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Monday, April 15, 2019

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

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.”

You don’t usually see a team try to tank and to win their division at the same time….

 

QLE Posted: April 15, 2019 at 07:44 AM | 41 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: brad miller, indians

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: April 15, 2019 at 08:21 AM (#5831888)
Miller is ... a better player than I've given him credit for I guess ... solid bat, shouldn't be allowed to play SS. Looks like they also just activated Carlos Gonzalez, I guess it's reasonable to think he might be better than Miller. But he would seem to have a point. Their "starting" SS is Eric Stamets, currently carrying a -39 OPS+. The other IF around is Max Moroff who is at -49. Seems keeping Miller around until Lindor is back might have been a pretty good idea -- even if it meant playing him at SS.

Early season WAR is surely silly but the position players are below-replacement so far with Messrs. Stamets and Moroff combining for -1 ... not that Jose Ramirez, Jake Bauers or Greg Allen have anything to brag about. (Meanwhile Yandy Diaz is crushing it.)
   2. PreservedFish Posted: April 15, 2019 at 08:47 AM (#5831889)
You don’t usually see a team try to tank and to win their division at the same time….


It's absolutely bizarre what they're up to.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 15, 2019 at 09:12 AM (#5831894)

It's absolutely bizarre what they're up to.


Yes, yes it is. We've gone from "Don't spend any money until you've got a legit playoff shot, and then go all in." to "Don't spend any money because we're not the absolute favorite in our league, and might make the division anyhow."

I sincerely hope they miss the playoffs. I usually root for Cleveland, but this is just total BS.
   4. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: April 15, 2019 at 09:32 AM (#5831899)
I don't know. I think the Indians penny-pinching is complete BS. But I am not sure this is the move to point to to make your point. I guess, I am not entirely sure what their other options are here. But so far I have not seen anybody actually suggest a better move than cutting Miller.

Miller looks like just a guy to me. Slightly above replacement level, but well below average, and not worth a starting spot. And a backup MI who can't really play short or 3B really isn't worth a roster spot with how many RPs teams carry now... Projected for 0.7 WAR in zips seems about right. I don't think 40 not even that impressive PAs really move the needle on that. Maybe if there is some genuine visible improvement in his fielding...

In short, if you need to make a roster spot for your 2B coming off the IL (who admittedly hasn't been great the last 2 seasons either, but at least has some pedigree and some upside), that seems like an obvious place to start looking.

I am not saying there wasn't a better option to free a roster spot, I haven't studied their roster that closely. But I would like to hear somebody make an affirmative case for one, rather than just trashing the Indians here, before joining the chorus on this one.
   5. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 15, 2019 at 09:34 AM (#5831900)
The Indians are being weird but yeesh, Brad Miller? What exactly makes Miller someone worth keeping around? That 2016 season was a hell of a season but other than that he's a non-entity. Stammets looks like one of those guys teams keep around because they like him but he's out of options.

The general point about the Indians is fair, they are doing some weird things but punting on Brad Miller is not really one of them.

EDIT: Or y'know, what Fancy Pants said.
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 15, 2019 at 09:37 AM (#5831902)
But so far I have not seen anybody actually suggest a better move than cutting Miller.

Cut Max Moroff, or Eric Stamets. You know, one of the guys with the negative OPS+.

Miller projects to a 100 wRC+ and is at 99. Moroff 74, and is at -66. Stamets 49, and is at -44.

Why would you cut Miller over them except for the fact he makes more than the minimum? The Indians have decided that saving $500K is more important than having an actual major leaguer in the lineup.
   7. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 15, 2019 at 09:55 AM (#5831912)
Cut Max Moroff, or Eric Stamets. You know, one of the guys with the negative OPS+.


I don't know anything about those guys but perhaps the Indians value their defense over Miller's offense? The Indians are in it for the long haul, Lindor should be back in a couple of weeks and it's possible that the Tribe think Moroff/Stamets are better backups than Miller. The problem here is the choice is; Brad Miller, Max Moroff or Eric Stamets. There is no right answer there.
   8. PreservedFish Posted: April 15, 2019 at 10:01 AM (#5831916)
Miller looks like just a guy to me. Slightly above replacement level, but well below average, and not worth a starting spot. And a backup MI who can't really play short or 3B really isn't worth a roster spot with how many RPs teams carry now... Projected for 0.7 WAR in zips seems about right.


Miller is like the 6th or 7th best player on the team by ZiPS.
   9. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: April 15, 2019 at 10:08 AM (#5831921)
I was livid when the Mariners traded Miller for Nate Karns. Turns out there wasn't really anything to get worked up over.

Anyway, everybody else in this thread is right, of course. Though if you're Miller you're still the hero of your own story.
   10. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 15, 2019 at 10:14 AM (#5831922)
Miller is like the 6th or 7th best player on the team by ZiPS.


FWIW Miller (0.7), Moroff (0.6) and Stamets (0.6) are listed in order of a ZiPS sort on FanGraphs. At the very least ZiPS isn't a strong case for Miller ahead of (or behind) either of those guys.
   11. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 15, 2019 at 10:18 AM (#5831924)
Miller looks like just a guy to me. Slightly above replacement level, but well below average, and not worth a starting spot. And a backup MI who can't really play short or 3B really isn't worth a roster spot with how many RPs teams carry now... Projected for 0.7 WAR in zips seems about right.

Zips has him projected for 1.5 in 376 PA for the rest of the season. He's played SS and 3B in the recent past. He's not a good SS, but so what? A -10 SS with a 100 wRC+ bat beats the crap out of an average SS with a 70 wRC+ bat.
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 15, 2019 at 10:19 AM (#5831926)
FWIW Miller (0.7), Moroff (0.6) and Stamets (0.6) are listed in order of a ZiPS sort on FanGraphs.

Where are you looking? The player pages have Miller 1.5, Moroff 0.3, Stamets 0.2. I believe those are the update ones.
   13. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 15, 2019 at 10:23 AM (#5831929)
Stamets really has no business in the major leagues, and is pretty much just a pauper's John McDonald. Nice story, grew up an Indians fan in Ohio, has family in the Cleveland area, but there's no reason to expect him to be anything other than a hilariously awful hitter in the majors.

I guess the thinking is that if they drop Stamets or Moroff, and if they don't think Miller can resemble a passable facsimile of a shortstop, they're down to one guy on the 25-man who can play short until Lindor gets back. (And, judging by what the Indians radio guys were saying yesterday, Lindor will be back imminently. Tito's position on the matter, essentially, is that if he needs to get some at-bats to get into rhythm, there will be plenty of AB available in Cleveland for him. Lindor at 70% is light years better than Stamets or Moroff at 100%.)

If Miller can't play shortstop, and if they don't think he's more useful as an outfielder than Greg Allen, Tyler Naquin, or Jake Bauers, there's no work available for him. Kipnis probably isn't the player he used to be, but he's the starter at second and he's not going anywhere.
   14. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 15, 2019 at 10:38 AM (#5831935)
Where are you looking? The player pages have Miller 1.5, Moroff 0.3, Stamets 0.2. I believe those are the update ones.


Ah. I looked on the projection page.
   15. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 15, 2019 at 10:40 AM (#5831936)
Hell, the Yankees should pick up Miller and stick him at 2B. His power might play up in DNYS. He's better than Tyler Wade, that's for sure.
   16. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: April 15, 2019 at 10:49 AM (#5831941)
If Miller could actually play the middle infield adequately, he'd be a real asset. He is badly stretched there, though. These days he's one of those guys the BP folks used to say could "stand around in a corner".
   17. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: April 15, 2019 at 10:49 AM (#5831942)
13 is right that Stamets has no business being on a 40-man roster. Why worry about how good your shortstop glove is when your team leads the league in k/9 and is last in ground ball rate? With the defensive shifts you have Ramirez in the position enough anyway that it should not be a short-term concern.
   18. PreservedFish Posted: April 15, 2019 at 11:00 AM (#5831946)
Why worry about how good your shortstop glove is when your team leads the league in k/9 and is last in ground ball rate?

Interesting point. Anyone want to do the math to figure out to what extent having this staff mitigates the impact of your infielder's defensive ability?
   19. DCA Posted: April 15, 2019 at 11:07 AM (#5831953)
Miller looks like just a guy to me.

He is just a guy. The issue is, Moroff and Stamets aren't even that.

Yankees make a lot of sense as a Miller landing pad. Where else?

Tigers. Josh Harrison appears to be toast.
Red Sox. Pedroia injury stash. Maybe give Devers some AAA time to find his 2017 bat.
Angels. He'd be an upgrade on the starter anywhere except CF/C/SS.
Rangers. Odor just went on the DL.
Mets. They seem to be collecting 2Bmen.
Rockies. Hampson/McMahon/Murphy/Reynolds isn't working out.
Giants. See Angels.

I suspect Miller won't be unemployed long. Indians gobbled him up quickly after the Dodgers released him.
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 15, 2019 at 11:12 AM (#5831960)
He is just a guy. The issue is, Moroff and Stamets aren't even that.

Right. If you had to give Miller 600 PAs he'd probably give you 1 WAR. Moroff or Stamets probably give you -1 WAR. Two wins ain't nothing to sneeze at.
   21. Master of the Horse Posted: April 15, 2019 at 11:22 AM (#5831966)
The consensus of Brewer fans in our limited relationship is that Miller is terrible at second and a disaster at short. No range, bad hands and for #### on the DP.
   22. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: April 15, 2019 at 11:24 AM (#5831971)
Zips has him projected for 1.5 in 376 PA for the rest of the season. He's played SS and 3B in the recent past. He's not a good SS, but so what? A -10 SS with a 100 wRC+ bat beats the crap out of an average SS with a 70 wRC+ bat.


Miller is worse than you are giving him credit for. He's more like a -20 SS, and 7 total games at 3B (with the most recent ones being in 2015) doesn't scream 'backup 3B' to me. Miller is a below average fielding 1B. He may have a decent-ish bat, but he is a liability anywhere on the field.
   23. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 15, 2019 at 11:28 AM (#5831975)
Yankees make a lot of sense as a Miller landing pad. Where else?


What would Miller do that DJ LeMahieu isn't already doing?

Rockies. Hampson/McMahon/Murphy/Reynolds isn't working out.


McMahon and Murphy are both hurt, but shouldn't be out for too long. And I'd much, much, much rather give an extended tryout to a prospect like Garrett Hampson rather than bring in a mid-career mediocrity like Brad Miller.
   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 15, 2019 at 11:45 AM (#5831985)
What would Miller do that DJ LeMahieu isn't already doing?

LeMahieu is currently the starting 3B. Miller would replace Wade.
   25. Master of the Horse Posted: April 15, 2019 at 11:50 AM (#5831987)
22 nails it. This guy really needs to be experienced to get how bad he is on defense. Miller cannot even consistently catch the throws on DPs. If he has to reach at all the ball will either tick off his glove or he will #### it up somehow. And that's just catching the ball. Getting to balls needs like three chapters to describe the badness.
   26. DCA Posted: April 15, 2019 at 11:53 AM (#5831988)
What would Miller do that DJ LeMahieu isn't already doing?

Play whatever IF position LeMahieu and Torres aren't vs RHP. I mean, keep riding Gio Urshela while he's hitting, but given that his hot streak brings his career OPS up to an even 600, that probably won't last long.

McMahon and Murphy are both hurt, but shouldn't be out for too long.

Miller's available today. And Murphy's out another month.

And I'd much, much, much rather give an extended tryout to a prospect like Garrett Hampson rather than bring in a mid-career mediocrity like Brad Miller.

While McMahon and Murphy are both out, there's room for Hampson and Miller in the same lineup. And when one of them returns, Hampson can replace the late-career mediocrity in center field. As is, the Rockies' active roster includes Pat Valaika, Yonathan Daza, and Josh Fuentes, in addition to the toasty remains of Reynolds and Desmond.
   27. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 15, 2019 at 11:56 AM (#5831991)
I don't follow the Yankees that closely, but over the past week, LeMahieu has been starting at 2B more than Wade has.
   28. Master of the Horse Posted: April 15, 2019 at 11:58 AM (#5831993)
Brad Miller is an easy test to understand if your team actually understands how infield defense works or if they do and don't care. That is how bad he is in my experience.
   29. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 15, 2019 at 12:00 PM (#5831996)
It gives Ian Desmond too much credit to call him a "mediocrity." But if the Rockies ever get serious about replacing him, there are better options than using Brad Miller as the centerpiece of some kind of extended rondelay.
   30. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 15, 2019 at 12:07 PM (#5831999)
I don't follow the Yankees that closely, but over the past week, LeMahieu has been starting at 2B more than Wade has.

Because they've been starting Urshela. LeMahieu can play 3B.
   31. Sunday silence Posted: April 15, 2019 at 12:14 PM (#5832004)

Brad Miller is an easy test to understand if your team actually understands how infield defense works or if they do and don't care. That is how bad he is in my experience.


They should stick him in the OF; half the primates think you cant' be more than 10 def. runs worse than avg.
   32. JJ1986 Posted: April 15, 2019 at 12:25 PM (#5832007)
The Indians have left-handed hitters at 1B (SH), 2B, 3B (SH), LF, CF, RF and now DH. Miller is better than Moroff or Stamets, but I don't think the team would be getting much use out of him.
   33. Sunday silence Posted: April 15, 2019 at 12:27 PM (#5832009)
A -10 SS with a 100 wRC+ bat beats the crap out of an average SS with a 70 wRC+ bat.


Quite possibly yes; but what about a -10 SS vs. a definitely VG defensive SS; there might be 30 runs difference there... Maybe they have someone they think can field Ss well.
   34. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: April 15, 2019 at 12:31 PM (#5832013)
They should stick him in the OF; half the primates think you cant' be more than 10 def. runs worse than avg.


The Mariners tried that. BIS had him at -15 def runs in 36 games...
   35. Baseballs Most Beloved Figure Posted: April 15, 2019 at 04:12 PM (#5832115)
It looks like the Indians are trying to "Milton Berle" the AL Central.
   36. Master of the Horse Posted: April 15, 2019 at 04:18 PM (#5832123)
34--Miller was interviewed while a Brewer about the outfield experience. He said he did not have the recognition off the bat needed by outfielders so his first step was terrible. That part of the role of outfielder is completely underrated. These players have an almost mystical ability to start moving after the ball is immediately struck. We see these guys just move over and catch a ball and think sure, no problem. But has anyone put up the side by side of the batter striking the ball and the outfielder's reaction? I think a great outfielder like LoCain has barely a beat between the two. And the rest of us are like Miller with this pause that lasts a second maybe and then move. But that is the difference, right?
   37. Walt Davis Posted: April 15, 2019 at 05:59 PM (#5832176)
Nobody is suggesting Miller has defensive skill. He can hit a bit for an "infielder" -- career 12 oWAR in about 4 seasons of play. He gets killed on defense although, per Rfield, most of that horribleness was confined to 2015-16. I didn't see him in Milwaukee but per the stats, he was OK there and in Tampa (fangraphs is a bit less kind but not much). None of which means he's not a very marginal major-leaguer who will be on the fringe of almost any roster. It's just that there are some mighty weak rosters out there and the Indians (on offense) are one of them. Their entire OF is 4th OF types leaving the bench (IF and OF) bereft.

Now if Lindor is really back in a couple of days then this isn't that big of a deal. Of course that spells the end for either Moroff or Stamets too but I can see that they might rather have one of those guys on the bench rather than expose them to waivers. (I can also see there's a good chance neither of those guys would get claimed.)

But a TEAM with a 61 OPS+, a BA below 200, 3.5 runs per game can't afford to toss aside 100 OPS+ bats. They desperately need Ramirez and Lindor to find their bats before Santana and Martin come back to earth.

Have you folks actually looked at Stamets's line? 2 for 38 with 22 Ks in 44 PAs. Moroff 2 for 26 with 0 BB and 13 K. And to think that Jose Iglesias was begging for a job this offseason. Clearly those guys can't be THAT bad and it's just small sample stuff but crikey, that's bad.

That said, I don't see how the Indians save money in this move. Miller's contract should be guaranteed at this point. Maybe a team will take the full thing on (just $1 M) to beat the rush but likely the Indians save only the pro-rated minimum here which they're just going to have to pay to somebody else.
   38. spycake Posted: April 15, 2019 at 06:56 PM (#5832188)
That said, I don't see how the Indians save money in this move. Miller's contract should be guaranteed at this point. Maybe a team will take the full thing on (just $1 M) to beat the rush but likely the Indians save only the pro-rated minimum here which they're just going to have to pay to somebody else.


MLBTR says "Miller’s $1MM salary with the Indians wasn’t fully guaranteed by virtue of the fact that he agreed to a 45-day advance consent clause. (Full details on those clauses are explored in this 2014 piece from Trade Rumors’ Zach Links, though in essence, they allow teams to cut players with five-plus years of service at any point within the season’s first 45 days for any reason other than injury.) Miller will still be paid for the time he spent with the Indians, but he’ll receive the pro-rated portion of that $1MM salary while losing out on the rest of it. Notably, Hoynes reports that designated hitter Hanley Ramirez also has such a clause in his contract."

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/04/al-notes-indians-miller-forsythe-gio.html
   39. Howie Menckel Posted: April 15, 2019 at 09:53 PM (#5832263)
These players have an almost mystical ability to start moving after the ball is immediately struck. We see these guys just move over and catch a ball and think sure, no problem...... the rest of us are like Miller with this pause that lasts a second maybe and then move. But that is the difference, right?

but enough about Derek Jeter
   40. Davo (Love Won The Battle Of Stalingrad) Posted: April 15, 2019 at 10:50 PM (#5832277)
In American Legion ball one summer, our team frequently had just 9-10 players show up for the games, as many of us had summer jobs (this being rural North Dakota, most of these jobs were farming). I was a terrible baseball player and mostly rode the bench, but on those days we were short-handed I would be called into action, playing right field and batting 9th.

Anyway. I could never ever ever figure out how hard fly balls were hit off the bat. I’d break in on basically every hit, figuring “well these are just teenagers, they’re more likely to hit it in front of me than behind me.” Eventually our coach recognized that whenever a deep fly ball was hit in my general direction, he needed to shout “BACK DAVO BACK BACK BACK” or I was sure as #### gonna be breaking in.
   41. Hank Gillette Posted: April 16, 2019 at 12:51 AM (#5832303)
It gives Ian Desmond too much credit to call him a "mediocrity."


The Nationals really dodged a bullet when Desmond turned down their 7-year, $107 million extension offer, and then turned down a $16 million qualifying offer.

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