Cleveland Guardians News

Cleveland Indians: Waiting on Jason Kipnis to emerge from his slump

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis is off to a terrible start to the 2018 season. He needs to figure things out soon to avoid losing playing time.

Jason Kipnis is off to a rough start to the 2018 season.

The Cleveland Indians second baseman is slashing .171/.259/.250 entering play today. That includes one home run and only 14 RBIs in 164 at-bats.

Things are so bad that if Erik Gonzalez continues to play well, he may start to get playing time over Kipnis. Then again, you won’t find a manager more loyal to his veterans than Terry Francona. It may be stubbornness at times, but that’s just how he is.

Kipnis only has one game this year in which he has recorded at least three hits. Gonzalez has already done that twice in May alone.

The easy thing for fans to clamor for is for the team to trade Kipnis. But who will take him after his poor start to the season? Add in the $14.67 million he is owed in 2019 and he may be impossible to move right now.

That means the only thing we can do now is wait and hope, as painful as that is. Francona isn’t going to make Kipnis a bench player, even if it would be the right thing to do.

Benching Kipnis may only worsen things if live game action is what he needs to work through this. But this situation does bring up the question of when his slump is so bad that Francona is left with no other choice. Fans should just be hoping it doesn’t get to that point.

The earliest I would expect any major changes, if Kipnis continues to hit below the .200 mark, would be after the All-Star break. Francona would be forced to put the best players on the field, regardless of how long they have been with the team. If his Indians are going to hang around the .500 mark and not put away the rest of the division early like they should, there is no time to let a player work through things.

As frustrating as it is to keep hearing, it is indeed still early in the season. But that truth becomes a little less relevant as the days keep going by and Kipnis keep struggling.

Next: Previewing the series against the Houston Astros

For comparison, Kipnis didn’t permanently eclipse a .200 batting average until May 15 during the 2017 season. Hopefully that means he is just a few days behind schedule in 2018.