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Next time the Cleveland Indians and Trevor Bauer talk 2019 salary it will be at the arbitration table

CLEVELAND, Ohio — For the second straight year there will be no middle ground for the Indians and Trevor Bauer concerning how much the right-hander will be paid for the 2019 season.

The basic agreement allows for teams and players to negotiate after they’ve filed salary figures for arbitration. On Jan. 11, Bauer and his representatives filed at $13 million, while the Indians countered at $11 million. But more and more, teams are taking a file-and-trial approach to the process.

If they can’t reach a deal before salary figures are exchanged, the team will take that player to arbitration. The Indians did that with Bauer last year when he filed at $6.525 million and they offered $5.3 million. The arbitration panel ruled in Bauer’s favor as he became the first player to beat the Indians in arbitration since Greg Swindell in 1991.

In arbitration the three-person panel must pick the player or club’s salary figure. The decision is usually made within 24 to 48 hours.

Bauer was the only player to exchange numbers with the Indians. Shortstop Francisco Lindor settled for a one-year, $10.55 million contract on Jan. 11.

Last season Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA in 28 games, including 27 starts. He was on his way to his best season in the big leagues when he was struck in the right leg by a Jose Abreu line drive on Aug. 11. He suffered a stress fracture and didn’t return to the mound until Sept. 21.

Bauer still finished the year with 221 strikeouts in 175 1/3 innings. The Indians put him on the roster for the ALDS and he made three relief appearances in the Astros’ three-game sweep. His 2.21 ERA during the regular season was the second lowest by an Indians pitcher since the mound was lowered in 1969.

The arbitration hearings are held Feb. 1-20 in St. Petersburg, Fla.

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