Cleveland, Kipnis agree to six-year extension
Update 8:16 a.m.: According to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian, Kipnis will receive a $1 million signing bonus, $2 million in 2014, $4 million in 2015, $6 million in 2016, $9 million in 2017, $13.5 million in 2018, and $14.5 million in 2019. The club option in 2020 is for $16.5 milion with a $2.5 million buyout.
The contract is for six years, $52.5 million, covering three arbitration seasons and two years of free agency. The deal also includes a club option for the 2020 season.
The 27-year-old (who celebrated his birthday Thursday) made his first All-Star team in 2013, posting a .284/.366/.452 line with 17 home runs, 30 steals, and 4.5 fWAR in 149 games, finishing 11th in the MVP voting. For his career, Kipnis owns a .270/.348/.423 line with 38 home runs, 68 steals, and 8.5 fWAR in 340 games.
This marks the third contract extension Cleveland has given out this offseason, joining Yan Gomes' six-year, $23 million contract from the end of March and Michael Brantley's four-year, $25 million deal from February.
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Kipnis is probably a top 5 2nd basemen in baseball right now, and if I thought it was going to stay that way, I would never consider moving him, but in a year or two, even if he maintains his current production, he could blend in with a lot of guys who make up a tier of 2nd basemen that runs about 12 guys deep. Having a tier of 12 guys rather than 5 or 6 really negates some of that positional value.
To be completely honest, there is a good chance Kip could fall out of that top tier completely if he does not continue to improve. Guys like Cano, Pedroia, Hill and Kinsler make up that top group right now with Kipnis, and they all have quite a few years left in them, while guys like Altuve, Rendon, Profar, Gyorko, Wong, Dozier, and even Javier Baez (If the Cubs actually play him at 2nd like they did in the spring) are guys who are plenty capable of jumping right into the previous group, and most of them actually hold more upside than Kip does, IMO.
I'm not trying to knock Kipnis. He is a very good player. I just don't think he is going to be 'special' enough to justify automatically handing him the 2nd base position for the next 7 years, especially if opportunity comes knocking with one of our prospects, a FA, or someone available through trade.
My 2nd reply doesn't really go against the first though...i actually think Kipnis left money on the table during his 3 arbitration years with this deal (assuming he doesn't just tank). He took a bit more guaranteed up front. The Tribe didn't really take "saved" money from not signing Ubaldo though...maybe for 2014 they did but for the length of the deal they didn't. Same with Gomes and Brantley. Those guys were gonna get paid in arbitration regardless...the only added money comes after that...when Ubaldo would have been off the payroll anyways.
Wasn't trying to "nitpick"....just think you're trying to link not signing Ubaldo and these recent signings...they are completely independent of each other IMO.
I think JRam could be that player, but he would have to really turn some heads...and I've suggested this a few times in the past...
This may be my favorite Corner of Carnegie piece that I've ever written:
Second Base is becoming the new third base. It is becoming a very strong offensive position with guys who are merely serviceable on defense. I would not be surprised to see just as many, if not more 20 HR 2nd baseman in the next 5 years than 3rd baseman and left fielders. I'm not sure Kip's value would change much at all if he moves to left eventually.
Also, like Brandon said, you do have to consider who else you have in the organization behind him. While I don't think guys like Wendle, Ramirez, Gonzalez, Rodriguez, or Paulino will be able to push Kipnis away from 2nd, there is a possibility one of them breaks out, and at that point a move should at least be considered. I mean, if Jose Ramirez ends up getting a shot, performs well, and forces us to find a spot for him in the lineup, where would you put him? I know they have tried him in the outfield a couple times, but he is a natural infielder and his defense at 2nd would be an upgrade to Kipnis. This scenario may be a bit unrealistic and completely dependent on Ramirez performing, but if he does perform, having Kip move to left and Ramirez at second would be a much bigger upgrade than having Ramirez playing a roving utility role while Kipnis plays 2nd.
Also, if Lindor, Ramirez, and Wendle all have good years, they should consider moving Kipnis to the outfield. With Lindor probably following Cabrera, Ramirez and Wendle are really blocked as starters. Not to mention guys like Gonzalez, RonRod, and Paulino.
One of (if not the?) largest pre-arbitration deal for a 2B.....blows away the Kinsler and Phillips deals...
Actually, guess you can argue that the extra $2.5M the Tribe is giving Kipnis in 2014 is coming from not signing Ubaldo...
Only new money the Tribe is really giving Kipnis is 2018-2019 money...and Ubaldo will be a free agent heading into the 2018 season.
Tribe (by my account) was around $85M before this deal....Ubaldo would have put them well over $90M. Tirbe hasn't spent the "not signing Ubaldo money"...probably because there wasn't any money to spend. Lots of us felt the only way to sign Ubaldo was to deal a guy like Cabrera or Bourn...