Rumored details of Justin Masterson’s contract proposal to the Indians

Justin Masterson

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)

[More Tribe: About Kenny Lofton’s prolonged “Get off my lawn” moment]

  • Pete

    4 years/$60m is a fair price for a #1 rotation pitcher currently. Tribe needs to decide if they want to be a contender or a bottom dweller.

  • boomhauertjs

    If these really are Masterson’s contract demands and the Tribe doesn’t sign him, the “Dolans are cheap” narrative is going to be back in full force.

  • Natedawg86

    I do like Masterson, and i would like to see him re-signed, but lets not look past the fact that he is 53-63 with a career ERA of 4.03. He is our #1, but he is probably not one of the best 32 pitchers in the league

  • DCTribeFan

    I don’t think it’s ever left.

  • DCTribeFan

    These aren’t “details”, they’re mere speculation from Heyman. If the “40-60M, 3-4 yrs” range–and I forget who offered that up, but I thought it was Masty’s camp–is still vaguely true, then where is the $40M pricetag? Do we get 2 1/2 years for $40M?
    3yrs/$50M is EXACTLY Bailey money, pro rata. The only concession there is time, which I agree is very valuable for the Tribe, who would never do something as stupid as Cincy just did.
    It troubles me to hear they are focusing on Kipnis ( per the PD today) vs the Masty proposal. Time’s a-wastin here.

  • Natedawg86

    Kipnis is a top 5 2B

  • mgbode

    “not looking for Bailey $$$” is a false perception here. $50m/3yrs = $16.7mil/year. Bailey got $17.5mil/year.

    Yes, Masterson seems willing to take 1/2 the years, which is huge from a risk management POV. It seems that he’s betting on the deals being bigger in the new CBA (coming in, oh, 3 years) and betting on himself continuing to put up good numbers. Get that one last big contract in his very early 30s.

    Now, from the Indians perspective, it’s great that he wants a short deal as it’s likely the only way we can even take the risk of putting 20% or so of our budget towards one player (16.7*5 = 83.5). But, it is still 1/5 of our budget, so we better be careful here.

  • Jim

    And he is still looking at a contract worth $100 plus million on the open market.

  • Jim

    Cabrera is making $10 million this season. That money comes off the books next season. As it stands, the Indians currently have a projected payroll of $52 million to start next season. Obviously that number will increase with arbitration settlements, potential extensions of younger players etc., but the Indians have the room within their financial constraints to sign Masterson at the terms being discussed.

  • mgbode

    Yes, Kipnis is going to get a raise along with others. We have a contending budget of somewhere between $80-90mil at most. Masterson’s contract will be a big piece of that budget.

    I think that I would extend Masterson here, but I want people (in general) to be aware that it is not just an automatic yes. There are significant risks to the Indians by tying up their budget like that on one player (Hafner & Sizemore are waving in the back of the room).

  • Eric G

    Speaking of which, what are the odds on Sizemore being an important role in the Red Sox 2014 season? Or the odds of him tripping on the lawn and needing season-ending surgery?

  • Bob O’Brien

    It would also hold more truth than in years past.

  • Harv 21

    Misleading headline alert. “A fair estimate could be …” is not a rumor. There’s no unverified source, nothing in the wind. It’s a simple spitball conjured up by the author, as he admits. Nothing new here.

    [yeah, Craig, I know you hate headlines, but the spitball=rumor thing is my pet peeve as most commonly used to get attention]

  • I’m going to disagree with you on this one. Did you click through and read Heyman’s article? Maybe I should have quoted more of Heyman’s piece, but he has sources indicating the length and the annual average value in relation to Homer Bailey’s deal. He talks all around it before laying out his very likely accurate deduction based on other sourced details.

  • Harv 21

    you know what? Somebody slap me and my sincere apologies. I must not have read the link and there is more than enough to call this a “rumor.” Another reason for Craig to hate headlines: even the fair ones get unfairly bashed. I just downticked my own comment.

  • Harv 21

    except it won’t let me downtick my own. Some sort of cannabilism taboo I guess.