Every once in a while I think Paul Hoynes is trying to speak to us in ways he normally cannot as a beat writer. Today, he chose an interesting photograph to accompany the announcement that Jason Kipnis is heading back to second base for the Indians.
Indians plan on moving Jason Kipnis back to second base for 2018. https://t.co/AkCyOAKnQp— paul hoynes (@hoynsie) January 6, 2018
Given that this is coming from the man who can’t even be bothered to capitalize his name on twitter, I may be reading into things too much. Kipnis’s reaction to the downfall of the Tribe in this photograph mirrors the mood of many Tribe fans upon hearing the news.
I just want to come out and say it: I’m tired of hearing that moving Jason Kipnis back to his everyday position instead of trading him is a mistake. Even if you account for the two years in which he struggled with injuries, he brings a 4.0 bWAR average per 650 plate appearances back to the lineup since 2012. Fangraphs likes him even more than that. However you slice it, he’s been a top-10 second baseman in this league for half of a decade.
A healthy Jason Kipnis is worth at least three wins at second base. That is his floor. If he struggles with injuries, all bets are off, but we have no reason to believe that he isn’t capable of staying healthy all season any longer. All of this fails to even touch upon the intangibles Kipnis provides as a veteran and clubhouse leader. All of those points are nebulous and hand-wavy, but certainly worth some consideration.
If you’re angry that Jose Ramirez won’t get to play second base next season, don’t be. he is an All-Star third baseman. He will still play every single day. If he is destined for second base in on the Indians roster, his time will come. He has every opportunity to continue making his case that he deserves to play wherever he pleases.
If you’re angry that Yandy Diaz is now less likely to see significant time in the Indians lineup, don’t be. The decision to play Kipnis and Ramirez is a measured selection of proven production rather than potential. Yandy is not unfairly squeezed here; if he wants to play every day, we know exactly how he needs to elevate his game.
Finally, Kipnis will not be in the outfield next season. Everyone, please join me in this
SILENT MOMENT OF GRATITUDE
Now, can we stop complaining that the Indians, with the addition of Yonder Alonso, have four potential All-Star infielders on ridiculously team friendly contracts?