Andres Gimenez, Cleveland Guardians reach extension

Second baseman Andrés Giménez and the Cleveland Guardians are in agreement on a seven-year $106.5 million contract extension that has a team option for 2031, sources told ESPN.

This locks up another core member of the club that has finished first or second in the American League Central for the last seven seasons.

Giménez, 24, had a breakout 2022 in which he made his first All-Star team, aquired a Gold Glove and finished behind only Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani in the AL with 7.4 Wins Above Replacement.

Acquired as part of the blockbuster deal that sent All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor to the New York Mets in January 2021, Giménez won the second-base job in Cleveland last year and proceeded to hit .297/.371/.466 with 17 home runs and 20 stolen bases. He patrolled the middle infield with shortstop Amed Rosario, who arrived in the Lindor deal as well.

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Cleveland’s history of signing top young talent to long-term extensions dates to the mid-1990s, when it popularized the practice.

The Guardians last year extended star third baseman José Ramírez through 2028 and also have top closer Emmanuel Clase signed through the 2028 season. Their pursuit of other deals has been persistent this spring, and reliever Trevor Stephan — another 2022 breakout — could be the next player to sign, according to sources.

With one of the best farm systems in baseball, Cleveland is primed to stay competitive despite a payroll that’s consistently among the bottom half of the sport — and, over the last two seasons, the bottom five. In the years after their 2016 AL pennant, Cleveland pushed its payroll to the $120 million-plus range but in 2023 is due to pay around $90 million in salary.

Others with whom Cleveland has spoken about long-term deals include Rosario, starter Triston McKenzie and outfielder Steven Kwan, the latter two of whom were drafted and developed by the team.

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