Andrés Giménez Is the Newest Guardian to Signal a Lengthy-Time period Extension

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports activities

Final yr, Andrés Giménez loved fairly a breakout season, serving to to reduce the sting of the Francisco Lindor commerce by rising as one of many high second basemen within the recreation. He made his first All-Star group, received his first Gold Glove, and helped the Guardians win the AL Central for the primary time since 2018. Now, the group has assured that he’ll stick round for an excellent lengthy whereas. On Tuesday, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that Giménez has agreed to phrases on a seven-year, $106.5 million extension that additionally contains an possibility for an eighth season.

The complete particulars of the contract haven’t but been reported, however the deal seems to cowl the 2023-29 seasons, with a $4 million signing bonus and a $23 million membership possibility for 2030 that comes with a $2.5 million buyout. Through as-yet-unspecified escalators, that possibility can improve to $24 million (be aware that Passan has reported the choice yr as 2031, which means that the assured portion of the deal wouldn’t start till subsequent season). At its most, the extension may pay Giménez $128 million over eight years, his ages 24-31 seasons.

The assured portion of the contract is the second-largest in group historical past after José Ramírez’s five-year, $124 million extension signed final yr. The extension is the newest manifestation of what has virtually change into a Cleveland custom, one which traces again to the rebirth of the franchise. Within the mid-Nineties, basic supervisor John Hart pioneered the follow of signing younger stars corresponding to Sandy Alomar Jr., Carlos Baerga, Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, and Omar Vizquel to extensions that ran by means of not less than a few of their arbitration years and saved them within the fold once they would have hit free company. It’s a technique that enabled the group to save lots of tens of millions of {dollars} whereas sustaining a aggressive nucleus, and one which has change into in style with a number of different groups, most notably the Braves (for whom Hart served as president of baseball operations from late 2014 to late ’17). Lengthy after Hart left Cleveland, successors Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti continued to signal gamers corresponding to Ramírez, Michael Brantley, Travis Hafner, Jason Kipnis, Corey Kluber, Carlos Santana, and Grady Sizemore to offers alongside these strains.

That’s an incomplete checklist of gamers who went this route, nevertheless it by no means included Lindor, who went year-to-year throughout his arbitration years till the group determined it couldn’t afford him at a full market worth. On January 7, 2021, Lindor and Carlos Carrasco had been traded to the Mets in trade for the then-22-year-old Giménez, shortstop Amed Rosario, outfielder Isaiah Greene and righty Josh Wolf.

Giménez had hit a powerful .263/.333/.398 (105 wRC+) in 49 video games with the Mets in the course of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, however he struggled in his first yr with Cleveland, batting .218/.282/.351 (74 RC+) in 68 video games sandwiched round a detour to Triple-A Columbus that lasted practically three months. He did hit significantly better after returning (.245/.320/.382, 94 wRC+) than earlier than (.179/.226/.308, 43 wRC+) even when he didn’t really make higher contact. As I famous final fall, he held his personal after returning regardless of missing a constant method on the plate. “Final yr [2021] he’d deviate after like a nasty recreation,” supervisor Terry Francona told the Akron Beakon Journal’s Ryan Lewis in Might. “You’d have completely different stance, you’ve a leg kick you didn’t have, you get a toe-tap.”

Guardians hitting coaches Chris Valaika and Victor Rodriguez helped Giménez ditch the leg kick, which they felt was hindering his pitch recognition and his timing. He fared higher in opposition to each main pitch kind in 2022 than ’21, and total batted .297/.371/.466 with 17 homers and 20 steals. His 140 wRC+ completed in a digital tie with Rafael Devers and Carlos Correa for eighth within the AL (one level forward of Ramírez) and amongst second basemen of both league trailed solely Jose Altuve and Jeff McNeil. On the opposite aspect of the ball, Giménez’s 16 DRS, 9 OAA and 6.5 UZR every ranked second amongst all second basemen, and total, his 6.1 WAR tied Xander Bogaerts for fifth within the AL, and amongst second basemen trailed solely Altuve. That’s some positive firm.

Giménez’s efficiency included a couple of areas of concern, notably a 40.8% chase fee, 6.1% stroll fee, and Statcast contact numbers (87.8 mph common exit velocity, 6.2% barrel fee, 37.6% hard-hit fee) that positioned solely within the twenty ninth–thirty sixth percentiles. Thanks partially to his 94th-percentile pace, he was nonetheless one of many majors’ best hitters on groundballs, rating among the many high half-dozen in each batting common and wRC+:

Most Productive on Groundballs

Minimal 100 groundballs.

As famous final fall, hitters mixed for a .235 AVG and 35 wRC+ on grounders; based mostly on that, Giménez netted an additional 17 hits, with out which he’d have completed with a .263 AVG and .433 SLG, a lot nearer to his anticipated numbers.

Whereas I do marvel in regards to the sustainability of that facet of his recreation, in all, that’s a fairly spectacular exhibiting for a 23-year-old. In reality, it’s top-of-the-line age-23 seasons of the previous decade:

Finest Age-23 Seasons, 2013-22

Participant Staff Season PA HR SB AVG OBP SLG wRC+ BsR Off Def WAR
Mike Trout LAA 2015 682 41 11 .299 .402 .590 171 3.0 58.7 6.6 9.3
Mookie Betts BOS 2016 730 31 26 .318 .363 .534 136 10.6 41.8 13.0 8.2
Cody Bellinger LAD 2019 660 47 15 .305 .406 .629 161 1.4 54.2 4.5 7.7
Manny Machado BAL 2016 696 37 0 .294 .343 .533 131 0.1 25.7 11.4 6.2
Kris Bryant CHC 2015 650 26 13 .275 .369 .488 136 6.9 33.8 3.6 6.1
Francisco Lindor CLE 2017 723 33 15 .273 .337 .505 116 4.7 19.4 17.7 6.1
Andres Giménez CLE 2022 557 17 20 .297 .371 .466 140 3.4 28.3 12.0 6.1
Yasiel Puig LAD 2014 640 16 11 .296 .382 .480 148 1.6 36.3 -5.5 5.5
Corey Seager LAD 2017 613 22 4 .295 .375 .479 127 3.4 24.9 8.7 5.4
José Ramírez CLE 2016 618 11 22 .312 .363 .462 119 8.6 22.9 7.4 5.3
Bo Bichette TOR 2021 690 29 25 .298 .343 .484 122 6.9 25.2 2.4 5.1
Freddie Freeman ATL 2013 629 23 1 .319 .396 .501 150 1.5 36.9 -9.5 5.0

Once more, positive firm even given the presence of some gamers who’ve flamed out; Bellinger and Bryant have each handled a sequence of accidents, whereas Puig’s decline has been an unsightly combination of on- and off-field points. The e-book isn’t closed on any of the above gamers, however a number of are Cooperstown sure. It’s price noting that the 2 different Cleveland gamers on the checklist have turned out fairly effectively, and that Giménez’s 140 wRC+ is definitely greater than all the different non-first base infielders — even those that out-homered him by a big margin.

As a result of Giménez spent so lengthy within the minors in 2021, he’s accrued solely two years and 106 days of main league service time, 66 wanting reaching three full seasons (which might have made him eligible without cost company after the 2025 season) and 22 short of turning into an arbitration-eligible Tremendous Two. Thus, his contract for 2023 was among the many 28 the group recently renewed; most of these salaries haven’t even been printed but, however Giménez was solely set to make $739,400. The $4 million signing bonus bumps him as much as one thing nearer to what a star-caliber participant in his first yr of arbitration eligibility would possibly make. For instance, Bichette, who’s heading into his age-25 season with 3.063 years of service time, is making $2.85 million in wage plus a $3.25 million signing bonus as a part of his three-year, $33.6 million extension, whereas the Padres’ Jake Cronenworth, who has precisely three years of service time, is making $4.225 million coming off back-to-back 4.1-WAR seasons. Had he reached three years, Giménez is likely to be someplace in that ballpark.

Through Dan Szymborski, right here’s Giménez’s projection by means of 2030, the yr with the membership possibility:

ZiPS Projection – Andrés Giménez

12 months Age BA OBP SLG AB H HR SO SB OPS+ WAR $ $Arb
2023 24 .266 .336 .416 515 137 15 119 20 108 4.4 $36.9 $0.7
2024 25 .265 .336 .420 517 137 16 115 19 109 4.5 $39.6 $7.9
2025 26 .264 .338 .419 515 136 16 112 18 110 4.5 $42.1 $14.7
2026 27 .260 .334 .416 515 134 16 109 16 108 4.0 $38.5 $17.4
2027 28 .257 .333 .409 514 132 16 106 15 105 3.6 $35.5
2028 29 .255 .333 .407 513 131 16 105 13 105 3.2 $32.9
2029 30 .255 .333 .407 513 131 16 106 12 105 2.9 $30.4
2030 31 .257 .334 .409 513 132 16 106 11 106 2.8 $31.3

Even with some regression to 4.5 WAR per yr at his peak, the ZiPS contract projection for Giménez if he had been a free agent involves a whopping $287.2 million, which is greater than Bogaerts acquired from the Padres as a 30-year-old free agent (and unfold out over 11 years, at that). Even with the anticipated reductions for his arbitration years, Giménez tasks to be price $139.5 million by means of 2029, and $170.8 million by means of ’30; by means of that lens, this appears like a moderately club-friendly deal. It’s not an out-and-out steal the best way Ramírez’s five-year, $26 million deal for 2017-21 — over which the third baseman produced 28 WAR, made three All-Star groups and completed within the high three in AL MVP voting thrice — turned out to be, nevertheless it’s clear that Giménez traded some threat for monetary safety. If he’s nonetheless even near being a three-win participant in 2030, he’ll stand to make tens of tens of millions extra, although he’s unlikely to method the windfall he may need reaped if he’d spent all of 2021 within the majors and hit free company after 2025, his age-26 season.

All of which is to say that that is A Very Guardians Deal, and whereas we are able to once more bemoan the wage construction that stops gamers wanting six years of service time from getting something approaching their full market worth, it takes two sides to tango. And we shouldn’t be shocked if not less than a pair extra extensions observe briefly order. Via The Athletic’s Zack Meisel, the group is in “superior negotiations” with a number of gamers together with Rosario, Triston McKenzie, Steven Kwan, and Trevor Stephan, hoping to finish extensions by Opening Day (Stephan’s is reportedly nearing completion). In the meantime, Emmanuel Clase (5 years, $20 million) and Myles Straw (5 years, $25 million) signed such offers final spring, albeit at a scale a lot smaller than that of Giménez. If a few of these extensions come although, they’ll most likely improve the group’s payroll — estimated at round $90.7 million even with a number of of these aforementioned extension candidates’ salaries unknown — by a couple of million {dollars}. They’re nonetheless prone to rank among the bottom third of the 30 groups, even whereas contending for an additional AL Central title or not less than a playoff spot. This method has labored for the Guardians earlier than, and not less than by way of establishing generational wealth for Giménez, it’ll work for him as effectively.