Cleveland Indians: Potential landing spots for Jason Kipnis

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(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

It’s been a slow winter for Jason Kipnis. With many of the biggest offseason moves already completed, who might take a chance on him for next season?

When the Cleveland Indians predictably declined their $16.5-million team option on Jason Kipnis for the 2020 season, another predictable set of circumstances was officially set in motion: that it would likely be some time before Kipnis found a new home.

There was, and technically still is, a chance for Kipnis to return to the Indians on a low-level deal. But the recent signing of Cesar Hernandez greatly dampened the chances of such a reunion, and it appears now more than ever as though Cleveland’s longtime second baseman will play for another team in 2020 and beyond.

With the Tribe no longer in great need of an infielder, what does Kipnis’ market now look like? The list isn’t especially long, but there are at least a few teams out there that could use a veteran clubhouse presence who plays second base and hits from the left side of the plate.

A native of Illinois, Kipnis could welcome a chance to play in Chicago if the opportunity presents itself. The White Sox are loaded with right-handed bats, and there’s an argument to be made for inserting a veteran stopgap at second base until up-and-coming prospect Nick Madrigal is ready for the big leagues. The White Sox don’t currently have a no-doubter set to open the 2020 season at second base.

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Chicago’s AL representative has been the most aggressive team in baseball this winter. Perhaps in the midst of their spending spree, they might find a fit for a much more cost-friendly addition to their improving roster. If nothing else, adding Kipnis would cut deep from a sentimental standpoint, as the Indians would have to see a former face of their franchise on a regular basis in divisional play.

The Red Sox probably took themselves out of the market for another infielder when they signed Jose Peraza, but it’s worth noting Peraza isn’t exactly a nuclear weapon at the plate. Boston is lacking in dependable left-handed infield bats outside of Rafael Devers, and Kipnis could work in a platoon with Peraza. Any further acquisitions of second basemen in Boston will likely be determined by whether Dustin Pedroia can ever get back on the field, but that isn’t the most promising prospect after the last couple of years.

The Diamondbacks are an interesting team to float here, as adding Kipnis would allow them to deploy Ketel Marte exclusively in center field. Arizona is relatively well set up to contend in the Dodger-dominated NL West this season, and Kipnis could find a home there as a role player.

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Whoever winds up signing Kipnis this offseason will be getting a team-first, all-hustle player who will lead by example both in the clubhouse and on the field. His days as an All-Star may be behind him, but there are still ways in which he can contribute on the right team in the right role.