Contracts Tendered to Masterson, Perez(es), Asdrubal, and Others

Justin Masterson, due for a raise.

Last night was the deadline for the Indians to offer contracts, and they did so to all the unsigned players on the 40 man roster. This includes the 7 arbitration eligible players—Chris Perez, Rafael Perez, Justin Masterson, Jack Hannahan, Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo, and Joe Smith. This means, in the simplest terms, that these players will be back with the Indians next season. As for how much they'll be paid, the Indians will exchange salaries with the players by 1/18 and attempt to negotiate a deal; if they're unable to come to terms with any player, the team will head to arbitration where a supposedly impartial arbitrator (get it?) will determine a fair rate of pay.

As we mention every year, the Indians haven't gone to arbitration since 1991. That's almost certainly a decided upon tactic, as arbitration hearings can be acrimonious. Also, I assume it's a big waste of time to prepare all the arbitration documents and arguments. Bastian has been all over this, both on Twitter and his blog. Last night, he tweeted the arb-eligible players and their 2011 salaries, which will serve as baselines for their 2012 salaries.

CLE arbeligibles: Choo (3.975M in '11), CPerez (2.225M), Cabrera (2.025M), RPerez (1.33M), Smith (870K), Hannahan (500K), Masterson (468K).

If I haven't missed anything big these intricacies of player contracts/control were basically unchanged in the new CBA. Jay has outlined these effectively a few times on this site, most notably in 2005 (Part 1 and Part 2) and 2006. If your'e unfamiliar with the roster management process that's really become inherent to all strategic aspects of the game at this point, I'd especially suggest Part 2 and the piece from 2006. The gist of what you need to know is summed up well in the latter:

As elaborated previously, when a team signs an amateur player, that team has exclusive rights to a player's services for six to seven full seasons -- in the majors. Once a player is added to the 40-man roster, his service time clock is running for every day he spends on the big-league club (or on the Disabled List). At the end of the season, if he's amassed at least six full years of service time, he's a free agent. If he hasn't, he's not. It's that simple.

Except for the money, that is. At the end of the season, if the player has less than three years of service time, the team can pay him any salary it wants to over the minimum, which generally means he'll make something like $400,000.

If, on the other hand, he's got at least three years of service time, he's eligible for arbitration -- in which case, he's going to get paid a very nice seven-digit number. Whether it's $1 million or $9.9 million, or somewhere in between, depends on how much service time he's got, how valuable a player he's been, and how much he's been paid in the past.

That's the basics you've got to understand to follow what's happening in this process; if anything has changed that I'm unaware of, please correct in the comments.

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