In response to rumors that the Cleveland Indians were shopping All-Star starting pitcher Justin Masterson, Tribe manager Terry Francona says there is nothing to see here.
“He’s not going anywhere,” Francona said in a phone interview with Crain’s Cleveland’s Kevin Kleps. “I called him and told him this morning that if he has been reading it, it’s false. That’s the world we live in today with the Internet and everything else.”
In 2013, Masterson posted a 3.45 ERA and 195/76 K/BB ratio over 193 innings, winning 14 games. He dealt with an oblique injury at the end of the regular season, ultimately sliding him into a role within the bullpen, but is expected to be fully healthy for the start of spring training. He has averaged 31 starts the last four seasons, and he has pitched at least 180 innings each year during that span.
Masterson, who will be 29 on March 22, can be an unrestricted free agent after the upcoming season. He was one of the many who avoided arbitration with the Indians last season, ultimately agreeing to a one-year, $5,687,500 contract. Masterson is expected to receive roughly $9.7 million in his final arbitration-eligible season of 2014. MLB Trade Rumors estimates that his next conract will be in the seven-year, $75 million range.
The New York Yankees are reportedly the latest team to have interest in Masterson, but any deal would need a third team as New York is allegedly looking to move outfielder Brett Gardner, a player who would not fit the mold of what Cleveland would covet in return. On Tuesday, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that the Arizona Diamondbacks would “really love” to acquire the 6-foot-6-inch pitcher.