On Thursday, it was reported that the Indians and starter Justin Masterson hit an impasse on negotiations for a contract extension. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports heard that Masterson was asking for a three-year deal below Homer Bailey’s $17.5 million average annual value (thus, less than $52.5 million total). Jon Heyman of CBS Sports heard that the Indians countered with a two-year deal that included a third-year option worth approximately $14 million.
Masterson took the hill on Friday afternoon against the Rockies as a player inexorably headed towards free agency after the season. Or so we thought. After contributing to the team’s 14-3 victory, Masterson said regarding extension talks, “It’s just for right now. There’s still time. The season doesn’t end hopefully until the World Series is over.” The quote comes from MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian.
So, maybe there is hope after all. Masterson, who will start on Opening Day as the undeniable ace of the pitching staff, represents the Indians more than anyone else on their roster and keeping him around shows their fan base that the front office is committed to putting together a competitive roster. Further, the Indians are ill-equipped to handle replacing Masterson and would likely have to go out onto the free agent market and spend more money replacing Masterson than they would by retaining him with a contract extension.