September 16, 2014

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Indians break off contract talks with Masterson

Masterson

Masterson

CLEVELAND — Apparently Justin Masterson didn’t make the Indians an offer they couldn’t refuse.

Multiple reports broke Thursday night that contract negotiations between Masterson and the Indians had broken down.

Masterson, an All-Star for the first time in his career last season, and his agent Randy Rowley, were reportedly seeking a three-year deal worth $51 million.

The right-hander, who could likely command a lengthy and lucrative contract on the free-agent market next offseason, offered to negotiate a shorter-termed, less-expensive deal with Cleveland two weeks ago. The offer was estimated at three to four years for $40-$60 million.

After his most recent exhibition outing this week, Masterson, 28, said the Indians were still mulling his camp’s offer. It looks as though their decision is no.

To avoid arbitration, Masterson agreed to a one-year contract with Cleveland in February worth $9.7625 million. Masterson has said he would be open to continuing contract talks during the regular season, but the Indians traditionally do not negotiate long-term deals once they reach Opening Day.

Masterson, who is scheduled to start his third straight season opener — in Oakland on March 31 — for Cleveland, went 14-10 with a 3.45 ERA in 32 games (29 starts) last year. His three shutouts led the American League.

Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him @CAwesomeheimer on Twitter.