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Tomlin loses arbitration case



Published: Sun, February 16, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

The Plain Dealer

GOODYEAR, Ariz.

The Indians are batting 1.000 at the arbitration table this month. They should be so lucky during the season.

A panel of three arbitrators ruled in the Indians’ favor Saturday in their arbitration case with right-hander Josh Tomlin. The case was heard Friday in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Tomlin will pitch for the Indians’ offer of $800,000. He was seeking $975,000 after missing most of last season while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

Last year Tomlin made $501,800 last year.

On Feb. 7, the arbitrators ruled in the Indians’ favor with right-hander Vinnie Pestano. They offered Pestano $975,000, while he was asking for $1.45 million. That makes the Indians 2-for-2 after not going to arbitration for 22 seasons.

The Tribe has one more arbitration case left. Justin Masterson’s hearing date is Feb. 20. He is seeking $11.8 million, while the Indians have offered $8.05 million. The $3.75 million gap is the biggest among any player who filed in January.

Tomlin, who attended the hearing, said he had no hard feelings about the decision.

“I don’t hold a grudge. I don’t feel anything negative toward the organization,” he said. “That’s what happened. The only difference today is that I’ll know what my salary is for this year.”

GM Chris Antonetti, who did not attend the hearing, met with Tomlin on Saturday after the decision. He did the same thing with Pestano.

“We had a great conversation,” said Tomlin. “We said how we felt about each other and that we have the utmost respect for each other.

“Let’s just leave what happened in Florida and concentrate on baseball.”

Asked if he could do that, Tomlin, who loves duck hunting, said, “Absolutely. I’ll be like a duck and let it roll of my back.”

Tomlin, 23-19 in his career for the Tribe, pitched just two innings in the big leagues last year, while coming back from surgery on his right elbow.

Early last week, Antonetti said arbitration is an awkward process.

“Our goal is to always try to negotiate a settlement,” said Antonetti. “The process of arbitration is an awkward process. We spend a tremendous amount of resources to support our players and staff in every way possible to help them be successful.

“In the arbitration process, by definition, there’s a difference of opinion on a player’s value. So the club has the obligation to present some things that are less favorable to the player. That’s very atypical for how we operate.”

HARANG SIGNS MINOR-LEAGUE DEAL

The Indians have signed veteran right-hander Aaron Harang to a minor-league deal.

“Aaron will compete for a spot in the rotation,” Antonetti said. “We’ve been talking to him for most of the offseason, but things intensified the last couple of weeks.”

Harang was at the Indians’ training complex Saturday morning to take his physical.

“We’re still going back and forth on some things,” said Harang, before the signing became offical. “It came together quick. I live in San Diego so it was an easy to get here.”

Harang, 35, is 110-116 in 12 years in the big leagues. Last year he went 5-12 for Seattle and the Mets. He went 5-11 for the Mariners and 0-1 for the Mets. In 26 starts, the 6-7, 260-pound Harang pitched 1431/3 innings.

In seven years with Cincinnati, Harang won 10 or more games four times. He is expected to compete for the fifth spot in the rotation with Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer and Tomlin.

Harang has pitched for Cincinnati, San Diego, the Dodgers, Oakland and Seattle.


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