AL Central Notes: Masterson, Santana, Tigers, Thome

Justin Masterson is only looking for a three- or four-year extension from the Indians, a short-term arrangement that speaks to comfort in Cleveland both on and off the field, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian writes.  While Masterson said that contract talks are "a challenging situation, 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?"  Also, by staying with the Tribe, Masterson noted that he could further enhance the Indians' growing reputation as an attractive destination for people to play.

Here's some more from around the AL Central…

  • A short-term deal may also have a strategic element to it, as MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince notes that a three-year deal would cover Masterson past the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement.  It's widely expected that the qualifying offer system will be modified (or even scrapped) in a new CBA, so Masterson could take the security of a short-term deal now and avoid having his market diminished as a free agent next winter if he has qualifying offer draft compensation attached to his services.
  • Also from Castrovince, Masterson's love of playing for Terry Francona "is the only reason these extension conversations have had any traction."
  • Twins assistant GM Rob Antony discussed his club's pursuit of Johan Santana with Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.  Minnesota only viewed Santana as a starting pitcher and would've been comfortable giving him a May 31 opt-out, Antony said, but the Twins simply weren't willing to sign Santana at the price he received from the Orioles.  Santana will earn $3MM in base salary if he makes the Baltimore roster, plus potentially millions more in incentives. 
  • While Antony admitted that injuries could change the Twins' feelings about further additions, "right now I think what we’ve got in camp is what we’re working on.”
  • Three months without the injured Andy Dirks as part of their left field platoon won't do much harm to the Tigers' playoff chances, Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan writes.  While Detroit is likely to replace Dirks with internal players, Sullivan notes that a more intriguing move would be to acquire an everyday outfielder who could then take over for Torii Hunter in 2015 and beyond.
  • Jim Thome admits that he would "have to take that call" if another team contacted him about returning to the field, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports.  Thome was hired as a special assistant to White Sox GM Rick Hahn last summer, though he never officially retired.  While he would "always listen" about another playing opportunity, Thome enjoys his current position and has spoken of wanting to become a manager in the future.

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