SEATTLE (AP) — The Cleveland Guardians locked up two more key players to long-term contracts before opening another season.
The AL Central champions signed All-Star second baseman Andrés Giménez to a seven-year contract and completed a four-year deal with reliever Trevor Stephan on Thursday before facing the Mariners in their first game of 2023.
Giménez’s $106.5 million deal, which was previously reported by the AP, runs through the 2029 season and includes a $23 million club option for 2030. Stephan’s contract goes through 2026 and includes club options for 2027 and 2028.
The 24-year-old Giménez was one of the league’s best all-around players last season, batting .297 with 17 homers and 69 RBIs while winning a Gold Glove. Giménez, who finished sixth in MVP voting, was the key piece for Cleveland when they traded All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor to the New York Mets in 2021.
With Giménez signed along with All-Star third baseman José Ramírez (seven years, $141 million through 2028), the Guardians are guaranteed to go forward with two of the game’s top infielders. The team has also discussed an extension with shortstop Amed Rosario.
A year ago, the Guardians wrapped up their deal — the largest in club history — for Ramírez on the eve of opening day.
Stephan was dominant last season while helping the Guardians run away with the division.
The right-hander went 6-5 with three saves and a 2.69 ERA in 66 appearances. A Rule 5 Draft section in 2020, Stephan led the club with 82 strikeouts in relief and gave manager Terry Francona a dependable set-up man for elite closer Emmanuel Clase.
Stephan, 27, turned it up in the postseason, striking out 11 of 18 batters faced over 5 2/3 hitless innings.
NOTES: Starter Triston McKenzie was officially placed on the 15-day injured list with a shoulder strain. He’s been shut down for at least two weeks before he’ll be re-evaluated. The team said it’s possible he could miss up to two weeks. For now, Hunter Gaddis is filling McKenzie’s rotation slot and will start Friday’s game against the Mariners. RHP Xzavion Curry has been recalled from Triple-A Columbus to take Gaddis’ bullpen spot.