In his year with the Tampa Bay Rays, Brad Miller has already had three primary positions. Understandably, he is not enthused with his latest shift around the diamond.
In theory, when the Tampa Bay Rays traded for Brad Miller, they had solidified their shortstop position. And they did, at least for 100 games in 2016, before they realized he was less than a stellar defensive option at short. He then shifted over to first, and was expected to open the 2017 season there as well. It appeared as though Miller had found a home with the Rays.
Then, Tampa Bay traded Logan Forsythe, creating another opening in the lineup. Shortly thereafter, they re-signed Logan Morrison, leading Miller’s spot in the lineup in question. Now, it appears that the Rays are going to deploy Miller at second, his third primary position in less than a year.
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Understandably, he is not exactly enthused about the move. He is saying the right things, claiming to be on the same page as Rays officials, but the underlying tone seems to indicate otherwise. As this change is coming so late in the offseason, one can hardly fault Miller for being somewhat displeased about this latest positional change.
It does, however, speak volumes as to how much the Rays value his bat. In 2016, he produced a .243/.304/.482 batting line, hitting 30 home runs and 29 doubles. He was second on the team in homers, trailing only Evan Longoria, while proving to be a key part of the Rays lineup.
Miller also has some experience at second base. In his three seasons with the Mariners, he had at least eleven games at second each year. While the numbers may not be great, Miller has produced a slightly above league average 4.68 range factor at second. He has also cost the Mariners four runs. Granted, his 37 game sample size is not exactly the largest, but there is some hope he can handle the position.
Should Miller not be able to make the transition to second, then he may fall into what could be his worst case scenario. He could become a super utility player, appearing at four or five different positions a week to try to keep his bat in the lineup. As he seems to value the stability of having a set position, bouncing Miller around the lineup could limit his effectiveness with the lumber as well.