Cleveland- Jason Kipnis
Trading with Cleveland makes too much sense not to bring up, whether I like it or not. I’ve never been fond of the constant rumours linking Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins to anyone who has worked in Cleveland before, but if a trade makes sense then it doesn’t really matter who is on the other end of the phone.
Cleveland ended up losing out in the ALDS to the Houston Astros, and should be well positioned as a strong contender again in 2019. Their lineup is pretty loaded, but unfortunately they didn’t get the type of production out of Jason Kipnis at second base that they were hoping for, which is part of what lead to their eventual trade for Josh Donaldson, allowing them to move Jose Ramirez to second.
Last season Kipnis slashed .230/.315/.389 in 530 at bats, adding18 home runs, 28 doubles and 75 RBI. He wasn’t horrible by any means, but his 1.6 bWAR were a far cry from the 4.2-5.7 WAR seasons he was having a couple years ago. He’s also scheduled to make 28 million over the next two seasons, including a 2.5 million dollar buyout for 2021, and has been a frequent subject of trade rumours in the past.
The Blue Jays don’t need another infielder at all, but Kipnis does have some experience in the outfield as well. With the multi-year pact for the veteran as well, it would probably require a pretty solid prospect haul for the Blue Jays to consider taking his contract, and it’s hard to say whether that would be worth it to Cleveland or not.
I can’t imagine there’s any problem picking up the phone and making a call to Cleveland though, so it’s at least worth asking about.