CLEVELAND — Jason Kipnis is continuing his baseball career in 2020, but it will be on a new team, as he reached a minor-league deal with the Chicago Cubs and will compete for a spot on their Major League Baseball roster during spring training.
By reaching the deal with the hometown Cubs earlier this week, it closed the book on Kipnis’ career with the Cleveland Indians, with whom he spent nine seasons, twice reached American League All-Star status and made four trips to the postseason, including a run to Game 7 of the 2016 World Series.
In recognition of Kipnis’ contributions to the franchise, the Indians posted a highlight video to their Twitter account along with well wishes for his future.
“Best of luck, Dirtbag,” the Indians wrote, which referred to the nickname Kipnis wore on his jersey during MLB Players’ Weekend the past two seasons.
The highlight video began with Kipnis’ first hit, which was a game-winning RBI single to right field against the Los Angeles Angels on July 25, 2011 and continued to show him hit a walk-off home run against the Seattle Mariners, sliding in safely at home underneath a tag after a relay throw and making slick defensive plays, including a diving stop and throw to first base to help clinch a postseason berth in 2013.
Then, the video featured Kipnis’ highlights from the 2016 World Series, including a three-run home run at Wrigley Field to help the Indians to a 7-2 win over the Cubs, as well as his hustling around from second base to score a second run on an errant pitch in a comeback attempt in Game 7.
One of the final highlights of the video came from a game against the Chicago White Sox on September 19, 2018, when Kipnis belted a walk-off grand slam in front of the home fans at Progressive Field.
During his career with the Indians, Kipnis logged 1,121 regular-season games, 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.