Cleveland Indians Win Arbitration Case Over Vinnie Pestano


Sep 16, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Vinnie Pestano (52) delivers a pitch in the eighth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Kansas City won the game 7-1. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Tribe Will Pay Vinnie Pestano Less Than $1-Million

In their first arbitration case in over 20 years, the Indians exited victoriously. Now their attention will shift to the next three that they might still have to face before the start of the season.

Unable to reach an agreement on a 2014 salary with reliever Vinnie Pestano, an arbitration panel was brought in to make the decision for them. On one side, the Indians and an offer of $975,000. On the other, Pestano and his representative team and their $1.45-million offer.

Both sides could make compelling cases. For Pestano it was simple. Prior to the 2013 season he has established himself as one of the premier setup men in all of baseball. From 2010 through 2012, Pestano pitched 197 innings and posted a 2.50 ERA with a 1.102 WHIP. He was utterly dominant as his 11 SO/9 would indicate.

However, the 2013 season happened and it was anything but great. Dealing with an elbow injury, Pestano struggled mightily. In 35.1 innings of work, his ERA and WHIP skyrocketed to 4.08 and 1.642, respectively. It got so bad for Pestano that after a series of DL stints he was sent down to Triple -A Columbus. When the Indians made the playoffs and the postseason roster was announced, Pestano was noticeably absent.

It should come as no surprise then that the Indians used 2013’s sub-par performance as their primary point against Vinnie Pestano and his $1.45-million offer. Apparently, it was enough to persuade the arbitrators that siding with Pestano would be a gross over pay. They probably also pointed to Pestano’s age, he is entering into his age 29 season, and how there is no guarantee that his persistent elbow issues from 2013 wouldn’t resurface in 2014. If they did, a $1.45-million hit would not be something they could easily recover from.

Now the Indians will turn their attention to their remaining three arbitration cases. They have yet to come to an agreement with Justin Masterson, Josh Tomlin, or Michael Brantley on a salary for the 2014 season. In the case of Masterson and Brantley, a multi-year extension would be ideal over going to an arbitration hearing. Talks with Masterson have cooled and they have turned their attention on a one-year deal. Little is known on where they currently stand with either Brantley or Tomlin.

Arbitration cases for Tomlin, Brantley, and Masterson are scheduled for February 14th, 17th, and 20th, respectively.