CLEVELAND -- The Indians put the finishing touch on a pair of arbitration cases Friday, agreeing to one-year contracts with pitcher Danny Salazar and outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall. Only right-hander Trevor Bauer remains on Cleveland's arbitration to-do list.Salazar, who projects to be in the rotation right now, is scheduled to earn
CLEVELAND -- The Indians put the finishing touch on a pair of arbitration cases Friday, agreeing to one-year contracts with pitcher Danny Salazar and outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall. Only right-hander Trevor Bauer remains on Cleveland's arbitration to-do list.
Salazar, who projects to be in the rotation right now, is scheduled to earn $5 million this year, while Chisenhall will make roughly $5.6 million as Cleveland's primary right fielder. Those signings come after the Indians also avoided arbitration with closer Cody Allen ($10.575 million) on Wednesday and reliever Zach McAllister ($2.45 million) on Thursday.
The Indians have a strong reputation for avoiding arbitration hearings with their players, and there is still time for the team to sidestep one with Bauer. The two sides exchanged proposed salary figures on Friday, and they can continue to try to reach a middle ground up until a scheduled hearing (date to be determined between Jan. 29 and Feb. 16).
Bauer is coming off a career year in 2017, when he earned $3.55 million for Cleveland. Per MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, the Indians have offered him $5.3 million, while Bauer is seeking $6.52 million. If his case goes to a hearing -- in which a three-person panel hears arguments from both sides and chooses one of the two salary proposals -- it would mark only the third time the Indians reached that step in the process, dating back to 1991.
The Indians went to a hearing with both Josh Tomlin and Vinnie Pestano in 2014 and the team won both cases.
Last season, Bauer set career highs in wins (17), strikeouts (196), Fielding Independent Pitching (3.88), WAR (3.2, per Fangraphs), strikeouts per nine innings (10.0), strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.3), walks per nine innings (3.1) and ERA+ (109). Bauer, who will turn 27 on Wednesday, went 7-8 with a 5.59 ERA in his first 18 games, but then went 10-1 with a 2.60 ERA in his final 14 games (13 starts and one game finished).
Salazar, 28, went 5-6 with a 4.28 ERA and 145 strikeouts in 103 innings in 2017, when he dealt with right shoulder and elbow issues. The hard-throwing righty still managed to post 12.7 strikeouts per nine innings, which was the second-highest rate in the Majors among pitchers with at least 100 innings. Salazar is 38-33 with a 3.82 ERA and 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings in five seasons with the Tribe.
Last year, Chisenhall hit .288 with an .881 OPS in an injury-shortened, 82-game season. Chisenhall had three stints on the disabled list due to right shoulder, right calf and concussion issues. When he was on the field, he hit 12 homers and had 30 of his 68 hits go for extra bases. In seven years with the Tribe, Chisenhall has hit .266 with a .742 OPS.
Earlier this offseason, the Indians also avoided arbitration with reliever Dan Otero ($1.1 million in '18 as part of a two-year, $2.5 million extension that includes a $1.5 million team option for '20) and outfielder Abraham Almonte ($825,000). In total, the six settled cases will cost the Indians roughly $25.5 million. The 18 contracts that Cleveland has in place for its 25-man roster amount to $120.7 million of the team's payroll, which projects to exceed $130 million.
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.