Report: Indians talking contract extensions with Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis

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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.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.