In order to make room for yesterday’s roster moves in preparation for their double-header against the Yankees, the Indians were forced to send third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall back to the minors.The move came as somewhat of a surprise considering the amount of faith the team had placed in Chisenhall entering into this season. However, one look at Chisenhall’s numbers and his continually deteriorating defense made it more than apparent that something needed to change.
That’s not to say they we won’t see or hear of Chisenhall again before the end of the season. Despite his triple slash line of .213/.253/.351 and the overall lack of offensive output, 3 home runs and 11 RBI, he is still very much in the plans for the team moving forward. In fact, this move has everything to do with getting Chisenhall back on the right track.
The emergence of both Mike Aviles and Ryan Raburn combined with the ability of Mark Reynolds to fill in at third base made Chisenhall expendable for the time being. Any of the three are capable of playing the hot corner and all three have hit the ball well to start the season. Meanwhile, the demotion to Columbus gives Chisenhall the ability to find his swing, regain his confidence, and hopefully come back to the big league club as a new man. Sitting on the bench and playing every few days for the Indians wouldn’t have done him as much good as playing every day with the Clippers.
As things currently stood, Chisenhall was clearly pressing at the plate. He had already lost at bats with left-handers on the mound. The added pressure of feeling like he had to perform well against righties led to an ever continuing decrease in plate discipline and a propensity for swinging at almost every pitch he saw. This has been a startling trend that has continued to get worse each and every season for Chisenhall and until he learns to take more pitches, hit the ball where it is pitched and use the whole field he may continue to struggle.
There was also the added wrinkle that someone needed to be sent down in order to make room for the necessary pitching moves for Monday’s double-header. David Huff was called up for emergency relief duties and a spot on the roster needed to be vacated in order to accommodate As luck would have it, Chisenhall was the odd man out. But again, this move needed to happen regardless. Monday’s double-header simply served as the catalyst the team to make a change.
Finally, not to avoid the elephant in the room, but there may be a growing sense of worry within the fan base in regards to Chisenhall. The fans have seen more than their fair share of can’t miss prospects, both on the mound and at the dish crash and burn before they ever made an impact. Andrew Miller, Andy Marte, and Matt LaPorta are just a few that come to mind. And while Jason Kipnis has worked out nicely as the second baseman of the future, it has been Chisenhall who was anointed as the next big thing by the front office. Here’s hoping they know what they’re doing and are able to rectify Chisenhall’s problems before they are broken beyond repair.