Indians expected to offer Jason Kipnis a contract extension soon

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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis will enter his first year of arbitration eligibility after the season. He’ll have the opportunity to go through the arbitration process for three years. After the 2017 season, he would become eligible for free agency.

According to Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer, however, it sounds like the Indians want to avoid all of that and get their star infielder signed to a contract extension soon. Pluto writes that the extension will require more than the $25 million the team awarded outfielder Michael Brantley two weeks ago, and that an extension for Kipnis is likely to be at least five years in length.

Kipnis, 26, was the fifth-most valuable second baseman in baseball last season with 4.5 Wins Above Replacement, according to FanGraphs. He is preparing to enter his third full season in the Majors.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.