Short-Term Pact Could Be In Justin Masterson’s Future
Recent talk surrounding the Indians and Justin Masterson has been whether or not the two sides could agree on a long-term contract extension to keep him in Cleveland for the foreseeable future. After the near swing and miss that were his pre-arbitration negotiations, the prospects of having Masterson in an Indians uniform beyond 2014 didn’t seem promising. Well, all that has changed. It appears that Masterson may be prepared to sign a shorter pact in order to remain with the team beyond just the 2014 season.
It’s this exact same scenario that Ed Carroll and Merritt Rohlfing discussed in a recent episode of Wahoo’s on the Mic. In their discussion, Ed and Merritt explain how Masterson could help out himself and the Indians by signing a shorter deal. Rather than signing a long-term deal similar to the six-year $105 million dollar contract, they proposed a three or four-year deal that would allow him one last run at free agency when the Yankees and Red Sox would still be willing to throw a large sum of money at him.
If we are to believe recent reports, Masterson and his camp have proposed a three to four-year deal somewhere in the $40-60 million range. In the overall grand scheme of things, this actually is a much more team friendly deal than the $100 million-plus many thought he would attempt to get from either the Indians or on the open market.
Masterson also explained his rationale behind the decision to possibly sign for a lesser amount of years. In summation, it came down to being content with his situation and enjoying his time pitching for Terry Francona. He had to say:
“It is a challenging situation,” Masterson said on Wednesday morning. “Especially for me. [I'm] not doing this because we need to get the most money ever. We also think about others who may come behind us. There are a lot of different factors you try to work in. Are we being true to our value or are we skewing it?”
“In general,” Masterson said, “when you have those commitments on certain teams, it does show, ‘Hey, I want to be here.’ Not only to the fans, but to other people. People want to come here. Why do they want to go there? Now you have people thinking, ‘Hmm, what it is it about that place?’ There can be that aspect. Maybe not, but there is that possibility.”
You also cannot overlook the Francona factor in all of this. Being a player’s manager and known for letting his teams police themselves, the Indians have something that not a lot of other teams can offer – a manager that players want to play for. Whether or not that alone is enough to keep Masterson in an Indians uniform or entice any other free-agents to come to Cleveland remains to be seen.
For now, though, the Indians and their fans can rest a little easier than they could a few nights ago. Prior to this week, it seemed almost all but certain that Justin Masterson was as good as gone. Now, just days later, there appears to be a slight glimmer of hope that the big righty could be on the mound for the Indians for a few additional seasons. Yes, that’s not a guarantee by any means, but it’s a lot better than assuming the absolute worst.