Extension talks between the Indians and right-hander Justin Masterson have broken down after the team refused to accept Masterson's proposal, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Masterson will likely head to free agency after the season along with Max Scherzer, James Shields and Jon Lester.
According to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Masterson's camp proposed two offers to the Indians: a two-year deal worth around $35MM and a three-year deal worth about $51MM. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com follows up by saying that the team countered with a two-year offer worth around $14MM per year that included a team option for a third year. Because of the sizable gap between how the two sides value Masterson, it is very unlikely that they reach a deal before the end of the season.
Masterson has recently expressed a strong desire to stay in Cleveland past this season, so it is a bit of surprise that the Indians were not willing to accept his reasonable proposal to keep him in town. At first, it seemed that Masterson could receive a deal similar to the one that Homer Bailey received from the Reds (6 years, $105MM), but talks began to center around a shorter-term deal that would allow Masterson to have a bite at the free agency apple in two or three years. Now, it seems almost inevitable that he will enter a tough starting pitching market next year along with Scherzer, Shields and Lester.
In other Indians news, Heyman reports that the club has set an Opening Day deadline on extension talks with second baseman Jason Kipnis. Kipnis is not a free agent until after the 2017 season, so the sense of urgency to get a deal done is low at this point. If the sides are unable to agree to terms by Opening Day, they will likely resume talks next offseason.