Francona on Masterson: “He’s not going anywhere”

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.

[Related: The Diff: What’s up with Justin Masterson’s Indians future?]



  • cmm13

    “He’s not going anywhere,” Francona said in a phone interview with Crain’s Cleveland’s Kevin Kleps.
    …. Francona then took a giant gulp of water when asked about the status of Asdrubal Cabrera.

  • CB Everett

    I thought that when I saw Masterson’s name on the “rumor” list–that there was no way in hell they’d part with him, considering the public, gushing adoration between he and Tito.

    I know it’s a business and all, but Tito’s one of those guys who seems to make real connections and actual relationships with the players—I think one of the legitimate reasons he came back to manage is a real fun for the game and being around guys he likes–and that doesn’t hurt in getting the max out of his guys (stars and scrubs alike), attracting FAs, etc.

    Now, whether he can persuade Masty to stay with the Tribe at a market discount after this year will be the true test…

  • ToxicToast

    If Arizona “would love” to acquire Masterson they probably should have loved it before they gave up Skaggs and Eaton for a poor fielder with a .299 OBP.

  • Natedawg86

    When asked about Cabrera, he gave him the Weeden.

  • nj0

    It isn’t even Francona (though I agree he seems to be a draw and a great manager of people). Masterson isn’t getting traded because it just doesn’t make sense. As much as we need pitching, why trade our best pitcher? I guess it’s possible, but not probable. But that’s most things.

    Writers need to submit stories; that’s why we have these rumors right now.

  • Steve

    As frustrating as it would be to trade him, the Indians have to field offers. He’s one year from FA. Not actively shop him, but be willing to listen if someone comes up with a huge offer for him.

  • nj0

    Oh, of course. They should field offers on every player they have. I just love how “fielding offers” all of a sudden becomes “he’s getting traded tomorrow!!!!”.

    Jordan Bastian made the point on twitter that these types of talks help the Indians gauge the market value of Masterson and also lay some ground work for future deals (if we’re out of it in June/July).

  • Steve

    Fair enough, we’re on the same page.

    I just get frustrated with the people who get all up in arms about how we need this guy, and how could we trade him without ever looking at the economics of the situation.

  • nj0

    I agree. I’m not against trading Masterson at all. I just look at the market, the teams supposedly involved, what we’d expect in return, where the Indians are in terms of competing… and it just seems completely unrealistic at this point in the off-season.

    I could see it making sense in a few different scenarios, such as if we traded ACab to open up some payroll to sign a FA pitcher to address the rotation. At that point, maybe we trade Masterson for a younger, less-proven pitcher with more years of club control. But who is going to trade that? And how comfortable would we be with an unknown commodity? And why not just sign Masterson instead of a FA pitcher?

    I’m surprised there aren’t more rumors about Stubbs, who seems a much more likely trade candidate. But his name doesn’t generate the page views that Masterson does, I guess.

  • CB Everett

    I’m surprised too about Stubbs. Then again, maybe it’s just that I prayed someone would take him off our hands once we decided to hang onto him for trade bait. btw I’m not saying he’s worthless, just simply expendable and a fifth OF luxury we can’t afford at that salary.