Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports that second baseman Jason Kipnis is open to discussing a contract extension with the Indians. The two sides will likely begin talking during spring training. Kipnis, however, does not want contract talks to distract him during the regular season, as MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian writes.
Kipnis, who turns 27 years old on April 3, will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the season. He can become a free agent after the 2017 season. An extension would likely buy out at least two of the years leading up to the second baseman’s free agency.
Since the beginning of the 2012 season, Kipnis has been the fifth-most valuable second baseman in the game (min. 1,000 plate appearances), according to FanGraphs WAR. He trails Robinson Cano, Ben Zobrist, Dustin Pedroia, and Matt Carpenter while narrowly outranking Aaron Hill.
Braves 21-year-old outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. nabbed his 30th stolen base of the season on Friday, becoming the second-youngest player in Major League history to produce at least 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in a single season. Per MLB Stats, the only other player under 22 years old to pull off the feat is Mike Trout, who did so with 30 home runs and 49 stolen bases during his age-20 season in 2012.
Acuña’s triumphant moment came in the eighth inning of Friday’s game against the Mets. He drew a six-pitch walk against righty reliever Seth Lugo, then waited for an opportune moment as Ozzie Albies stepped to the plate. Lugo fired a 93-m.p.h. fastball to Albies for ball no. 2, which was promptly returned to second base by catcher Wilson Ramos. The throw came in high, however; Amed Rosario had to jump to make the catch, allowing Acuña to slide safely into the bag and hit his career mark.
It’s been an eventful season for the All-Star outfielder, whose 36 home runs and 30 stolen bases helps pad a .294/.377/.536 batting line and 5.1 fWAR over 597 plate appearances. Through the first 11 innings of Friday’s contest, he went 0-for-3 with a pair of walks and a stolen base.