Quick Hits: Kipnis, Morales, Volquez, Contreras

The third time for the Indians and Jason Kipnis proved to be the charm, writes Zack Meisel of the Plain Dealer.  Kipnis and the Tribe got together for long-term contract discussions in the previous two springs, but it was the third try that resulted in a six-year, $52.5MM deal.  Things couldn't have worked out better for Kipnis since his price rose after he put up his best big-league season in 2013.  Kipnis, who turned 27 this month, made his first All-Star team and finished 11th in the American League MVP voting on the heels of a stellar campaign in which he batted .284/.366/.452 with 17 homers and 30 stolen bases in 658 plate appearances.  Here's more from around baseball..

  • ESPN analyst Eric Wedge, who managed Kendrys Morales in Seattle, is shocked he’s still on the market. “He’s an impact, middle-of-the-order bat from both sides of the plate, a great teammate,” the former Mariners skipper told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. “Anyone would love to have him on their team and in their clubhouse. I understand the issues involved, but it makes no sense to me that he’s not with a team. There are a lot of teams who could use that quality bat."
  • The Pirates have an impressive track record of helping pitchers who have fallen on hard times back on the right track, writes ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.  The Bucs are hoping that Edinson Volquez, who is now in the fold on a one-year, $5MM deal, will be the latest example of a positive reclamation project.  Francisco Liriano, who returned to prominence in Pittsburgh, helped to recruit Volquez to the organization.
  • Jose Contreras is not retiring following his release from the Rangers, a source tells Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish (on Twitter).  The veteran is currently pitching in Mexico and looking for opportunities in Japan.  Contreras, 42, signed a minor league deal with Texas after tossing just five big league innings in 2013. The Cuban veteran was solid in 29 minor league innings last year though, posting a 2.79 ERA with the Triple-A affiliates for the Pirates and Red Sox. However, things didn't go quite as well during Spring Training.

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