The Indians continue to discuss an extension with starting pitcher Justin Masterson but don't want to offer anything close to the six-year, $105 million deal their in-state counterparts in Cincinnati gave to Homer Bailey. That's okay with Masterson, who will reportedly listen to contract offers as short as three years, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.
Masterson, who avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $9.8 million salary for the 2014 season, is scheduled to be a free agent after the year but wants to work out the terms of an extension with Cleveland, perhaps as soon as the end of spring training. Masterson's value on the open market might have gone up after the extension Bailey received, but his camp also fears he could be hurt by the Indians' threat to throw down the dreaded qualifying offer, Heyman notes.
Masterson posted a 3.45 ERA with a career-best 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings and earned his first All-Star selection in 2013.
Tigers' Dirks set for back surgery
Dirks saw some playing time last week but began complaining of back pain over the weekend, according to Mlive's James Schmehl. Dirks was checked out on Monday and told Tuesday that he'll need microdisectomy surgery, Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski told Schmehl.
The 28-year-old Kansas native should be able to resume baseball activities within six weeks of the surgery, but he'll face at least another six-week layoff before returning to the Tigers. Detroit entered the season planning to have Dirks platoon with Rajai Davis in left field, adds Schmehl, but the injury could force the team to use Davis as the everyday starter.
Dirks hit .256/.323/.363 for Detroit last season, a sharp drop-off from the .322/.370/.487 line he posted in 2012.
Dodgers' Stripling will have Tommy John surgery
Stripling reported elbow pain to the Dodgers' staff a day after pitching two innings against the Diamondbacks on Feb. 26, according to True Blue LA's Eric Stephen. Stripling initially felt something wrong almost a week before that, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told Stephen.
Stripling posted a 2.82 ERA with 8.2 strikeouts and 2.1 walks per nine innings at High-A and Double-A last season. In 164 innings spanning his two professional seasons, Stripling has a 2.47 ERA with 154 strikeouts and 36 walks.
Peavy could start the season on the DL
Peavy was finally able to throw on Tuesday but hasn't been cleared to wear his glove. There's no timetable for when he'll be able to do so, meaning that a lack of reps might leave him unable to crack the opening day rotation.