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Francona talks to Masterson about speculation

MLB.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Indians starter Justin Masterson is not going anywhere this winter. Cleveland manager Terry Francona wanted to make sure the pitcher understood that, considering the trade rumors that have swirled over the past few days.

Francona called Masterson on Tuesday to inform the right-hander that he was not going to be dealt.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Indians starter Justin Masterson is not going anywhere this winter. Cleveland manager Terry Francona wanted to make sure the pitcher understood that, considering the trade rumors that have swirled over the past few days.

Francona called Masterson on Tuesday to inform the right-hander that he was not going to be dealt.

"I told him whether he liked it or not, he's not getting rid of us," Francona said on Wednesday at the Winter Meetings. "I said, 'Knowing you, I doubt you're reading this.' And he goes, 'You're right, but my mom might.' So I said, 'Well, tell her you're not going anywhere.' I thought it was getting a little out of hand."

Cleveland does not plan on trading Masterson this winter, but the club's policy is to always listen to trade offers for any of its players. That led to multiple reports over the past couple of days indicating that a variety of teams were inquiring about Masterson's availability.

Masterson, who is entering his final year of arbitration eligibility, earned $5,687,500 in 2013 and could make between $9 million and $10 million in the coming season. The Indians are willing to explore a long-term extension, as is Masterson's agent, Randy Rowley, but the two sides have yet to initiate negotiations.

Extensions talks are often a natural part of arbitration discussions, which are likely to begin after Jan. 1. Teams and arbitration-eligible players are not required to exchange salary figures for the upcoming season until Jan. 17, though a deal can be reached at any point prior to an arbitration hearing.

Masterson's camp is currently preparing its case for a one-year arbitration settlement, but is open to discussing a long-term pact. Rowley indicated that Masterson is simply interested in a fair deal in relation to the kind of contracts currently being signed on the free-agent market.

Last season, the 28-year-old Masterson went 14-10 with a 3.45 ERA and 195 strikeouts in 193 innings for the Indians and made his first American League All-Star team. Over the past three seasons, the sinkerballer has gone 37-35 with a 3.86 ERA and an average of 205 innings per year.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian.

Cleveland Indians, Justin Masterson