Cleveland Indians Sunday News and Notes: February 9, 2013

Vinnie Pestano - USA TODAY Sports

In this week's extravaganza: Vinnie Pestano, Joel Zumaya, Josmil Pinto, and mummies

Indians News

As there is literally nothing else happening with the Indians, time to over-over-analyze the Pestano arbitration decision:

Indians prevail in arbitration case with reliever Vinnie Pestano | indians.com: News

Right-hander Vinnie Pestano loses arbitration case with Cleveland Indians | cleveland.com

Vinnie Pestano loses arbitration case with the Indians - Let's Go Tribe

Over the weekend it was announced that the Indians had won their arbitration case with Vinnie Pestano, and so Pestano will receive $975,000 in 2014 rather than the $1.45M that asked for.

On the surface, it seems bizarre that this case of all cases would be the one that broke the arbitration hearing streak that had been going since 1991. This is Pestano's first year eligible for arbitration, and as a setup man, his salary wasn't going to break the budget for the Indians. At worst they would have paid him $1.45M, and although that may have led to some difficult decisions in a year or two if he didn't regain his former prowess, it would have had little affect on their moves this winter.

The arbitration process is designed to encourage compromise between the two parties. As the arbitrator must pick between the two offers, often the club and player agree to a deal somewhere in between the two numbers. And the process has worked incredibly well, as Pestano's arbitration hearing was the first in MLB since the 2011-2012 offseason.

From Pestano's standpoint, I can see why he wanted to maximize his income, even at the risk of getting less than the "compromise offer" that undoubtedly was made after figures were exchanged. To this point in his career Pestano has about $1.4M in major-league salaries, and after an injury-plagued season, perhaps in his mind this was his last best chance to make serious money playing baseball, and that $475,000 gap could make a big difference later in his life. The career of a reliever can be rather ephemeral, going from utter dominance to back in the minors to completely out of baseball in the span of months.

But Pestano isn't the only player with a chance of going to arbitration. The club is less than a week away from an arbitration hearing with Josh Tomlin (Feb 14), with hearings with Michael Brantley (Feb 17) and Justin Masterson (Feb 20). Masterson's hearing is the big one, as there's a sizable gap between the two parties ($8.05M vs $11.8M), and if the Indians lose (or fail to compromise before the hearing), that could put a serious crimp in their payroll designs for 2014. Also, if the season starts without Masterson signed to an extension, you might as well kiss him goodbye after the season.

Here's the latest 25-man/40-man roster, including what's probably the final list of NRIs:

(click to embiggen)

Feb_9_2014_medium

The final 25-man payroll will probably be in the low 80s, assuming the Indians don't add anyone before the season begins.

AL Central News

White Sox-Giants World Tour: Feb. 7, 1914 - South Side Sox

100 years ago the White Sox and Giants reach Italy, but without one of the umpires, who had missed the boat from Alexandria because he lost track of time examining the mummies (he was a mortician in the offseason).

Joel Zumaya to retire - Bless You Boys

Remember Joel Zumaya, and how dominant he was for the Tigers as a 21-year-old in 2006? Injuries derailed his career after that, and now he's officially retired from the game. He hadn't played since 2009.

2014 Twins Position Preview: Catcher - Twinkie Town

In recent years this would be a rather boring article ("Joe Mauer is the catcher...um, he's really good...um") but with Mauer moving to first this position battle should be rather interesting. Josmil Pinto will be the starting catcher eventually, but perhaps Kurt Suzuki will start initially.

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