The Cleveland Indians have some big decisions to make regarding starting pitching in the offseason. The fact that Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir look to be out the door, Cleveland must figure out how to replace the potential losses.
Considering the Indians are contenders, top-notch free agents will be a possibility. However, it is not all about bringing in new arms, as it is making sure reliable ones stay with the club for the long-term. One good example is right-handed starter Justin Masterson.
The 28-year-old was terrific for Cleveland in 2013. Not to mention, he has been rather decent for a few years. His earned run average has been a little inconsistent but that is to be expected from a backend rotation pitcher.
The fact that Masterson posted a 14-10 record with a career-high 195 strikeouts and a 3.45 ERA in 32 games (29 starts) is reason enough for the organization to consider a contract extension this winter.
Masterson is someone the Indians have to lock up because he is a critical part of the team and one less problem to worry about once signed. He may not post over 200 strikeouts in a season or have an exceptional record. However, he is durable and someone who is going to eat up a lot of innings. His career-high three complete-game shutouts this season is enough evidence to believe he is worth the investment.
As I said, Cleveland will have to improve the rotation through free agency in the offseason. With that being said, they also must make sure their current talent is signed for the long haul in order to make several runs at the playoffs over the next few years.