CLEVELAND -- Paul Dolan caught wind of the rumors over the offseason -- the ones about the Indians positioning their payroll structure to make the team potentially easier to sell -- and the club's chairman and chief executive found it all a bit amusing.
The basis for the unfounded reports stemmed from the fact that Cleveland had no players under contract for guaranteed money beyond the 2012 season. With recent signings of shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and catcher Carlos Santana to multiyear contracts, the Indians have altered that situation.
"It's kind of funny actually," said Dolan, who attended the press conference to announce Santana's new deal on Tuesday. "At the time I heard [those rumors], I didn't even realize it was a fact. We have a number of players under control for a period of time. ... I'm not bothered by that kind of silliness."
Santana's new contract will pay him $21 million through 2016 and it includes a club option worth $12 million for the 2017 season. That covers what would have been the catcher's arbitration years, along with his first potential year of free-agent eligibility. Cabrera's new deal -- announced last Wednesday -- is worth $16.5 million for the 2013-14 seasons.
Indians manager Manny Acta said he hopes fans view the deals as a sign that the organization is doing all it can to secure its young core players.
"It sends the message that we're trying to keep our good players here for a long period of time," Acta said. "We locked up two good players that we won't have to worry about for at least three years with Asdrubal and five with Carlos. These are the cornerstones of this franchise. It's very comforting to know that these guys are not going anywhere for a while."
As of right now, Cabrera and Santana represent the only players with guaranteed contracts after this season. With such a young roster, though, Cleveland does have a long list of players who are under contractual control for several future seasons. The Tribe also has 2013 club options for Travis Hafner, Ubaldo Jimenez and Roberto Hernandez.
"When you have cost certainty," Dolan said, "which you achieve when you enter into these kind of multiyear deals, it becomes easier to plan and budget around them. You know what costs are for your core players. You just hope and expect that Carlos becomes -- remains -- the player he's been and even grows a little further.
"Today is all about Carlos. These are the kind of deals we're prepared to do when the values line up on both sides. Today, we're celebrating the fact that we were able to reach an agreement with Carlos."
Masterson may be next for long-term deal
CLEVELAND -- The Indians have locked up two core players in the past week by signing shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and catcher Carlos Santana to multiyear pacts, but it does not appear that the team is closing in on any other long-term contracts.
"It's hard to say," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said on Tuesday. "At this point, we don't have any active negotiations ongoing. While our preference is to have things resolved and not have negotiations during the season, we don't have any hard-and-fast rules."
With Cabrera ($16.5 million for 2013-14) and Santana ($21 million for 2012-16 with a $12 million club option for 2017) done, the next logical extension candidate appears to be Opening Day starter Justin Masterson. Cleveland has talked to the pitcher's camp about a multiyear deal -- one that would likely cover three or four years -- but the sides are currently too far apart in talks.
As a result, the negotiations between the Indians and Masterson have been tabled for the time being. This past winter, the 27-year-old Masterson avoided arbitration by signing a one-year deal worth $3.825 million for the 2012 season. Last year, the right-handed sinkerballer went 12-10 with a 3.21 ERA over 216 innings in a breakout showing for the Tribe.
Masterson has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining before he can hit the open market as a free agent in 2015.
Another candidate for a long-term contract could be right fielder Shin-Soo Choo, though the Indians have not engaged in such talks with his agent, Scott Boras, since Spring Training prior to the 2011 season. Choo is under contract for $4.9 million this season and will become eligible for free agency in 2014 after one more year of the arbitration process.
Antonetti said the Indians will continue to explore long-term deals for their core players.
"It's really nothing new for us," Antonetti said. "We've continued the same process that we've had for a number of years and have explored multiyear deals with a number of players, not only this winter, but in the past. This was two occasions where the right players with the right value and the right term aligned, and that's why we were able to get something done."
Quote to note
"That's one of the reasons we're so excited. We still think he has the potential to be an even better player. He's demonstrated already his capability and the type of offensive player he can be, but we still think there's more in there. If you ask Carlos, he has lofty goals for himself."
-- Indians general manager Chris Antonetti, on catcher Carlos Santana
Indians right fielder Shin-Soo Choo suffered only a bruise of his left thumb after being struck on the hand by a pitch from White Sox lefty Chris Sale in the sixth inning of Monday's 4-2 loss. Choo's thumb protector, on the other hand, did not survive the incident."If I wasn't wearing the protector," Choo said, "I would've broken my thumb." Choo was in Tuesday's starting lineup before the game was postponed due to inclement weather.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Indians catcher Carlos Santana is only the fourth player since 1920 to have started at least 80 games behind the plate and appear in at least 100 games as his team's third or fourth hitter during his first full season. The list includes Joe Ferguson (1973), Victor Martinez (2004), Joe Mauer (2005) and Santana (2011).
Indians left-hander David Huff, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring, has been working through his rehab at Progressive Field. Huff threw long toss at a distance of 120 feet on Tuesday and is scheduled to throw of a mound in a bullpen session on Wednesday.