MLB Trade Rumors estimated that the soon-to-be 29-year-old, one year away from free agency, would likely receive $9.7 million for 2014.
In the filings, as first reported by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Indians tabbed $8.05 million as the number and Masterson said $11.8 million. Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan shared that it’s the biggest arbitration filing gap reported thus far.
Masterson had another fine season in 2013. He posted a 14-10 record and 3.29 ERA in 32 games (29 starts). He earned some relief appearances down the stretch after battling back from an injury. He’s expected to be the team’s Opening Day starter again this season.
But with his free agency pending next offseason, this is by far the team’s biggest possible arbitration case this winter. The Indians have not actually gone to an arbitration hearing since 1991. More likely than not, they’ll find a way to settle with Masterson before it gets to that point. The monetary differences perhaps aren’t that surprising, but several other high-profile cases already reached agreement points.
The bigger question still remains: Will the former Red Sox starter/reliever, acquired in the infamous 2009 Victor Martinez trade, stay in Cleveland for the long term? A possible deal, starting in 2015, could be for four years and $50-60 million. It’s just a matter of whether the team will be able to strike such a deal before he officially hits the open market.
Also on Friday, the team announced a $1.375 million one-year deal with arbitration-eligible lefty reliever Marc Rzepczynski. The 27-year-old, acquired in a trade from St. Louis last July, was estimated to receive a $1.4 million deal, per MLB Trade Rumors. He had a 0.89 ERA in 27 relief appearances for the Indians.
Previously, the team reached an $1.25 million agreement with fellow newly acquired southpaw reliever Josh Outman. Still pending: arbitration filings and updates for outfielder Michael Brantley (Passan update: team $2.7M, player: $3.8M, est: $3.7M), righty Vinnie Pestano and righty Josh Tomlin.
Photo: AP Photo/Reed Saxon