Indians sign Stubbs, Marson and avoid arbitration

By Jordan Bastian /01/18/13 9:23 AM ET

CLEVELAND -- It has been more than two decades since the Indians have had a player step into an arbitration hearing, and the ballclub is aiming to keep its streak of settlements alive this offseason.
On Friday morning, Cleveland announced that it had avoided arbitration with outfielder Drew Stubbs and catcher Lou Marson by agreeing to one-year contracts, whittling the list of unsettled cases down to five eligible players.
Any unsigned arbitration-eligible players are required to exchange proposed salary figures with their team by 1 p.m. ET on Friday. Arbitration hearings are scheduled to take place between Feb. 4-20, though the sides can reach a deal at any point leading up to that meeting.
The Indians' remaining crop of arbitration cases include closer Chris Perez ($4.5 million in 2012), sinkerballer Justin Masterson ($3.825 million), infielder Mike Aviles ($1.2 million), reliever Joe Smith ($1.75 million) and reliever Matt Albers ($1.075 million).
Cleveland has not gone to a hearing with a player since 1991, when Greg Swindell won his case and Jerry Browne lost.
Unsigned players with more than three years and fewer than six years of Major League service time are eligible for arbitration. A select crop of players can achieve Super Two eligibility by being in the upper 22 percent of the players who have surpassed two years of service, but have yet to reach three.
If a player goes to a hearing, a panel chooses between the salary figures submitted by each side.
Stubbs, who earned $527,500 last season, was acquired by the Indians on Dec. 11 in a three-team, nine-player trade involving the Reds and D-backs.
Cincinnati sent Stubbs to Cleveland and shortstop Didi Gregorius to Arizona. The Tribe traded right fielder Shin-Soo Choo and infielder Jason Donald to the Reds, and shipped lefty Tony Sipp and first baseman Lars Anderson to the D-backs. Cleveland also received pitchers Trevor Bauer, Bryan Shaw and Albers in the deal from Arizona.
In 136 games last season, the 28-year-old Stubbs hit .213 with 14 home runs and 40 RBIs for the Reds. He has a career .241 average with 59 homers, 59 doubles, 110 stolen bases and 178 RBIs in parts of four seasons with Cincinnati. It has yet to be announced whether Stubbs will man left or center field for the Indians this year.
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reported Thursday night that Stubbs' deal included a base salary of $2.825 million, with another $50,000 available through performance bonuses.
Marson, who was eligible for arbitration fo the first time this winter, signed a deal worth $1 million for the 2013 season. The Tribe's 26-year-old backup catcher has spent parts of the past four seasons with the Indians, hitting .218 over 250 big league games for the club.