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January 28, 2014

Rumor Roundup

Extension Tension

by Daniel Rathman


Jason Kipnis is all ears if the Indians want to discuss an extension
For Indians general manager Chris Antonetti, the past few days have brought both good news and bad news on the extension front. Cleveland Plain-Dealer beat writer Paul Hoynes wrote on Monday that the team has given up, at least for the time being, on reaching a long-term agreement with its ace, Justin Masterson. But that report came on the heels of a promising statement from second baseman Jason Kipnis, who told reporters at Sunday’s fan fest that he is “absolutely” open to negotiating a multi-year hitch.

Kipnis and the Indians failed to come to terms when they sat down before the 2013 season, but the Arizona State product is optimistic that the second time will be the charm. With two years and 69 days of service time under his belt, the 26-year-old Kipnis will be eligible for arbitration after the 2014 campaign, and some degree of cost certainty could benefit both sides. Kipnis has been a below-average defensive player at the keystone to this point in his career, but his power-and-speed toolset makes him one of the most valuable offensive contributors at the position. He was worth 4.9 WARP last season, despite striking out 143 times in 658 plate appearances.

There is little precedent when it comes to pre-arbitration signings by elite second basemen, but the Red Sox’s December 3, 2008, match with another Sun Devils alumnus comes to mind. Dustin Pedroia was two years younger at the time, coming off of his age-24 season, and he had won the American League Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards back-to-back, but he broke out—much like Kipnis did—in his second full year in the majors. That agreement was an extremely club-friendly six-year, $40.5 million outlay, which ran through the 2014 season and carried a team option for 2015. The Red Sox have since swapped that deal out for a new eight-year, $110 million contract, which at the time marked the first-ever $100 million guarantee for a second baseman.

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<< Previous Article
BP Experts Prospect Mo... (01/28)
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