The Cleveland Indians and second baseman Jason Kipnis have agreed upon a six-year extension through the 2019 season that includes a club option for 2020. Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Kipnis will make $52.5 million in the deal.
Kipnis, 27, was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the second round of the 2009 draft out of Arizona State University. Kipnis was origninally drafted as an outfielder. (Kipnis would be later converted to a second baseman.) Notable players drafted in the second round of the 2009 draft are Billy Hamilton (Reds), Nolan Arenado (Rockies), and Patrick Corbin (Diamondbacks). However, Kipnis has been the most successful of all eleven Major League players drafted in that round (based on WAR).
Kipnis shot through the minors, posting a .863 OPS in his time there. Since making his Major League debut in 2011, Kipnis has posted a triple-slash line of .270/.348/.423 with 38 home runs and 179 RBI in two years, sixty-nine days of MLB Service Time. That includes a 2013 All Star campaign, when he hit a slash-line of .284/.366/.452 with 17 home runs and 84 RBI. He posted a 5.9 WAR and a 133 OPS+ during last season.
From a true extension standpoint, Kipnis' makes sense. His deal is comparable to the six-year contracts signed by Andrew McCutchen's (2012, $51.5 million), Justin Upton's (2010, $51.250 million) and Jay Bruce's (2010, $51 million) extensions. Their extensions came around the same time in their careers as Kipnis' new deal.
The Indians are currently based around the young talent on their team, and Kipnis has been a large part in their success. By signing Kipnis to a long-term deal, they are able to focus on other parts of their young, developing team. After making the playoffs for the first time since 2007 in 2013, the Indians will want to continue to have success into the future. And their future is largely tied to their young star in Jason Kipnis.