Jason Kipnis Rumors
The Indians and Jason Kipnis have put their extension talks on hold now that the regular season has started, writes Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Kipnis and his agents at the Beverly Hills Sports Council had been in discussions as recently as March. Hoynes writes:"Once the regular season started, the negotiations stopped," said Kipnis before Friday's game against the Rays. "We didn't want the distraction during the season. I think they felt the same way."
Kipnis tells Hoynes that he's interested in resuming extension talks following the 2013 season. The 26-year-old has a little more than one year of service time and isn't eligible for arbitration until after the 2014 season. Kipnis hit .257/.335/.379 with 14 homers in his first full season in 2012.
Hoynes adds that there's no word on whether or not talks with outfielder Michael Brantley are still in progress. Brantley, 26 in May, will be eligible for arbitration for the first time after this season.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
The Indians are discussing extensions with outfielder Michael Brantley and second baseman Jason Kipnis, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The team is interested in buying out all of the players’ arbitration years plus multiple free agent years, Rosenthal writes. Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported this past weekend that the Indians will approach the players about extension talks.
The Indians began discussing an extension with Brantley before they signed free agent Michael Bourn and moved Brantley from center field to left field, according to Rosenthal. It’s possible the position change will complicate talks with the Legacy Agency client. Brantley, who narrowly missed out on super two status last winter, will be arbitration eligible for the first time next offseason. He's on track to hit free agency after the 2016 season.
Kipnis has just one year and 69 days of MLB service, which means he's two years away from arbitration eligibility. Beverly Hills Sports Council represents Kipnis.
As MLBTR’s Extension Tracker shows, the Indians have not shied away from locking players up before and during their arbitration years. The club successfully extended many young players under former GM John Hart during the 1990s.
Gary Shelton of the Tampa Bay Times expressed concern the Rays don't have enough power in their lineup to compete over the long haul. As if to add an exclamation point to Shelton's column, the Rays were stymied this afternoon by Jon Lester of the Red Sox, who was perfect for six innings (79 pitches, 53 for strikes) with six strikeouts. The Rays were on the verge of being the victim of a Spring Training perfect game until an infield single by non-roster invitee Jason Bourgeois with one out in the top of the ninth. In other American League news and notes:
- One solution to the Rays' power shortage could be Wil Myers, who was sent to Triple-A yesterday. Manager Joe Maddon told reporters, including the Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin, that he believes the timing of Myers' recall will be a baseball decision and not based on service time considerations in order to avoid an extra year of arbitration eligibility.
- The Indians have yet to make a decision on Daisuke Matsuzaka even after a meeting this morning between manager Terry Francona and the front office, tweets the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes. Francona could speak with Dice-K tomorrow.
- The Indians will approach Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley about contract extensions at some point this spring, writes Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
- The trade market for Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who will be a free agent after this season, is not good, tweets the Boston Herald's Scott Lauber.
- "The door's not locked. It may not even be cracked open, but it's not locked, either," a Red Sox source told Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com about the chances of Jackie Bradley Jr. making the Opening Day roster.
- The Yankees only signed Brennan Boesch because he has minor league options remaining, according to ESPN's Buster Olney in his Insider blog (subscription required). Olney added, given the apparent lack of interest in Boesch, the Yankees might have the ability, if he struggles in the next few weeks, to get him through waivers, take him off the 40-man roster, and outright him to the minor leagues.
- The Angels have acquired minor league pitcher Mike Cisco from the Phillies for no compensation. Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com explains the Phillies had an excess of pitching in Double-A and Triple-A and they wanted to make sure he’d go somewhere he’d have an opportunity to pitch. The Angels liked him and have a spot for him in their system.
Cleveland GM Chris Antonetti has an adaptable approach to this offseason’s free agent market. Players such as Michael Brantley offer defensive versatility, so the Indians aren’t about to limit their search for position players so early in the offseason.
“We can either go left field, center field or first base,” Antonetti said. “And we have some creative ideas for other positions as well.”
The Indians feel “very comfortable” with Brantley in center field, since he played for a month and a half with a serious wrist injury but still posted a .702 OPS in 2011. Brantley will play center field or left field in 2012, depending on the rest of Cleveland’s offseason.
The Indians’ winter will revolve around the search for position players, since they have a full five-man rotation heading into Spring Training 2012. However, the Indians aren’t content with their pitching depth.
“I don’t think we’ll ever be satisfied with our pitching,” he said. “We’ll always look for opportunities to improve.”
The Indians enter the 2011 season with Ubaldo Jimenez, Justin Masterson, Fausto Carmona, Derek Lowe and Josh Tomlin in the rotation. Since Masterson, Carmona and Lowe induce so many ground balls, the Indians intend on lining their infield with above-average defenders.
Jason Kipnis appears to be the leading candidate for the starting second base job and Antonetti says he has the chance to become an above-average defender. Jack Hannahan, a pleasant surprise in 2011, is an “elite” defender, according to Antonetti. He could start at third for Cleveland and Lonnie Chisenhall is also in the mix for regular work at the hot corner. However, the Indians aren’t going to finalize decisions before Spring Training.
Sunday night linkage..
- It's exceedingly rare for the Mets to grant an in-season extension to anyone, but Tim Byrdak was aggressive and approached the team with the idea, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
- However, it doesn't sound like more extensions with veterans are in the works, Martino tweets. General Manager Sandy Alderson stressed that locking up a lefty reliever was special circumstance.
- Indians GM Chris Antonetti believes that Jim Thome can be a productive player in 2012, should he decide to continue playing, writes Jordan Bastian of MLB.com.
- Even though Indians rookie Jason Kipnis appears to have the starting role at second base locked up for next season, he does not plan on thinking that way, writes Bastian.
Arizona GM Kevin Towers tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he believes a big part of the D’Backs’ turnaround comes from his team’s “will to win.” Here are more of Rosenthal’s notes from around MLB:
- Rosenthal says it’s doubtful that the Tigers would be better off without GM Dave Dombrowski and manager Jim Leyland.
- Will the Pirates extend GM Neal Huntington? Rival executives say the Pirates’ farm system isn’t as good as Pittsburgh executives think, but the club took a step forward under Huntington this year (especially before the Pirates’ recent losing streak).
- Indians officials have been impressed with Jason Kipnis’ versatility and athleticism, not just his recent power surge.
- Rosenthal suggests Eduardo Nunez has substantial trade value, since he can play premium positions and hit (.273/.325/.407 line this year).
- Scouts see John Mayberry of the Phillies as a late bloomer like Jayson Werth or Michael Morse, Rosenthal reports.
Neither Roberto Alomar nor Bert Blyleven will be wearing a Cleveland cap into the Hall Of Fame tomorrow, but both men spent significant parts of their careers with the Tribe. Blyleven won 48 games and posted a 3.23 ERA with the Indians between 1981-85, twice finishing third in AL Cy Young voting in that span. Alomar played in Cleveland from 1999 through 2001, earning Gold Gloves and All-Star appearances in each year and hit .323/.405/.515 as an Indian.
Onto some news about the modern-day Clevelanders, courtesy of Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer....
- Lonnie Chisenhall, Jason Kipnis, Drew Pomeranz and Alex White are "all but untouchable" in trade talks. Without these top prospects on the table, however, it makes it unlikely that the Indians will be able to acquire top-tier trade candidates like Carlos Beltran or Hunter Pence. Hoynes notes that the Tribe's dealings are tempered by the fact that while they have a chance to win the AL Central, they probably don't have a realistic shot at the World Series so the team doesn't want to mortgage the future for just a token playoff berth.
- The Indians have talked to the Dodgers about utilityman Jamey Carroll. Cleveland's interest may have cooled, though, now that Kipnis has been called up. The Rockies and Brewers have shown interest in Carroll. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes explored Carroll's trade candidacy and also had a Q&A with the veteran last month.
- The Indians "aren't close" to working out a deal with the Padres for Ryan Ludwick or Aaron Harang, reports Hoynes (Twitter link). We recently heard that Harang (along with Hiroki Kuroda) were Cleveland's top two targets on the trade market.