There was a report last month that the Indians were discussing a multi-year contract extension with Jason Kipnis, but the second baseman told Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer today that talks have stopped for the time being.
“Once the regular season started, the negotiations stopped,” said Kipnis before Friday’s game against the Rays. “We didn’t want the distraction during the season. I think they felt the same way.”
Kipnis barely has one year of major league service under his belt and likely won’t qualify for arbitration for the first time until after the 2014 season, so there isn’t a huge sense of urgency to get a deal done right now. However, the Indians clearly view him as a big part of their future. The 26-year-old batted .255/.335/.379 with 14 home runs, 76 RBI, 31 stolen bases and a .714 OPS in 152 games last season. He plans to talk with the club again after the season.
The Indians were also reportedly discussing an extension with left fielder Michael Brantley, but it’s not clear if those talks have also been tabled.
The Rays have acquired first baseman C.J. Cron from the Angels for a player to be named later, the teams announced Saturday. In a corresponding move, the Rays cleared a roster spot for Cron by designating outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment.
Cron wasn’t expected to factor prominently in the Angels’ plans for 2018, especially given the recent addition of pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani and the projected Luis Valbuena/Albert Pujols combo at first base. The 28-year-old infielder wasn’t overly impressive during his fourth season in Anaheim, either, slashing .248/.305/.437 with 16 home runs and 0.5 fWAR through 373 plate appearances in 2017. He’ll give the Rays a platoon option with fellow first baseman Brad Miller, though neither Cron nor Miller have looked particularly adept against left-handed pitching lately.
Dickerson, meanwhile, is coming off of a banner season with the Rays. The 29-year-old outfielder enjoyed his first All-Star nomination in 2017, rounding out the year with a .282/.325/.490 batting line and career-best 27 home runs and 2.6 fWAR in 629 PA. Some have already speculated that a trade is in the works; barring that, it’s a head-scratching move to make considering his clear offensive value to the team.