Kipnis, 26, is still in his pre-arbitration years. With contracts costing more and more, even in arbitration, the Indians may seek to lock him into a team-friendly deal in exchange for more financial security, however. He will be eligible for arbitration after the 2014 season and would become a free agent after the 2017 season.
The Indians recently locked up outfielder Michael Brantley in a similar fashion, inking him to a four-year deal worth $25 million just as he was eligible for free agency. Brantley's deal buys out one year of free agency as well, and contains an option for another season.
Signing Kipnis would certainly require more money than the team offered Brantley. Kipnis is already one of the best young second basemen in the game after a year where he hit .284/.366/.452 with 17 home runs. He was named to his first All-Star team and finished 11th in AL MVP voting.
Furthermore, Kipnis may not be entirely willing to sign a long-term deal for less money than he may otherwise receive. Cleveland broached the idea of a multi-year contract last spring, but were turned down as Kipnis instead chose to gamble on his talent and the hope that he wouldn't get injured. Circumstances have changed little over that time, so Kipnis might well choose to take a chance on arbitration.
The Braves' recent extension with Andrelton Simmons could serve as a basis for any negotiations with Kipnis. Simmons received $58 million over seven years. Simmons is one of the best defensive players in the game, while Kipnis brings above-average value with both his glove and bat. Middle infielders can come at a premium, so if the Indians are serious about signing their second baseman, they'll probably have to open their checkbook.