It sort of feels kind of hypocritical that a fat guy like me would even bring up the fitness of a professional athlete who has more skill and genetics and pure baseball-isms in his pinkie toes than I will in a thousand lifetimes. So file this under trying to avoid the baseball world and remaining oblivious to the very real chance that Drayton Moore and Ned Yost can’t be recurring punchlines anymore.
But the more I read Terry Pluto’s new story about Kipnis’ conditioning, the more it just continues to prove that adding weight isn’t the be-all, end-all when it comes to production. Add in the disastrous oblique injury (of which I can pull, too!) that officially derailed his year, it’s no wonder why the Indians would like him to get back to what made him a fringe MVP-candidate in 2013. His bulking up had the exact adverse effect in pretty much every phase of what makes him a pleasure to watch play. With the new “Face-of-the-Franchise” contract level also no doubt fueling his need to strive for even better, he probably did too much.
Ain’t that a fastball to the ribs: A guy wants to live up to the faith his organization has in him and he overdoes it and ends up having an awful year to the slash-line tune of .240/6 HR/41 RBI/.640 OPS. Nothing makes sense!
So what do the Indians want him to do? Dance with the one that brung ya. Go back to what worked before. Be that speed guy (because Bourn ain’t it; be it reluctance or inability, no one really knows); be that considerable power threat; be that sneaky-good glove. And in true team-first fashion, Jason is willing to shed the weight.
By the way, would anybody be adverse to Kipnis being moved to right field? Francisco Lindor’s still a year away (at least) and Jose Ramirez deserves to play after he opened some eyes this season. Just me spitballin’. Pluto says “no current plans,” but…
Regardless, for the Indians’ sake, they want Kipnis back in the two-hole being the leaner threat that he once was. Now, excuse me while I try a push-up.