Of all of their arbitration eligible players, the Cleveland Indians have the most time to negotiate with starting pitcher Justin Masterson. Any deal, however, will apparently be a one-year settlement to avoid a hearing (scheduled for February 20th).
On the heels of a four-year deal with outfielder Michael Brantley, it sounds like the team still won’t be talking about a longer deal with their ace pitcher. Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports the following:
#Indians got Brantley deal done, but don’t expect another extension soon. Source says no current talks with Masterson about longterm deal.
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) February 11, 2014
On the one hand the Indians need not feel a sense of urgency yet, as they have Masterson under team control through 2015. On the other hand, starting pitching is the currency of this fine sport of ours, and any uncertainty in that department is best addressed in short order.
The two sides are far apart in the salary figures submitted this off-season: Masterson, coming off a 14-10 season in which he threw 193 innings and posted a career-best 9.1 K/9, asked for $11.8 million. The Indians submitted $8.05 million.
Arbitration hearings can supposedly get ugly, especially when such a gap exists between the two sides. For now the Indians will focus exclusively on settling with Masterson to avoid such a hearing and worry about any long-term talks at another time.