade for a relief pitcher, however, with a $12 million price tag, and dismal numbers, you’d have to ask yourself: Why would anyone want to trade for Kpnis?
Kipnis still has time to find his swing, as he wouldn’t be the first player in history to have a bad month to start the season.
Besides, he traditionally hits betters as the weather gets warmer. He’s a lifetime .298 (.873 OPS) hitter in May, and a .302 (.844 OPS) hitter in June.
Give him until June. If his average doesn’t start trending in the right direction, the Indians will need to seriously start thinking about fixing his spot in the lineup.