Andres Gimenez, one of the key pieces to the Cleveland Guardians young core, is receiving a major contract extension.
The Guardians are agreeing with second baseman Andres Gimenez on a seven-year extension worth an approximate $106.5 million. And, according to Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal, the deal includes a team option which could take Gimenez through the 2031 season. In his first full season with the Guardians, the Venezuela native slashed .297/.371/.466 with 17 home runs and 20 stolen bags. Part of the return in the Francisco Lindor trade, Gimenez became a first-time All-Star last year, and earned a Gold Glove at second base.
Gimenez Extension is Nothing New for the Guardians
Jeff Passan of ESPN notes that locking up young talent is not a new practice for Cleveland. With Jose Ramirez and Emmanuel Clase also receiving extensions last season, the goal is to keep the young core together. In addition to signing Gimenez, the Guardians also extended reliever Trevor Stephan, another player who broke out in 2022.
I have mentioned how Gimenez is a key factor in the clutch for the Guardians, and the team evidently expects that to continue. He came up with multiple big hits in important moments, including a walk-off home run against the Minnesota Twins on June 30. The advanced statistics support the notion that Gimenez is clutch. His win probability added last year was 4.3, and his championship WPA was 2.4%. As a frame of reference, AL MVP Aaron Judge had a WPA of 8.1 and cWPA of 3.2%. There is a good reason why Gimenez finished sixth in MVP voting.
Focus On Youth Movement in Cleveland
And not only that, but Gimenez is a key piece behind the success of the youth movement. Along with the aforementioned Ramirez and Clase, Andres is a guy who can lock down second base and hit for average and pop. With other guys like Steven Kwan and Oscar Gonzalez developing well, Cleveland has their eyes on youth. And the low-budget youth movement approach may not be popular amongst the league, but it will be successful.
In many ways, the philosophy is already successful. The Guardians were one of the pleasant surprises last season and won the AL Central. The organization focuses on player development so that they can compete with teams willing to spend more in free agency. The youth movement will continue in 2023, with top prospects Bo Naylor, George Valera, Brayan Rocchio, and Gabriel Arias set to contribute this season.
Final Thoughts on the Extension
With the extension locking in a key piece, the Guardians are ready for a big 2023. And with Andres Gimenez in for the long haul, Cleveland will have a decent security blanket to work with. Of course, only time will tell how the extension pans out, but the youth is paying dividends. While fans might still be sad to see Lindor wear another uniform, at least the team has a capable replacement on their hands.
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