Friday, April 4, 2014

Cleveland Keeps Kipnis

Cleveland locked up its second baseman at a very reasonable price
The Cleveland Indians announced today that they extended second baseman Jason Kipnis for the next six years (including this one) at a cost of "only" $52.5 million. The extension--nearly identical to the one Matt Carpenter signed with the Cardinals last month--also includes a team option for 2020, when Kipnis will be 33.

For the Indians, that's a terrific deal. Kipnis, who turned 27 on Thursday, ranked as one of the league's ten best position players last year and was rewarded with his first All-Star nod and an 11th place MVP finish. Among American League second basemen, only Robinson Cano and Dustin Pedroia were more valuable per bWAR, and both of them just netted long-term nine figure deals. By comparison, Kipnis is a veritable bargain.

Kipnis doesn't excel at one thing, but like Pedroia and Ben Zobrist he does almost everything well, which has made one of the game's five best second basemen since the start of the 2012 season. He hits for power, gets on base, steals bags, and scores/drives in runs. His defense isn't great, but it's not terrible either. He can hold his own in the field, and while that's not going to win him any Gold Gloves, it also means he's not a liability like Dan Uggla.

Bottom line: you can never go wrong by signing an in-his-prime second baseman for about $8.5 million per year.

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