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Cleveland Indians, Zach McAllister avoid arbitration with $1.3 million deal

Who needs all that messy courtroom paperwork?

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Indians and right-handed pitcher Zach McAllister have avoided arbitration with a 1-year, $1.3 million deal as reported by Jon Heyman. This is the first of hopefully many deals the Indians will make in the coming month to avoid going to salary arbitration court with players. This was McAllister's first year of arbitration eligibility.

After two-and-a-half turbulent years as a full-time starter, all but one of Zach McAllister’s 61 total appearances in 2015 were out of the bullpen. The 28-year-old righty is primarily a two-pitch pitcher, with a mid-90s fastball and a questionable curveball. McAllister’s fastball velocity jumped from 92 MPH in 2014 (the last season he was a full-time starter) to 96.3 MPH in 2015. According to Brook’s Baseball’s numbers, McAllister also worked in a cutter for the first time this year, while nearly eliminating the use of his slider and changeup entirely.

As a result of the bullpen retooling, McAllister’s strikeout rate increased to 28.1 percent, compared to the 19.6 percent strikeout rate he had in 22 appearances in 2015. His walk rate is still an issue (7.7% in 2015), but the bullpen may be his permanent home if he can figure that out.

MLB Trade Rumors estimated that Zach McAllister would have made only $1.0 million in salary arbitration court, so the Tribe may have overpaid depending on how accurate those calculations are. But maybe avoiding court is worth $0.3 million to both parties so it evens out.