CLEVELAND — For months now, Jason Kipnis knew he'd soon be saying goodbye to Cleveland.
And on Wednesday, it was finally time.
One day after signing a minor league contract with the Chicago Cubs, the 2-time All-Star second baseman took to social media to say farewell to the only home team he's ever known in his nine-year Major League career. Posting a series of pictures of himself on the field and off of it from his Indians career, Kipnis thanked the organization, city and its fans for the past nine years.
"Cleveland, I’ll keep it short... Thank you," he wrote. "For taking a chance on me as an organization and as a fan base. You guys joined me on this ride to get this great org back to where it belonged, at the top competing for a [World Series] every year! I’m sorry I couldn’t finish the job for you. You helped shape me into the person I am today and I’m forever grateful. From the polite and respectful greetings you showed my family, friends and I everywhere we went. Every restaurant, every bar, every Heinen’s, everywhere! You made me feel 10 feet tall!
"Many of you went from fans, to familiar faces, to even friends. Keep that Rally Together spirit going for this team. You’re holding them to a high standard and that’s the way it should be. I was fortunate enough to play with some of the best teammates, coaching, medical and equipment staff in the game and wouldn’t have had the run i did without them. Many of which are lifelong friends now. I’ll always cherish my time in Cleveland and always tried to show you how much I loved wearing that jersey by the way I played for you! Forever grateful, forever part of the Tribe! Thank you Cleveland. Kip, Dirtbag, #22"
Selected by the Indians in the second round of the 2009 MLB Draft, Kipnis served as the team's primary second baseman from 2011-2019, earning two All-Star appearances while hitting for a .261 average (.750 OPS), 123 home runs and 529 RBIs in nine seasons. His declining production and availability in recent years, however, made it seem unlikely he'd be re-signing in Cleveland after his contract expired following the 2019 season.
"It sucks," Kipnis said in September, after suffering a season-ending wrist fracture. "There's no need to sugarcoat it. It sucks, because it's been that much fun of a trip for me. But I have very few regrets about the last eight years. It's been an absolute joy to play here."
Should he make Chicago's big league roster out of Spring Training, Kipnis will enjoy a homecoming in 2020. A native of Northbrook, Illinois and Glenbrook Native High School graduate, Kipnis grew up a fan of the Cubs, who beat his Indians in the 2016 World Series.