The Indians have reached a two-year contract extension with righty Josh Tomlin, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer reports (Twitter links). The SSG Baseball client will receive a $5.5MM guarantee in the deal, which includes a club option for a third campaign.
Tomlin had already agreed to a $2.25MM, fully guaranteed salary for the coming season, and that remains intact. The new deal will buy up Tomlin’s first season of free agent eligibility and give the club a $3MM option (with a $750K buyout) on another.
The deal could top out at $12MM over three seasons. Tomlin is guaranteed the aforementioned $2.25MM, then a modest raise to $2.5MM for 2017 to go with the buyout on the option. He can also reach a variety of incentives in 2017 and 2018, potentially reaching $2MM per year, based on games started and innings pitched, Hoynes adds on Twitter.
It seems clear that Tomlin, 31, prioritized the maximization of guaranteed money after a strong showing in limited MLB action last year. He’s bounced up and down a fair bit, never quite sticking in the majors, and the opportunity to cash in was surely worth the sacrifice of some upside.
Tomlin worked 65 2/3 innings of 3.02 ERA pitching in his 10 starts in 2015, putting up a solid 7.8 K/9 and outstanding 1.1 BB/9 in that time. He benefited from a low BABIP and high strand rate, and continued to post low ground-ball rates and a troubling predilection to the long ball, but xFIP and SIERA still quite liked the effort. Furthermore, the 2015 campaign marked the second straight season in which Tomlin showed a newfound ability to record strikeouts at an above-average rate. Tomlin’s career 4.9 K/9 rate jumped to 8.1 in 2014, and he was able to sustain much of the improvement in that area this past season.
Anything approaching that output would make this contract a clear win for the Indians. The club is locking in a low rate of pay for a useful pitcher who could factor in the rotation or the pen. And adding a year of non-committed, cheap control is a rare chance. While Tomlin lacks a clear track record of major league success, it’s a relatively easy bet to make for the club.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
This deal guarantees Tomlin 1 year of free agency. Would have been a free agent after 2016 if not for this extension.
We failed to update his service time in an earlier post that I was referencing. Thanks for the heads up.
It’s actually smart for both sides. Tomlin is 31, and has been up and down his entire career. The worst that can happen to him now is that he will be awful or injured, and get $5.5M over two years. Even with the taxes, that’s a chance to put money side now for a uncertain future. If he pitches well, he will make some incentives–if he’s just a decent arm, he’s likely to make $12M over three years. That’s not shooting the lights out, but it’s not bad.
This is the greatest move since Gabe Paul hired the world renowned George Robert “Birdie” Tebbetts who led the tribe to unheralded greatness, fame and fortune.. Yes Birdie was born November 10, 1912 and flew south on March 24, 1999 at aged 86. Who can not remember his 86 home runs and his four All-Star visits where he was considered the greatest that ever played. (1941, 1942, 1948, 1949) Yes Tomlin has that up and down motion that Birdie used (hence his name). We will admire, contemplate and await the upcoming season with awe, gleam and trust.
How could I have overlooked the tomato incident.
Great deal for Tomlin and the Indians. Tomlin is a great teammate, and well liked in the clubhouse. The key is to stay healthy, if Tomlin does he’s perfect as the 5th starter
Tomlin career numbers starting out were really similar to Nagy’s numbers and honestly he had a good career starting before injuries hit him hard.
Seems like it took a few years for Nagy to really show up. Seems like Tomlin has been around forever. I recall him from some old video games…
Tomlin has been around for awhile, he just has been unlucky staying in the rotation. He came up in 2010 and pitched decent. His biggest issue is that he doesn’t throw hard, and He gives up the long ball. His greatest strength even as a right hander, it is very difficult to run on him. He doesn’t allow stolen bases and can pitch out of jams. I believe he will end up our 5th starter this season. He may be used as a long Reliever as well, but for now I project him as the 5th starter
Having known Josh when he was growing up, I am confident he will do everything he possibly can to earn the money, not just be paid it.