During a tough loss to the Kansas City Royals on Saturday, the Cleveland Indians may have suffered an even bigger loss than just the game.
Lonnie Chisenhall had to leave the game early due to an injury to the same calf that has bothered Chisenhall before. By the looks of it, he’s going to miss some time.
After being down in the minor leagues for two days, it appears Tyler Naquin is coming back to join the Cleveland Indians. Naquin was sent down on Friday to make room on the roster for Michael Brantley as he returned from the disabled list.
Losing Chisenhall is a major setback for an Indians lineup that has, to put it lightly, had some trouble getting things going so far this season. Chisenhall has been the Tribe’s best performing hitter so far. He leads the team with a .235 batting average and a .381 on base percentage. While he isn’t lighting the world on fire with his numbers, it’s still the best numbers on the team so far.
2018 is supposed to be a big year for Chisenhall but with the return of a lingering calf issue, that could be in doubt. His season isn’t going to end with this injury but this is not exactly an inspiration that he can go through the rest of this season healthy.
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Chisenhall’s future with the Indians
This is Lonnie’s final season with the Cleveland Indians before he hits free agency. He’s dealt with injury issues in the past and even before this latest setback, him returning to Cleveland was in question. Chisenhall is under contract for $5.58 million this season and the 29 year old is in his last year of arbitration.
The Tribe has a few options for the outfield, with Naquin getting the immediate call up, but also Greg Allen and Richie Shaffer down in Triple-A, along with Brandon Guyer and Rajai Davis in the big leagues.
This next offseason, with Chisenhall and Michael Brantley hitting the open market, the team has a chance to completely remake their outfield. But with Cody Allen and Andrew Miller also hitting free agency, money might be tight and the Tribe won’t be able to keep everyone.
If Chisenhall is able to come back after this DL stint and remain healthy for the rest of the season, the Tribe might be more open to bringing him back. But if this injury issue continues, there’s no reason to keep him around long term.
The Cleveland Indians offense has sputtered out of the gate and losing the player with the highest on base percentage on the team is not something that is going to help. But there’s still a long season ahead of us.