After making some big splashes in the free agent market this winter, the Indians are now trying to lock up two of their promising young players.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the Indians have discussed contract extensions with outfielder Michael Brantley and second baseman Jason Kipnis. The aim is to buy out each player’s arbitration seasons and multiple years of free agency.
Brantley will be arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter while Kipnis is coming off his first full season in the majors and won’t qualify for the first time until after 2014. Rosenthal notes that the Indians began negotiations with Brantley before they signed Michael Bourn to a four-year, $48 million contract, so the dynamic may have changed over the past month. He’s being moved over to left field to accommodate Bourn, but there’s little doubt that he offers more bang for his buck as an everyday center fielder.
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Adrian Beltre has been on the disabled list all year because of nagging right calf strain, but he’s about to take a big step toward getting back to action.
Beltre has been cleared to begin playing in extended spring training games. He’ll commence them tomorrow at the Rangers facility in Surprise, Arizona. After three games the team’s doctors will reevaluate him. If things go well, he’ll likely be sent off for a full minor league rehab assignment.
Joey Gallo has filled in for Beltre all season, bringing a lot of power but not much else to the table. While Beltre is 38, his all-around game would be welcomed back on the field and his leadership would be welcomed back in the Rangers clubhouse. On a personal note, Beltre is only 58 hits shy of 3,000 for his career.
Barring a setback, he’ll be back with the big club in early June and will hit the milestone eventually.