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MLB Storylines: Masterson willing to take hometown discount

MLB Storylines: Masterson willing to take hometown discount
The Indians and Justin Masterson may in fact be getting closer to a long term deal. (Photo: CBSSports)
March 5, 2014
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In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB. I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @ajnicholsIBI.

Here are the stories from Monday, March 4th.

Top Stories

  • Tribe starter Justin Masterson has made it known that he is willing to sign a shorter-term deal than originally expected so that he can stay with the Indians. Many believed thatHomer Bailey's six-year, $105 million extension with the Reds would price Masterson out of the Indians market, as the two pitchers have had similar careers to this point, but according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Masterson and his agent have requested a three-to four-year deal in the $40 million to $60 million range.

Tribe News

  • The Indians improved to 5-1 in Cactus League action with a 5-4 win over the White Sox on Tuesday. Infield prospect Joey Wendle delivered the game-winning single in the 9th. Josh Tomlin became the first Tribe pitcher to log three innings this spring, giving up two runs and walking one while striking out two. Wendle,Mike AvilesDavid MurphyYan Gomes, and Carlos Santana each drove in a run.
  • First baseman David Cooper has cleared waivers and will remain with the team as a non-roster invite for Spring Training.
  • During his two-inning outing on Monday, Trevor Bauer routinely sat between 93-96 mph with his fastball, but had one pitch clocked at 98 mph.

Others News and Notes

  • The Tigers announced on Tuesday that outfielder Andy Dirks will have surgery on his lower back on Monday and is expected to miss 12 weeks.
  • The Rangers have reached an agreement with lefty Joe Saunders on a non-guaranteed Major League deal. The financial terms of the contract were not known as of Tuesday night.
  • The Orioles officially signed veteran lefty Johan Santana to a Minor League deal on Tuesday. The contract includes a base salary of $3 million if Santana makes the big league club, with an additional $5.05 million possible through incentives.
  • Lefty reliever Mike Gonzalez agreed to a Minor League deal with the Nationals. Gonzalez can earn a base salary of $1.5 million if he makes the Washington bullpen, and an extra $750 thousand in incentives.
  • According to's Mark Bowman, Braves pitcher Freddy Garcia has said that if he does not make Atlanta's 25-man roster, he will likely retire rather than go to the Minors and wait for another chance.

User Comments

March 5, 2014 - 3:21 PM EST
Re: "Masterson's agent asked for $11.8M in arbitration this year." Yes, my bad.
March 5, 2014 - 12:54 PM EST
I'm not as convinced as some of you that the Qualifying Offer will go away or even be changed in the next CBA. It's only affecting a minute fraction of players. It hasn't quite done the job I think baseball was intending, that is only attaching draft picks to the true elite free agents. Unfortunately guys like Drew, Morales, Cruz, Santana, Lohse, etc...these good but not great players are rejecting the QOs and hurting themselves. I think players will finally get the hint and realize that it's beneficial to take the QO. Doesn't mean you can't still get a longer deal.
March 5, 2014 - 12:04 PM EST
Posted last year Masterson was different- money truly is not the most important thing in his life- it's probably like 4th or 5th after God, family, the team, the fans, etc.......this is wonderful, so refreshing! Glad to hear the opener sold out so quickly. Me, I'm hoping to catch the Indians in April at Giants Stadium in SF. Should be fun. Thanks for the gun confirmation on Bauer's velo that had looked 3-4MPH faster to me on grainy video. If he includes a little meditation session w Masterson w his wily warm-up routine, we may have something here.
March 5, 2014 - 11:52 AM EST

Masterson's agent asked for $11.8M in arbitration this year.
March 5, 2014 - 10:41 AM EST
I agree that the "home town" discount is probably in years and not so much in $'s. But don't agree that anywhere near $13m is going to get it done. Heck, his agent asked for over $13m in this year's arbitration process. You can bet Justin thinks he's going to have a Cy Young year, so I think his agent is probably asking for 3/$50m. With a fourth year option around $20m. Tough decision for the Tribe brass, really tough. Saying the QO won't hurt JM next year is just posturing. That said, if JM has a great year, he'll certainly get paid. He's a marketing dept dream, a perfect face of the franchise type of guy, very unlike Ervin Santana.
March 5, 2014 - 10:05 AM EST

I agree about the QO. Lots has been said about Masterson's responsibility to the Player's Union to get the best deal possible. He may be able to use the QO as justification to signing a shorter deal in the hopes that the CBA will have changed by the time he hits FA again. I remember the CBA was angry that Cliff Lee signed a 5/120 deal with the Phillies.
March 5, 2014 - 10:00 AM EST
If Pestano is back, I believe he will take pressure of Allen and Shaw, Last year Shaw and Allen threw a lot of innings because of the bad year that Pestano had. He could be the big X-factor to this years bullpen.
March 5, 2014 - 9:56 AM EST
Reading way too much football news about Mack and Ward, I posted franchise tag, but meant qualifying offer. I have to keep my Tony's separate
Grossi its franchise tag
Lastoria it is qualifying offer
March 5, 2014 - 9:52 AM EST
Westbrook got 11 million a year back in 07 I would think that 15 million a year would be equitable in today’s baseball market. Ubaldo just got 12.5 million this season. Masterson agent knows the market and I agree that franchise tag will hurt him in the open market. His agent could be buying time as the union tries to renegotiate that franchise tag and getting Masterson some financial stability which is close to what he would get in the open market. I believe 3-4 years with a yearly salary of 13-14 million gets it done
March 5, 2014 - 9:44 AM EST
I think the discount is the length of contract more than the money. If he want to sign the standard 3 yr contract the Indians usually offer to pitchers, I believe he is looking at least 15/16 million per year.
March 5, 2014 - 8:38 AM EST
I really don't think 4yr/$60M is as a big of a hometown discount as some think.

That's still big money, would be the largest deal in Tribe history. sure that's the upper end of that rumor but it's an amount I think is actually very fair.

Don't underestimate the significance of the Qualifying Offer. I know Masterson/his agent have said they aren't worried about it but we have seen what it does to guys that are not stars. Lohse, Ubaldo, Santana, Cruz, etc....

We all love Masterson but let's not ignore the fact that he is way more comparable to Jake Westbrook at this point in his career than he is to CC. In fact, a very, very easy case can be made that Jake Westbrook was actually Better than Masterson leading up to his final year before free agency (and just before he signed his 3yr/$33M extension).

Sure Masterson could take a gamble and maybe his K-rate stays as high and he manages 210+ innings again producing the best season of his career and teams won't worry about a draft pick with him....but if he simply repeats 2013 (3.4 fWAR, under 200 innings, DL stint) then he'll be looking at Ubaldo money, maybe a bit more if he's lucky, if he has a QO attached.

March 5, 2014 - 8:03 AM EST
I'm very interested to see what other information comes out about this. 3-4 years for 40-60 really doesn't make any sense for Masterson. That's not even really a hometown discount, it's a hometown fire sale.

The only thing I can think is that it could be including this year's deal. In that case, the actual extension would be 2yr/$30-35M or 3yr/$50M. That's still a significant discount, but 3 years and $50M at least makes a little bit of sense for Masterson. He would get a nice, big payday, with an AAV close to market value, and still be able to go for another FA contract after his Age-32 season. If he's still healthy and pitching effectively at that point, he should be able to get another 4 year deal.
March 5, 2014 - 7:56 AM EST
Also the rumor that Hoynes put out there is in line to what the Dodgers gave Jason Schmidt back in 2007, 3 years 48 million.

Hopefully the results the Dodgers got then won't deter the Indians side of things.
March 5, 2014 - 7:54 AM EST
With the cost of pitching, Masterson's willingness to take a shorter deal than expected, and the current state of the Indians, Cleveland should be all over this kind of deal. Aside from the financial side, a 3-4 year deal would be more in line with what the Indians have done more of in the past.

The agent for Masterson basically put the ball in the Indians court if the max he requested from the Indians was 60 million. I'd imagine it would be a 3 year extension that would start in 2015, maybe give some kind of signing bonus added onto his 2014 deal.

Will be interesting to see how the Indians brass handle this one.
March 5, 2014 - 7:45 AM EST
Okay Tribe, the ball's in your court, I mean diamond. No excuses. We'll be expecting an announcement soon. I think I know why this is happening:

March 5, 2014 - 7:33 AM EST
Wow.. the Jon Heyman release of this story and the momentum it's drawing.. followed by Monday's announcement that the home opener sold out in 15 minutes.. This could be just the beginning of a fun and entertaining Indian's Summer.. The contract details will come out in time, but it should be noted, the first year is already set in stone.. This is perhaps the most exciting news coming into the new season since David Murphy was signed !!...

Oh... & It's so sad that the Plain DULL-er can't celebrate with the Indians and their offensive logo.. Perhaps Chief Wahoo isn't quite so offensive afterall..
March 5, 2014 - 7:17 AM EST
I've never thought Masterson was a true front of the rotation guy, but the Indians should be all over this short-term contract offer by Masterson if true.

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