The Cubs have been in contact with free-agent second baseman Jason Kipnis, tweets MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. The Chicago organization was also tied to Scooter Gennet recently, and Bastian notes that they’re considering left-handed options at second base to pair with right-handed-hitting options like Nico Hoerner and David Bote.
Kipnis has spent his entire career to date in the Indians organization. But while he was once a star-caliber second baseman whom Cleveland rewarded with a $52.5MM extension, the former second-round pick has seen his stock tumble in recent seasons. Kipnis was brilliant both in 2013 and 2015, making a pair of All-Star teams and garnering MVP votes in each of those seasons. On the whole, from the time he debuted through the completion of the 2016 season, he batted a combined .272/.345/.423 while averaging 17 homers, 38 doubles and 25 steals per 162 games played.
Since 2017, though, Kipnis’ bat has wilted. In the past three years he’s combined for a .236/.305/.403 slash (86 OPS+) in 1485 plate appearances. That downturn prompted the Indians to pay a $2.5MM buyout on what once looked to be a reasonable $16.5MM club option for the 2021 season, sending Kipnis out into the open market for the first time.
It’s been largely silent on Kipnis all winter, as teams in need of second base help have had a deep pool of both free agents and trade options from which to draw. Regardless of how many teams to which he’s spoken, one would imagine that the Cubs are a highly appealing option for Kipnis, a Chicago-area native who attended high school at Glenbrook North — just 19 miles from Wrigley Field.