Rays infielder Brad Miller has undergone core muscle surgery, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The procedure addressed nagging problems in his groin and lower abdominals, per the report.
Miller, 28, was quite productive in 2016, when he swatted thirty long balls in 601 plate appearances — though he also carried a meager .304 OBP. But he failed to follow up on that in 2017, slashing just .201/.327/.337 with nine dingers over 407 trips to the plate. Oddly, despite the power drop, Miller doubled his walk rate as against the prior season.
It seems fair to attribute at least some of Miller’s struggles to the injuries that have now been addressed surgically. He missed time on the DL and says he “was obviously laboring for a while and didn’t feel right.” Miller will only need about six weeks to recover from the procedure, so he’s expected to be fully ready for Spring Training.
The question remains, though, whether the Rays will be the organization to take a shot on a rebound — or, perhaps, a dream scenario where Miller fuses power and patience while also delivering palatable defense at second base. MLBTR projects Miller to earn $4.4MM in his second (and second-to-last) season of arbitration eligibility. That’s not too steep a salary, but is fairly hefty for a Rays team that has eyes on trimming an already meager payroll.