Indians sign 5 players, avoid arbitration
(AP) CLEVELAND, OHIO -- The Cleveland Indians have signed five players to one-year contracts, avoiding arbitration. RHP Chris Perez, RHP Joe Smith, RHP Justin Masterson, OF Shin-Soo Choo, and 3B Jack Hannahan
Right-hander Justin Masterson and the Cleveland Indians avoided arbitration with a one-year contract agreement.
Masterson, the Indians' most consistent starter last year, will make $3.85 million in 2012. He made $468,400 last season.
Masterson had a breakout season in 2011, going 12-10 with a 3.21 ERA. He also led the Indians with 158 strikeouts and 33 starts. The hard-throwing 26-year-old, who was acquired in 2009 from Boston, was just 6-13 in 2010. However, he opened 5-0 last season and developed into their ace before the club traded for Ubaldo Jimenez.
The Indians once considered moving Masterson into the bullpen, but that no longer seems likely.
Outfielder Shin Soo-Choo's troubled 2011 season with the Cleveland Indians still earned him a raise.
Choo and the club agreed to a 1-year, $4.9 million contract Tuesday to avoid salary arbitration. The 29-year-old South Korean made $3.975 million last season, when he batted .259 with eight homers and 36 RBIs in 85 games. He also had two lengthy stints on the disabled list.
In 2010, Choo was the only AL player to hit .300 with at least 20 homers and 20 stolen bases.
Choo also was arrested last season on driving under the influence charges and he missed six weeks after surgery to repair a broken thumb. He ended the season on the DL with a strained side muscle.
Third baseman Jack Hannahan and the Cleveland Indians avoided salary arbitration, agreeing to terms on a one-year contract.
Terms of the deal were not immediately known. Players had until noon Tuesday to exchange figures with their club. Hannahan was one of seven Cleveland players eligible for arbitration.
Hannahan was a pleasant surprise last season for the Indians, who signed him to a minor league deal before training camp. After Jason Donald broke his hand, Hannahan won the starting job at third and finished batting .250 (80-for-320) with eight homers and 40 RBIs in 110 games. He made his biggest contribution defensively, leading all AL third baseman with a .983 fielding percentage.
Hannahan will compete for the starting job this spring with Lonnie Chisenhall.
All-Star closer Chris Perez and the Cleveland Indians have locked up a one-year contract to avoid arbitration.
Perez, who had 36 saves last season, will make $4.5 million in 2012. He earned $2.25 million last season, when he developed into one of the AL's premier finishers.
The 26-year-old had 36 saves in 40 tries, ending the year with a save in his final nine chances.
Also, the Indians agreed to terms with set-up man Joe Smith on a one-year deal worth $1.75 million. He made $850,000 in 2011.
Smith went 3-3 with a 2.01 ERA in 71 games.