Long-term extension remains Kipnis' goal
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis has maintained that he is open to exploring a long-term contract with the Indians. That remains the case, and Kipnis is hoping to revisit such talks with Cleveland later this spring.
Kipnis was at the Tribe's Spring Training complex on Tuesday and said he is examining two situations while considering his future. Left fielder Michael Brantley reached an agreement Monday night on a four-year contract extension with the Indians that covers three arbitration years and one year of free agency. Reliever Vinnie Pestano went to arbitration with Cleveland on Friday and lost his case.
"Both things kind of hit home," Kipnis said. "You have Brantley, who's signing a deal, and you have Vinnie, who went to arbitration and lost. I got to kind of see both ends of the spectrum right there, and the ups and downs of both sides. I got to kind of sit back and watch through their situations and learn from it.
"I'll ask them questions about the process, on how it went, and kind of make my own judgement from there."
Kipnis, 26, made the American League All-Star team for the first time last season and finished the season hitting .284 with 17 home runs, 36 doubles, 84 RBIs, 30 stolen bases and 86 runs scored in 149 games for the Tribe. He will become eligible for arbitration for the first time next offseason, making him a prime candidate for an extension.
Cleveland has not officially announced Brantley's contract, which is valued at $25 million in guaranteed salary and includes an $11 million club option for 2018, and the club is also going through the arbitration process with pitchers Justin Masterson and Josh Tomlin. Once those situations are resolved, Kipnis believes it might be time to re-open extension talks.
"Why would I not listen?" Kipnis said. "Yeah, I'm open to hearing what they have to say or what they have to offer. It'd be stupid not to. I know they've got some arbitration cases to finish right now. I think once everyone's done with that and spring starts flowing along, we'll start talking again. Of course I'll listen."
Kipnis was thrilled for his friend Brantley.
"It's not official yet, but I'm happy for him," Kipnis said. "He's a good guy. There's some down sides to business. There's always some bad parts, but there are some good things, too. I'm happy to see him get a little pay day and get some money for his family."