Indians reliever Pestano loses arbitration case

Indians reliever Vinnie Pestano has lost his arbitration case and will make $975,000 in 2014, according to Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer.

Pestano and the Indians presented their case in front of a Major League Baseball arbitration panel on Friday in St. Petersburg, Fla. after the two sides failed to reach an agreement on the former set-up man’s 2014 salary. According to Hoynes, the two sides were $475,000 apart.

The difference between the two numbers was $475,000 and the midpoint was $1, 212,500, but the two sides couldn’t find middle ground.

Three arbitrators ruled in favor of the Indians’ $975,000 offer to Pestano for the 2014 season. Pestano was seeking $1.45 million after making $500,001 in 2013.

Pestano helped solidify the Indians bullpen in 2012, earning a name for himself as one of the top set-up men in baseball. But in 2013, the right-hander struggled with a right elbow injury that flared up during the World Baseball Classic, causing him to struggle throughout the entire season. His struggles eventually led to a demotion to Triple-A Columbus in July, when the Indians opted to make a trade for lefty Marc Rzepczynski.

Pestano’s case marks the first of four Cleveland Indians arbitration hearings scheduled for this month. Right-hander Josh Tomlin (Feb. 14), outfielder Michael Brantley (Feb 17), and most notably, Justin Masterson on Feb. 20. The All-Star starter has asked for $11.8 million in salary arbitration, a figure that’s $3.75 million above the club’s offer for 2014. Masterson’s gap — Cleveland is offering $8.05 million — is the largest among pending cases.

The Indians and the remaining arbitration-eligible players have plenty of time to reach an agreement. The two sides have up until the respective hearings to strike a deal.

Pestano’s case was the first time the Indians have gone to an arbitration hearing since 1991, when Greg Swindell and Jerry Browne went to arbitration against the Tribe.