The Cleveland Indians are still dealing with quite a bit of uncertainty when it comes to the top of their starting rotation. Ubaldo Jimenez declined a qualifying offer from the club and is hoping to cash in for more money and years elsewhere. Justin Masterson, their ace of the last two seasons, is under team control but faces the potential of going to an arbitration hearing with the club later this month.
The Indians were reportedly hoping to lock up Masterson to a contract extenstion, but Paul Hoynes reports that those talks are dead and the two sides will re-focus on finding a one-year deal and avoiding a hearing.
It appears discussions about a multiyear deal for Justin Masterson have been shelved while the Indians and his agent, Randy Rowley, work toward a one-year deal with or without the arbitration process.
“Masterson led the Indians with 14 wins last season. The fact that he can be a free agent at the end of the upcoming season makes these negotiations, and any that could follow on a multiyear deal, more compelling. Both sides have said they are open to a multiyear deal, but it’s believed those talks have gained little, if any, traction.”
Hoynes also notes that the gap between the numbers exchanged by the two sides is the biggest of any in baseball this winter. Masterson came in at $11.8 million and the Indians countered at $8.05 million.
Masterson was exceptionally good in 2013, throwing 193 innings with a 9.09 K/9 and 3.35 FIP. Given that starting pitching is and always will be at a premium, it’s likely that the Indians are the ones feeling the heat to get this deal done rather than lose in arbitration.