The Indians may have gone two decades between requiring arbitration assistance, but the last nine days have shown the club isn’t the least bit rusty.
The Indians improved to 2-0 in arbitration hearings Saturday when word leaked to the Associated Press that the club won its case against right-handed starting pitcher Josh Tomlin.
Tomlin appeared in only one game (two innings) with the Indians last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He was asking for a raise to $975,000 for the 2014 season. But the panel of arbitrators voted in favor of the Indians offer of $800,000.
Tomlin, 29, is 23-19 with a 4.92 ERA in 60 career games with Cleveland. He’ll spend spring camp battling for the fifth spot in the Tribe’s rotation.
In the Tribe’s first arbitration hearing Feb. 7, the club won its case against reliever Vinnie Pestano. The right-hander had asked for a $1.45 million salary this season, but instead will earn $975,000.
“Our clear preference is to always negotiate a settlement,” Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said Thursday. “And I think we have a very long track record of demonstrating that and trying to do it. But it has to be an equitable settlement, and one we think makes sense. In both Vinnie and Josh's case, we felt we made very earnest efforts to try and reach an agreement. Unfortunately, we weren't able to.
“So at this point the arbitrators can decide, and then we can move on. I think that's the most important thing – we can get it behind us and move on. We've now done it with Vinnie. It's in the past. And as of Saturday it'll be in the past for Josh as well.”
That appeared to be the case late Saturday morning when both Tomlin and Antonetti were all smiles as they chatted in the hallway outside of the team’s clubhouse at the spring training complex.