I’m going to start this off by stating that I love Jason Kipnis. He’s everything I love to see in a baseball player – he’s a charismatic guy who plays hard, even on a bad day. One can always count on him to make something happen, even if he’s grounding into a double play. If he can, he’ll find a way to get on base – and when he gets on base, he works hard to make even more things happen. Kipnis goes all out and he knows exactly what needs to be done to contribute to the team.
More importantly, he’s proven his worth as a valuable piece of the team’s future. He’s had a great year so far as he’s hit .275 with 11 home runs and 20 stolen bags. He’s been solid defensively and has surprised even his biggest supporters with a handful of impressive plays.
Kipnis has rapidly risen to the top of the list of fan favorites here in Cleveland. The ladies love him and the guys think he’s the man. He has a strong social media presence on his Twitter and Facebook page and he interacts well with fans. He doesn’t make ignorant remarks and he keeps his cool with his critics.
Like I said, I love Jason Kipnis. And I know many of you do too.
But what if Jason Kipnis doesn’t love Cleveland when he becomes a free agent?
This is all speculation, considering no one knows if Kipnis will even be a significant baseball player in 2018. He signed to a one-year deal for 2012 and is pre-arbitration eligible in 2013 and arbitration eligible in 2015. 2018 is a long way away, no doubt, and a lot can happen. Kipnis may have fallen from grace by then and we may all be screaming for him to get lost anyway. For all we know, he may be hitting .188 with a .250 OBP.
But what if he is still one of our star players? And what if he chooses not to stay?
Let’s say Kipnis is still an important factor to the Cleveland Indians before his free agency. Obviously, money talks the most in these situations. But Clevelanders have also seen the Indians lose out on free agents, despite their offering more money than other bidding teams.
I’m not trying to sound like Joakim Noah here, but what if Kipnis doesn’t want to stay in Cleveland? What if he wants to play in a different city, maybe oh, say, Chicago?
After all, Kipnis clearly loves his hometown. And the Cubs and White Sox could both offer him the kind of contract he’ll be seeking. More importantly, those two teams lie in a city that may be better suited for him.
And if you ask me, that’s exactly where Jason Kipnis will end up.
This is not a “Jason Kipnis is the next Lebron James” comparison. This is not a slam at him. Nor is this a slam at Cleveland. This is merely something to think about.
It’s something to think about, because the future will be knocking on the door sooner than we think.
Asdrubal Cabrera has stated that he wants to play his full career with the Cleveland Indians. Asdrubal Cabrera is a darn good Cleveland Indian. His contract is due to expire in 2015. Around that time, the organization’s number one prospect, Francisco Lindor, may be ready to play at The Jake. If the team doesn’t want to part with either of these two, Lindor may be shifted from shortstop to second base. And Jason Kipnis may be playing at U.S. Cellular Field.
Of course, it’s something Clevelanders needn’t think about for quite some time. And even when that time comes, none of this may even matter. By then, Jason Kipnis may not be the same player we know now. Or maybe he’ll be even better.
Either way, speculation is just thought – yet it’s a thought that may be something we’ll all be discussing down the road. A lot could happen to the Cleveland Indians and Jason Kipnis in the years to come. So for now, we can just appreciate him while he’s here.