Indians, McAllister agree to $1.3M deal

Reliable reliever avoids arbitration with 1-year contract

Indians, McAllister agree to $1.3M deal

CLEVELAND -- The Indians have started to chip away at their arbitration cases.

On Friday night, Cleveland avoided the salary arbitration process with reliever Zach McAllister, signing him to a one-year contract worth $1.3 million for the upcoming season. The big right-hander is poised to return to Tribe's bullpen as a key late-inning option.

With McAllister's case out of the way, the Indians' list of remaining arbitration-eligible players consists of closer Cody Allen, outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall, reliever Jeff Manship, setup man Bryan Shaw and starter Josh Tomlin. Tuesday marks the deadline for eligible players to file for arbitration, and the two sides must exchange 2016 salary figures on Jan. 15.

If necessary, arbitration hearings will be held from Feb. 1-21, though a deal can be reached at any point leading up to a player's scheduled hearing.

McAllister, 28, has developed into a sound relief option for the Indians, who converted him from a starter in 2014. After one forgettable start in April, he returned to the bullpen last season and turned in a 2.49 ERA in 60 appearances. Overall, the right-hander had a 3.00 ERA in 61 games in 2015.

In 69 innings last year, McAllister piled up 84 strikeouts against 23 walks, posting a rate of 11 strikeouts per nine innings to go along with a 3.65 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He was one of 17 pitchers in the Majors last season to have at least 80 strikeouts and log at least 60 games, ranking 12th in that grouping in strikeouts per nine innings and strikeout-to-walk rate.

As a starter in parts of the 2011-15 seasons, McAllister went 18-26 with a 4.52 ERA in 66 outings. As a reliever, though, he has fashioned a 2.54 ERA with 93 strikeouts, 24 walks and a .235 opponents' batting average in 78 innings (67 games).

The Indians acquired McAllister as a player to be named on Aug. 20, 2010, completing the deal that sent outfielder Austin Kearns to the Yankees prior to the July 31 Trade Deadline.

McAllister joins Allen, Shaw and Manship as virtual locks for the bullpen. Other candidates from the 40-man roster include Austin Adams, Shawn Armstrong, Kyle Crockett, Dan Otero and Giovanni Soto. The Indians will also have options such as Joba Chamberlain, Ross Detwiler, Tom Gorzelanny and Joe Thatcher in camp as non-roster invitees this spring.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.