Before the Indians even played at Progressive Field in 2014, they made a strong investment in the future. The Tribe signing Jason Kipnis, Yan Gomes, and Michael Brantley to long-term contract extensions…keeping their young core of talent in Cleveland for the long-haul.
Just hours before the home opener, Kipnis inked a 6-year $52.5 million dollar contract.
“Ya know what, we like the guys that we have in here,” Kipnis said. “We like the winning breed that’s starting to become part of this organization that we’re kinda building right now. When you have all these players that are starting to get comfortable with each other, coming back year after year, you’re gonna see the benefits of that, and you’re gonna see a lot of guys winning games.”
Several days earlier, Catcher Yan Gomes likewise signed a 6-year contract extension.
“It’s an extremely humbling thing. It’s an organization taking a gamble on you, and they really trust you and are committed to you,” Gomes said.
2013 free agent signee Nick Swisher is thrilled with the long-term commitments from the front office.
“This is not a one and done type of organization anymore,” Swisher said. “I feel that we’re starting to create an identity of who we are. And for the fans as well. Guys are gonna be here for a long time. And it really gives the fan base something to wrap their arms around.”
Veteran Jason Giambi, currently sidelined with a broken rib, echoes the positive outlook for the 2014 season, and beyond.
“We’re trying to keep what we have together for a while. And that’s how you build a winning organization, because it’s easier to add a piece here or a piece there. And, this guys is gonna leave, and you bring in another one. The it becomes this situation where you have this revolving door of guys wanting to win.”
Now in his second season as manager, Terry Francona says that the Indians are built to win now and long into the future.
“I think we’re trying to have a place here, a team here, where players enjoy playing the game right. And through that, comes a lot of wins. And with that comes, fans being proud of their team. That would be the formula.”
“People are realizing that when you come up in here, to the Pro and the 216, we’re gonna fight for it,” Nick Swisher added.
It was twenty years to the day that then Jacobs Field now Progressive Field officially opened for business. Fresh off last year’s postseason run, the Indians have their sights set on making it back-to-back winning season for the first time in 13 years.