CLEVELAND, Ohio — Danny Salazar has agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Cleveland Indians, avoiding arbitration for $4.5 million according to reports, and ending speculation that the club might cut ties with the oft-injured former All-Star.
Meanwhile, the Indians offered contracts to three arbitration-eligible players prior to Friday’s 8 p.m. non-tender deadline, including All-Stars Francisco Lindor and Trevor Bauer and pitcher Cody Anderson.
The club also reached a $1 million deal with reliever Neil Ramirez while avoiding arbitration with reliever Nick Goody and infielder Eric Stamets. The Salazar and Ramirez deals were first reported by MLB Network insider John Heyman.
Right-handed reliever James Hoyt, acquired by Cleveland in a July trade with Houston, was the only arbitration-eligible player on the Indians’ 40-man roster that was not tendered a contract offer, but president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said late Friday that the club is hopeful that it can re-sign Hoyt and keep him in the organization.
Salazar made $5 million in 2018 but did not appear in a game for Cleveland after a sore right shoulder led to season-ending surgery. Goody appeared in 12 games before an elbow injury ended his season in May.
Antonetti said Salazar continues to make progress in his rehab program.
“We’ve all seen what he’s capable of doing when he’s healthy,” Antonetti said of Salazar. “We think he’s on a good path and are hopeful that he can be a contributing member of our pitching staff next year.”
Ramirez, a spring training invitee, paired with Oliver Perez to rescue a struggling Indians bullpen midway through the season. He appeared in 47 games with a 4.54 ERA, throwing 41⅔ innings and striking out 51. Ramirez pitched some meaningful innings for the Indians, according to Antonetti.
“We felt last year was a step forward in his development,” Antonetti said. “Hopefully he’s on the path to being a regular contributor for us. He’s got good stuff and we’ve seen what he’s capable of doing when he’s right and at his best.”
Goody also continues to progress in his recovery, according to Antonetti.
“He’s thrown off the mound a couple of times already out in Arizona,” Antonetti said. “We’re hopeful that he can continue on the path he’s on and be healthy for us at the start of the season.”
Lindor and Bauer both stand to earn significant raises based on their performances in 2018 if their cases go to arbitration in February.
Lindor, who earned $675,000 in 2018, is expected to challenge the $10.85 million record awarded to Chicago’s Kris Bryant in his first year of arbitration eligibility. Bauer, who won his arbitration case for $6.525 million in 2018, could see his salary jump to a projected $11.6 million according to MLBTraderumors.com.
Anderson has not pitched in the big leagues since 2016. He earned $675,000 last season and appeared in a handful of minor-league rehab games in Arizona as he recovered from elbow surgery.
In October, manager Terry Francona left open the possibility that both Salazar and Anderson could contribute in bullpen roles, though he said both would be conditioned as starting pitchers.
“I fall back on if a guy is good, his innings are going to help us win, regardless of where he ends up pitching,” Francona said. “If he’s a good pitcher, we’ll all be happy to figure that out. That will be a heck of a lot more fun than sending him to Arizona for rehab.”