All signs point to Brantley FINALLY making a full recovering from a shoulder injury that the Tribe outfielder suffered in 2015.
Replacing Kipnis isn't the problem. Tribe skipper Terry Francona can easily slide Jose Ramirez from Third Base to the keystone in what many say would be a great fit for Ramirez, considering that is what his best natural position is.
The problem now lies within, who fills in for Ramirez at third?
In 2015 Giovanny Urshela played in 80 games at the hot corner for the Indians. Having what is probably the best glove within the organization outside of Platinum Award winner Francisco Lindor, Urshela struggles with his consistency on the offensive end.
Enter Cuban native Yandy Diaz.
To the average fan, Diaz is relatively unknown.
Showing up at #10 on MLB.com prospect rankings for the Indians this season, Diaz has burst onto the scene in his first big league camp. Displaying what is considered the most polished bat the Indians have in their farm system and showing a tremendous amount overall offensive talent, the ceiling for Diaz may be pretty high.
But there's just one hiccup. Diaz doesn't really play good enough defense at Third Base to really excel at the Major League level... yet.
Signing with the Indians after defecting from Cuba in 2013, Diaz has really kind of flown under the radar, up until last season when he hit .318 with 9 home runs and driving in 58 runs in 444 at bats between AA-Akron and AAA-Columbus.
Known for having a good eye at the plate and a frame that he could build on in the future to add more power, Yandy might just be best suited to be a super-utility at the MLB level.
This spring the Tribe prospect has been opening many eyes. Hitting .429 with 2 home runs and 13 RBI in only 42 at bats suggest that his bat is more than ready to hold its own in The Show. One would guess that being more of a conservative type of manager that Terry Francona is, he would much more prefer the potential Gold Glove quality of play at Third, that would heavily favor Urshela over Diaz making the Opening Day roster.
Francona spoke of the unknown of Diaz after today's game:
With Kipnis out likely for all of April, one would assume the best play would be to hand the keys over to Urshela and continue to develop Diaz on the defensive side of things at AAA. But is he ever making it a hard decision for Tribe brass, who could be sending potentially a middle of the order type hitter down at AAA to work on
Either way, it's a good problem to have for the defending American League Champions.
What do you think the Tribe should do with Diaz?