Neither side wanted to go head-to-head in the nasty business of arbitration.
But both the Indians and ace pitcher Justin Masterson were poised to make the trek from Arizona to Florida Tuesday afternoon to begin the dreaded process of preparing for Thursday’s scheduled hearing.
But those plans were halted at 12:30 p.m. (MST) when the two sides struck a one-year deal that made the arbitration process unnecessary. CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman reported Masterson’s deal is for $9.7625 million, which is just below the mid-point of the difference between the two sides ($9.925 million).
When the sides initially exchanged salary proposals, Masterson was seeking $11.8 million. The Indians countered with a one-year, $8.05 million offer. The difference between the two numbers marked the biggest gap between in all of major league baseball’s arbitration cases this season.
There were signs pointing in the direction that something was happening late Tuesday morning in Goodyear, Ariz., when Indians assistant general manager Mike Chernoff (who’s been serving as the team’s lead negotiator for arbitration cases) was spotted casually hanging around the spring training complex fields as players went through their morning workout.
A little later, Masterson, who went 14-10 last season, confirmed that talks had intensified.