The Indians and right-hander Corey Kluber are “not close” to an agreement on an extension, sources tell CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. The two sides have been discussing a multi-year deal over the last several weeks, including a recent face-to-face meeting between Cleveland owner Paul Dolan, president Mark Shapiro, GM Chris Antonetti and Kluber’s agent B.B. Abbott. Neither party commented on the talks except for Abbott, who only said that “The lines of communication between myself and the Indians are and will continue to be open.”
It perhaps isn’t surprising that the extension is taking some time to work out given Kluber’s unique situation, which Heyman describes (MLBTR’s Jeff Todd also examined Kluber as an Extension Candidate last August. Kluber turns 29 in April and is still under team control for four more seasons, so there could be a bit of urgency on his part to score a big-money deal now rather than wait for free agency going into his age-33 season. From the Tribe’s perspective, gaining cost certainty at least through Kluber’s arbitration years would be of interest to the low-payroll club, though having found a Cy Young Award-winning ace at a bargain price, Cleveland might not want to pay too much more than necessary.
Kluber’s 2015 salary is already technically set, as the two sides settled on a $610K contract for the coming season. This represents a decent-sized bump over the league minimum salary, and given how most teams deal with pre-arbitration contracts, the raise could be a good faith move from the Indians as a harbinger of a richer extension. If an extension is reached, I’d imagine that Kluber’s $610K salary would be replaced by a new figure or he’d at least receive a signing bonus to get more money in his pocket immediately.