Justin Masterson has been pitching very well this Spring so far, but the club still hasn’t worked out a long-term deal with their best pitcher. The debates rage on whether Masterson is a “true number one” starter, but it matters little in a sport where Homer Bailey cashes in big time to the tune of $105 million for six years. It seems it might be even easier than that anyway as Jon Heyman reports that Masterson probably isn’t even looking for Bailey dollars.
While it isn’t known exactly how much Masterson requested, a fair estimate could be in the range of $50 million for three years, which would put him at just about $60 million for four years counting his agreed-upon salary of $9.7625 million for 2014.
Of course it all sounds like a lot of money, and these are just estimates but this is just what it costs to keep starting pitching in 2014. The idea that Justin Masterson isn’t pressing like crazy to see if he can get every last dime out of the Tribe is pretty remarkable considering the way the rest of the league runs. Yes, Masterson’s rumored dollars are pretty healthy, but there’s a lot of value for a team like the Tribe in only committing to four years instead of a full six. It’s an idea that really does look good for both player and team.
Of course the contract is a risk as we don’t know just where Justin Masterson will plateau. Is he a true number one starter? That’s a nebulous term anyway. Justin Masterson is the best the Indians have. He makes their pitching staff better. He’s still in his 20’s. He’s started 125 games for the Tribe in the last four years and he has been an especially easy choice to be their opening day starter in recent history.
As Jon Heyman points out, Justin Masterson has made reasonable offers to the Indians and they can’t afford to ignore him. While MLB money is still pretty wacky, there’s little doubting that Heyman is right. So what is the Tribe waiting for?
(AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
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