The Indians are next in our 2013 Arbitration Eligibles series. Matt Swartz's salary projections are below.
- First time: Tony Sipp ($1MM), Brent Lillibridge ($700K), Lou Marson ($800K)
- Second time: Jack Hannahan ($1.5MM), Justin Masterson ($5.7MM)
- Third time: Shin-Soo Choo ($7.9MM), Chris Perez ($7.2MM), Joe Smith ($2.7MM), Kevin Slowey ($2.8MM)
- Fourth time: Rafael Perez ($2MM)
Choo, Perez, and Masterson represent the Tribe's big money arbitration trio, and all will be tendered contracts. Choo, 30, had a strong bounceback season and will be entering his contract year. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports talked to Chris Antonetti in August, and the Indians' GM explained that Choo and agent Scott Boras have not been receptive to an extension. Choo's trade value may be limited by the lone year of remaining control and his struggles against left-handed pitching.
Perez made headlines in September when he was mildly critical of the Indians' payroll and front office in an interview with Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The closer later hashed things out with Antonetti in a long meeting. After that, Perez touched on his future with MLB.com's Jordan Bastian, saying, "That's a business decision that they're going to have to make. That's not up to me. That's not my decision. I have two years left here at least. Right now, it's up to them. I think whatever they decide to do is definitely going to tell you which way the team is going one way or the other." In other words, if the Indians trade Perez for cheaper players, it'll represent a step in the rebuilding direction. On that point, I disagree: the value placed on the save statistic will continue to artifically inflate Perez's salary next year, and if the Indians can get a solid return for him, that's just a good baseball decision.
At a salary approaching $6MM, Masterson will be pricey for a guy coming off a 4.93 ERA. He's better than that, and maybe the comfort of having Terry Francona as manager again will provide a small boost.
Of the team's seven remaining arbitration eligible players, many are non-tender candidates: Lillibridge, Rafael Perez, Hannahan, and Slowey. Slowey will pitch in the Dominican Winter League following an injury-shortened 2012 campaign in which he did not return to the Majors. Without the Rockies picking up part of the tab on Slowey this time, he's headed for a non-tender. Lillibridge couldn't reproduce his strong part-time showing in 2011. The Red Sox acquired Lillibridge in the Kevin Youkilis trade in late June, but designated him for assignment in less than a month, at which point the Indians got him in a minor deal.
Rafael Perez came down with shoulder soreness in March, missed most of the season, and had arthroscopic shoulder surgery in late September. Even if he is ready for Spring Training, Perez doesn't represent a great risk of $2MM. Hannahan, typically well-regarded for his defense, could stick around for a reduced role behind Lonnie Chisenhall. Or, the Indians could seek a cheaper backup at third base.
Sipp has troublesome flyball/home run tendencies, though at a million bucks or so he may be retained. Smith will remain a key cog in next year's bullpen. With Carlos Santana spending some time at first base, Marson received more starts at catcher than a typical backup. I expect him to be tendered a contract.
A total arbitration estimate doesn't mean much given the different trade and non-tender scenarios for the Indians. But if Choo, Chris Perez, Masterson, Smith, Sipp, and Marson are retained, we're estimating $25.3MM for six arbitration eligible players.
Matt Swartz's arbitration projections are available exclusively at MLB Trade Rumors. To read more about his projection model, check out this series of posts.
Whats a realistic trade for choo, masterson & cabrera.
would alvarez, gose, hechavarria + 2 prospects be enough?
Trade Choo if we get a good deal but I think they should keep Masterson, with the right pitching coach I think he could be a solid no.3 or maybe even no.2 starter. I don’t think they can trade Cabrera, Lindor is at least a year away from being major league ready and they don’t have another good option.
Cleveland is at a real crossroads now and hiring Francona may not have been the best choice for where they are at.
They need to build up from below and to do that? They need to move their better players.. Like Masterson and people like Choo that thet have no hopes of resigning anyway, but Francona has to have vets to keep him interested and surround himself with, as he will always play them over prospects anyway as has always been his nasty habit.
Francona to Cleveland here may not have been the wisest of choices.. It may stop them from making moves of pieces who could bring back valuable parts, tho I do agree that Masterson probably is one who may not have gone anyway since Francona always did like him before and may try and find someone to rework his arm angle down a notch to nearly where it once was before.
i have thought about Choo, Cabrera, too. Injuns have Francisco Lindor as SS propsect so Hech would be redundant long term so Escobar at price/length might be a logical fit, but is he as attractive to them? plus, if the Jays go for Choo, does JBat go to LF? with ACab at 2B, likely batting 2nd, does Rasmus move/fit at 5th or 6th, in front or behind Choo? Alvarez and Villianueva (is he tradeable?) for Ubaldo? He’p me. im intrigued, but a lot of questions
East Coast Bias
The top three prospects in the Indians system are SS… so I don’t think Hech would make the list. But yeah, Alvarez with either Gose or Marsinick would be a good starting point.
I see Lunchbox’s comments, but I thought the Blue Jay Outfield was pretty solid when healthy? However, a trade with the Red Sox would make a lot of sense here.
Choo and Perez to the Sox
Bailey and whatever it takes to make the trade happen.
Choo, Ellsbury, and Ross would be a pretty solid outfield.
Perez and Bailey need a change of scenery.
Boston moves Bailey and they have Tazawa who could close. The Red Sox BP is plenty deep without bringing in another Aceves type personality that the team is already going to get rid of in Aceves this off season anyway.
Bailey was hurt all year, played just under 2 months, I wouldn’t rush to judgement that he needs a change of scenery from that, but would not say that he couldn’t be switched with Tazawa, or even not moved if the right deal came along for something that could actually help the team for more than 1 season.
East Coast Bias
If Cleveland trades Choo, I don’t see it being for a high salary relief pitcher, regardless of his skill level. They would be looking to get back a low cost OF, plus an arm or two, but all cost controlled for a while.
Someone Boston could possibly move (though I don’t want to seen moved) is Franklin Morales. i see him as a SP, tho doubt Boston is going to give him the chance next year as a FT SP.
Boston also is loaded with plenty of middle relievers and lefty specialists they can move, all paid little.