Josh Tomlin loses arbitration case to Indians

Jason Miller

The Indians arbitration team is an unstoppable juggernaut.

The Indians won their arbitration hearing with starting pitcher Josh Tomlin, and will pay him $800,000 in 2014, instead of the $975,000 he was seeking. Tomlin missed most of 2013 after having Tommy John surgery in 2012, but he's among the contenders in spring training for the final spot in the Tribe rotation (a competition that also now includes Aaron Harang).

This is the team's second arbitration hearing of the month, and after previously winning their case against Vinnie Pestano, the Indians are now 2-0. The $175,000 difference was smaller than that between any other player and team in MLB this year, making it a somewhat surprising case to wind up in a hearing. On the other hand, future arbitration raises would be based in part upon this starting point, and it's also possible that the team believes that by avoiding arbitration hearings for so long (until Pestano's case last week, it had been 23 years since the team's last hearing), they've encouraged players to submit higher figures than they otherwise would, and this is an attempt to reestablish things.

This is pure speculation on my part, but it also seems possible that by winning two cases during the run-up to next week's much bigger hearing with Justin Masterson, the Indians may have lowered the amount they end up having to pay him. The two sides' offers are separated by $3.75 million (the largest gap between any player and team this year), and if Masterson is now less confident in his chances of winning, he might be willing to settle for something less than he was holding out for before.

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