One popular suggestion for how the Cleveland Indians could improve their roster between now and the postseason involves Jose Ramirez sliding from the hot corner to the keystone to make room for an addition -- be it Josh Donaldson, Yandy Diaz, or someone else entirely.
While it's possible that his tune could change between now and the postseason, Cleveland manager Terry Francona doesn't seem to think the idea is doable:
Francona, on concept of moving Jose Ramirez to second base: "I know it sounds good on paper and it even sounds good to me on paper. There's other things you have to think about other than just numbers."— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) August 26, 2018
Francona then rattled off some reasons for why Ramirez is unlikely to change positions:
A few reasons Francona gave for not doing it: 1. Ramirez hasn't worked out at 2B at all this season, 2. There's worry about heightened injury risk due to that, 3. He's having MVP caliber season.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) August 26, 2018
Those are all fair points -- and each is probably better than the reason most would assume: "Francona doesn't want to bench Jason Kipnis." Still, it'll be interesting to see what Cleveland does at second base if Kipnis continues his disastrous season leading into the playoffs.
In theory, Cleveland doesn't have to go outside the organization to gain better production. Francona could simply turn over the reins to Erik Gonzalez, who serves as the club's utility infielder and has outhit Kipnis this season by a fair margin, or the aforementioned Diaz, who has some experience at the keystone and has hit well all season in the minors.
Either option would seem preferable to Kipnis at this point, given his 74 OPS+ is one of the worst on the active roster. It doesn't help Kipnis' case that he has performed poorly dating back through last season, or that he has hit .200/.285/.300 in 32 second-half games.
So, is there an upgrade to be had over Kipnis? Yes. Will Cleveland take advantage? We'll see.