Tribe could be headed to arbitration with Masterson

Justin MastersonThe Cleveland Indians’ arbitration-free run could soon be over. Tribe general manager Chris Antonetti believes that the team, who has managed to avoid arbitration hearings every offseason since 1991, believes it will have at least one arbitration hearing this year. This news comes in the wake of the Indians and starting pitcher Justin Masterson filing the largest arbitration gap to date.

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.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.

According to a source close to Indians.com beat writer Jordan Bastian, there has been little progress in discussions about a long-term contract extension for Masterson who posted a 14-10 record and 3.29 ERA through 32 games in 2013, a year in which the 6-foot-6-inch All-Star earned $5,687,500—approximately $1 million less than Brett Myers.

Other arbitration-eligible candidates are outfielder Michael Brantley, starting pitcher Josh Tomlin and relief pitcher Vinnie Pestano.

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

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    The arbitrator will split the difference Masterson will go unsigned and the Indians will have to figure out whether to take a chance and hope they can resign him or trade him by the ASB. On the positive side at least he hasn’t won a Cy Young!

  • jjalovec

    Please God, don’t let us have to rebuild the rotation again.

  • nj0

    Not sure if you’re joking, but arbitrators can’t split the difference in these hearings. It’s one or the other.

    It they go to arbitration, I think that means resign him is out.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I just heard that about arbitration my bad. I agree on the second.

  • Wow

    Pay the man.

  • Steve

    Unfortunately, the Indians are in a position where they can’t set the precedent of just “pay[ing] the man”

  • Slooz

    Masterson may not be an ace but the price of pitching is clearly skyrocketing, and he’s our only “#1-ish” guy right now…so not quite sure I see the strategy on the Tribe’s part. That said, I’d give an Indians acne-ridden summer intern ONE BILLION times more benefit of the doubt than anyone in the Browns front office right now.

  • Steve

    The strategy on the Tribe’s part is that Masterson will be wearing a uniform for them either way, so might as well try to save a few bucks. Their bid will have zero effect on Masterson’s effort in his walk year, nor will underbidding him by a million or so affect their ability to re-sign him, when that will cost them somewhere around $80M. He’ll forget all about this arb number if they back up a couple Brinks trucks later on.

  • Wow

    They don’t have the money to pay him for 2014 and then talk extension later on?

  • Kildawg

    There might not be an arbitration hearing if Masterson extends for a few years because extension talks could be a part of the negotiations.

  • Steve

    I assumed “pay the man” meant throw enough cash at him to get this over with now and make him happy. If not, what is it?

  • Wow

    I meant pay him for this year. I read about arbitration again and misunderstood it. I don’t think he’s asking for that much, he’s the heart of the rotation anyway.

  • Steve

    I don’t think the Indians should just accept whatever their stars ask for in arbitration to get it over with quicker. That’s going to mean higher arbitration costs, and higher FA costs when that time comes, and the Indians can’t afford to do that.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Can WFNY write up a good explanation of how arbitration works in MLB if it comes to that? Would be interesting, and I’ve yet to find a good clear summary of how it works.