The Cleveland Indians continue to discuss contract extensions with left fielder Michael Brantley and second baseman Jason Kipnis. But for Brantley, at least, the landscape has changed.
Brantley, who turns 26 on May 15, moved from center field to left after the Indians signed free agent Michael Bourn to a four-year, $48 million contract.
The Indians began talking to Brantley began before they signed Bourn. Brantley’s long-term value almost certainly is lower in left than it is in center, potentially complicating negotiations.
Brantley becomes eligible for arbitration next season, Kipnis the year after. In each case, the Indians would want to buy out the player’s three arbitration years, then multiple years of free agency. That probably would mean a deal of at least five years for Brantley and at least six for Kipnis.
If Brantley declined to sign an extension, he would become a free agent entering his age 30 season.
— Ken Rosenthal