lukewarm stoveClosing out the week with some pop-up rumors …

  • Huzzah, there will be at least one upper-tier starting pitchers on the free agent market next offseason after the Indians and Justin Masterson apparently failed to reach an extension agreement (despite Masterson’s eminently reasonable demands). Ken Rosenthal reported that extension talks are off after the Indians refused to accept Masterson’s proposal, and Paul Hoynes adds details to what Masterson wanted: three years and $51 million, or two years and $35 million. That’s it. Jon Heyman says the Indians drew the line at about two years, $28 million and an option year. Hoynes pegs it even a few million lower. It’s easy to see why Masterson is going to take his chances.
  • Masterson is going to get a whole lot more than that after the season, assuming health and relative effectiveness. Here’s hoping he, Max Scherzer, James Shields, and even Jon Lester (still not technically extended) all reach free agency after this season, and the Cubs at least have some options.
  • Speaking of pitching options, Bruce Levine reports that the Blue Jays sent three scouts to watch Jeff Samardzija yesterday (including their top personnel man), and they’re still considering making a deal for the big righty. There were at least 12 other scouts from other teams in attendance as well, though some of that was bound to be just normal Spring Training duty. With just 10 days left before the start of the season, it’s very hard to see a deal coming together right now.

  • Levine adds, by the way, that the difference in extension request/offer figures between the Cubs and Samardzija could be as much as $15 or $20 million right now. That jives with my own instincts on the numbers, which probably have the Cubs somewhere around the five-year, $55 million extension Matt Harrison got from the Rangers at a similar point in his career, and probably have Samardzija somewhere around five years and $70 million, which would be based on his 2014 salary, plus his 2015 arbitration projection, plus the $19 million per free agent year that Homer Bailey just got from the Reds.
  • We haven’t heard much about Cuban pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne recently, despite him showing off his stuff for teams in early Spring Training. At the time, his agent had mentioned signing soon. That obviously hasn’t happened, and MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes dug into why. And if the thoughts of one involved official are to be credited, the reason is the simplest and oldest in the book: Despaigne simply isn’t all that good. Although the review suggests that Despaigne could possibly contribute in a long relief role at the big league level, there are a lot of guys out there like that, and they don’t cost seven figures to sign. Maybe, in the end, Despaigne was more hype than substance. Sometimes you don’t find that kind of thing out about Cuban defectors until they sign (or don’t).
  • Jon Heyman lays out the Tigers’ options for a shortstop replacement, which now also includes erstwhile Mariners shortstop Nick Franklin, a young player without a place to play. Darwin Barney is not mentioned. (This week, a Barney/Schierholtz/Tigers rumor has made the rounds.)

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