What are the Indians thinking with Justin Masterson?

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The word was that Justin Masterson was asking for a three-year deal valued at less than the $17.5 million Homer Bailey received. What’s more, that he was willing to take a 2-3 year contract too. Which, for a front-line starter, is insanely reasonable. But, as reported last night, the Indians weren’t willing to go that high and broke off negotiations with Masterson. He’ll likely hit free agency at the end of the season.

A few moments ago Indians GM Chris Antonetti spoke. He said the door is open to restart negotiations, but given that it’s believed the Indians made Masterson a two-year offer of only about $25 million, there’s not much of a reason for him to listen to them now. He’s making nearly $10 million this year alone on an arbitration-avoiding deal. Masterson is coming off a 3.45 ERA and 195/76 K/BB ratio over 193 innings last season. He has pitched 180 or more innings for each of the past four years. Homer Bailey is a year younger and has had similar numbers to Masterson. He just got a six-year deal at the average annual salary Masterson was seeking from the Indians on a two or three year deal. How is that too rich?

If Masterson has even an average season, he’s going to make far, far more than a $12-13 million average annual salary. And there is no way the Indians will be able to replace his production at anywhere close to the price they just rejected.

Video: Aristides Aquino becomes fastest player to 10 home runs in MLB history

Aristides Aquino
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There’s no two ways about it: Aristides Aquino is having a rookie year for the ages. The hot-hitting Reds outfielder tacked another item onto his already lengthy list of accomplishments on Friday, clubbing a two-run, 396-foot home run off of Adam Wainwright in the sixth inning of the Reds’ 13-4 loss to the Cardinals.

The blast came far too late in the game to upset the Cardinals’ nine-run lead, but was otherwise perfectly timed for the rookie. It marked his 10th career home run in just 16 major-league games, officially making him the fastest MLB player to 10 homers in league history. (On a less-thrilling note, it was also the first home run allowed by the Cardinals in 32 2/3 consecutive innings.)

So far in 2019, Aquino is batting a robust .353/.400/.961 with 11 extra-base hits, 19 RBI, a 1.361 OPS, and 0.8 fWAR through 55 plate appearances. Friday’s feat follows other impressive performances from the 25-year-old, who collected three homers against the Cubs last Saturday and tied Trevor Story‘s previously unbeaten record for most homers through his first 10 career games. MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon adds that Aquino’s torrid home run pace also eclipsed the standing record held by the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins, who delivered nine home runs through his first 16 career games in 2017 (per Elias).