The Indians and starting pitcher Justin Masterson were unable to get anywhere during discussions for a proposed contract extension, according to multiple reports. The two sides likely won't revisit negotiations before Masterson reaches free agency at the end of the season.
Masterson's camp wanted a two- or three-year deal at around $17 million per season, per Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal and CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. However, the Indians were only willing to offer a deal of around two years and $14 million, reports Heyman.
Masterson, 28, posted a 3.45 ERA and struck out more than a batter per inning in 2013. Another season like that will likely result in the Jamaican right-hander pricing himself out of the Indians' range. Odds of that happening seem to be in Masterson's favor; he's long been one of the best in the league at inducing ground balls, is in the midst of his prime and is off to a strong start this spring. Masterson has not allowed a run in 13 innings while striking out 14 batters and issuing only two walks in Cactus League play.
If Masterson ends up reaching free agency and the Indians are unable to afford to re-sign him, the team's rotation will likely be in dire straits. The unit already lost Scott Kazmir and Ubaldo Jimenez from a squad that went to the postseason in 2013, leaving the largely-unproven duo of Corey Kluber and Danny Salazar as the best starters behind Masterson. The options are slim after that. Cleveland doesn't have the type of prospects needed to pull off a trade, so the team would have to hit the bargain bin hard -- and hope right-handed prospect Cody Anderson approaches his ceiling -- to fill in the holes by 2015.