It was a home opener to remember for second baseman Jason Kipnis and the Indians.
Kipnis, an all-star for the first time in his career last season, agreed to terms Friday on a six-year contract extension worth $52.5 million. The deal, which was announced early Friday morning, includes a $16.5 million option for the 2020 season ($2.5 million buyout).
“It’s an amazing feeling to get something done,” said the 27-year-old Kipnis, who hit .284 with 17 home runs and 84 RBIs during his second full season in the majors last year. “I’ve wanted to stay here. I’m excited about being here.”
“We’re thrilled we were able to get (this contract done),” Cleveland general manager Chris Antonetti said. “Since he arrived in the majors in 2011, he’s emerged as one of the best second basemen in baseball. He has a unique combination of power and speed, which has made him one of the best players at his position and in the American League.”
Kipnis is the third player the Indians have signed to a contract extension since spring training, joining left fielder Michael Brantley and catcher Yan Gomes. Last offseason, Cleveland signed first baseman Nick Swisher and center fielder Michael Bourn to lucrative multi-year contracts.
In total, the Indians have committed $204 million to those five players.
“I think it’s so awesome, just with what the front office is doing,” Swisher said. “Not only in the locker room does it make everything better, but even for the fan base. This is not a one-and-done type organization anymore. I feel like we’re starting to create an identity of who we are. Guys are going to be here for a long time. It really gives the fan base something to wrap their arms around.
“With everything that Chris (Antonetti) and (team president) Mark (Shapiro) and (owner) Mr. Dolan are doing, we have the utmost trust in them, because we know they’re going to do what’s best for this organization. And I think they’re putting their money where there mouth is.”