Steven Kwan drove in five runs Friday night against the Mariners - tying his career high - and for any Cleveland Guardians fans tough enough to stay up into the early Saturday hours, they were treated to something special.
Kwan led the Guardians in their 9-4 victory in typical fashion, slapping base hits all over the field and, of course, perfectly executing a sacrifice fly. After going hitless in the opener, Kwan picked up where he left off last season, when he finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting after hitting .298/.373/.400 with a 124 OPS+.
And since it's currently extension season in Cleveland - with second baseman Andrés Giménez and reliever Trevor Stephan being the most recent recipients - the time to lock up Kwan is now.
The Guardians have reportedly begun those discussions with Kwan's team, as Cleveland no doubt knows what it has in its leadoff hitter. Signing Kwan long-term would give the Guardians a steady presence at the top of the lineup for years to come, a guy who is quickly blossoming into one of the best pure hitters in all of baseball.
There's every reason to believe that Kwan will only continue to get better, and could even develop a little more power in his swing. Still, though, he likely would never command a contract as big as Giménez's recent deal, which came in at six years for more than $106 million. But it's quite clear that Kwan, much like Giménez, José Ramírez, and others, is a vital part of this core that is still the youngest in Major League Baseball.
The Guardians certainly know this, and with the way the front office is approaching deals with its younger players, one would expect a deal to be on the horizon.