MARCH 31: Though a deal has not been completed, it is still possible that one could be reached during the season, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
MARCH 21: The Indians have reportedly approached All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis about an extension, and the two sides have both agreed to set an Opening Day deadline on the negotiations, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Should Kipnis and his agents at the Beverly Hills Sports Council not be able to find a common ground with the team in the next 10 days, talks won't resume until next offseason.
This same situation played out last Spring Training, and obviously, no deal was agreed to prior to the 2013 season. An extension for Kipnis will likely be far more expensive next offseason than right now, however, as Kipnis will be eligible for arbitration next winter. A second All-Star nod and more MVP votes would serve him well in that process, as would the benefit of another strong season that further extends his growing track record of excellence.
While the Indians were able to successfully negotiate one extension this offseason — a four-year, $25MM contract for Michael Brantley — they've reportedly ended talks with top starter Justin Masterson due to an unwillingness to meet his desire for a $17MM average annual value. The Kipnis discussions could be easier to negotiate, as unlike Masterson's case, the two sides aren't solely discussing free agent years. Therefore, Kipnis' AAV would reflect his arbitration years as well as free agent seasons, perhaps making the near-term commitment more palatable for Cleveland.
Kipnis batted .284/.366/.452 with 17 homers and 30 stolen bases in 2013, delivering somewhere between 4.5 and 5.9 wins above replacement, depending on your preferred version of the metric.