CLEVELAND — The Major League Baseball offseason decisions already have begun being made, and the Cleveland Indians announced three of their moves Friday.
The Indians exercised the 2020 club option for starting pitcher Corey Kluber and chose to decline 2020 options for second baseman Jason Kipnis and relief pitcher Dan Otero.
Kluber’s option is worth a reported $17.5 million, which given the market price for top-of-the-rotation starting pitchers, is a considerable bargain. The Indians hold a club option for Kluber for the 2021 season worth a reported $18 million.
The Indians paid more than $2 million to buy out options for Kipnis and Otero, the prior of whom was due to make more than $16.5 million if the option was exercised.
A two-time American League Cy Young Award winner and four-time finalist, Kluber was out of the lineup since May 1 when he suffered a broken ulna in his pitching arm after being struck by a line drive in a start against the Miami Marlins. Kluber suffered the injury in the fifth inning of his seventh start of the season, but prior to the broken bone, he struggled with consistency.
Kluber had a 2-3 record with a 5.80 earned run average and allowed 44 hits, 26 runs, four home runs and 15 walks against 38 strikeouts in 35.2 innings of work before suffering the injury that kept him away from the balance of the season.
Kluber has posted a 98-58 record with a 3.16 earned run average in 208 games, including 203 starts, over parts of nine seasons with the Indians.
Although shortened by injury, Kipnis finished 2019 with 112 hits, including 23 doubles and 17 home runs, and 65 runs batted in over 121 games.
During his career, Kipnis logged 1,121 regular-season games for the Indians, where he smacked 1,120 hits (252 doubles, 23 triples, 123 home runs) with 529 runs batted in, 594 runs scored, 449 walks drawn and 135 stolen bases in 168 attempts (80.3 percent success rate).
A second-round pick of the Indians in the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Arizona State University, Kipnis converted from collegiate outfielder to professional infielder, and eventually, through hard work and dedication to his craft, twice earned American League All-Star status (2013, 2015).
Kipnis was a lifetime .261 hitter with splits of .333/.417/.750 on-base, slugging and on-base-plus-slugging percentages for the Indians.
In 24 career postseason games with the Indians, Kipnis registered 19 hits in 96 at-bats with three doubles, one triple, four home runs, nine runs scored and nine RBI.
In four seasons with the Indians, Otero recorded a 10-2 record (.833 win-loss percentage) with a 3.33 ERA over 219.0 innings of work in 200 appearances.