Arbitration season ended Friday like each of the past 21, without the participation of the Indians, who signed Asdrubal Cabrera to a one-year contract worth $4.55 million, erasing the last Tribe player from the list of the seven who were arbitration eligible.
Cabrera was scheduled to have his salary determined in an arbitration hearing late next week, after submitting a figure of $5.2 million. The Indians countered with an offer of $3.75 million. Last year, the Tribe’s everyday shortstop made $2.025 million and went on to have a breakout season at the plate, batting .273 with 25 home runs with 92 RBI.
In addition to being selected to play in the All-Star Game for the first time, Cabrera, 26, led the team in runs (87), hits (165), steals (17) and RBI. He received the American League’s Silver Slugger Award for shortstops.
“Obviously, we’re pleased to get a negotiated settlement done and avoid the arbitration process,” General Manager Chris Antonetti said. No Indians player has gone all the way to a hearing since Greg Swindell in 1991.
It is believed that Antonetti was trying to persuade Cabrera to agree to a longer-term deal, but that did not pan out. Antonetti stuck with his usual policy of refusing to discuss individual negotiations, but said in general, he is open to multiyear agreements.
The seven arbitration-eligible players — Shin-Soo Choo, Justin Masterson, Chris and Rafael Perez, Joe Smith, Jack Hannahan and Cabrera — raised the Tribe’s payroll by $11,272,000 without adding any new talent. But this was not unexpected.
“This didn’t really deviate from what we were thinking the total would be,” Antonetti said. “It’s what we expected.”
The Tribe probably is the only team in the big leagues that is not obligated to pay a guaranteed salary in 2013. On the other hand, the overwhelming majority of their players will remain under club control next year rather than have the right to become free agents.
“I don’t want to make too much of that,” said Antonetti, who insisted it was almost accidental that the franchise has no player on the current roster who will make guaranteed money in 2013. “We have no hidden agenda or ulterior motive to do that.
“This was not necessarily calculated or some kind of strategy. When long-term commitments make sense, our ownership is committed to making them. We certainly have made plenty of offers that extend beyond the 2012 season. And those are both internal [players on the club] and free-agent discussions.”
Single-game tickets for all home games will go on sale Feb. 20 at 10 a.m.
Bleacher seats again will be priced at $10 for the entire season, and several kinds of ticket packages are available.
To buy tickets, fans can order online at www.indians.com, visit Cleveland Indians Team Shops at Progressive Field and at South Park, Great Northern and Summit malls, charge by phone by calling 1-866-48-TRIBE or by going to Ticketmaster locations.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/tribematters. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.