The Cleveland Indians and starting pitcher Justin Masterson avoided arbitration Tuesday by agreeing to a one-year deal, according to multiple media reports.
The deal is worth $9.76 million, according to CBSSports.com.
According to MLB.com, during Tuesday’s morning workout, Masterson threw off a mound in a bullpen session with general manager Chris Antonetti looking on.
Through the arbitration process, Masterson was seeking $11.8 million, while the Indians countered with $8.05 million.
The two sides concentrated on a one-year contract to avoid arbitration with the plan of talking later about a long-term deal. Masterson is eligible for free agency next offseason.
“We’ve got plenty of time to work on anything like that,” the right-handed Masterson told MLB.com. “It’s just working through it, what the value is, what’s reasonable pay, how things work. It’s a different system, especially when you’ve got to be really smart about how you move your money around and you want to make sure you’re making a good investment.
“You’ve got to truly believe in the guy. Not that they don’t truly believe in me, but it’s what you’re working through in that process. It’s easy for us when it’s not our money to throw it around and say, ‘Just do this.’ When it’s your own money, you say, ‘ I think we’re going to think about this a little bit more.’ It doesn’t bother me.”
Masterson, who will turn 29 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.45 ERA and a team-high 195 strikeouts in 193 innings for the Indians last season. He has gone 44-55 with a 4.08 ERA in parts of five seasons with Cleveland.
After a breakout season, St. Louis Cardinals second baseman turned third baseman Matt Carpenter is looking for even more this year, even though he led the National League in hits, runs and doubles last year.
“The thing that I’m so excited about ... is there are expectations,” Carpenter told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “This is the first time in my career that I’ve had that chance, that I’ve had those expectations. Think about it. Every year, it’s been like ‘maybe he’ll make the team.’ Then the next year, it’s ‘maybe he’ll play second base.’ For the first time in my career, I get a chance to live up to an expectation. My goal is to exceed those.”
Carpenter, 28, had nearly 800 plate appearances, counting postseason play and admitted he barely could move off his couch for a couple of weeks after the season was over.
And now, a year removed from the arbitration process, the Cardinals and Carpenter might reach a multi-year agreement much like they did with young cleanup man Allen Craig last year.
“Things can manifest,” general manager John Mozeliak said. “I would imagine that he’s going to be a part of this team for a while. I would hope so.”
Said Carpenter: “If something like that happens I would be grateful for it.”
Philadelphia Phillies reliever Jonathan Papelbon insists that all that negativity that has filled his head during the past few months is a thing of the past.
“I’m definitely trying to be a lot more of a positive influence and be more upbeat,” Papelbon said during a press conference on Monday at Bright House Field.
“It starts from (new manager Ryne Sandberg). It starts from our manager in encouraging us to stay positive and be upbeat even though the last two seasons didn’t go as expected for myself and the rest of the guys in that clubhouse.”
Papelbon’s comments are a long way from the ones that have been associated with him during the course of the last few seasons. He has seemed to complain at one time or another about the way that the Phillies clubhouse has functioned.
On Monday, he did his best to try explain the comments while hardly apologizing for them.
“I know I said a lot of things that have come in the middle of 10-, 12-game losing streaks that come out with emotion,” Papelbon said. “I’ve always been an emotional type of player. That’s just the way I am.
“This year, that emotion has turned into so much more of a positive than a negative. I’m not saying we’re going to go out and everything is hunky dory. We still have a lot of work to put in.”
GRILLI EASING IN
Jason Grilli has had fewer throwing sessions than the rest of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ pitchers during the early days of spring training.
But the closer says that is by design and not because of any lingering effects of the strained forearm that sidelined him for nearly six weeks during the second half of last season.
“It’s a long spring and I’m just pacing myself, taking my time,” the 37-year-old Grilli said.
He converted 33 of 35 save opportunities last season and had a 2.70 ERA in 54 games.