Former Guardian and Cub Jason Kipnis has formally announced his retirement in a post on Twitter. Kipnis’ last appearance in the majors came in a Cubs uniform back in the 2020 pandemic-shortened year.
Drafted by Cleveland in the second round of the 2009 draft, Kipnis rose through the ranks as a highly regarded prospect, earning recognition on top-100 prospect lists prior to the 2011 season. That was the year Kipnis would make his big league debut as well, as he slashed .272/.333/.507 with seven home runs in an impressive 36 game rookie stint.
That was enough for Kipnis to earn the starting second base job in Cleveland the following year, a spot he wouldn’t relinquish for a number of seasons. After hitting .284/.366/.452 with 17 home runs in 2013, earning a trip to the All Star game and finishing 11th in AL MVP voting, Kipnis was rewarded with a six-year, $52.5MM extension in April of 2014. A disappointing season would follow but Kipnis would bounce back in style, hitting .303/.372/.451 and making his second trip to the All Star game. He’d also break the Cleveland record for individual hits in May, picking up 51 in a month which saw him hit .429/.511/.706.
Another strong showing would follow in 2016, as Kipnis would help Cleveland go as far as the World Series, where they’d fall in seven games to the Cubs. That’d be the last above-average offensive campaign for Kipnis, as his wRC+ would sit at just 86 between 2017-19, a period in which Kipnis would slash .236/.305/.403. That’d culminate in the Guardians declining his club option for 2019, allowing Kipnis to test free agency for the first time in his career.
Free agency wasn’t fruitful for Kipnis, and in February of 2020 he landed with the Cubs on a minor league deal. He’d go on to crack their roster and hit .237/.341/.404 over a 44-game stretch during that 60-game season. While Kipnis landed a minor league deal with Atlanta in 2021, he wouldn’t crack their roster and was released at the end of the season.
Kipnis spent the bulk of his ten big league seasons manning second base, but transitioned to become an outfield option for Cleveland towards the backend of his time there, logging innings in center field in both 2017 and 2018.
All told, Kipnis finishes his career with a batting line .260/.333/.416 with 126 home runs, 1,147 hits and 136 stolen bases. That 1,000 hit came in true style, as Kipnis launched a walk-off grand slam against the White Sox in September, 2018. MLBTR congratulates Kipnis on a fine playing career, and wishes him all the best in whatever comes next.