The Cleveland Indians announced several contract decisions today. None of the moves are shocking but there is more to the story moving forward.
Cleveland Indians fans go into every offseason knowing that several players from the most recent team won’t be returning the following year.
The main player in focus right now is Yasiel Puig, as he is a true free agent.
Yet there were others with options for 2020 and some news came down on that front today as the team’s leadership finally appeared in front of the media.
The situation may be a bit different for Jason Kipnis, who had a $16.5 million option. The figure is incredibly too high for him and everyone knew the team would decline that option.
Kipnis had an average year in 2019, slashing .245/.304/.410 with 17 home runs in 121 games. A WAR of 0.5 doesn’t scream $16.5 million dollars for one season as he approaches his mid-30s.
Kipnis has made at least $2 million since 2014 and his value may be down around that mark once again. The Indians could easily bring him back on a one-year deal and not have to do so with a minor league deal.
The veteran could start the season at second and transition into a reserve role if someone like Nolan Jones is deemed to be ready. That would also allow Jose Ramirez to slide over to second base. Or maybe the team actually spends some cash on an experienced player. One can dream.
Kipnis will surely explore the market but I doubt he will find a deal better than what the Indians will offer him. If the team offers him anything above $1 million at all.
Then there is Corey Kluber and his $17.5 million option that was actually picked up. Picking up the money seemed like a no-brainer. Now fans will wait to see if the team decides to trade him this offseason for a haul of prospects.
Such a move could also be made during the season, but the return would go down if a team couldn’t ensure a future deal for Kluber.
My guess is the Indians hold on to Kluber and only dangle him in a trade if things go way south during the first half of the 2020 season. The organization needs to do all it can to try to win it all in 2020 and 2021 before Francisco Lindor may be gone. Sorry for bringing that up.
Do you think a Kluber trade is still possible? What about another year in town for Kipnis? Let us know in the comments below.